[color=firebrick]the value of keeping your eye on the prize can not be underestimated. while you're going through it [color=firebrick]never forget why you are doing this to yourself (because you will at some point ask yourself "what theh*ll was i thinking?"). by default, because it is a healthcare profession there is lots of regulation and red tape. as such the standards for passing and progressing in your degree are higher than it is in many other college programs, which in turn adds to the pressure as if trying to learn from 20 textbooks (some texts look like 3 textbooks in one) and learn another language (medical jargon) wasn't enough.
to ice the cake, failing a key course often sets a student back 1 year because of how it is structured (some courses are only offered in either fall or spring).to help manage the pressure remember that a house wasn't built in a day. [color=firebrick]focus each day on what is most important and strike a balance between personal and nursing school.
- effective studying is paramount! set up an area where you can focus free from distractions.
- actually study, don't just say you did (because if you didn't it will show both on your tests and in clinical)
- prioritize your life- be prepared to say no to friends and stand your ground if you have things that really need to be done
- decide which class needs the most attention, some will be harder than others. if it means giving up a solid "a" in one course to devote a little more time to just pass another class with the "c+" then so be it. don't get me wrong, "a"s are great but passing all classes is key! don't fall into the trap of trying to get an "a" in all your classes.i suppose it is possible (and if you can do it great) but i have seen this strategy swallow other students whole and add them to the programs attrition rate.
- pace yourself, this isn't history class, we are learning about a fantastically complex device call the human body. it is not nearly possible to try and learn what you need to know the night before the test. plan ahead, study and keep up and you will be in a much better position to do well.
- set aside ample time for care plans, they take twice as long as you think
- study in small blocks of time (a few hours) and remember that your brain needs time to process all you just learned. breaks between study blocks (of time) are absolutely essential (30 minutes to several hours). find what works for you and stick to that.
- flash cards are great, not the ones you buy, the ones you make. having to write it all down again on a flash card that you will use to study is just one more opportunity to commit that knowledge to memory. save a buck and do it yourself.
- realize that you are the master of your own destiny, know this and you will come to understand that along your journey to becoming a professional nurse you are ultimately responsible for your success.
- if you have a smartphone, a snazzy electronic drug guide can make you look godlike in clinical as you will be able to retrieve information on drugs 10 times faster than a book. you can pay for the davis or use free ones like epocrates. personally i had and used both, they were great.
in closing, believe in yourself, you can do this! it won't be a handout at anypoint, you will work d*mn hard for it but i promise you this, for every hour of sleep you lose, for every tear you shed or stressed-out day you have, when you do finally make it, it will feel that much better knowing how far you have come. you will have made it through a program that not all people have the dedication and/or perseverance to endure. you will also have a newfound respect for your fellow nurses and the profession as a whole. there are plenty of people that discount nursing and what we have to know. to them i say "try it sometime". the types of people that discount the profession usually are the ones that couldn't hack it for a typical day in our shoes. don't let it get to you, just move on and git er dun.
p.s. - when the going gets tough (and it will), find your inspiration. i found mine on a campus poster. it reads:
"a person who wants something bad enough will find a way; a person who doesn't will find an excuse" -steffan dolley jr.
when i needed a little extra motivation i saw this quote and it reminded me that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. when it gets hard just remember that life is simply testing you to see if you want it bad enough.
work hard and stay on track and you will be don't sooner that you think, just take it one step at a time. you can do this!