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How to Manage Your Time In Nursing School

Whether your semester has just begun or your classes are in full swing, it’s never too late to revise your strategy and give your time management approach a reality check. Nursing school can be overwhelming and push you in ways you didn’t know you could be challenged. Getting to the finish line will not be easy but a clear and deliberate plan of action will help you get there unscathed.

TIME EFFICIENCY

In nursing school, everything else becomes secondary to studying. Create a daily and or hourly schedule and stick to it to be the most efficient. An hour by hour plan will help tremendously in keeping you on track to hit your daily milestones. In addition, it will be helpful to get conditioned to studying first before everything else. On days when on site classes are held, commuters should consider staying on campus to complete studying for the day instead of wasting precious time in stop and go traffic. If you stay on campus, avoid trips back and forth between classes to the your room and use small breaks to stick it out in the library. Keep flash cards on hand for quick study breaks when your schedule allows. Downloading audio lectures can be helpful for learning on the go and can be accessed on your headset or in the car. Parents should try to maximize time when children are sleeping or at school and use this time to study also. Lastly use weekends to meal prep, do house chores, prepare for the week and of course study!

STAYING ORGANIZED 

Getting organized can drastically change your nursing school experience for the better and create more time for focused learning.. Allocating specific folders, binders and bags for each class or day of the week will help you tremendously. Printing the syllabi for each course, outlining major deadlines and noting all test and assignment dates can be lifesaving. Large calendars are also great for providing a monthly view of classes, assignments, tests and clinicals. Small planners  can provide a great weekly view of your obligations and phone reminders can be essential. Organization will allow you the space and peace of mind to study. Preparing class and clinical materials ahead of time can be lifesaving.

DEVELOP AN EFFECTIVE STUDY STRATEGY

Undoubtedly, studying is the most time intensive task in nursing school. There’s an exorbitant amount of info to read, digest and retain and seemingly not enough time in the day to tackle it all. Study at times that you are most energized and receptive. Create a dedicated area in your home that’s conducive to studying helps to set the tone and environment for optimal learning that’s free of distractions. It is also  important to master the skill of intaking and dumping information. Unlike your pre-nursing courses, being super detailed oriented could actually work against you in nursing school. After your first test, there should be an analysis of the materials you covered as it relates to what you were actually tested on. Let this information guide your future study habits per course. Your learning style may be auditory or visual; however, most people study best in groups and are able to grasp concepts from peers more concisely. Lastly, grab a few classmates with similar schedules to form a study group and test your knowledge by explaining and teaching one another.

KEEP SOCIAL TO A MINIMUM

“Do what you have to now  so you can do what you want later.” While cliche, the aforementioned expression holds true. Nursing school is no joke and is a real life commitment and sacrifice of time. Depending on the rigidity of your program, you may want to consider minimizing social outings for the duration of your program. This does not mean that you can’t have a life or shouldn’t see your friends and family; however, it does mean you should be doing so a lot less. Remember, self-care is a huge component of keeping your sanity during this challenging time.  Be sure to prioritize time for things that make you happy, recharge your energy and allow you to step away for mental breaks. Schedule your social time in advance to be sure your interactions are not becoming distractions to your focus and productivity. Also, it may not be a bad idea to limit time on social media as well. You can use various apps to track and limit your usage.

ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER

In nursing school you have countless assignments, deadlines, tests and obligations. In this environment a hectic schedule can get the best of them despite proper planning and time management. Therefore, having a human reminder  can really go a long way. Identifying a buddy in the program will be gold and in addition to helping you stay on top of all your deadlines, they can provide moral support and encouragement which can improve your nursing school experience drastically.

Tips and content shared from The Nurse Link

How to Study in Nursing School: 8 Tips from an Expert Nurse Educator

Blog shared from Nurse Jannah’s Osmosis webinar on successful study habits every nursing student should adopt. 

As you’re about to enter into an awesome and powerful field, you’re probably wondering about how to study in nursing school so you won’t get overwhelmed. Adopting smart study habits early on in your education will set you up to be a successful learner, test-taker, and practicing RN. Why not get them right from an expert nurse educator?

Why getting into nursing is a big deal

Did you know that, according to AACN Fact Sheets, nursing is the largest healthcare profession in the United States, with 3x as many RNs as physicians? This really speaks volumes about the big role nurses play in healthcare, but also about the challenging road to becoming one.

Nurses work in so many different settings and are in charge of a lot of things. They collaborate as a team, but they operate independently of medicine or other fields.

No wonder there’s tons of information to master in nursing school!

All of this can be overwhelming and confusing to any student: maybe it’s too much to learn in a short time, or maybe you’re not sure where to start. Maybe you feel like things aren’t sticking to your memory, or you don’t know what to use to learn, with so many resources available.

As our expert nurse educator shares in our Osmosis webinar: “This happens to a lot of us”. Here are 8 key tips that Nurse Jannah recommends on how to best study for nursing school.  

1. Get a head start on your course material

Try to stay ahead of the game before you even have a lecture. Read the chapters or watch videos and get familiar with the content—whatever the preparation looks like, it’s important to do it ahead of time.

The reason is that it’s really hard to catch up with the study in nursing school, as there’s a lot of ground to cover, and it goes by fast.

Some of the material you’ll learn is easier to understand than others, and that’s OK. Putting in the work ahead of a lecture is the most important part, as you teach your brain to set the right foundation for gaining knowledge. And even if you don’t understand everything, you build on that and let the lecture or next piece of learning help fill in the gaps.

Osmosis illustration of a nursing student working to understand the material.

2. Try making concept maps

Instead of going with the classic way of taking notes—highlighting text and rewriting pages of notes—concept maps are one fun and easy way to study for nursing school.

A concept map is a visual representation of knowledge on a subject that helps you to organize your thoughts on it. Besides being much easier, it’s also an efficient way to understand the information (rather than memorizing it).

Start with the topic you want to learn about and, first, build on it with what you learned. After that, use your notes, videos or other resources to fill in the map and get the whole picture of that topic.

Osmosis illustration of a basic concept map.

3. Meet your learning objectives

This is something that probably many often ignored as students, which you definitely shouldn’t. When you stumble upon your learning objectives (LOs), paying attention to them is one smart way to study in nursing school.

Although it seems just like a list, LOs act much like your guide to studying, because they outline exactly what you should be able to do or competently discuss after successfully learning about them. This is a really good guide to follow especially when you have a lot of content and don’t know what you’re supposed to focus on.

You can find more practical and visual examples of these tips in our webinar.

4. Make a schedule (and stick to it)

Another tip Nurse Jannah has for you is making a schedule that really sets you up for success. This means one that is realistic and adjusted to your life, your time, your responsibilities.

There’s no standard timeframe for the best learning, so the key here is to focus on quality rather than quantity. If your daily schedule allows you to study for nursing school two hours in the morning or three hours in the evening, both are fine as long as it’s according to your real attention span.

Another important thing here is to make sure you can stay committed to your schedule for studying just as you commit to other obligations in life, in a practical way. This will keep you accountable as well.

5. Teamwork makes the dream work

Speaking of accountability, another tip on how to study for nursing school the better way is finding a study partner: a friend, a tutor, or joining a study group to keep you connected.

The best thing about study groups is that you can listen to different perspectives while discussing a topic. Actively listening to how other people think and apply knowledge helps you hone your critical thinking skills. This is one important skill to have in nursing school, as you’re taking different tests and answering different types of questions.

Osmosis illustration of students studying together.

6. Find your learning style

Everybody learns differently: some students are visual learners—and Osmosis makes that easy with 1800+ animated videos for you!—while others learn better by listening to lectures or doing hands-on activities.

Try to practice a bit of self-reflection to discover your learning style and find resources that represent it, as primary learning tools. The earlier you discover how you learn best, the easier it becomes to study and not waste your time the wrong way.

7 Practice, practice, practice

Of course, it is also about practicing NCLEX®-style questions during nursing school. Not only it challenges you to apply all the knowledge you gain, but also your ability to think at a high level and analyze data in different ways.

NCLEX®-style questions are unlike any other type of questions you’re used to seeing, which is why practicing them helps to reinforce your understanding of a concept and prepares you for the final exam: the licensure examination.

Osmosis illustration of a nursing student studying contentedly.

8. Don’t forget the basics

Understanding the basics is the biggest starting point in your studying. You need to have a solid understanding of foundational sciences first, such as anatomy and physiology, because all the knowledge you learn in nursing school is based on these and it’s also what makes learning more complex concepts along the way much easier.

And finally… you got this!

And don’t forget to watch the full webinar here: Study for Success: Habits Every Nursing Student Should Adopt.

Osmosis illustration of Nurse Jannah offering nurses encouragement on their nursing journey.
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Content shared from Osmosis

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