The decision to go to nursing school to begin your career as a nurse may be one of the most important decisions in your life. It shows a commitment to helping others along with securing a financial future for you and your family. Before starting nursing school, you will want to make sure that you are properly prepared for the challenges that will await you as you train for one of the most rewarding careers you could choose. Check out the following things you can do to help you prepare for nursing school.
Shadowing a Nurse
If you are not entirely sure if becoming a nurse is for you, it helps to shadow a nurse who has several years of experience. This will allow you to experience what a typical day is for a nurse and what will be expected of you.
If you do not know of any current nurses that you could shadow, the next best thing is volunteering. Hospitals, nursing homes and blood drives are always in need of volunteers. You would be working under experienced medical professionals and gaining valuable experience that can help you as you go through your training and nursing career. One of the great things about volunteering is that you can also use it to build up your resume if you have very little job experience that relates well to nursing. It also shows potential employers you can be an asset as a team member and that you care for your community.
Speaking with Current Students
The best people to ask what it's like to be a nursing student are actual nursing students. Visit the nursing school during a lunch break and introduce yourself to current students. Many are willing to share their experiences and answer any questions you may have about student life, including:
- What is the course load like?
- What are the instructors like and what are their expectations of students?
- Do you have any tips on handling student debt?
You are very likely to get some really useful advice because a current student can tell you what they are experiencing being a student right now.
Working on Your Study Habits
It's easy to get distracted from studying because of other responsibilities you may have, such as work or your family. However, to succeed in nursing school, you need to develop good, strong study habits. Set aside enough time to do your assignments and allow you to study without cramming.
Do not be afraid to reach out to your fellow students or instructors for help if you feel overwhelmed or are having difficulty grasping a concept. Everyone needs a little help once in a while, and having a support system to fall back on is always a good thing.
You also need to make sure that you take care of yourself:
- Try to get enough rest each night.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle with eating right.
- Always keep hydrated.
- Avoid sitting for too long.
- Take 20-minute breaks from studying, even if you just take a quick walk outside, it will help.
Asking Your Admissions Advisor
If you have questions about enrolling in nursing school or what requirements may be needed, speak with your admissions advisor. It is their job to help you with enrolling and any concerns you may have about going to nursing school. Some questions you may have might include:
- If I need help applying for financial aid, with whom do I speak?
- What is the grading policy?
- What happens if I need to take time off or am dropped from the program?
- How long will it take for me to complete my studies?
- When should I start applying for nursing jobs?
Your admissions advisor can point you in the right direction of whom you need to speak with to get answers to all of your questions.
By following these tips, you will be prepared and ready to go once your first day of class rolls around.
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