How to Survive the First Year of Nursing School


It's important that students learn the content being taught in nursing school since it impacts their ability to care for patients once they are employed in a nursing position in the actual healthcare field. The first year of nursing school is difficult for many students who are not accustomed to the rigorous pace of learning and studying involved in this career field. To prevent failing or dropping out, students must learn how to survive the first year of nursing school.

  • Attend orientation. Nursing schools hold orientation for first-year students prior to or at the start of the first semester. Students become familiar with the faculty and facilities and also get to know other first-year nursing students.

  • Learn academic policies. Policies for nursing school are covered during orientation, but you can ask questions and seek out additional information from a faculty adviser. It's important to know these policies, since dismissal from nursing school occurs if they are not followed. For example, nursing students at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne are dismissed after receiving two D or F grades in their pre-nursing or nursing curriculum. Faculty and school administrators won't provide a second chance simply because you didn't know the policies.

  • Find out what resources are available. Colleges and universities are full of resources for first-year nursing students to take advantage of ,and most are free, since students pay for them as part of their tuition and fees. Tutoring, financial aid, counseling services and exercise facilities are just some of the resources first-year students can access and use to help them manage and navigate their way through school.

  • Get to know your faculty adviser, who will be a wealth of information and knowledge about the nursing field as well as about the college or university you attend. When having problems or struggling in nursing school, your adviser can be of great help listening to your problems and concerns and providing you with valuable advice and resources.

  • Dedicate time to studying. There's a wealth of information a student needs to learn before becoming a nurse. To learn and retain all of the information, the student must study on a consistent basis. By setting aside specific times each day or week, a first-year student ensures that she or he will not become distracted by demands from job, family or friends.

  • Form a study group. While it's important for students to study on their own, forming a study group is also beneficial. Group members have the opportunity to test each other by verbally asking and answering questions. They can also discuss class information and answer questions anyone may have about material covered in class.

  • Prepare for class ahead of time. Students who come to class prepared improve their odds for retaining the information presented in class. To prepare in advance, read the chapter or unit the instructor plans to cover and review the notes from the previous class.

  • Take care of yourself. Stress is common among first-year nursing students who must meet the demands of the program and earn good grades. It's important that you don't let the stress get to you and negatively affect your health. Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep.

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