10 Tips for How to Be Successful in Nursing School

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How to soar in nursing school - CTX ABSN student in sim lab

You’re ready to move forward with nursing school so you can earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. While an exciting time, it can also be a bit scary. After all, nursing school is a big investment, and you want to make sure you have a plan in place, so let’s talk through strategies for how to be successful in nursing school.

Remember that as you begin nursing school, you will be challenged, and it may take some time to iron out the details of your routine. While there is no fixed formula for how to succeed in nursing school, we can share a common framework to guide your approach to an accelerated nursing track.

1. Learn How to Study Efficiently

Adaptation is the key here. You may have studied a certain way for your previous college courses, but the pace of an accelerated nursing track means that figuring out how to study better than before will help you learn more efficiently.

A portion of the Concordia University Texas accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing track consists of online learning, so knowing how you learn best can jumpstart your success.

It’s also important to figure out what learning strategies work for you. No matter what specific methods you use, remember that interactive studying is far more effective than simply reading a textbook.

At the beginning of nursing school, study frequently using methods that apply the knowledge that you are learning, such as case studies and practice questions. If you find that something is working well, then incorporate it more. Remain flexible for the first few months, and adapt as you go so you can truly refine your study method.

If you don’t know where to begin with studying for nursing school at CTX, our success coaches can meet with you and help you develop strategies based on your learning style.

CTX ABSN students in class studying

2. Establish a Routine

Accelerated BSN students at Concordia University will be among the first to tell you — while nursing school is challenging, it can be much easier to manage if you have a dedicated routine. Knowing this, it’s critical that you start developing habits and systems that promote efficiency from the very beginning of your nursing education.

Here are some specific ways to use a routine to your advantage to succeed in nursing school:

  • Wake up and go to bed at the same time each day.
  • Have set times for studying your online coursework.
  • Study frequently on most days of the week instead of cramming.
  • Set aside specific time on the weekends to study.
  • If you like to work out, set aside consistent time each day.
  • Plan your study time based on your strengths. For example, if you focus better at night, then plan for an evening study routine.
  • Schedule extracurriculars and other activities at times that don’t interfere with your prime study hours.

3. Be Organized

With Concordia University’s accelerated BSN track consisting of online nursing coursework, hands-on labs, and in-hospital clinical rotations, you won’t want to get behind. Each learning component will present its own set of challenges, so staying organized is key.

You will be pulled in many directions and have a variety of school required activities, from clinical rotations to exams to simulation labs to study groups, that will require you to be somewhere at a set time. Successful nursing students utilize a planner or a scheduling app on their phone. Keeping all your events in a central place ensures you always know where you need to be.

Your brain will be full of healthcare knowledge, so you don’t want to have to cram your whole schedule in there as well. Writing or typing it out can ensure you’ll stay on track.

4. Treat Nursing School Like Your Full-Time Job

There is a reason accelerated nursing students don’t work during school. The curriculum is rigorous, and it takes the dedication and time of a full-time job, and maybe even more. If you maintain focus and stay committed to learning and becoming the best nurse possible, you will get the most out of your education.

Outside of hands-on labs and nursing clinicals, willingness to dedicate up to 40 hours a week to completing assignments, writing papers, and studying online materials will help you be successful in nursing school.

Nursing instructor with nursing students working with simulation manikin

Having the full-time job mindset toward nursing school will also help you form lifelong habits that will serve you in every area of your life.

Also remember that you especially want to go the extra mile when completing in-hospital clinical rotations. That’s because in each clinical setting, you’ll work alongside some of the best registered nurses in the region, so it’s up to you to make those connections count. Sure, you may be nervous at first, but it’s in your best interest to put yourself out there and learn from everyone you can.

5. Ask Questions

Asking for help in nursing school is extremely beneficial. Not only does it empower your cohort members to do the same, but it proves to your instructors and other faculty that you truly care about the nursing career you’re creating for yourself.

Here are some ways you can find support throughout your nursing education in the Concordia University Texas ABSN track:

  • Attend instructor office hours (virtually and in-person).
  • Schedule time with tutors.
  • Take advantage of open lab hours to refine your skills.
  • Network with fellow registered nurses and healthcare staff during your clinical rotations.

You don’t have to journey through the accelerated BSN track alone; At Concordia University, there’s a whole community that wants to see you succeed.

6. Study with Peers

You will get to know your cohort members well as you participate in simulation labs and other activities together. If you are someone who benefits from group studying techniques, then ask your peers to join you in a study group.

Different students often have difficulty with unique topics based on their background and prior knowledge. Therefore, studying with others can fill in the gaps, allowing you to teach peers while also learning from them. Another benefit of group studying is an increased sense of camaraderie and friendship with people who understand the rigor of your studies.

CTX ABSN students in lab working together

If you are not a group studier, then there is benefit in individually studying alongside peers. Head over the library together and study on your own. Then if anyone has a question, you can chime in to assist. Being with others who are focused on studying is also a great method for staying accountable.

7. Remember Your Why

When you get home late and exhausted after a long day of clinicals and still need to study, you will need to cling to your why. Your passion for nursing stems from somewhere. Remember that reason, and use it as fuel to reach your goal.

Maybe it’s because you have an innate desire to help others, or maybe you appreciate the challenge that comes with a career in nursing. Whatever it is, knowing your why for nursing will help you stay focused and encouraged throughout your 16-month education.

8. Rely on Family and Friends

A support system is vital to your accelerated nursing school success. Loved ones are often unabashedly encouraging in difficult times, and this is just what you need to keep going. Open up to them and keep them involved in your day-to-day life.

Another important piece to staying well is connecting with loved ones about their life and activities. Hearing about things other than pharmacology and IV-line placement will keep you grounded and remind you that there’s a whole world out there outside of school.

If you have children at home, they can also be great at grounding and encouraging you. After all, if Thomas can succeed in saving all the trains, then you can surely study for this one exam.

Concordia University Texas - Nursing student smiling

9. Treat Yourself: The Golden Hour

The golden hour consists of taking time to do extracurricular activities and hobbies outside of nursing school. By setting aside a little time off each day and week, you can stay mentally strong during a challenging accelerated nursing program.

The Golden Hour

People talk about the golden hour for a student, and the one-hour limit is honestly a fallacy, but the concept is quite helpful. The idea is to give yourself an hour a day to do something you enjoy while not thinking about studies. However, most people need more than an hour, considering showering, eating meals, and other parts of a daily routine.

The applicable concept here is that in a rigorous nursing track, you must give yourself time every day to be yourself and pursue other hobbies. If you’re a mom, set aside time each day to play with your kids. If you’re an athlete, take time to work out every day. If you’re a reader, then give yourself the chance to read for fun. Figure out the exact length of your “hour” once you start studying and determine how much study time you need each day.

10. Balance School with Life

Students sometimes get so focused on excelling in their studies that they abandon other aspects of their lives. It’s important to remember to care for yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally during nursing school.

Here are some ways to nurture balance in your life during nursing school:

  • Eat healthy: Eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, lean protein sources, and healthy fat sources, such as nut butters. Food is fuel for your body, so taking care of yourself especially in a stressful time is crucial.
  • Exercise: Take time to exercise regularly. Make this part of your routine. It will provide stress relief and get you on your feet after a day of sitting. You have the time to do nursing school and to stay healthy.
  • Go outside: The life of a nursing student is between four walls of the house, the lab, or the healthcare facility. Go outside every day. Get some vitamin D by taking a walk in the sun or studying on your patio.
  • Play with your dog: Animals are fantastic for mental health, and having the love of a dog or a cat can encourage you. Dogs are also a great way to get outside, stay active, and interact positively.
  • Talk to someone: If you are stressed, it may help to talk with a licensed counselor or therapist. To keep your patients well, you need to be well first. At CTX, we care about you as a person, and we are here to help you in any way we can.
  • Take care of your health needs: Even though you’re in nursing school, you still should make time to stay healthy. Go to preventative care visits such as your family doctor, eye doctor, and dentist, as this will ensure you’re at your best.

Begin Your Nursing Education Today!

nursing student using stethoscope to check patient heartbeat

As you can see, there are many methods for how to be successful in nursing school. The students and graduates of Concordia University Texas find that everyone’s strategy is unique. Apply the 10 tips we’ve shared and make them yours. We have faith that you have what it takes to excel in accelerated nursing school.

If you haven’t already applied for our accelerated BSN track, then reach out to us today. We’ll help you begin your nursing school journey. If you’re ready to start learning to become a nurse, contact an admissions counselor today.