Nursing School Tips: 8 Strategies for Success

If you want to become a travel nurse, it’s obvious that you first need to complete nursing school. The second step is to get a few years (at least two) of clinical experience under your belt. If you’re early in your nursing journey and still in school, use these tips to get through as painlessly as possible. 

Nursing school can be a challenging and intense experience. From countless exams to maintaining good grades, memorizing medical terms, and thinking about your future career path, studying nursing requires a great deal of dedication, time management, and preparation. 

Pursuing a career in nursing is a lot of work and pressure. But the good news is that you can make this journey smoother and more enjoyable with the right tips for nursing school. And once you complete nursing school, you can officially join this exciting industry! So whether you’re just starting to consider a career in nursing or beginning your college education, we’re revealing our top nursing school tips to help you survive your program and thrive during the experience. 

How to Prepare for Nursing School

Getting the proper education is critical if you’re interested in becoming a nurse. However, there are some key things to consider before taking the plunge. Nursing is a diverse field with many career paths, each with required qualifications and degrees. Before enrolling in a nursing program, it’s important to research your options and consider your career goals. 

Regardless of your chosen path, passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is necessary to become a licensed nurse. To be eligible to take the NCLEX, you’ll need to meet the requirements of your nursing regulatory body. 

These requirements can vary but may include an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), or a nursing diploma. Beyond these initial requirements, many nurses pursue an advanced certification or training, such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. 

In addition to meeting the educational prerequisites, gaining practical experience in healthcare settings will help you prepare for success in nursing school. Consider volunteering or working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or in a related healthcare role to familiarize yourself with the clinical environment and enhance your understanding of patient care.

Before starting your program, remember that the best way to study for nursing school is to develop strong habits. The coursework can be challenging, covering a wide range of topics, including anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, and nursing theory. Fostering good study habits, such as developing a consistent schedule and seeking out resources online and offline, can help you prepare for the busy and demanding pace of nursing school.

Another critical thing to do before getting started is to familiarize yourself with the curriculum and requirements of the preferred nursing program. Attend informational sessions, speak with current or former students, and connect with faculty members to gain insights into the program’s expectations and culture. That will help you align your preparations with the unique demands of the institution.

Mastering Nursing School: Tips for Success 

You’ve decided on an academic path and have been accepted to a nursing school—congratulations! There’s no better feeling than knowing you’re about to embark on a rewarding career as a medical professional. 

As a future nursing student, you may have heard that the first year is the hardest. Your first year is often full of sleepless nights, long hours at the library studying for exams, and possibly some tears. But while there’s no question that nursing school is challenging, if you use your time efficiently and prioritize your physical and mental health, you can make your first year more manageable, easier to pass, and maybe even more enjoyable. 

Here are eight of our most effective study tips for nursing students:

Join a Nursing Study Group 

Whenever new nursing students ask us how to study for nursing exams, we recommend joining a study group! Study groups can make learning easier and help you clarify confusing topics or concepts. According to research, you can retain approximately 90% of what you learn by teaching it to others, which is why studying with peers can be so effective. Conversely, it is estimated that people retain only about 50% of what they hear in class alone and just 10% of what they read. 

Additionally, studying alone can be isolating, overwhelming, and even a bit tedious. By working with others who share your goals and challenges, you can foster a sense of community and accountability, helping everyone stay focused and on track while providing constructive feedback and motivation.

Prepare for Class

Preparing for class, whether doing the assigned readings beforehand, completing your assignments, or printing out/downloading the class notes, is the most efficient way to get the most out of a lecture. Even if you only have a short amount of time, skimming the readings ahead of class can help you understand the information and avoid playing catch-up during class. 

Plus, preparing ahead of time can help you participate in class discussions and confidently answer questions. That can make it easier to understand complex concepts, and you may even discover that you don’t need to take as many notes during lectures. 

Consider Your Post-School Options

Let’s face it—nursing school can be incredibly overwhelming. There might be days when you wonder why you’re subjecting yourself to all this stress in the first place. But amidst the chaos of coursework, clinical hours, and sleepless nights, whenever you feel the pressure and anxiety are getting the best of you, think about the incredible opportunities a nursing degree can open up. Travel nursing, for instance, is a fantastic way to explore diverse healthcare settings while fulfilling your passion for patient care. 

Picture yourself working with a travel nursing agency instead of a single hospital (after you’ve got the relevant experience, of course), constantly changing scenery, and getting to know different healthcare systems across the country. You could work in busy urban hospitals, small rural clinics, or even exciting, unconventional setting. The possibilities are endless, and the ever-changing nature of the profession can transform the challenges of nursing school into a path toward a rewarding career full of adventure and personal development.

Take Breaks

Nursing school can easily feel like a demanding job, especially if you have a family to take care of or are employed full-time. But if you spend all your free time studying, you’ll get overwhelmed and probably not retain as much information as you’d like. 

Be sure to take regular breaks, so you don’t burn out or lose motivation. Sometimes, just a change of scenery can do the trick. Research shows that short breaks can help our brains learn new skills, reduce stress, and increase productivity

One thing to remember is that scrolling social media doesn’t count as taking a break. In fact, a study of undergraduate students tasked with solving a set of word puzzles found that those who took a phone break mid-task took longer to complete it and solved fewer problems than those who didn’t. Instead, consider going out for a walk, catching up on your favorite show, or calling a loved one to reset your brain. 

Avoid Cramming

Cramming can put an incredible amount of stress on your brain, leading to increased feelings of anxiety, frustration, and fatigue. Have you ever experienced mental blocks or brain fog during an exam following an intense cramming session? These are signs that your brain is exhausted and in desperate need of rest. 

To avoid the negative consequences of cramming, try adopting a more strategic approach to studying. Break down your study sessions into manageable chunks or spread them over several days or weeks. It’s also a good idea to determine and use your learning style to your advantage. This way, you’ll retain information better and reduce the strain on your mental faculties. 

Take Practice Tests

Wondering how to pass nursing school? One of the best ways to do it is to take practice tests and sample questions from the NCLEX exam. Practice tests are invaluable tools in preparing for the real deal, helping you become familiar with the format and structure of actual exams and assessing your overall knowledge to identify areas that require more attention.

Connect with Faculty

Your nursing school’s faculty members are more than your teachers or lecturers; they can be some of your biggest allies during your academic career and beyond. Don’t be afraid to ask your instructors for advice on improving in class, tips for acing the NCLEX, or even exploring mentorship or work-study opportunities. 

Your professors want you to succeed in nursing school and after you graduate, but they can only be an asset if you take the first step in seeking their help. They can offer additional resources that could extend into future endeavors. 

Engage in Networking 

Navigating nursing school is more than just studying for exams and clinical rotations; it’s also about forging connections that can help further your career down the line. Engage in networking by attending nursing conferences, seminars, and events where you can interact with professionals in the field. You can also explore joining professional nursing organizations that offer frequent events and provide access to valuable resources.

Also, don’t underestimate the power of social media to build a strong nursing network. Platforms like LinkedIn, where nurses from all walks of life share their achievements and insights, can be a goldmine for networking opportunities. You can connect with alumni from your nursing program, talk to professionals in your specialized field, and participate in online discussions to broaden your perspective and stay up-to-date about industry developments. 

Find Your First Assignment with Triage Staffing

Even the best nursing students will get pushed to their limits at some point. As tough as it may be, embrace it! The endless hours spent studying and the academic discussions with your classmates and professors will also help you reach your greatest potential. 

We hope these nursing school tips for how to study for nursing exams have been helpful. Thinking about what to do after you graduate? Once you have a couple  years of experience in the field, working with a staffing agency can be a great way to find travel nurse jobs and get access to countless benefits that many single-facility positions don’t offer. 

Whether you’re just starting your nursing journey or preparing for the NCLEX exam, Triage Staffing is here to help you find the best opportunities in the field. Contact us to learn more about our travel nurse jobs and start your journey towards a fulfilling career in travel nursing today.