Nursing school is stressful - page 2

by brian Admin

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Arrgggghhhhhh! Let it all out! Breath... We all know that nursing school can be stressful but it seems that some are coping more than others. What are your secrets? Click Like if you enjoyed it. Please share... Read More


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    Nursing school! (shudder) I remember it well. You can do it! It was admittedly the hardest thing I've ever done. And I'm about to do it all over again as I am applying to grad school. It is worth it. You learn so much and actually transform into a knowledgeable, more useful person on this planet. I agree with most of these comments. Get some sleep. Tape your lectures and re-listen to them while driving or doing laundry. It's amazing how much you miss. Also, take the harder patients in clinical. You'll be glad that you did. Good luck to all.
    ANW10 likes this.
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    Yes, nursing school was the hardest thing I ever did, too! (I also went to law school and when students complained to me, I told them law school was like kindergarten compared to nursing school! --admittedly, that was an exaggeration, mostly for shock value and effect, but nursing school was much harder than law school!) I'm also going back to complete my MSN (nurse practitioner) so I'll be using all my effective stress relievers I learned the first time around.

    As many others mentioned, sleep is crucial. Your brain processes information while you're sleeping, so sleep is effective for information retention. Besides, being sleep deprived causes people to make mistakes. In an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found a direct correlation between the one hour loss of sleep after Daylight Savings Time begins in March and the number of traffic accidents; in the fall when an hour of sleep is gained, the opposite happened and accidents the Monday after standard time went down. (MMS: Error ) Think about this when you stay up until 1AM writing a care plan when you'll be passing meds early the next day.

    The other really effective stress reliever is exercise. In nursing school a group of us took walks each day before classes began and during the breaks between classes. Even a brisk walk around the block makes you feel energetic, refreshed and alert. The endorphins released during exercise are what makes the difference in mood, but the cardio-vascular benefits are equally as important. (Exercise and stress: Get moving to combat stress - MayoClinic.com)


    Make sure you eat healthy food and you keep yourself hydrated. You'll feel better doing both. I make sure I have some kind of healthy snack with me when I'm in class or at work. Feeling really hungry and having only access to the vending machines forces you to make some really bad decisions. Carry fruit that travels well--if pull out a squished banana you'll end up at the vending machine, anyway! In addition to the perishable fruit, I always have a little bag of almonds or nuts, dried fruit, packaged cups of applesauce and a water bottle I fill at the cooler.

    Some people report that music works for them in relieving stress. Probably depends on what you listen to, but quiet soothing music works better for me.

    Socializing with others helps, too. But, I really have to put limits on how much time I spend hanging out with friends. People without the burden of nursing school really have no idea what you're going through; I usually tell friends, "I'll meet you for lunch at 12:30, but I have to be in class at 2PM..." It gives you a break but they won't have you hanging out all afternoon.

    I'm not obsessed with cleanliness, but I try to keep up on the laundry, the dishes and the clutter. I have a '10 minute per room rule' that works amazingly well for me. Between studying, I'll spend 10 minutes cleaning one room--without distractions and set my cellphone timer to let me know when to stop. I can usually get a room looking really good in 10 minutes then I go back to studying. An hour or so later, I do another room for 10 minutes. Before I had this method the house was either a mess or I'd spend all day cleaning (the effects of which never lasted long so it always seemed futile). The 10 minutes limits me so I'm not on my hands and knees cleaning the corners of the floor with a q-tip. It forces you to prioritize the cleaning and walk away when time is up. Then when you get back from class you're not overwhelmed with the condition of your living space. Having some order and cleanliness in your house really reduces stress.

    I've also found that doing something dramatically different gives you a huge break. I try to participate in a sport that requires concentration or lots of activity. In the winter I ski and in the summer I swim, play tennis, or walk in the woods. These things make me feel like I went on a mini-vacation, and really help relieve stress.

    Some of the things I don't do... I don't watch TV (my mind wanders to pathophysiology or pharm... I'm not really learning, and I feel guilty for not being productive). I also don't spend much time on Facebook, Twitter or other social media. Before I broke my Facebook habit, I could easily waste an hour--or more without realizing how fast the time was passing. I also don't drink much alcohol--a glass of wine with dinner, maybe... but that alcohol fog doesn't do much for information retention!
    jacjac_9007, ANW10, Catzilla, and 2 others like this.
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    I miss nursing school.

    I lived in a dorm at my college. Followed the usual routine of a night out with friends at least once a week. I didn't really study like I should have. Some people in my class spent every hour studying. I found that sometimes the more I studied, the less I absorbed.

    I took everything one thing at a time. If I had a good grasp on the subject, id usually read NCLEX study books to ensure I really got it.

    Study groups helped me a lot. It mixed the audio and visual aspects of learning. That was priceless.

    Also, I did as much as I could during clinical. I'd make sure my instructor knew at the beginning that I wanted anything that came up. Usually they would grant my request because I'd follow them when I was done with my patients.

    I'd also help my classmates with assessments. Really, it just let me see more stuff. I do remember one time during my first semester I asked my instructor to help because i could not hear an apical pulse on the A&O pt. LOL. But I learned from it.

    Ask questions. Seek advise. If you don't understand something, don't ignore it. Find out the answer. Don't be shy. Clinicals taught me so much theory.

    I miss nursing school because I had fun. I was a partyish college student. Now I feel old-even though I'm only 21 :-P
    Patti_RN likes this.
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    nurses cartoon relieves ones psychological problems
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    I am not being a troll here, but I am just finishing my first year of a 2 year program and I don't understand what all the fuss was about. I mean by no means is nursing school easy but there is no way it is as hard as everyone makes it out to be. I have actually lost weight while in school (I am a 6'4" man who started nursing school at 250 lbs and am currently hovering just under 240). My grades suffered for the first semester (by suffered I mean I got my first B in my college career) due to "weed out" classes that were incredibly poorly taught, and this semester I have actually had time to start golfing more than I ever have since highschool. I think it is all about where you are coming from. If you are trying to transition to nursing school from a cushy college schedule then yes I am sure it is quite a culture shock, if you are transitioning to nursing school from an 80 hour a week job that has you so stressed out you are hypertensive at age 28, then it feels like a vacation. Everything in life is about prespective, I think talking up nursing school to be like a 2-4 year boot camp is a disservice to prospective nurses and only creates more anxiety for what seem to be a group of people that are already prone to be quite anxious. Just my 2 cents.
    Wanna_BA_Nurse likes this.
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    Interesting perspective, bols. Nursing school is what the student puts into it. Of course there are people who absorb information like they're sponges, and others who have to review multiple times with multiple techniques. Some of my nursing school classmates 'ran the numbers' each time they took a test; they'd figure out exactly what they needed to get on the next one to pass. For me, the stress of hovering on the edge of failure would be much, much more stressful than studying 50 hours per week. Besides, this was my one chance to learn everything I could; I was going to make the most of the experience.

    People have different aptitudes for different subjects. My forte is verbal skills; my ability to grasp math is marginal and it's a battle to learn and retain complex math. For me, nursing school was way tougher than law school, but others would say the opposite. Most everyone thinks nursing school is grueling, so it's more like 'fair warning' than creating undo anxiety in future nursing students.

    Many instructors have pointed out that those who get the best grades are often the ones who struggle in clinicals, and visa versa. Thankfully you're able to go golfing and enjoy some leisure time. That wasn't my experience; and it doesn't seem to be the typical nursing student's experience.
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    I am waiting for my acceptance letter and have been grappling with how to "feel" about entering nursing school. You often hear how hard it is in regards to difficult tests, grasping a vast amount of knowledge quickly and the intimidation of clinicals. I find both bols and patti's perspectives interesting. I agree with Patti that what you get out of something comes from how much you put into it-attitude really is everything. I would love to have Bols's confidence, but the unknown and the thought of not taking care of a patient properly concerns me to the point of jitters. My goal is to really find a balance: confidence in my ability to learn and make mistakes along with the stress of getting all the reading, studying and comprehension in that I can for an assignment/test/care plan,etc. I do not want to be the type of student to get worked up over things I cannot change so I am going into nursing school with a positive attitude and confidence that I earned my spot there for a reason. I know from my volunteer hours that nursing is what I want to do, I just need to focus on that when an amount of work/reading/difficult test feels daunting. "One day at a time" will be my motto.
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    patti.....how did you do on the math in nursing school?
    Math is NOT forte...i struggle and get all anxious just thinking about it....and to have to do a calculation in front of an instructor is very nerve wracking for me.....i go blank......i have to be able to take my time and figure it without pressure....i will be starting the RN program in the fall....i went thru LPN school 5 yrs ago....i havent done a doasge cal since then...
    i know this is one portion of the program i will be getting extra help in!!
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    Momtojosh, congrats on your acceptance to school this fall! I'm sure my math skills are way, way beneath yours, and I pulled it together! Funny thing is, you do this stuff for school and after graduation, you rarely have to repeat any of it... and if you do, there's always someone to ask.

    Identifying your weaknesses is half the battle. Some people don't even know what they don't know. I'd go back through any old nursing books you have and have a look at drug calculations. It's so much easier without the stress of other classes, the dread of dealing with the instructor and fellow students staring at you while you try to come up with the answers. You have four months until school starts; that's about as long as your first semester--surely you can review and even get a head start on the math over the summer. Call the nursing school where you'll be attending; ask them what books they use and what the expectations are for drug calculations or other math. Schools and instructors like students who are responsible and set themselves up for success.

    Go to that big online bookseller (or your local library) and do a search for 'drug caluclations nursing' or 'math nurses'. I just did this and a bunch of interesting titles popped up. (I hate the name of those titles 'For Dummies', but the books are great. They start out with the basic concepts but cover all the information you need, and are written by professors in the subject--just delivered in a way that anyone can understand.) For $25 you can get a couple used books and spend an hour a night reviewing them (or free from your library, if they have something suitable). By September you'll easily have covered all the math for the entire program. Instead of starting your program with a fear that you're behind, you can start out ahead, feeling confident about what used to be a weakness--and be able to concentrate on other subjects!

    You can do this! Good luck!
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    To not stress over that you cannot change.


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