Nursing school may not be like your typical medical school, but it isn’t any less challenging. Nursing schools are notorious for nerve-racking assessments, tough clinical work, and erratic schedules. It can be physically and mentally taxing to learn new material, attend labs, prepare for examinations, and manage personal and occupational life all at the same time. Yet, it’s not impossible.
If you’re on your way to becoming a nurse or are a professional pursuing higher education, you can tackle said challenges by studying smarter, not harder. Since nursing is all about evidence-based practice, you also need to identify and stick to learning techniques that have previously proven effective. Good study habits will help you ache a healthy balance in your routine and avoid burnout.
Successful student life is all about thoughtful planning, effective time management, and a few study tips. Listed below are a few that will make nursing education feel like a slice of cake. Are you ready to cut through? Let’s begin.
Opt for the right program
Maintaining a healthy study-life balance is not easy. Every student has their fair share of responsibilities that they need to fulfill alongside achieving career goals. So, if you have too much on your plate to deal with campus-based learning, you can opt for online education. There are plenty of BSN programs to choose from online. This is especially beneficial if you’re a nurse trying to upskill. While gaining practical experience as an RN, you can take up online msn programs to specialize in your area of interest. Distance learning programs help you fit your studies around your clinical schedule and help you find a balance between your academic goals and other professional and personal responsibilities.
Try to study daily
As a student nurse, you have plenty of information to learn. Procrastinating won’t help you cram a lot of knowledge in a small amount of time, especially when you’re short of it. Hence, avoid such stressful situations by studying daily. Revising and learning the coursework every day can save you from overwhelming yourself before assessments.
Make a schedule
Creating a schedule helps in effective time management, which is crucial for completing nursing degrees. Your plan must be realistic, leaving enough time for you to deal with daily activities and professional responsibilities. If you’re a practicing nurse, you can use your break hours to catch up on coursework. Using tech tools and apps to allocate time slots and setting reminders are some of the most effective scheduling tips you should adhere to. Also, it is essential to remain committed to your plan to ensure it works in your favor.
Skim and scan
Course material bombards students with loads of information. If you start in-depth reading of every topic, you won’t be left with any time to learn. A smart tip is to skim and scan the text while reading. Go through the headings, subheadings, and key points to retain the most crucial information. F it helps, create notes you can quickly refer to later on.
Apply what you learn
The field of nursing is much more than just acquiring medical knowledge. The core of this field lies in applying the knowledge you gain during your education in a clinical setting. Therefore, always make up hypothetical scenarios and ask yourself what kind of treatment you would choose in specific situations. This strategy will help you excel both as a student nurse and a professional nurse. The more you apply your newfound knowledge in practical cases, the easier it will be to memorize information and hone your skills.
Identify your learning style
The key to success in learning is the identification of learning styles. Every person has a unique way of acquiring and retaining information. Some learn best by observing, some through listening, and some learn through tactile interactions (kinesthetic learners). Identifying a pattern that suits you will help you structure and organize your learning experience efficiently. There are seven learning styles commonly known to people. Choose the one you’re comfortable with.
Keep changing your study space
Many nursing students create and stick to their habits, for example, going to the same coffee shop or the library to catch up on their coursework. But studying in the same spot every day may affect your performance. Research suggests that changing your study spot frequently enables the brain the store more information. So, if you feel that the same chair and table are becoming too monotonous, try sitting near the window for a change.
Engage in group study
Group study not only facilitates learning but also helps in increasing your understanding of core medical concepts. Study groups provide individuals with an opportunity to share their knowledge with others for a more holistic viewpoint. Research suggests that people retain 90% of what they learn with their group members.
Use online study resources
In this day and age, if you’re not leveraging online resources to make the process more straightforward, you’re merely making it harder for yourself. You can surf the internet to quench your thirst for knowledge. The internet is full of medical research papers, articles, videos, and whatnot. You can easily find helpful material on websites like WebMD, Mayo Clinic, etc., that will make the learning process more engaging and fun. So, when you feel your regular course material is too dull to digest, log onto YouTube and watch a few related videos or listen to medical podcasts while doing other chores.
Create helpful habits to sustain your attention
Following are some other study tips that can help you stay focused on your task.
- Switch off your phone or keep it on DND during your dedicated time for study.
- Do not try to cram massive amounts of information. Instead, make use of the spacing effect. You can retain much more information when your study sessions are more concise and spaced out.
- To save yourself from burnout, manage your stress with meditation and exercises.
- Make lavender your study buddy. It not only maintains a relaxing environment but also helps in sustaining attention on a specific task.
- Eat healthy to feed your memory and belly.
Nursing is a rewarding profession, yet becoming one or upskilling your practice can be a mountain of a task. This article mentions a few tips that can come in handy for individuals studying to become nurses and professionals trying to upgrade their practice with higher education. Always choose a program that helps you achieve a better work-life-study balance. Try to study daily with the help of proper scheduling and time management. It would help to identify a unique learning style that suits you and try to apply your learning n practical situations as much as possible. Skim and scan your course material, keeping changing your study location, join study groups, and develop healthy habits that help you stay focused and keep distractions at bay.