Tips for Coping with Nursing School Stress
If you are looking to become a nurse, you’ve probably been doing a lot of research about programs and schools. Earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree is a challenge, but one that can be managed with the right program and the right support. Sumner College ADN program will get you on the road to success.
1. Make Self-Care a Priority
This tip is first for a reason. While it can feel like nursing school is too stressful, it is still important to take care of yourself during this time. After all, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of your schoolwork, or eventually, your patients.
Self-Care for Physical Health
To be your healthiest self, you’ll want to incorporate a balanced diet, which can help you maintain optimal energy levels and focus. This means incorporating more nutrient-dense and whole foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, unprocessed proteins, etc. To make this more achievable, try creating meal plans and prepping meals for the week on weekends. Additionally, you can prepare a quick slow-cooker meal in the morning so that it will be ready once you return home in the evening. Making it easier for yourself to eat healthier is the key to staying consistent.
In addition to a healthy diet, moving your body outside of labs and clinical rotations can serve as a healthy release when dealing with the deadlines and workload. Choose physical activities you enjoy.
Self-Care for Mental Health
While your physical health is no doubt important, you must also remember to take care of your mental health. This means reducing stress levels and ensuring that you are engaging in activities that bring you joy. Some ways you can take care of your mental health include practicing meditation and mindfulness by using guided meditations. Spending time in nature can also be a great stress reliever. Go for nature walks, being sure that you use all your senses to observe the world around you. Even just taking the time to watch funny cat videos can improve your mental health, as humor can be a great way to clear your mind.
Finally, you need to make sure you get enough sleep. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), sleep deprivation can hinder your decision-making process and slow your reaction times. For example, if you’re sleep deprived during clinical rotations, you may find it difficult to quickly compute medication math, assess vitals, or even react to a patient stumbling.
2. Get and Stay Organized
A planner or calendar can serve as a great resource. Being able to write down and visualize your learning activities on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis will help you stay prepared and keep your stress in check.
Your organizational routine will be important from the beginning of the first semester onward. If you are taking the online coursework option, you’re not tied down to a specific classroom or lecture time, you will have the freedom to learn core nursing concepts at a time that works best for you and your schedule.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Nursing school will require you to absorb massive amounts of information, making it crucial for you to put aside your pride and ask questions when necessary. Even if you communicate with your professors through an online learning platform, you can still meet with them one-on-one. In fact, your professors want you to reach out if something isn’t making sense.
Asking questions early can help prevent nursing school from being so stressful. If you don’t understand a concept, it is very important to get the help you need before the curriculum starts to build on that concept and you fall behind.
4. Create Support Systems with Your Peers
The memories you make in nursing school will stay with you for the rest of your career, and most of them will involve the students you meet in your cohort. Coming from all walks of life, the students in your cohort will share your fears and goals for nursing school success.
5. Learn When to Say No
While it is undoubtedly important to maintain relationships and do good deeds during nursing school, it is also important to maintain boundaries. As a prospective nursing student, it likely brings you joy to help others, which is an admirable character trait. However, you are going to be incredibly busy during nursing school and won’t have as much free time to take care of others.
6. Start a Journal
Journaling is a great stress relieving technique. It allows you to get all your thoughts out on paper, prioritize your worries, and can help you identify negative ways of thinking or certain triggers for your stress.
Keeping a journal while you are in nursing school can also end up producing a keepsake for you. Once you’ve graduated from nursing school, you can look back at your journal entries and see how far you’ve come. Taking the time to reflect on your accomplishments will foster a sense of confidence in your abilities to overcome obstacles.
7. Remember the End Goal
Before you begin your nursing school education, write down your “why” on a piece of paper (perhaps in your journal) and keep it safe. Whenever you feel the stress of nursing school, you will have this for reference. Reflecting on your why can give you that boost you need to keep going.
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