After being accepted into nursing school, you’re in the position of preparing for an educational experience that will be intellectually and academically challenging.
Nursing involves the biological sciences, as well as subjects like psychology, human development, and math. There’s much to learn in order to become a nurse, and the academic road to that degree is one that demands preparation and good study habits.
Time Management is Key
During your nursing education, you’ll find yourself with a significant classroom-based course load, but you must also take into account clinical assignments, skills lab, assigned reading, academic papers, and exam preparation. Many students also have jobs, children, family, and other responsibilities outside of school, so you can expect to have a very full plate.
According to the Utica College Accelerated Nursing Blog, it’s essential that students create a schedule and stay organized. They suggest looking through your syllabi at the beginning of the semester and making a note in your calendar or planner of important dates you don’t want to lose track of. Set reminders and alarms so you don’t have to rely on your memory.
This may sound easy, but many students fail to plan for the responsibilities and commitments of an academic life, and things can easily get out of hand. A strict study schedule and well-organized school materials will serve you well.
Limit Social Media
The same Utica College blog post also recommends “breaking up” with social networks. While deleting your Facebook account may seem extreme, scheduling your social media time is a great idea.
Some students find it helpful to delete social media apps from their smartphones, a choice that limits that particular distraction during the school day. If you only log onto social media platforms from your home computer, this prevents you from losing too many hours from unnecessary surfing.
If you need a little bit of extra help to stay offline, download Cold Turkey for PC or SelfControl for Mac. You can program these apps to block certain websites according to a schedule so you can stay focused on your studies.
Use Organizational Apps
After deleting or limiting your social media apps, you may want to make some smart additions to your phone and computer. Check out Noodle’s 32 Most Innovative Educational Online Tools to Use in 2015 for suggestions of free apps that will help you organize your work and use your time more efficently.
Meanwhile, Azendoo is another excellent free project management app that works in tandem with Evernote and Google Drive. If you’re involved in a study group, Azendoo and Google Drive may be your platforms of choice for managing tasks and collaborating with classmates.
Study Groups and Study Buddies
Speaking of study groups, working with other students during nursing school is paramount. There’s brain power in numbers, and a study group can provide many benefits, including:
- Camaraderie and support
- Accelerated learning through collaborative study
- Improved exam preparation
As you begin your nursing education, you’ll naturally gravitate towards specific individuals and social groups. This is a common human tendency, but don’t let social circles completely dictate with whom you study.
Your study group does not necessarily need to consist of your closest nursing school friends. Studying with friends can be fun, but members of your class with whom you aren’t terribly close may still be excellent group members. Be selective and choosy with whom you study, and you may even belong to several groups. These can sometimes turn into social events, but their purpose is learning, not socializing. Choose members who will advance the group’s work and contribute to the collective conversation.
Bring It All Together
From study groups and organization, to time management and study apps, it's important to bring together many different habits and practices in order to be a successful nursing student.
Focus, stay organized, use the tools at your disposal, collaborate with like-minded classmates, and limit the distractions that take you away from your studies.
Good luck, and happy studying!