Being accepted into nursing school is an accomplishment in itself. Depending on the program, the next several years are filled with changes in routine, learning, and new situations like clinical practice. While it may be stressful, there are plenty of ways for nursing students to excel in the classroom, with their patients, and in their personal lives.
Clinical Practice
Clinical practice is where students put the concepts they learned in textbooks to work in the real world. They get firsthand experience the responsibilities that nurses have for the first time. While it can be intimidating to be working with patients, it’s a great time to seek out as many opportunities to practice as possible.

Nursing schools have a tendency to attract older students as many have decided to enter the field after working in another profession. These students may already have spouses and children they need to consider as they juggle their nursing school with family responsibilities and work.

Night Shift
Likely one of the biggest changes in a nursing student’s life is the shift in schedules. Since the needs of patients do not adhere to a schedule, nurses are often required to work during night shifts. While students may only have to work the night shift in school, they still have to physically, mentally, and emotionally adjust to working at night.

Personal Commitments
All nursing students juggle personal commitments with their studies. Time is limited for time with friends, volunteer activities, religious services, and even taking care of one’s health. However, one can achieve balance if they are well organized.

A common assumption is that nursing students have to give up their full time job to attend school. While the ability to focus solely on school is helpful, it’s not realistic for many nursing students. Students who work during nursing school often have to adjust their schedule with their employer, be good at multi-tasking and cope well with distractions.

The NCLEX is the final test for nursing students. Passing it means students can get their license and begin their career as a nurse. While it can seem like a huge obstacle, it is an opportunity for students to see how well they analyze the hypothetical situations used on the exam with the knowledge they learned in school.

Eat Healthy
It’s easy for students to grab fast food on the run because they’re busy. However, making healthier food choices can help them keep their stress levels low and their energy levels high. In addition, a balanced diet can contribute to good brain function, which is imperative for learning the complex information nursing students are required to know.

Exercise Regularly
It can be difficult for nursing students to find time to maintain an exercise routine. However, a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise per day can help alleviate physical, mental and emotional stress. Even if students cannot make it to the gym regularly, they can do things such as using the stairs, parking further away from school than usual, and taking walks in between classes. Even these small behavioral changes can go a long way toward reducing stress.

Think Positively
Being overwhelmed can make nursing students think negatively about their school experience and their abilities. It’s important for nursing students to keep a positive attitude so that negativity does not exacerbate their stress. This can be done by saying positive affirmations, visualizing success and stopping destructive thoughts in their tracks when they start.

Remember Goals
During challenging times, it can help nursing students to remain calm by remembering their goals and why they need to keep moving forward. Thoughts of a satisfying career and taking care of family can help these students feel optimistic.

Find Balance
School-life balance is extremely important for reducing stress and doing well in school. Nursing students should be sure to regularly spend time with friends, participate in the activities they enjoy, and pamper themselves. This helps prevent burnout and allows students to take a needed rest from the fast-paced nursing school environment.

Get Organized
Nursing students have a lot on their plate, so if they’re not organized, they may not be able to juggle everything that needs to be done. Marking every assignment due date and test date in a calendar can help students be organized. In addition, students can get a binder for each class and organize them with tabs that separate class lectures.

Manage Time
Time management is imperative in the nursing profession. To-do lists are a good start for students needing to prioritize their day and get things done in a timely manner. Many nursing students recommend creating a daily schedule that carves out a certain amount of time for school work or NCLEX prep.

Get Some Sleep
Although students tend to skimp on sleep in order to study and get assignments done, this can actually do more harm than good. Getting at least seven hours of sleep can improve brain performance and aid in converting information into long-term memory, which is important for learning course material.