“Nursing is more than a job, it is a vocation.” This statement is the reality of nursing school. First-time nursing students will learn that it is challenging, rewarding, and tough at times. But at the end of the day, it is all worth it for this fulfilling profession. If you’re thinking about becoming a nurse but are at all unsure what that entails, there are 6 things you can expect, and knowing them will help you be better prepared for the challenges that await you.
1. You Never Stop Learning
You are never done learning in nursing school. There is always something new to learn or a technique to perfect, and that goes on for the entirety of your career. Once you graduate from nursing school and become a registered nurse (RN), you’ll more than likely go on to specialize further. Whether you go for an RN to FNP online degree, in order to become a family nurse practitioner, or for another interest, you’ll likely continue to learn. You can never know everything about the human body and the myriad of conditions that affect it, but if you’re willing to keep learning, you will ensure that you always excel at what you do and provide your patients with the best possible medical assistance and care.
2. It Can Get Overwhelming Sometimes
With so much to learn and so much to do, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. That is why just like in high school when you had finals week, you need to pace yourself in order to prevent yourself from becoming too stressed out not only is that not good for you but it can affect your performance as well. Work through your assigned materials one step at a time, and then go back over them later if necessary. If you don’t have time for that then at least take some time to relax before diving into the next stuff. If you need to, find an after-school or online support group that will help you stay grounded and even share ideas with other nursing students who are going through the same thing as you.
3. Missing Class Will Set You Back
There are some schools that were missing a few classes here and there won’t make much of a difference. In nursing school, however, missing a single day can put you way behind and make reaching your goals twice as hard. Your school will likely give you a strict attendance policy, and the best thing for you to do is simply follow it. There may be an unavoidable circumstance or two where you’ll miss class but those should be few and far between. If your reason for missing class is valid then by all means inform your instructor about it ahead of time so you can prepare your lessons accordingly. Asking your instructor for an extension on an assignment you were due before you miss the class where you were supposed to present is also a good idea and shows responsibility and maturity, which can go a long way when it comes time to ask for letters of recommendation. In addition to that, you might want to talk to some of the other students to see if they’re willing to share their notes with you.
4. Adapting Your Learning Style
There are many different learning styles that people utilize, but because the nursing school will require you to learn an extensive amount of information in a relatively short period of time, it may be beneficial for you to adopt one. Maybe you’ll find that group study sessions work better for you than studying alone, or maybe learning how to take lecture notes and condense them down so they’re easy to understand is easier for you than trying to read through all of your professor’s slides. There are several resources available online that can help you figure out the best learning style for you, and you might want to check them out early on.
5. Scrubs And Comfortable Footwear
You’ll need a few pieces of clothing other than your school uniform if you expect to feel comfortable enough for a full day of learning. This is required in most nursing programs because you’ll need to have relevant hours shadowing other nurses in a medical setting, and even performing some basic tasks yourself, this is the perfect opportunity to use them. Make sure you pick out some comfortable scrubs and shoes that you can walk around in and feel okay in. When it comes to scrubs, you want to have at least three sets of pants and three sets of tops so that you can rotate outfits while keeping your professional appearance.
6. Clinical Rotations
Clinical rotations are a huge part of nursing school, and they’ll often make up a good chunk of the time you spend in a given semester. There will be times when you’ll feel overwhelmed or even unhappy with your experience for one reason or another, but keep in mind that it’s likely not going to last forever. The best thing you can do is to stay positive and talk to your classmates during this time so you can all get through it together. You should be excited for clinical rotations because that’s where you’ll truly learn how to become a nurse and practice the skills you’ve learned in school.
Nursing school can be a very intense and challenging time in one’s life but it’s also truly rewarding. By preparing yourself mentally and physically, you can make it through with flying colors. This is one of the noblest professions a person can choose to go into. It takes some time but it will all be worth it in the end.