Success Tips Archive

Success Tips

How to Succeed In Your Nursing Program
You’ve been accepted in an accredited nursing program—congratulations! Now’s the time to for your friends and peers to trot out the cliché, “you’ll get out of it what you put into it.” The successful nursing student knows this is true.

Not only that, but the successful nursing student knows the factors that will help her to succeed in nursing school. Basically there are three of them.

What are the Factors to Success? Here’s the First.

The first one is to maintain your attitude. Not just your outlook, your smile or your friendly personality, your attitude. You are aware of your shortcomings, you are not at all sure of your success and you can think of a dozen reasons why you can’t do this.

BUT you do it anyway. You tell yourself every day you can, sometimes several times a day. You are aware of your shortcomings only to seek ways to overcome and get rid of them. You will be uncertain of your success, but you will also realize that the best people in the nursing profession have felt unsure about themselves.

Remember Florence Nightingale, whose family expected her to be a wife and mother rather than work in the trenches tending wounded soldiers. She went on to found modern nursing schools, and rise above her status, her class, her society and her gender. So, your attitude lets you rise above your roadblocks to being a successful nurse.

The Second Factor to Success in Nursing School

The next factor is to show up. Woody Allen said, “80 percent of success in life is showing up.” What does “showing up” mean?

It means you are on time for every class. It means you do so in order to get all the key material you need to be successful. It means you take notes (ever try Cornell with a group? It’s a religious experience) faithfully and well, and you have a study system that recognizes that for every hour of class, there are at least three hours outside class of intense study and reading.

Speaking of reading, you’ll get a ton of it. Read it all, every bit of material that is assigned, and whatever is suggested. If the teacher gives you a hundred-page class syllabus, take a deep breath and plow through it all, and do everything and read everything and study everything he suggests.

Showing up also means participating, asking questions in class, giving answers when a question is posed that you know and interacting with fellow students who know the answers. This is not just a class, it’s the tryout ground for the people you want to study with. And you want to study with those who know the answers.

Showing up means being early to clinical training (because hospitals are confusing, and you need time to acclimate). It means making sure your uniform is spotless, ironed and well fitted. It means working hard in the clinic—this is where everything you learn in class really happens.

The Third Factor to Success in Nursing School

The third factor is to understand. You will not understand things at first; that’s when you ask about them. But ultimately, you must fully understand what you’re learning. If you are introduced to content you don’t understand, ask the doctor or instructor to explain, and keep asking until you get it. Write out words, phrases, pharmacopeia and scientific terms you don’t understand, and study them until you know them.

And here’s one thing you’d better understand—every single concept on the NCLEX nursing exam. Get a book about it, and read about it—until you know it.

Success in nursing school never comes without hard work.