Things I wish I would have known when starting Nursing School

  1. I read in amazement all of the posts from the students who were just admitted to nursing school, and it is so hard for me to believe that was me a year ago. I graduate in December, and it blows my mind how far I have come in 12 months!

    So as all of these new students are starting school in the coming weeks, those of us who have been down this road can offer some advice. PLEASE ADD TO MY LIST BELOW!

    Here is what I would have told myself one year ago...

    1) Realize you are going to need to give some things up. Your house won't be as clean, you won't sleep as much, and you never feel like you have enough time to study

    2) This crazy time in your life only lasts for a short period of time

    3) Do not get behind

    4) Only reading and making flash cards isn't going to cut it - need to study different ways

    5) Try to understand the big picture... for example... Don't just learn about Diabetes, COMPREHEND how it effects each organ system, the vessels, the vital signs etc.

    6) Invest in a GREAT pair of shoes

    7) Invest in a decent stethoscope. You do not need top of the line, but moderately priced

    8) Take advantage of every open lab - practice your skills at every opportunity

    9) Be outgoing at clinicals! If you stand like a wallflower they will treat you like a wall flower. If you are eager, that will make an impression.

    10) Take time for you!! Even if it is just an hour to read a non-school book or watch 30 minutes of trash TV
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  3. by   ChristineN
    These are all excellent tips, but I especially love tip 9. Students that are outgoing and let their instructor and staff nurses on the units see that they are willing to be outgoing and helpful are more likely to get the most out of clinicals.
  4. by   Peppermint_RN
    Get a study group (3 people, myself included, worked best for me) to talk things out with. Go over PowerPoints/lecture notes and talk it out to each other. You can't just memorize, you need to understand the material! Having someone to talk to about it might make it click, or they might be able to explain it better than the notes.
  5. by   maam13
    love the tips, study groups is a must just make sure your group works with your study habits and the way you learn. the only thing i miss from school is my study group . by the way time goes by super fast, yes you are tired, nervous, scarred and confused at first but it gets better, you start making connections with what you know and what you are learning.
    good luck!!!
  6. by   LifeIsGood76
    Great tips! I'm not in nursing school yet (still working on my pre-reqs), but I wanted to add to #10. I listen to (non-school) audio books in my car ride to/from school. It is my time to just think of something besides school, and I love it! It helps me feel that I am doing something besides studying all the time! Thanks again for the tips
  7. by   bagface
    Organization. Organization. Organization. Get a calendar, mark study times/tests/projects/clinicals/etc!! Not only does writing it down help, but make sure you LOOK at your calendar so nothing sneaks up on you.

    There are a million good ways to study. Look online for flashcard games, do studyblue so you can sync it up to your phone and use it during every break/restroom stop/etc.

    Create an online study group (we use facebook). Our class has done this and it is AMAZING. We all test each other, we come up with questions in the same format our professor likes to use and post them as word documents for all to see.

    This has helped me - not sure if all schools allow this. Smartpen. I got mine off ebay for $30, they sell for close to $170+ on the website. This pen records everything you write, you can post lectures, you can review it exactly word for word like you were in class. You can watch yourself redo the notes. You can even download a program to make your notes into flashcards. Have I told you how awesome this pen is?? It's AWESOME.

    Enjoy this. I look over class notes and remember how HARD it was, crying, going days without sleep, and I think so fondly of it. I have lost a lot of friends I had before nursing school, but I've made a lot of new ones through this process that understand everything I'm going through. Youw ill too.

    Great list.. thank you!!
  8. by   erint91DC
    These are awesome tips! There's a good chance that I'll get into nursing in January so I'll keep this handy.
  9. by   dotoriffic
    All of these are excellent tips!! Thank you for sharing! One of the things I love about nursing is how much we help each other don't always get that in other careers.
  10. by   eplaza
    Hello everyone. I am in need of some advice. I'm embarking on a new journey at 32. Unlike many of you, I do not have the luxury of time. I've researched a few ways of completing my goal to be an NP or a PA. I would like to to get some suggestions from the actual nursing students. What are your paths? From the beginning. I do not have a Bachelors degree so I need to start from day one. How would I go about on doing this? And am I too old? Thank you so much in advance for your suggestions and advice.
  11. by   VampyrSlayer
    I don't think you're too old. I would start doing prereqs for a BSN since you'll need that to apply to school to become a NP which is one of your goals. Find a program you like ( they have listings on and look at their prereqs and coreqs (the more you have the likelier you will get in. And good luck!
  12. by   eplaza
    Thank you Sara'
  13. by   VampyrSlayer
    No problem. I'm not a nursing student yet (fall is my last semester of prereqs) but I've done a lot of research because I'm contemplating bring a NP or CRNA in the long run (after tons of experience. I'm doing the long route by going for ADN then eventually bridge to BSN. You said you didn't have the time. My school you get an LPN in the program to getting an ADN and I'm hoping I can get a job part time doing that while I finish my degree. I'm also getting my LNA because it's required for my school but I will also try to get a part time job doing that until I get my LPN
  14. by   Domatenzin
    I have a question about school hours. Generally, what are the hours at school for nursing classes. Is the first semester monday to friday classes full day? M wondering about contra costa and merritt college.