By Justine Fischer, Nursing Student and ThriveAP Contributor
Whether you’re a nursing or nurse practitioner student in an accelerated program, one thing is true. Fast-tracking your education it tough. Your are faced with early morning clinicals, late night cram sessions, and have little time for yourself. So, today, we asked ABSN student Justine Fischer to share a few strategies she has found essential to success in her program. Here’s her advice.
Encourage yourself: All of my classmates know me for one simple saying, “It’s going to be great”! That’s my motto and I say it ALL the time. I never planned to have this saying but it’s an affirmation that has worked for me. Just reminding myself that its all going to be okay has a way of calming my nerves and reminding myself to breathe. Find your own mantra, or use mine, and remind yourself to breathe during those moments when you feel stressed out.
Make friends with your peers: Your peers are your lifeline. If your boat is sinking they are the coast guard; if you are an Oreo they are your milk. Really, I mean it! Your classmates understand what you’re going through. Having someone to help you through tough times, to study with, and to share experiences with is invaluable. Nursing school is not a competition; it’s a team building exercise for the real world.
Relieve Stress: Dance. Eat. Meditate. Sleep? Whatever it is that makes you forget about the 15 things due next week or the 7 exams that are coming up, make time for it. Stress can be beneficial in small doses, but constant stress does the body more harm than good. Try to keep your stress level to a minimum and practice self care PRN [as needed].
EAT! And don’t just eat anything…eat healthy! Running off of coffee or sugary snacks or energy bars is perfect in a pinch but don’t forget to try to eat balanced meals as a norm. That’s right…find time to eat actual food three times a day. Your brain functions best after sleep and food. You may think I’m joking but you’ll remember this advice when all you’ve had is a coffee and a banana and it’s 3pm in the afternoon on exam day.
Get organized: I cannot stress this enough, being unorganized in an ABSN program will leave you stranded up creek without a paddle. Syllabi are your best friends and they run your life. Grab a planner at a local store and write down due dates and assignments. Some people use highlighters, other people use their laptops or calendars. Any method works just figure out, which you prefer and make sure to stick to it and stay organized.
Read! There will be a day when you think you have nothing due and unfortunately, that is just not true. There is always assigned reading and that is where you will learn a wealth of information and be able to readily apply it in the future. Don’t skimp out in this department or it will come back to bite you in that comprehensive final exam…or more importantly when you are a nurse and your patient is counting on you to know the information.
What strategies have you used to make it through your nursing program?