Tips for Nursing Students in Their First Year 

tips for nursing students first year

The first year of nursing school is a huge transition – you’re learning a new way of life academically and clinically. The workload is demanding, and you must quickly get up to speed on medical concepts and skills that most have never been exposed to.

It can sometimes feel overwhelming to juggle the intense study schedules, clinical rotation demands, and course assignments while taking care of your personal needs. However, having the right tips and strategies makes excelling in nursing school possible! The article details the critical tips for surviving and thriving in that first demanding year. 

Tips for Surviving Your First Year Of Nursing School

The first year of nursing school throws curveball after curveball at students. Arm yourself with these essential tips for organizational skills, time management practices, study strategies, and self-care habits to navigate challenges as you build the foundation to excel academically and in clinical training.

Manage your Reading

Nursing programs come with incredibly demanding reading loads across multiple textbooks relating to various facets of patient medical care. Establish organization systems that track assigned readings so deadlines are not missed. Break down large reading assignments into manageable chunks. Create a schedule to ensure you complete the required readings before each class. This allows you to grasp better concepts covered in lectures.

Try to read before class

Complete assigned readings before accompanying class sessions whenever possible. This equips a foundational framework upon which instructors elaborate key takeaways most relevant for upcoming tests. Use schedules mapping weekly required chapters, ensuring necessary content gets addressed across multiple demanding courses. Designate set blocks for reading individually or within study groups. Take turns summarizing main ideas or teaching complex concepts to others. 

Don’t fall behind

Nursing curriculums progress rapidly, demanding students keep pace appropriately, compartmentalizing information absorbed before additional complex concepts stack upon prior lessons. Falling behind propagates panic as one desperately tries to catch up amidst accumulating obligations. Anxiety created by feeling continuously behind significantly hinders focus, comprehension, and application needed for excelling in coursework and clinical training. 

Communicate with your Instructors

Instructors serve as invaluable resources able to provide mentorship, assisting your success as an evolving nursing student. Schedule regular office hours, connect beyond quick post-class questions, and cement genuine student-teacher bonds built on trust and understanding. Address brewing concerns early rather than letting issues escalate, hindering performance. Confide emerging confidence gaps struggling with particularly challenging materials for targeted recommendations strengthening problem areas. 

Join or create a study group

Academic research resoundingly demonstrates collaborative learning environments strengthen student performance, heighten comprehension, and elevate retention of covered nursing concepts, especially as course complexity compounds. Study groups serve multifaceted purposes, starting with built-in support networks creating meaningful bonds with those walking similar paths, encountering shared frustrations yet reveling in accomplishments as you grow together.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions 

The nursing profession celebrates inquisitiveness as higher level critical thinking and genuine curiosity to understand interwoven medical complexities serve practitioners exponentially. Consider opportunities to answer questions inside classrooms, during clinical rotations, and during professor office hours, precious chances to further comprehension by pinpointing personal uncertainty areas. Relish prospectively identifies those knowledge gaps through introspective self-awareness rather than having weaknesses exposed in patient care settings once licensed.

Have a supportive group of friends 

The intensive nursing program journey encounters emotionally taxing periods, feeling overwhelmed by chaotic schedules, endless rigorous course loads, and clinical experiences exposing inner vulnerabilities hidden before witnessing disease processes firsthand. Connection with close friends outside of school who intimately understand your personality, values, and dreams anchors inner light on the darkest training days, seemingly questioning purpose or abilities to persevere. 

Don’t be too hard on yourself 

The rigors of nursing school stretch intellectual, emotional, and physical bandwidths like never before while continually proving oneself through endless demonstrations of competency across myriad subjects. Fiercely critical self-assessment promotes unsafe perfectionist mentalities measuring self-worth against unrealistic standards, eventually limiting potential. Progress unfolds through patience and dedicated persistence, not demanding instantaneous mastery overnight.

Self-Care is Important  

The physical, mental, and emotional journey through nursing school threatens immense personal sacrifice, jeopardizing wellness and optimal learning capacity if left unchecked. Create schedules for proper sleep, maintaining balanced nutrition and vitamin levels, hydration, exercise, reflective journaling, or preferred stress relief outlets.

Stay motivated

Watch inspirational nursing narratives reminding us of caregivers’ tremendous influence to better society. Surround yourself with positive support systems cheering you onwards as influential forces profoundly shape your journeys. When plagued by self-doubt, summon sufficient courage, looking fearlessly within to discover reasons you embarked on the path initially.

Learn to prioritize

Nursing school bombards BSN enrollees with endless academic and clinical demands within restricted temporal confinements, requiring quick adaptability and determining the best allocation of efforts and resources towards necessities first. Each student must discover personalized systems calculating optimal daily task schedules through trial and error catering to unique lifestyle obligations. List all required responsibilities, highlight urgent ones demanding immediate attention, and categorize the rest by importance.

Study Tips for Nursing Students

As a first-year nursing student, absorbing the immense amount of new information needed to succeed can seem daunting. These study tips for nursing education are designed to help students learn how to retain knowledge on this demanding journey effectively. 

Use study guides

Instructors often provide study guides listing key concepts that may be covered on exams. Review these materials closely and research any unfamiliar topics. Pay extra attention to the content the instructor emphasizes during class.

Seeking additional resources? Utilize alternate study guides created by textbook publishers or reliable nursing websites. Investigate whether prior students developed and posted guides from your specific nursing program courses.

Study a little every day.

Cramming floods your brain, reduces retention and heightens test anxiety. Review class notes/books nightly, even briefly, for optimal memory and comprehension.

Rereading topics reinforces understanding. Test yourself by answering chapter review questions. Create practice quizzes. Develop mnemonic devices associating concepts. Thoroughly studying over more extended periods cements knowledge.

Complete practice questions

Most textbooks contain case scenarios and questions for each chapter. Complete these to assess understanding of concepts. Do additional practice tests, too, and analyze any missed questions. Identify weaknesses needing review.

UWorld, Simpson Nursing, and Lippincott Nursing Center offer question banks covering topics addressed on NCLEX licensing exams. Utilize trial versions to pinpoint personal shortcomings to strengthen your knowledge.

Review the information learned after class

Attend the lecture, then revisit textbooks and notes from the session later that day. Highlight points covered in the lesson and jot down lingering inquiries. Review content again throughout the week, elaborating on condensed in-class summaries.

Don’t use cramming as your sole study method.

You cram information rapidly to prepare for imminent exams by repeatedly reviewing notes and texts in marathon sessions. Retention is temporary. Information quickly fades after short-term tests when you move on to the next unit.

Cramming creates a false sense of security in knowledge acquisition. It fuels disengagement during classes and procrastination regarding assignments. Resist temptations to catch up later. Consistency is key!

General Nursing School Tips

These tips for nursing school focus specifically on helping students survive and thrive during their critical first year. Use these tips for nursing students in their first year to set yourself up for academic success on the path to an exciting career.

Get organized

Embrace organization early by tracking assignments, coordinating projects, and filing class materials. Purchase binders, notation systems, calendars, accordion files, and storage boxes to aptly contain the copious paperwork amassed.

Coordinate schedules, assignments, and communications through apps like Google Calendar. Build daily to-do checklists so obligations are not forgotten. Meal prep and lay out clothes the night before. Develop routines providing structure amidst the chaos!

Master your time management

Perfect time management skills through careful planning, Organization, and prioritization. Schedule fixed blocks for classes, studying, part-time work, family, and leisure. Rank tasks according to importance to allocate efforts appropriately.

When making commitments, determine if they fit realistically into your availability while leaving wiggle room for the unexpected. Always have contingency plans to handle when a crisis arises.

Keep a calendar and schedule

Invest in planners or calendars devoted exclusively to tracking academic activities, work shifts, appointments, assignment deadlines, and personal milestones.

Input all test, clinicals dates, project due dates, registration deadlines, etc., as soon as they are announced. Schedule regular times for daily/weekly reviewing notes, studying chapters, and completing assignments based on your availability.

Refer back frequently as the due dates approach. Plan ahead so staggering deadlines across multiple courses don’t overlap unmanageably. Having fixed times for addressing schoolwork maintains progress.

Give yourself breaks

Breaks provide mental respite from heavy cognitive loads. Schedule brief 5-10 minute periods during study time for snacking, meditating, or walking outside to rejuvenate.

When immersed in longer projects requiring intense focus, like research papers, plan more substantial meal/restroom breaks every 45-60 minutes. Promote retention by not digesting subjects continuously for too long.

Set aside a day or two with no schoolwork per month for recuperation to prevent fatigue. Remind yourself regularly that breaks boost productivity rather than hinder it!

How do you Succeed in the First Year of Nursing School?

While navigating intense new academic and clinical demands, success stems from thorough organization, effective time management, utilizing instructors, studying smart in groups, and practicing self-care. Adapting to heavy workloads and unfamiliar territory is challenging but necessary growth.

Persevere by remaining motivated towards your dreams of becoming a nurse professional. Trust the struggles prepare you for real-world application. Keep sight of the finish line and know support walks beside you in comrades sharing this journey.

Don’t wait until the last minute

Fill in your requirements and let our experts deliver your work asap.