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Labor Day. Back to school time once again. Even though there are a metric shit-ton of articles for new student nurses, I figured why not add to the mix? Here’s some help from someone who’s been there and survived.
1. Remember, this too shall pass.
Nursing school doesn’t last forever, so unless you’re undeniably stupid or way out of your league, there is a finish line. It may seem like it is far, far away, but when you do finally finish, it will amaze you how fast it truly went.
2. Eat, sleep, dream nursing.
Sounds cheesy right? Maybe too New-Agey? What I’m saying is you have to dedicate yourself 110% to the journey. Like Big Daddy Kane once said, “Ain’t no half-steppin’.”
3. Don’t be that nursing student.
Y’know what I’m talking about. The one that does the bare minimum. When presented with the opportunity to see a “really cool thing”© at end of clinical day, defers and says “I can’t, I have to go to post-clinical session with my teacher.” Or the one that coasts by on the merits of others, using their skills and talents to bolster themselves. The one that figures nursing school is just about showing up and that interaction is not neccessary.
4. Learn from everyone.
Yes, you’re going to school to be a RN, but a good CNA can still teach you more than you might know. Learn to trust the good ones, learn from them, because you won’t always have the good ones at your side. Same goes for the multitude of other “allied health professionals”. Y’know, RT, PT, OT, Speech therapy, pharmacists and yes, even the docs. It might surprise you the little nuggets you can glean from them.
5. Find a group of like-minded folks.
Going at it alone is doable, but not pleasant. Find yourself a circle of friends to help you through this. People outside of nursing school can’t comprehend what you are going through, but if you have a good group of school friends they know what you are struggling through.
6. Take care of yourself.
Sleep, yes, sleep. Studying until you are bleary-eyed and then sleeping for only 3 hours does you no good if you fall asleep during the test. Getting sick because you have abused yourself too long does your patients no good either. Eat right, get some exercise and sleep. Take some time for yourself to decompress, to let it all out and step away from the grind. Sure, it seems to contradict #2, but every now and then you need to step away to find the clarity of thought needed to continue.
7. Then End is not the End.
The end of nursing school is not the End. It is only the beginning. Good luck.