What a wonderful post! I can tell by your question you are eager to get started and you are going to be an asset to the nursing profession. My best advice to you is not just to prepare your mind, but to prepare your body and your spirit as well. You will transform totally as a person over the years, and you will want to care for yourself the same way you are taught to take care of your patients, as a WHOLE, not just one part.
I started out as a CNA in a nursing home at age 21, in 1988. I am now 43. I have worked Med/Surg, Ortho, Inpt Psych, Drug Rehab, Youth Corrections, OB, Hospice prn sitting with the dying, nurse management, financial services, physical rehab, private duty peds, Med Psych. I had up to 4 jobs at a time - 1 full time, 1 part time, and 2 prns, just to take care of my family. My career has been rich and varied. Pretty much any subject that is discussed in a hospital setting I understand and have participated in. But my son's friends didn't know what his mom looked like until he was in middle school. I have 2 herniated disks, 5 bulging disks, spondylolysis, and spondylolisthesis, and chronic Epstein Barr. I have stayed in miserable jobs long past times I should have left because I didn't take time to go back to school, so I didn't qualify to move up on the career ladder in spite of my experience. I have been physically taxed and emotionally depleted on more than one occasion. But my resume is awesome. That's worth a lot to employers, but my body is shot out and there are certain jobs I will never do again because I didn't take care of me early on. I am upbeat and cheerful, but my family knows I am tired and achy a lot of the time. And I still work full time, and will have to for a long time to come.
Don't forget your life, your health, your family, your happiness. Take care of YOU. Take care of your BACK. Get to the gym and get to training those abs! Enjoy the things around you in your every day. You will eventually finish nursing school. You will get that experience and be able to take care of patients. The part I want to make sure you know is that when it is all over you are still you, not only a nurse. Don't forget!
One more thing, once you are a nurse, NEVER EVER try to be a nurse to your family when they are very ill. If you put yourself in that position and make a decision and it is wrong, you have the guilt of responsibility with you the rest of your life. I see other nurses, and doctors, too, do it all the time. They walk in and try to take over the care of their loved ones. So how will they feel if something goes wrong? HORRIBLE! Let the providers get paid for what they get paid to do, and you sit back and be wife, daughter, sister, or mom. It is so much easier that way. Naturally if someone is doing something stupid, it is ok to step in, but other than that, just try to relax.
Good luck and congratuations on your decision to be a nurse! WELCOME! :redpinkhe