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6 Things You Need to Know Before Going to Nursing School

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In today’s world, there is a shortage of nurses. Hospitals are always looking for qualified nurses to fill their vacancies and the need continues to grow. 

The benefits of being a nurse include making a steady salary as well as some of the lesser-known benefits, like not having to wear high-heeled shoes or uncomfortable suits, and having more freedom to choose your work location!

Nursing is an ever-changing career. As hospitals continue to grow and patients’ needs change, nurses will also have to adjust their skills. 

Just because the benefits are many, it doesn’t mean that nursing is an easy career to get into.

How to get into nursing school

One reason that people consider going into nursing is the fact that it is a field with great job growth. Continuing medical education and shifts in healthcare practices require additional training by the nurses who work there. 

In addition to this, the nurse shortage will only continue to grow as the population continues to age, and doctors will also continue to retire in higher numbers, meaning that there will be plenty of job opportunities and room for growth over the years. 

Watching out for burnout

It is important to note that many nurses face frequent bouts of burnout. Therefore, it is important to learn to look after yourself properly. If you like the career, you could find yourself being a nurse for at least twenty-five years, if not more. Many nurses are burned out within the first ten years of their careers. The idea of being able to go another 15 can be a little startling. With the right techniques and self-care practices, though, you should be ok. 

The type of healthcare you will face day-in and day-out should also be considered before beginning this popular career path.

Why it’s important to prepare for nursing school

Preparing for nursing school is a must because once you get into the programme, there is no turning back. You are expected to complete the program in order to obtain your certification and become a qualified nurse. 

You can expect to spend about four years studying for your degree (two years of prerequisites and two years of nursing courses) as well as an additional three or more years of clinicals in order to obtain your RN. 

If you are not prepared to go into nursing school, it will be hard for you to complete the program and obtain your license. You may want to enrol in a college that offers flexible hours so that you can continue working while completing your degree. 

This is also a good time to make sure that you are on time for all of your classes. Students in nursing school are not given much in the way of personal time to study, so if you miss even one class from an assigned due date, you will suffer greatly. 

Preparing for nursing school – 6 things you need to know

Preparing to go off to nursing school is a big thing, it’s a big move and a big commitment.

Expect to take a lot of tests and expect to be tested on your knowledge and what you’ve learned in preparation for being a nurse. It takes hard work to get through nursing school, but you’ll appreciate the effort when you get through it. 

Here are a few things you should really prep for before you start your studies.

  • Get all of your books in order. It is a smart idea to get all of your books in order before you start nursing school. This allows you to have everything you need for lectures and for clinical experience. It also shows the professor that you are ready to get started on your studies and that you are taking all of the necessary steps towards being a nurse.
  • Familiarise yourself with your course and ask questions. The first thing you should do is familiarise yourself with the lectures and courses your professor has set up. You can find your professors’ information online and or in the nursing school handbook. Talking to your professors is a great idea during the beginning of your clinical studies. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about anything that you don’t understand, that’s how you will learn how to help people better than anyone else. The biggest thing to remember is that the questions you have are not stupid. They will help you become a better nurse and make sure you can provide your patient with any needed care. So ask questions, and don’t forget to ask the professor for advice or answers when you don’t understand something. It’s a good idea to get some extra help from your classmates as well in order to get the hang of things.
  • Get yourself organised and get healthy. Organisation looks different from one student nurse to another but one thing that is always the same from nursing school to nursing school is that you need your ‘stuff’ together. Organisation will allow you to pass your classes and make sure you stay on track with what you need to do or say. Getting organized can be tricky, but things like planners, insulated coffee mugs, and stationery are great things for people to buy as nursing gifts to send you off on your way to your future career as a nurse; just an idea! If you don’t already live a healthy lifestyle, then you should start. This means eating better, exercising more, and getting plenty of sleep in order to do well in class.
  • Connect with your classmates (and the professors) and get to know the school. This one goes without saying but spending time with your classmates is something that can really help understand your professors’ lectures. Being around others in the class will give you a better understanding of what they are going over so that next time they can be just as helpful as they were this time. Getting to know the school is a really good idea before you start your studies. Getting to know the school means you can figure out where you want to study and how to get around. It is also a great idea to familiarise yourself with the rules of being on campus, especially since you are going there at least 6 hours a day, 5 days a week.
  • Get your documents ready for your professors and admission officers. Make sure that all of your documents are in order and ready for your professors. This will make it easier for them to see that you are ready for college and that you have prepared yourself for becoming a nurse. If you can also find a job before you start your studies, then do so. You may not be able to work for as long or make as much, but it is a good idea to get some experience working in a hospital before you start classes.
  • Find somewhere to live. Finding somewhere to live is important because it will give you somewhere to call your home and have a roof over your head while you are studying for school. A dorm room isn’t the only option for living on campus for college or nursing school; there are plenty of other options like renting a house with friends or finding a roommate on campus as well. Some nursing courses are online, which means your living accommodation can be dictated by your work and family life instead of college campus life.

What you’ll learn in nursing school

You can expect to learn a lot during your nursing school years. Nurses are expected to be leaders who help their patients and the people around them feel more comfortable and safe when showing symptoms of illness. 

You will learn that nurses play a crucial role in helping patients keep their best possible health. You will also learn how to communicate with doctors and other medical professionals just like they would with you. 

You will also be expected to keep up-to-date with new medical information as well as new techniques and methods of care. Not only is learning the right steps to follow important in nurse training, but it is also vital in making sure your patients recover as fast and safely as possible.

The core skills you need to be a successful nurse

As the name implies, core nursing skills are the abilities that you will use on a daily basis as a nurse. Becoming an expert at these skills will help you to become a better nurse. 

As you work your way through nursing school, you will learn and practice many of these skills; however, there are a few that you should definitely be familiar with before entering the programme.

There are many different core clinical skills in nursing. You should begin learning some of these while still in school and continue to improve them as you complete your degree. This helps to ensure that your time in school is the most efficient it can possibly be.

What to expect from nursing school: from lectures to projects and clinical work experience

When you first sign up for nursing school, you should be prepared to learn a lot of new information. You will be learning the latest treatment plans and ways to help your patients recover from their surgeries and illnesses. 

You will also be expected to perform clinical duties as part of your nursing school curriculum. For example, your classmates may want to take you on an overnight shift in order to familiarise you with what their job is like inside the hospital. 

Many hospitals have day-in-the-life clinical rotations that allow those students who are interested in becoming nurses during the first year after college or high school to become familiar with different types of situations they might encounter while working at different hospital locations.

Pre-nursing careers

There are many careers that will give you the skills and experience needed to eventually become a nurse.

If you have considered becoming a nurse, then there are some pre-nursing careers that will give you the extra edge in this profession. The following career paths will give you the extra edge that you need to excel as a nurse. 

  • An EMT or paramedic. Becoming a member of the helping field like being an EMT or paramedic, or nursing assistant. An EMT performs various life-saving duties and roles as an ambulance crew member which in turn will get you used to taking orders from doctors and medical professionals who will prepare you for your role as an RN.
  • A lab technician. Becoming a medical lab technician will give you experience working in a hospital setting. This will prepare you for the many types of clinical experiences that you will have as a nurse. Plus, if you are interested in the healthcare field, then this can be a stepping stone to becoming an RN. 

Do not underestimate the importance of doing work-study positions while in school. This allows students to get paid work experience that they can use when they are trying to land clinical job opportunities throughout their careers.

Is it worth pursuing a career in nursing?

There are a lot of reasons that you should consider becoming a nurse. If this is something you have grown passionate about, then it is definitely worth pursuing.

Whether you love helping people and providing excellent care, or because this profession has always intrigued you, it is important to remember that if it doesn’t speak to your heart, don’t do it! It might just be a good idea to take some time to decide what kind of career path will bring you the most joy. 

Also, keep in mind that your choice of career will impact the rest of your life so it’s important to choose wisely. 

Once you decide to become a nurse, you are making a commitment to provide others with compassionate, attentive, and personal care for their entire lives.

Helen Baumeister did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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