Nursing school can be challenging, but following advice for nursing students can help. Top nursing school tips include working with your admissions advisor, leaning on your support system, striving for school/life balance, and studying for the NCLEX well in advance.
Are you finding yourself dissatisfied with your current job and in search of a more meaningful career that allows you to truly make a difference in the lives of others? You might consider pursuing a nursing career. If you have existing college credits in a non-nursing field, it’s possible to earn your nursing degree sooner than you might think. CSP Global’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program can help you earn your BSN in as few as 16 months.
Before you begin the admissions process, it’s important to know exactly what to expect during your nursing school journey so you are set up for success. To help you, we’re sharing the best advice for nursing students — from the first phone call with an admissions advisor to graduation. Follow these nursing school tips and prepare to pursue a career that makes a positive difference in your community.
1. Know Why You Want to Become Nurse
Before your first phone call to start the admissions process, you’ll want to have an answer ready as to why you want to become a nurse. What initially sparked your interest to pursue a career in nursing? Do you feel called to serve others? Or have you always wanted to work in the growing field of health care? Regardless of your reason, it’s important to discover your goal, or mission statement, for wanting to become a registered nurse. Doing so can make your nursing school goals feel more tangible.
CSP Global Accelerated BSN student, Stephanie Hollingworth, discovered she wanted to become a nurse after watching a close family friend battle cancer.
They gave him under six months to live and it really just hammered home that I wanted to be able to give back in the way that these nurses and these medical professionals had given to me and to my family.-Stephanie Hollingworth, CSP Global Accelerated BSN student
Your why can help you stay motivated during long days of classes and studying. It may even help you choose an area of specialty. For example, if you cared for a family member battling cancer, you might decide to pursue a career as an oncology nurse.
Interested in learning more about nursing specialties? Read about some of the top specialties in demand here.
2. Order Your Official Academic Transcripts ASAP
Once you have identified your mission statement, you’ll want to schedule an admissions interview with one of our dedicated admissions advisors. To make your first interview successful and efficient, we advise you to order your official academic transcripts from all previously attended regionally accredited colleges or institutions; this is a nursing school tip you don’t want to forget.
After reviewing your transcripts, your admissions advisor will help you put together a personalized enrollment plan, including a plan for completing any prerequisite courses with CSP Global.
3. Ensure That You Meet the Prerequisites
Your prerequisites play a key role in your nursing education at CSP Global. Not only will you gain an important base of knowledge to prepare you for the ABSN curriculum, but you’ll have a chance to experience the online learning platform, which is important for students who have never dealt with online coursework.
Learn more about navigating online nursing education here.
At CSP Global, we require all science prerequisites to be current within seven years from the date of application and all math prerequisites to be current within 10 years. However, your general education requirements transferred from another institution will not expire.
“It’s worth it, it’s really worth it,” Stephanie says. “Put in the time, take that extra class; if that one class is expired or those two classes are expired, take them again. Work with your admissions advisor to let them know where you’re at.”
4. Stay Organized and Use Your Time Wisely
While an accelerated curriculum is rigorous, it’s definitely achievable. As you begin the ABSN program, be sure to commit to an organizational routine that works best for you and use your time wisely.
Our online learning management system allows you to access your coursework 24/7, which means you’re able to complete assignments during your peak learning time. For example, if you have children, you might find it easier to work on assignments and study after their bedtimes or before they wake up. Developing a personalized study routine will help you stay on track throughout the program.
Research proves that spacing out study sessions over a longer period of time improves long-term memory, so be sure to give yourself short breaks or time off from online coursework, as needed.
Give yourself rest days, that’s really important. Each week you really have to be intentional about your time. You really need to be focused and when you’re studying, you are studying, make sure there are no other distractions.-Stephanie Hollingworth, CSP Global Accelerated BSN student
5. Practice Your Nursing Skills Exhaustively
The nursing theory concepts you learn during online coursework come to life during skills and simulation labs. Through these labs, you will have the opportunity to put your online work into practice at our high-tech ABSN sites.
This practice includes nursing skills like administering injections, checking vital signs and monitoring blood pressure. All these tasks are performed on a medical manikin or patient simulator. “The manikins are great because they’re so lifelike,” Stephanie says. “You can give a manikin an IV, trach tube, catheter, all while seeing if you’ve placed it correctly.”
It’s important that you take the time to refine your skills in the lab before working with actual patients in clinical learning. The students who tend to be the most successful in clinical learning aren’t afraid to ask their instructors detailed questions during skills and simulation lab. They stay after their routine lab to practice and work with members of their cohort to run through various patient care scenarios and role play.
6. Lean on Your Support System
Without a doubt, the Accelerated BSN program at CSP Global is sure to challenge you each step of the way. But the support you receive throughout your nursing school journey outweighs the difficult tasks you endure. Furthermore, the more rigorous the curriculum is, the better prepared you’ll be to care for real patients across healthcare settings.
Your instructors play a vital role in your success as a nursing student and will serve as an invaluable resource.
“I definitely feel like my professors are committed to seeing me succeed,” Stephanie says.
They’re very willing to make themselves available, they will come in before or after labs if I need extra time on a subject, they’ve even done additional study sessions before an exam.
Most importantly, get to know the other students in your cohort. “A lot of the support comes from your cohort,” Stephanie says. These individuals are experiencing the ABSN with you so they know exactly how you are feeling. It’s crucial that you communicate with each other as the curriculum advances, from study sessions to role-playing in the simulation lab, the students in your cohort will soon feel like family.
Of course, you can look beyond nursing school for support. Talk to your family and close friends about your journey through nursing school. They may offer emotional support and encouragement. You might also have individuals whom you can lean on for practical assistance, such as help with childcare or elder care.
7. Strive for School/Life Balance
No list of top nursing school advice would be complete without a look at school/life balance. School/life balance can certainly be difficult to achieve when you’re working through an accelerated BSN program, as you’ll have an intense schedule of classes, labs and clinicals. However, it’s important to remember that school/life balance doesn’t mean you must spend equal amounts of time on personal matters as you do for schoolwork.
Instead, school/life balance can be achievable by simply taking a little time each week to rejuvenate yourself and practice self-care. Identify some activities that relax you, such as reading a good novel, taking a walk on a nature trail or going to the gym. Set aside a little “me time” each week to center yourself and achieve balance. In addition, remember that self-care includes eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly (the same advice that you’ll give to your future patients).
8. Review Class Material Every Day
Cramming for exams at the last minute is never advisable, as it doesn’t support learning and memory retention. Instead, set aside a few minutes after each class. Before reviewing your class notes, write down a few things that you can remember learning during that class. Then, compare those items to your class notes. How much did you remember?
It’s also helpful to set aside time for a weekly review of all of your class materials from that week. This studying strategy may help improve your memory retention of critical facts.
9. Take Practice NCLEX Tests
The NCLEX-RN is the national exam that all aspiring registered nurses must pass before they can obtain a nursing license. Our advice for nursing students who are looking ahead to the NCLEX is to begin preparing for it well in advance. CSP begins preparing you for the national licensure exam from day one! You will participate in tutorials, practice assessments, proctored assessments, review major nursing content areas, and complete focused reviews of areas you need to strengthen throughout the accelerated program. This preparation will help you be ready to take the licensure exam for registered nurses.
10. Actively Solicit Feedback During Clinicals
Clinical learnings are an opportunity to interact with real patients and provide care under close supervision. When you’re completing a clinical learning experience, bring an open mind. Ask lots of questions, take notes and actively solicit feedback on what you could do better. In many ways, you are the architect of your own clinical learning experience and regardless of the setting, there is always something to learn or someone with a unique background that can help your growth.
One of the most important pieces of nursing school advice is that no nursing student or licensed, working nurse is ever done learning, growing and improving. It’s a profession that requires a commitment to lifelong learning and development. If you’re eager to learn and continually in search of ways of improving, then you could fit in well with the nursing community.
Do You Have What It Takes?
Becoming a quality registered nurse takes hard work and dedication, but if you have the passion, it’s possible. With these 10 nursing school tips for success, the opportunity to find success as a nursing student is right at your fingertips.
Are you ready to change the world? Contact us today and find out if CSP Global’s Accelerated BSN program is the answer you have been searching for.