8 Pieces of Advice for Nursing Students

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UIW ABSN student using stethoscope on sim manikin

Nursing school can be overwhelming, especially at the beginning. You have a lot to learn, and it’s hard to know how to get started. You may be wondering what you can do to help your success in nursing school. This advice for nursing students will help you navigate the journey.

The University of the Incarnate Word is passionate about helping students succeed in the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) track in San Antonio, Texas. The 16-month track uses a combination of online and in-person learning experiences to prepare students with non-nursing bachelor’s degrees earn a BSN and transition into nursing.

As you consider how to succeed in nursing school, here are eight pieces of nursing school advice.

1. Put in the Work

One of the major success factors in nursing school is putting the work into it. In an Accelerated BSN track like the one at UIW, you’ll need to commit 40–60 hours per week to studying and coursework.

That’s because in an accelerated track, the nursing curriculum is condensed into 16 months, consisting of a mix of online courses, nursing labs and clinical rotations. Staying focused and setting aside enough quality time for studying will give you a higher chance of success.

2. Be a Humble Learner

Your mindset can make a big difference in your success as you take on a rigorous ABSN track. A key piece of nursing school advice is to remember that you have a lot to learn. Whether you have healthcare experience or not, keep an attitude of humility. Avoid being overconfident about how much you know.

By having a humble attitude, you’re putting yourself into a learning frame of mind. This will help you feel comfortable asking more questions and studying harder.

2 UIW ABSN students working together on a practice manikin

3. Remind Yourself Why You Love Nursing

When you’re working through a rigorous accelerated nursing curriculum, it’s important to remind yourself why you’re dedicating this time and effort. What is the reason you chose nursing? Think about your personal journey and what motivates you to be a nurse.

Then write down your “why” and keep it in a place where you’ll see it, such as your mirror or desk. Having a constant reminder of the end goal will help you stay focused and encouraged while studying for exams and juggling a busy schedule.

4. Stick to a Schedule

Another strategy for how to succeed in nursing school is to create a schedule. Whether you use a planner or your phone, scheduling your studying and nursing school activities will help you stay organized.

UIW nursing student writing on tablet

With such an extensive nursing curriculum ahead of you, writing down your schedule will help relieve stress. You won’t have to memorize your clinical schedule or assignment due dates. Furthermore, getting into a study routine will help you increase productivity because you’ll have blocks of time set aside each day for studying.

Here are a few tips for scheduling your ABSN routine:

  • Plan the same bedtime and wake-up time each day.
  • Start by scheduling your required in-person activities, such as labs and clinicals.
  • Next, fill in your study time. Give yourself plenty of time, and only cut it down if you find that you’re consistently finishing early.
  • Include other activities, such as study group meetings, meals and exercise.
  • Remember to take short study breaks throughout your day.
  • Hold yourself accountable and stick to your schedule. Adjust it as necessary.

5. Keep a Positive Attitude

Maintaining an optimistic, positive attitude throughout the ABSN program is one piece of advice for nursing school that will not only help you stay motivated to study but will also help your mental and emotional well-being. Think about what a privilege it is to support and care for your community every day. Your future career has a purpose, and you get to be a part of it.

You will likely encounter challenges in the process of learning, but it’s how you respond to those challenges that will define your success. Shine a positive and encouraging light onto those situations. A good attitude can help prevent burnout and lift up your fellow classmates.

6. Connect with Peers

When you attend a hybrid accelerated program like the ABSN at UIW, you’ll use independent learning strategies for your online coursework. However, many students find that group studying can be a beneficial supplement to self-guided studying.

Find a few students in your cohort who have similar study habits and goals and form a regular study group. Plan a time to meet each week and add it to your schedule. Connecting with these peers sets you up to form friendships with like-minded people. More than that, group studying can help you academically because group members can teach each other and help each other stay accountable and on track.

7. Seek Instructor Support

You will likely have questions as you progress through the nursing curriculum at UIW. A helpful piece of advice for nursing students is to ask your instructor if you’re unsure of how to perform a certain task in lab or uncertain about what to study for an upcoming exam. They are there to help you and are passionate about supporting their students.

When you have questions, ask them right away. Be proactive with your education. The nursing curriculum builds on itself, so it’s in your best interest to clarify areas of confusion early.

8. Talk with Your Support System

Sometimes after a long day of studying and clinicals, you just need to hear the reassuring voice of a loved one. Whether you confide in a partner, family member, therapist or friend, find at least one person you can talk to on a regular basis about how you are doing.

Often, voicing your anxieties can help relieve them. While conversing with nursing school peers is helpful, talking with someone who’s known you for years and knows how to encourage you is invaluable.

Get Started with Your Nursing Future

UIW nursing student in black scrubs standing in front of nursing school wall

Though nursing school is hard work, it is worth it. It’s a career where you’ll get to make a difference in people’s lives every day. The Accelerated BSN track at UIW can help you achieve your goal of earning a BSN sooner, offering three start dates each year for the 16-month curriculum. If you have a bachelor’s degree in another field and meet the prerequisite requirements, you may be eligible to apply.

To learn more about launching your nursing future, fill out our online form, and our admissions counselors will get in touch with you.