Using school for real world preparation

  1. I'm a CNA at a hospital now and am starting a ABSN in the fall. I'll graduate with the BSN Dec13. From what I see as a float CNA, I find it hard to imagine 5 terms (however intense they may be) preparing me to really be an effective nurse. Also, many many people on these forums say that school doesn't really prepare you for real work.

    So, my question is how, as a student, can I focus my studying and nursing school experience both to get me good grades and to really prepare me to apply that knowledge. I want to be the absolutely best out of the new grad gates as I possibly can. This is my second (err, kinda third) career and I'm very aware of how differnt eduction vs real life always is. I know that it takes personal direction and motivation to really use an academic program to be a better professional.

    If it makes any difference, the program I'm starting is a "top 10" program but has a little bit of a reputation of more academic preparation. Also, as I get comfortable in the CNA float pool, I'm working on asking nurses to let me watch/assist with extra things when I have a little down time. (It occasionally happens. I work nights.)

    What else can I do to really prepare myself and get a jump on how much of a transition new grad to awesome nurse can be?