10 Habits of a Highly Successful BSN Student
Editorial Staff @ NursingProcess.org
Getting your BSN degree is a noble goal, but it can be overwhelming when you are in the midst of classes and clinicals. It may be tempting to quit, but you can definitely succeed if you are armed with the right habits. Cultivating the following 10 habits will help you be successful in your studies now, and many of them will translate into a positive and rewarding career as a nurse within the next few years.
Stay Connected in Class
If you are in the midst of getting your degree, you have probably noticed by now that not all of your classes are super exciting. Some of them may seem dry and boring. However, instead of dozing off or taking your in-class time to browse the internet or work on homework, you should see this as your key time to learn.
Stay engaged in class by taking notes
. Instead of writing every word down, try taking summaries or writing information down in outline format. You can also become more engaged during class times by asking questions.
Find Your Niche Group
Nursing school is a hard road to go alone. Whether you are attending classes in person or online, you will want to try hard to find your own special group. These people may be just like you, or they may be far different. What is most important is that your group knows how to work together to encourage each other and keep one another accountable. Your niche group can also become your best study group.
Group studying is important, but personal study times are equally important. These times by yourself provide time to practice what is hardest for you. Use group study times to give you a good overall review, but use your personal time to brush up on what you struggled with when working with the group.
If you study daily
, you will not have to lengthy weekend study sessions that can be wearing. Plus, you will be giving your brain time to catch up with all of the new material by working slowly.
Use Memorization to Your Advantage
Memorization cannot be used in every part of nursing school because much of what you will learn is hands-on and requires deductive reasoning and critical thinking skills. However, some areas do require memorization in order to do well on tests. Start by memorizing disease processes with their symptoms and treatments. Once you hit pharmacology classes, you will have another huge area that is perfect for memorization. Mnemonics
can make it easier to learn unfamiliar drug names.
Reach out to Teachers
Although your nursing teachers may seem as if they are on their own playing field and are far removed from you, you should look at them as the resources that you desperately need to succeed. If you are struggling, reach out to one of your teachers. Teachers can give you tips and tricks that worked for them and provide great options for making the most of your class and clinical times.
Stay Organized with Scheduling
Smart scheduling should be a huge part of nursing school and will become a major stepping stone to the success of your nursing career overall. Nurses are busy, and you will certainly be kept busy with classes, clinicals, studying, reading and writing care plans. A daily planner can be your savior when it comes to keeping up with your to do list and staying on top of tasks and papers that are most important. When you keep your calendar updated and check it daily, you will never come to class unprepared.
Practice Good Time Management
Of course, you will still need blocks of time for personal matters, such as family celebrations and work. Manage your time
by separating each day into blocks of time. By separating your study time from work, family or personal time, you will not have to feel guilty about how you are spending each day.
Connect with a Nurse
If you are finding it difficult to remember why you chose a BSN program in the first place, find a current registered nurse who can invest in your career and be your mentor. Your nurse mentor can help you keep things in perspective when you are struggling in one area and can help you regain the passion that you once had for your career choice.
Find Time for Other Interests
If you are completely invested in your BSN program, you may find it hard to invest yourself in anything else. However, this is a classic trigger for burnout
. Be sure to make time for your other interests, and give yourself enough time to relax outside school. This will give your brain time to rest from your studies. When you get back to your classes, you may be surprised at how much information your brain captured even while you were engaged in hanging out with friends, reading a book or playing sports.
Care for Yourself
Of course, you must also take time to take care of your physical and mental health. If you are run-down, you will not be successful in class, and you will not have the energy to do well in clinicals. Sleep is hugely important during nursing school. Be sure to get a minimum of seven hours of sleep
each night, and try to make time for extra sleep before examinations.
In addition, make time to move your body with exercise. Exercise can help you be more creative and can improve your mental awareness
and critical thinking skills as well. Plus, you will feel happier and more energetic from the feel-good chemicals released in your brain during exercise.
Being a successful BSN student requires a well-rounded look at your classes, clinicals, study times and personal hours. By taking a multi-faceted approach to getting through each class and each semester, you can stop feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and can instead take each success and each disappointment in stride, knowing that you are on the path that is just right for you.