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Does everyone feel overwhelmed when they start nursing school?

I started this past week and all of the homework I have seems so overwhelming. I have been working for hours and hours all week (which I did expect) but I feel like I havent got anything done. I am really excited and interested in what Im learning I just wish I knew how to study and prepare properly for the test.

I have to say my personality is to put everything off until the night before a test or something is due. Thank goodness I feel motivated to get things done. I just want to learn how to use my time effectively. The program Im in only about 40% will make it to Nursing II. I definatly want to make it I just worried how I will.

Any suggestions or comments would be helpful.


Daytonite, BSN, RN

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt.

check out the information about studying and nursing school on these websites. good luck to you!

http://go.dbcc.edu/hhps/nursing/study_skills.html - study skills for the nursing student from daytona beach community college nursing department with some good advice.

http://go.dbcc.edu/hhps/nursing/test_taking_skills.html - test taking skills also from daytona beach community college nursing department. a couple of sample questions and how to choose the correct answer for these application type questions.

http://www.efn.org/~nurses/ - this is a website maintained by the nursing students at lane community college in eugene, oregon. for study and learning tips specific to nursing students click on "tips for learning" at the left side of this home page.

I start on Monday, but we had 2 days of orientation last week and I'm already overwhelmed. We have 4 chapters we're responsible for by Monday, 3 more by Tuesday and a couple more on Friday. This is just for 101, I have A&P that I dont know anything about yet as far as reading/assignments, and we have dosage calcs we are responsible for on our own. They said that 95% of us are underestimating how hard its going to be, but that 80% make it through to the end of the program and 95%+ pass the NCLEX. So the odds are in my favor, but I'm going to have to work my butt off.

Good luck to us!!! :)

First tip.. forget the % that they tell you.. I swear I had some really bright classmates just give up because "only 1/2 will make it to year 2". Second, I procrastate too... it does not work in this program.. wait till the night before a test and you see "oh crap. I have 200 pages to read, and it is dry as sand." I got a white out board and wrote down when things are comming up.. tests quizes, ect. that and use your discs that come w/ your books! In my program I noticed that the questions that are on the discs for review, they put in our tests.. so I pass them easy. Schedule yourself time to study. Personally I leave my house or I end up doing something else..or studying with the tv on.. which doesn't work. Good luck! Don't think negative, honestly don't let them discourage you.. it is hard but you can do it or you wouldn't have beat out all the others to get in the program

so I will cheer for you and you can cheer for me.. we are going to make it!

Tweety, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac.

Yes, it's pretty much a universal feeling that we all feel overwhelmed. You'll get your grove on soon. Hang in there and keep on keeping on! :)


Specializes in OB.

yep.. starting my 4th and final semester and still feel that way!

get organized, map out your testsand papers due on your calendar, make a menu for dinners that lasts for the whole week so you can grocery shop once, do a load of laundry every day so you dont have mountains to do all at once and forget about ever watching evening tv again

until June :)


Specializes in LDRP.

I feel overwhelmed at the beginning of each semester. This time (I am a junior) I am just going to do my reading ahead of time and try not to stress so much. It doesnt help things! Stay on top of the work and you will be fine. Just know you will have to study some every day! GL!


Specializes in Med-Surg, Cardiac.

Funny, I'm starting my second semester and was wondering if it's normal for me to feel overwhelmed again. I'm glad to see some others feel overwhelmed at the beginning of each semester. I think I'm mainly worried about how the new teachers will test the new subject matter etc. Last semester I felt overwhelmed until I did well on my first exams in each class, then I was OK.

I agree with what everybody else said. Resist your urge to procrastinate. I let myself get a bit behind at Thanksgiving break and the last few weeks of the semester were not fun.

First semester was absolutely the most challenging thing I've ever been through. I was so stressed and overwhelmed. I was exhausted and scared but it does get better during the semester or at least if did for me. Things start coming together and you figure out the best way to study and if you don't do well on one test, you change...it's all about adapting to it as your way of life, I think.

It difficult but it can be done. Take it from me, it was like mental bootcamp. I feel like I was just there yesterday and I survived and you will too.;) Good luck!

Just work hard and stay consistant. I worked too hard in the beginning and burned out shortly after for the rest of the semester. I made B's, but I could have made A's. Be consistant!

Oh, and study WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW!! Don't try to read the whole chapters if you don't have to!!!! The tricky part is figuring out what you need to know.


Specializes in cardiac.

Yep...I was overwhelmed. But, it will eventually come to pass. You just start to get down to the nitty gritty with things. Set a schedule, organize, stay on top of assignments, do not wait until the last minute to prepare for anything. This will hurt you in the long run. Be prepared to have to do something every night. Study, write papers, etc. It'll come and you'll find your way of getting things done. Don't worry, you just started. Good Luck.

Thanks everyone for your words of encouragement.

I really am so excited and have waited a long time for this opportunity to become a reality. Im willing to work as hard as I need to to make my dream of becomeing a nurse come true.

Good luck to everyone!

I hate to tell you this, but you will feel overwhelmed until the end, or at least I have. You just need to learn how to prioritize. I am SUCH a procrastinator but I bought one of those really big desk calendars and wrote down day by day what I was going to do (ie. 4-6 pm Med Surg reading, 12-3 Careplan, etc.) and it really, really helped me alot. Maybe it will help you too. Also, don't try to read entire chapters. Listen to the teacher in class and take good notes, then go back over the notes and mark in your books the important things that he/she said. That helps too.

No, not everyone feels that way. There are some students that are in such severe shock that they don't recognize the feeling.;) Absolutely. The reading alone is overwhelming, do not get behind. Then comes the critical thinking questions on exams. We usually had more than one correct question. One is just more correct than the other. Do yourself a favor and buy Saunders's NCLEX-RN 3rd Edition study guide to get a feel for the questions.



Specializes in CWOCN.

Try to stay away from negative, dramatic, overreacting, draining students. Don't share your work with other students unless you are getting something out of it. Treat yourself well.

Take the suggestions the professors offer. Pay attention in lectures - I bought a digital recorder which is great for reviewing. It enables me to be a better listener in class. Start studying for a test 3 days before the test, not the night before. The professors will be clear what is required for the tests. Remember you are going to be a nurse, not a doctor (I have to tell myself this daily).

Read the material before the lecture. Manage your time and remember this is your career and everything you invest will enhance you professionally, as well as economically.

Good luck!

I definitely remember what it was like when I first started nursing school. I went to the #1 party school in the nation, and I remember the Friday and Saturday nights when my classmates and I would call each other and complain about how pathetic we were studying. It definitely DOES get better, it just takes time. Hang in there.

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