Getting ready for nursing school is an important phase in life. The road ahead will be difficult. Going in prepared and with the right expectations can go a long way towards making sure that you have a productive, rewarding experience.
In this article, we give a small overview of what you can expect to encounter in nursing school. We also examine several important things you should keep in mind as you get ready to begin your education.
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You Will Probably Feel Overwhelmed At First
Nursing students often feel overwhelmed in the beginning. A secret? Veteran nurses also often feel overwhelmed. It’s difficult work. The job can be mentally draining. Physically exhausting. And just plain hard. There is a lot the nurse in training needs to learn, and the surrounding stakes feel very high.
There is no shame in feeling overwhelmed. If your emotions do begin to get the best of you, try to practice relaxation techniques. There are apps specifically designed to help nurses cope with the difficulties of their job.
Hobbies like exercise and yoga are also strongly associated with relaxation and stress coping. Remember, self-care is important!
Hybrid Classes Are An Option
Some parts of nursing school can be completed online. This historically has been a particularly good option for people who are already working in a time-consuming career or otherwise catering to other obligations. It’s not a perfect solution—you will still have to do in-person rotations.
Still, a hybrid school adds a degree of flexibility to the process. Potential nursing school students who are considering this path should take into account what sort of options they will have when it comes time to work in the hospital. Naturally, remote school stops being effective if your in-person segments are inaccessible.
Clinical Locations Are Impactful
As you select your school, consider what sort of options you will have for the practicum experience. For example, a school forty-five minutes away from your home might be acceptable for doing school work. But what if they only allow for clinical work with hospitals that are even further from your home?
Nurses work very long hours as it is. Sometimes those hours take place late at night. Even though you won’t be working as a nurse officially in your clinical work, the rotations will feel quite a bit like it.
Do yourself every kindness that you can. Find a school that is accessible both for studies and clinical rotations.
CNA Work Can Provide Valuable Experience
CNAs work directly with patients, assisting nurses and performing many of the same duties. Not only can you make money working as a CNA but you can also get a good insight into what it is like working day in and out in a hospital.
Though CNA work does not usually have as much pressure as most nursing jobs, it can be a good primer for how intense the job gets at some points. Working as a CNA you will interact directly with patients, assisting with everything from helping them eat their food, to getting to the bathroom.
You will also turn over rooms, handle the phones, and work directly under registered nurses. It’s a unique way to learn the ropes. It may also equip you to make a more informed decision about what direction you want to take in your studies/career. For example, as a CNA you may discover that you prefer certain floors over others. Or that you work very well on the night shift.
Connections Can Matter
Nurses aren’t immediately who you probably think about when the word “networking” comes up. And yet they stand to benefit from personal connections as much as anyone else. Nursing school can serve as a potential hotbed for relationships that result in career opportunities.
For one thing, your professors will most likely be former, or even current nurses who may have connections to the local healthcare industry. Then there are other students, speakers, and your rotation.
Of course, the nursing industry is currently experiencing significant staffing shortages, and finding work hasn’t been a problem for many newly minted RNs. Nevertheless, connections keep your options as wide open as possible.
As you select a school, consider what sort of networking opportunities all of your top options have to offer. Once you are enrolled in nursing school, take the time to get to know the people you are with. Not only do connections help make your training go better, but they might just land you your first job.