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6 Nursing School Tips for Success

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Acquiring a nursing education opens up many possibilities and experiences. This career path is a popular choice for students who are passionate about healthcare and want to help people live healthier lives. Nursing education is also in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the employment of registered nurses is projected to grow by 9% from 2020 to 2030, which is comparatively faster than the average for all occupations. Also, nursing graduates enjoy relatively high salaries, with the median annual wage for registered nurses at $75,330. 

However, nursing school can be a rigorous and challenging experience. With so much to learn and do, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But with the right mindset, you can succeed in nursing school and prepare yourself for a fulfilling career ahead. Here are some helpful tips to help you get by:

Utilise resources effectively

The resources available to you during your education will typically include libraries with comprehensive reference materials, online databases that provide access to vast academic journals, and cutting-edge simulation labs that offer realistic hands-on training. You can also take advantage of practice exams to test your understanding of the course material and identify areas that need improvement.

Besides utilising these resources, you can also consider opting for hybrid or full-online learning models. This is particularly beneficial if you’re an RN returning to nursing school to obtain a higher education. Online MSN programmes offer the flexibility and convenience of distance learning while helping you achieve your career goals. These programmes can provide advanced knowledge in specialised areas and allow you to balance your studies with other commitments, making them a viable option for those seeking to advance their nursing career.

Be a critical thinker

Developing critical thinking skills is essential for a successful nursing career. Critical thinking can enable you to evaluate complex information, make rational decisions, and render optimal patient care. This skill also helps you handle unexpected situations without panicking to deliver the best patient care and good outcomes.

As a nursing student, you can hone your critical thinking by following these steps:

  • Ensure to review patient charts, medical histories, and other relevant information.
  • Ask questions if you’re not sure about something.
  • Play your part in discussions with your classmates and instructors to view matters from different perspectives and gain insight.
  • Take advantage of opportunities to practice decision-making in a safe environment.

Participate in class

Attending nursing school doesn’t merely entail sitting through lectures and completing clinical rounds; you must also participate in discussions to understand concepts. This helps make the learning experience more interactive and fruitful. Here’s how you can be a vigilant participant in the class:

  • Be focused. When attending lectures, be mentally present and focused. Try attentively listening to the instructors. It will help you absorb information effectively. 
  • Be inquisitive. Don’t feel reticent about asking questions when something’s unclear. Asking questions demonstrates your curiosity and engagement in the subject matter. Try to seek clarification from your peers or instructor to have a solid grasp of the content. 
  • Take notes. Taking notes during lectures can help you remember the key points. Jot down key concepts, important points, and additional information provided by the instructor. It will later help you reinforce your understanding and help you remember the material.

By actively participating in class, you can share your insight, connect with your classmates and instructors, and develop a deeper understanding.

Don’t cram work and information

Nursing can be a challenging subject, and it can become even more difficult if you resort to cramming the course material at the eleventh hour. Doing so will only lead to low retention rates and more burnout.

While it’s true that you might feel overwhelmed at times, time management skills can help you stay on top of your workload and avoid burnout. You can identify which tasks are most important and need your immediate attention. It will help you manage your time more effectively and reduce stress. So, plan your schedule and approach your work with a clear and focused mind to succeed in nursing school. You can do it by incorporating the following steps:

  • Break down large tasks into smaller and more manageable ones.
  • Use a planner or calendar to keep track of deadlines and assignments.
  • Don’t procrastinate, and set realistic goals for yourself.
  • Stay organised by keeping your study area tidy and free of distractions.

Set academic objectives

One effective way to approach your studies is to set academic goals at the beginning of each semester. These goals should be SMART, which means they should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.

When brainstorming your goals, consider factors such as:

  • Do you want to be at the top of your class?
  • Are there any nursing organisations you want to join?
  • Do you have any target test scores that you aim to achieve?

Breaking down your academic goals into specific objectives can help you with your academic progress and ensure you have a successful nursing career.

Go easy on yourself

While it’s natural to get caught up in exams and assignments, it’s equally important to take a sabbatical from work and prioritise self-care to avoid exhaustion and mental breakdown. Make sure you remember that minor failures don’t define you as a student or a person. We recommend you celebrate your accomplishments and achievements to boost your confidence level and increase your motivation. It’s only after prioritising self-care that you can ensure successful nursing school years.


A successful nursing school experience is possible through dedication, motivation, and having a strategy. By utilising resources, honing your critical thinking skills, and being inquisitive, you can make your years at nursing school fruitful and a great success. However, be sure to go easy on yourself and not overburden yourself with work.

Ellen Diamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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