What are you struggling with in nursing school?
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I will admit it.
I started every semester with the best intentions: super organized, everything labeled, and calendar ready to be filled out with all my appointments.
Week one would involve mass amounts of anxiety due to getting explanation of what was required along with lecture because in Nursing School you don’t just get your syllabi in week one, you get it e-mailed to you ahead of time with reading assignments already expected to be read.
Week two I would start clean and pristine with everything accomplished because the first reading assignments were simple. By the end of week two I had so many loose leaf papers, reading assignments, horses and a man on fire, and I killed a guy with a trident…
Boy, that escalated quickly… I mean that really got outta hand fast!
If you feel this could be you, or have had this be you, or just plain don’t want this to be you, then you are reading the right post.
I would like to extend you an invitation to the pants party… Did I get that wrong?
Kidding, I mean welcome to my tips for staying organized in Nursing School…
Tips for Staying Organized in Nursing School
I’d like to introduce you to the hardest part of my nursing school tips, like the needle poke of the IM morphine. It hurts a little at first but then pure sweet relief is coming your way. Without further ado:
- Post class session.
I know that once you get done with lecture the last thing you want is to do more school work. Our minds need a break right?
But this is crucial. You need to take 30 minutes and put the papers in the proper place, update your schedule, and check your to-do list.
Speaking of schedule…
- Schedule your studying times.
I don’t just mean blocking out time to study. I mean make a study schedule that involves the type of studying and the subject. Using this nursing school tip will make the difference!
You may be asking what in the world a ‘type’ of studying could mean. I will explain.
- Going over class notes
- Making flashcards
- Studying flashcards
- Researching for papers
- Writing papers
- Getting papers read by the writing center
- Attending professors’ office hours.
Being specific with what you will be doing during that time allows you to be more prepared, get more done, and avoid wasting any of ALL that time you have.
¿Se pregunta como hacer esto?
You know I don’t speak Spanish, in English please.
OK, wondering how to do this? Check out these nursing school tips for keeping your schedule understandable and do-able:
- Color coding
- Body systems
- Days of the week
Are you wondering if Crayola has made enough colors to cover this? Or more importantly if you will even remember what each color means??? Yeah I know it sounds like a lot so check out this free color coding guide I wrote for you all.
Your calendar needs to be electronic. You don’t have to say goodbye to your hand written calendar if you really MUST have it, but you do need to make everything electronic. Having both makes more steps in your life, just a fair warning. This allows for you to not only change things within the calendar effortlessly but it is shareable so all the people in your life can know what you are doing.
Mom wants to call and chat about her new exercise bike? She can look at your schedule and notice you are in the library right now. Both a distraction for you avoided as well as an upset mother who thinks you might be dying if you don’t answer your phone. And you don’t have to bark twice if you are in Milwaukee.
- Loose leaf papers
Download the CamScanner app. This allows you to take a picture with your phone, turn the picture into a PDF and email it to yourself. Loose leaf papers can be recycled either through your local recycling plant or in your fireplace (Did your school just lower your heating bill every month and save your back from pulling a muscle? Wut. You are welcome). And for the love of lamp please make folders in your email that correlate to your classes, potential work opportunities and NCLEX information.
- Flash cards
Take notes on your laptop, save them to your google drive. Make flashcards on your google drive and download them to the gFlash+ app OR use our flashcards that we have already made for you!
- Make lists
Make lists for the month, week, and day. Check those lists. Make revisions of your lists. Link your lists to your calendar.
Out of all these nursing schools tips I have written about, I want you to know you can do it. These times are testing your sanity, but I found the most ridiculous thing in the world that gets me pumped for the day is a daily affirmation. Look yourself in the mirror and repeat the following:
“Ladies and gentlemen, can I please have your attention. I am Badass, I save lives, I have many nursing books, and I don’t know how to put this, but I am kind of a big deal.”
5 Tips for Dealing with a Disorganized Nursing Program
I was recently asked:
How to address the disorganization of a program. Conflicting due dates and disorganized instructors seem to make everything harder than it has to be.
You know, when I graduated nursing school, I thought mine was the only school that was a bit unorganized . . . turns out, many students feel this way.
Welcome to yet another episode of the nursing.com podcast. Thank you so much for taking some time out of your day to listen to me. I think it’s so fun that we get to have these conversations and talk and when I get to meet you guys in person at different conferences and things, it’s so cool to hug you guys and to hear your stories and to hear your successes. And specifically today we’re going to be talking about one of the most common frustrations with nursing school, which is dealing with the disorganization that can occur. Specifically. The question that was proposed was how to address the disorganization of a program. Conflicting due dates and disorganized instructors seem to make everything harder than it has to be. Now, if you rewind the clock back maybe four or five, four years or so, whenever a NRSNG was started, the first thing that I would tell everybody is nursing school doesn’t have to be so damn hard and people will get mad at me.
They’d say, yeah, it has to be hard. It has to be hard. It’s school of hard knocks. It was hard for me. It’d be hard for you. So there were those that thought, yeah, we need to make it intentionally hard for students just because, you know, it was hard for me, which that’s just ridiculous. That’s asinine. And then there was another set of people who would say, well, you’re learning about the human body. You’re learning about caring people. So it has to be hard. And those ones I can agree with that. Yes, learning about the human body is complex. It is difficult. That’s what makes it hard. Dealing with organization and due dates and instructors should not be hard. There’s no reason we need to make that hard. And so what I want to do
is talk to you guys about some of the things that uh, we did and that I did that really helped with this issue. And I’m going to tell you guys that this, I honestly thought that my program was incredibly unique because I went to a small private school, uh, in Illinois for nursing school. And so I thought, well, maybe they just couldn’t find the best instructors and they weren’t sure, you know, how to organize and structure a program. So it’s just my program’s unique. But then when I started sharing this idea that nursing school shouldn’t be hard. And, and a couple of my stories, I got emails that said, this is it. I thought you were talking about my school and I thought, wait a second, was my program not unique? Is this a common problem? And I realized that nationwide and the United States, this is a common problem that nursing school can be incredibly over complicated for no reason. And we’ll talk to students who go to a wonderful schools and it seems like every cohort is a Guinea pig for something, whether it’s for a new pilot program or for a new way of teaching or for a new this or that. Everyone’s kind of a Guinea pig. And
I don’t fault the schools. I don’t fault the instructors. I don’t fault the professors because the U S is facing this nursing shortage and there’s so many people entering nursing school and, um, it’s hard to figure out how to do this and how address this problem email@example.com we think we’ve provided a great solution for learning nursing. Um, I do want to talk about some of the things that you can do specifically within your program and your journey to make it a little bit better. The first thing I’m going to say, guys is be willing to ruffle feathers a little bit. You’re paying a lot of money for your education and you’re doing a lot of hard work. Be willing to ruffle feathers and call, uh, sit down with your professors and tell them this is what you say when you sit down with your professors. And this has worked over and over and over again for myself and for other students, sit down with them and say, look, I am doing all the required readings.
I’m doing all these assignments, but I still feel like I’m missing something. What am I missing? Because my grades aren’t reflecting the work that I’m putting in. And what that immediately does is it shows that you’re not just lazy, you’re not looking for a free handout, you actually care and you want to do well. And so have those meetings set up those office hour times. Call the administration. If you have to work your way up the chain to to talk about, look, we need to find a way to make this better. And I had one meeting with the president of our school and the Dean and some of the professors and I said, look, I’m not asking for nursing school to be easier. If anything, I want it to be harder, but I want it to be harder for the right reasons. I wanted to be harder because we’re getting deeper understanding and deeper knowledge.
I don’t want it to be hard because of the disorganization. And while things might not get better for you and for your cohort, things might start to improve for others, right? And we’re all in this together, so it’s very important that we do that. The next thing I’m going to share with you guys is to find your quote unquote cheat code. Find those things that allow you to study more efficiently and to save time. We found that with the students who use nursing.com the average one saves about four hours of study time per week. Many of them no longer open their textbooks in the six minutes or eight minutes that the video on diabetes lasts on our platform. They’re able to condense the couple hours of learning that they would have to do a self directed through textbooks and PowerPoints. So I ran invite you to use nursing.com I’m convinced it will help improve your grades and it will help to decrease your study time.
Now let me tell you about a couple of things that we did in my program. Aside from this, the first thing would be developed really strong relationships with other students. Now, not talking about every other student, but I’m talking about a set of students who truly is very focused on becoming a phenomenal nurse and develop strong relationships with those students. I’m out now seven or eight years from school and I still have relationships with some of the people that I went to school with. Once you develop those strong relationships, set up a private face book group or a private WhatsApp or a private chat channel where you guys can talk about due dates so that if someone notices before the others that in Blackboard or canvas, the due date on this was changed. You can share back and forth, you can discuss, well what did this assignment mean?
Why, what are they changing? What’s the new due date? What’s it look like? So that you’re not all responsible for keeping track individually, but you can all work together to keep track of changes and that will help relieve a lot of the stress of you trying to stay on top of all the changes that are happening while you’re also being a parent and studying and working and all that. And then discuss assignments, uh, as groups and not talking about discussing answers. I’m not talking about anything like that or cheating. I’m talking about discussing these due dates and, and what the assignment means and what might be working. Another benefit to this as it can provide a private channel to vent a little bit. Look, I’m not saying to go out and bitch and complain and everything about all your professors, but what I am saying is that having a place to vent, especially if you don’t have family and, and friends that you live with or significant other that you can vent to, it’s helpful to have someone who understands what you’re going through, that you can vent with.
And I’m saying to make this a positive place where you can complain, you can vent and then you can move on and you can celebrate the successes as well. Having that is truly helpful, um, to, uh, getting off that negative energy and then moving forward now with this group, set up study groups and just develop this really tight knit group. One of the things that we would do is one of the girls in our study group is she would kind of collate all the different assignments that were due, what they were worth and what class it was from because you’re spreading out five, six syllabi across all these different, uh, classes and they’re all worth different things. So she would, every Monday she would pull together all of them into a, just a Google doc, a Google spreadsheet, and she would share that across the group and then we could each take it and modify it and we can make comments on there of what it was, do, how many points it was worth and things like that.
And that was very, very helpful in bringing it all together. So the biggest thing I can give you guys to help you through this is first of all, don’t be afraid to ruffle feathers. Find your cheat codes, something like nursing.com that can help you reduce the amount of time you have to spend to understand concepts and then develop a strong network of students, not just to complain, not just to go drink after exams, but to support each other through this. Um, through chatting, through talking and through sharing, uh, what you’re learning about assignments and things. Look as, this is not an easy journey, but we know that you can do it and we know that you can find that success in having that tight group is one of the best things you can do. When you do join nursing.com you become part of the most supportive nursing cohort on the planet and invite you guys to do that. We really want to see you succeed now. Go out and be your best self today. Happy nursing.