Studying for a nursing degree is never easy. Nursing is a challenging profession to enter into, albeit a hugely rewarding one. The following study tips can help any nurse to breeze through their degree, regardless of the level they are studying at.
Learn to Relax
If you are constantly in a state of stress or anxiety, you are going to find it difficult to do any real studying. It is important that you learn to relax, and that you keep things in perspective. Even if working as a nurse is a lifelong dream for you, putting yourself under immense pressure to achieve that dream will only sour the experience.
Before you start putting together aggressive study schedules or putting pressure on yourself to achieve lofty academic goals, make sure that you are at ease with the potential for things to not go your way. Once you learn to let go of the fear of failure, you can not only begin to enjoy your studies, but you can challenge yourself with confidence.
Completing a nursing degree is not easy, irrespective of the level that you are studying at. Even if you find that you are able to breeze through the lower level nursing qualifications with ease, as you progress to more senior positions, you will find that the difficulty ramps up rapidly. Of course, any academic qualification is going to present you with its own challenges, but nursing is unique in a couple of aspects.
Nursing is one of the most rewarding careers in the world. While nurses often face highly stressful and emotionally charged situations, they also consistently report some of the highest levels of job satisfaction of all professions. This might seem contradictory at first, but it is precisely this duality that draws so many people into the profession.
Generally, those who are not emotionally equipped to deal with the stresses and strains of being a nurse will drop out of their degree and the profession relatively early. Those who make it through the first few stages and progress to more advanced nursing qualifications will be those who have the emotional resilience to cope with the work they do.
If you are preparing to study your very first nursing degree, it is worth taking some time beforehand to prepare yourself emotionally. It’s important to remember that for every difficult case that nurses deal with, they also get to help numerous people. The academic pressures of rising through the ranks of nursing are already acute, and if you add emotional challenges on top of those, that is a recipe for disaster.
Don’t Neglect Your Health
Physical and emotional health is intimately linked. If you have serious issues with one, then usually the other is not far behind. Any student, regardless of the subject that they are studying, needs to pay attention to their health.
● Eat healthily: We all understand the importance of eating a healthy and well-balanced diet, but many of us are still lagging behind in this regard. Eating healthily is not just important for maintaining your physical health; it also has a knock-on effect on your mental dexterity. People who are malnourished, for example, perform much worse on intelligence and memory tests.
Fortunately, eating healthily is not rocket science. You don’t need to plan out every single meal in detail, you just need to make sure that you are eating enough and varying what you eat.
● Develop a sleep schedule: A lack of sleep has numerous impacts on both emotional and physical health, as well as your problem-solving abilities. In other words, if you are regularly sleep-deprived, then you are rarely if ever going to be performing at your best.
Lots of students are laboring under the misapprehension that there is something noble about staying up into the early hours cramming in as much studying as possible. However, if you find yourself doing this, then it is generally a sign that you have not managed your time very well. You should be able to maintain both a consistent sleep schedule and a consistent study schedule – you should not have to give up sleeping time in order to study more.
● Give yourself breaks: Giving yourself regular breaks is important. If you try to push yourself to study for longer than you can concentrate for, you are only going to be wasting valuable studying time. Most people recommend taking a break at least once every hour. However, there is no hard and fast rule for when you should take a break.
Many people have found success with the Pomodoro technique, which involves regularly breaking up your study periods with breaks. This enables students using the method to maintain their focus and avoid fatiguing themselves.
Set a Study Schedule
Many students find that setting themselves an actual hard and fast schedule is much more effective than just telling themselves that they will study at some point without setting a specific time for it.
● Be realistic: This is the most important thing to get right when you are setting yourself a study schedule. If your schedule is unrealistic and you aren’t going to be able to stick to it, then it won’t help you. In fact, it will end up demotivating you.
● Avoid late-night cramming: As we mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t be studying into the early hours. Set yourself a schedule that provides you with ample study time without having to encroach on what should be your sleeping time.
● Create a dedicated study space: Having a dedicated space in your home to study will make it easier to be productive and minimize distractions around you. If you don’t have a dedicated space already, create yourself one now.
Choose Your University Carefully
Students today who want to study a nursing degree are spoiled for choice. Not only do you have the usual traditional university route, but nurses can now study every level of their nursing qualifications through online universities. For example, Baylor University offers an online MSN program for nurses who have completed their BSN in nursing. Take your time when you are choosing where to study your degree – don’t rush into your decision.
As long as you avoid overloading yourself and you are realistic in your expectations, there is no reason why you cannot make it through your nursing degree with ease. However, if you overload yourself and don’t take a structured approach, you are setting yourself up for failure. Stick to the advice above and you’ll be fine.