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How to SURVIVE and THRIVE in Nursing School during the era of COVID-19.

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Specializes in ICU, SRNA. Has 3 years experience.

Are you struggling with school and COVID-19?

Four simple tips and tricks for tackling your nursing education during the era of COVID-19, whether your program is online, hybrid, or in a socially distanced format!

How to SURVIVE and THRIVE in Nursing School during the era of COVID-19.

First and foremost, hello to nursing students everywhere! Before I begin, let me introduce myself. My name is Lauren—I am a Registered Nurse with experience in telemetry and critical care, and am currently in my second semester of CRNA school.

“2020: The Year of the Nurse” has turned out a lot differently than any of us ever could have imagined. COVID-19 has truly affected everything in our society, and sometimes it seems like the world has been turned upside down. The nursing profession, however, has always remained strong and developed creative solutions to complex problems. Today, one of these is how to adapt nursing education programs to online, hybrid, and/or socially distanced formats. This is a challenge for all of us—whether you’re entering nursing education for the first time, pursuing a higher degree, or working in a nursing program. I attended nursing school in a traditional format, and never expected to attend CRNA school online! The last few months, however, I have discovered some tips and tricks that have helped me be successful. Hopefully they can help you not only to survive, but thrive, in your nursing program as well!

Tip #1: Get Organized!

This may seem like an obvious tip, but if you are attending classes online, organizing your coursework, workspace, and time may be completely up to you. I set up an area in my home where I could be alone, study, and attend Zoom courses without interruptions (not that this prevents my dogs from occasionally barking during class!). Each week, it helps me to take a look at the syllabus/online page for each course. Oftentimes, I make a list based off the following questions: What chapters of my textbooks am I assigned to read? Do I have assignments due this week, and when? Am I responsible for watching pre-recorded lectures on my own, and if so, how many? Creating this list helps provide a guide to my week, and helps prevent me from missing assignments or turning in work late. I have a whiteboard style monthly calendar on the wall as well, with the dates that big exams, papers, or projects are due marked on it clearly.

Additionally, it helps to have the things you need for a successful school day at hand. For me, this includes my computer (and charger), a notebook, flash cards, and various pencils, pens, and highlighters. Having these items readily available helps keep me on task and prevents me from distractedly looking around the house whenever I need something.

Tip #2: Create a Daily Routine.

Structuring your day is crucial—it helps you be productive, keep up with your work, and ensures you also have time for yourself! I quickly realized that when I was doing school from home, it was too easy to stay up late, sleep in, and take way too many breaks. I created a loose schedule for my days: I wake up in the morning, get ready, and eat breakfast before sitting down at my computer by 0900 every day. I then add in any synchronous (live on Zoom) classes I need to attend, and structure time for other course work that I am completing independently. Other essential parts of my daily routine include time for exercise, a lunch break, and mini-breaks to stretch, eat a snack, and take my dogs outside. You can customize this to your own class schedule and attention span – knowing I have built in breaks helps me maximize my time and focus when I am in class or working independently.

Tip #3: Connect with your Classmates.

Nursing school (whether it’s an ADN, BSN, DNP, or PhD program) is hard! It is time consuming and intellectually challenging, which can lead to a lot of stress. Completing school from home can feel very isolating, and sometimes it’s hard to gauge whether you are the only one in your class worrying about an exam, struggling with a concept, celebrating a win, or just having a plain old bad day. Even though you may be completing school remotely, alone in your home, you are NOT alone. Don’t forget you have a cohort of other students facing the same challenges you are! Especially in this strange time, it is essential to have a support network that understands the unique challenges you’re facing on a daily basis. I moved to a new place to attend CRNA school and didn’t know anyone in the area. I was definitely nervous to reach out to my classmates, but I am so glad that I did! It helps me so much to have a few friends I can chat with throughout the day, ask questions, and study with (via Zoom). If you’re feeling overwhelmed, lonely, or like you need help, I guarantee your classmates are too. If you connect, you can take on this journey together!

Tip #4: Don’t Forget Self-Care.

This is an extremely challenging time in our world’s history. COVID-19 has affected each of us in our own way. Whether financial stress, mental health challenges, the loss of a loved one, or other obstacles have come your way this year, it is essential that you take the time to take care of yourself. Completing school from home can make it easy to blur the boundaries of work and rest. Even if you’re studying all day for a big exam, make sure you take the time to do whatever activity gives you refreshment. Go on a bike ride, cook an amazing meal, spend time with a loved one (whether it’s socially distanced, online, or over the phone), read a book for fun, or do whatever fills your cup! In order to care for others well, you have to take care of yourself.


Thank you for taking the time to read my four tips for not only surviving, but thriving, in your nursing education during COVID-19! I know that whatever you’re taking on, you can be successful. Even when you’re home alone, remember – we are all on this journey together! Best of luck to you.

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3 Comment(s)

sirI, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB. Has 30 years experience.

Thank you @SRNALauren , for these helpful tips about Nursing School survival. Good job!

And, good luck in your Nurse Anesthesia program!

spotangel, BSN, MSN, DNP, RN, APRN, NP

Specializes in ED,Tele,Med surg, ADN,outpatient,homecare,LTC,Peds. Has 31 years experience.

Great tips Lauren! Solid points!

I just finished my DNP this year at the height of the pandemic and talk about stress---! It was tough being deployed, having zoom classes,taking care of the homefront and finishing up with the actual DNP project. Luckily we had planned to start February first week  and finish end of March 2020. The clinic closed mid march due to covid  but my partner and I had enough data to complete our project. Had we not organized the entire project with dates for 2020, in December 2019 we would have not been able to roll out the project.

It is important to stay organized, think ahead, remind each other about deadlines and have open communication with each other and the rest of the class. We were 8 students for the DNP class and we had a Whatsapp chat group we used to text each other. We would celebrate and share pics-Arizona vacation for one, a wedding for another, birthday of a child for another and we became very close. We were tolerant to each other's weakness and were mature enough to talk it out most of the time. We did have some tense conversations sometimes but mostly made up real quick!Classes used to be fun with us texting each other with funny comments and trying not to laugh especially in the in-person class! We learned to encourage each other and even the professors commented on our cohesiveness! Life is short. Chose to enjoy class knowing this knowledge will help you, help someone else someday! Till then refuse to stress and study with all your heart! Best of luck to you future nurses! Remember to be kind. We just may be your  first patient! Good luck for your future!

 

SRNALauren

Specializes in ICU, SRNA. Has 3 years experience.

On 10/14/2020 at 7:50 AM, sirI said:

Thank you @SRNALauren , for these helpful tips about Nursing School survival. Good job!

And, good luck in your Nurse Anesthesia program!

Thank you!

21 hours ago, spotangel said:

Great tips Lauren! Solid points!

I just finished my DNP this year at the height of the pandemic and talk about stress---! It was tough being deployed, having zoom classes,taking care of the homefront and finishing up with the actual DNP project. Luckily we had planned to start February first week  and finish end of March 2020. The clinic closed mid march due to covid  but my partner and I had enough data to complete our project. Had we not organized the entire project with dates for 2020, in December 2019 we would have not been able to roll out the project.

It is important to stay organized, think ahead, remind each other about deadlines and have open communication with each other and the rest of the class. We were 8 students for the DNP class and we had a Whatsapp chat group we used to text each other. We would celebrate and share pics-Arizona vacation for one, a wedding for another, birthday of a child for another and we became very close. We were tolerant to each other's weakness and were mature enough to talk it out most of the time. We did have some tense conversations sometimes but mostly made up real quick!Classes used to be fun with us texting each other with funny comments and trying not to laugh especially in the in-person class! We learned to encourage each other and even the professors commented on our cohesiveness! Life is short. Chose to enjoy class knowing this knowledge will help you, help someone else someday! Till then refuse to stress and study with all your heart! Best of luck to you future nurses! Remember to be kind. We just may be your  first patient! Good luck for your future!

 

Thank you for your reply! Your story of finishing your DNP and your project in the midst of COVID was crazy! but hopefully it will inspire other students to know that it is possible to survive, and thrive, even in the middle of this pandemic! Thank you so much for sharing your experience!! Congratulations on graduating with your DNP!