How to Stay Sane while in Nursing School

Below are 9 tips to help you get through nursing school. These are tips from recent nursing school graduates. 

1.    Sleep

Sleeping well is something that most students in any field of study neglect. Studying or socializing usually takes place of sleeping. From experience, the nights that I was able to get 7-8, uninterrupted hours of sleep I performed better in class, clinical and on exams.  Sleeping actually helps IMPROVE your memory after studying all day. It becomes more difficult to apply knowledge that you have previously learned due to lack of sleep. For more information on the benefits of sleep check out this article!

Aim for 8 hours of sleep in a dark, cool place with no electronics. This maximizes your sleep time ensuring that you are fresh and ready for the next day!

 

2.    Plan Study Time

Planning is CRUCIAL. Once you get your syllabi from your instructors start scheduling your study time. A good rule to follow is for each credit hour study 2-3 hours. So if your Adult Health Course is 3 credits you should be studying about 6 hours a week for that course.

Do not cram all 6 hours of one course into ONE day! Plan out when you will focus on studying each day. I used to study about 3-4 hours each day so that I would not burn myself out!

Planning your studying ahead of time helps you to determine where all of your time is going and when you will have free time. 

 

3.    BE SOCIAL

It is so easy when in school to make excuses to not be social. We do not want to go out because we are tired from studying, class or clinical. But being social is important!

Spend time with others that are not in nursing school if possible! Get another perspective of what is going on the world, this helps you to refresh and reset. This does not mean you need to go out on a drinking binge every weekend or spend hours at a bar, just get out of the house or library and go enjoy the company of others!

 

4.    Get & Stay organized

Yea, yea I know… cliché, but its cliché for a reason. Organization WORKS. Do you have a notebook/folder/binder for each course or clinical? Get one. Keep them separate and organized. Know where to find your information for each course, this will save you so much time and stress when going back to study after each class.

Here are a few things I used during school to keep my info organized!

  • Follow this link to check out my favorite planner! It is fun and cute and has so much space for notes
  • Follow this link to check out the BEST pens to use for color coding 
  • Follow this link to check out the assorted sticky notes I used to keep things fun and easy to find! 

5.    Eat well

This is a hard one, right? Most college students blame affordability of food as to the reason why they do not eat well.  If you totaled up the cost of eating out every single meal for one week it would most likely be more than the cost of purchasing groceries for the week.

When I changed my diet and stopped eating processed foods or fast food and ate more balanced (which did require planning) I FELT better both physically and mentally. Fuel your body with more fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and water! Studying, sleeping, focusing will all become easier.  

 

6.    Find stress-relieving activities

Determine what calms you down when you become extremely stressed out. For some people this is going for a walk or doing yoga/mediation. For others deep breathing or watching their favorite TV show. Figure out what helps you relieve stress and do it!

 

7.    GET A JOB

When I started nursing school our professors told us to NOT get a job. They scared us into believing that if we got a job we would fail school!

After my first semester, despite what our professors told us, I decided to get a Emergency Department Clinical Technician position. The position was per diem so I could choose my shifts as long as I worked 3 in a month.

Getting a job while in school was the BEST decision I made for myself. Instead of spending those hours watching TV or doing something unproductive I would work. Working gave me confidence in the classroom AND helped smooth the transition to working as a Registered Nurse.

Finding a job is very difficult right out of school if you do not have a connection, working part time or per diem while in school is a FANTASTIC way to get hands on experience while setting yourself up for your future AFTER school!

 

8.    Exercise

But really… get up and move. After studying for 3-4 hours you feel sluggish and lazy! Move your body around get your blood flowing,  regain your energy!

Exercise increases blood flow to your brain and body. Moving your body is one of the best ways to relieve stress! So do it, find something that you enjoy to do and spend at least 30 minutes a day sweating it out.

 

9.    DON’T COMPARE

Do not get caught up worrying about what your peers are doing. This may drive you INSANE. If you have made a plan & gotten organized…you are good to go. Not everyone is going to be able to ready 4 chapters of pathophysiology and outline and make flashcards for it all in one night. GUESS WHAT – that’s OK!

We all have different study habits and styles. Find the one that works for you and run with it… If it is not producing the results you want, try something new. Be weary of looking at what your neighbor is doing and thinking you absolutely must do the same. We all learn and study differently, comparing can be self destructive!

 

Comment below your favorite tip - something that you can work on to stay more mentally sane throughout school!