Nursing school can be hard work and studying for your degree as well as attending placements and working can lead to a lot of stress. Whether you are studying to qualify as a nurse, or advancing your nursing career, here are some study tips for your nursing degree.
Have Small Study Sessions
Trying to cram in all the information you need all at once is not going to work. It is better to digest small bits of information often, so you can better understand and retain information. If you don’t want to feel overwhelmed and burnt out, it is best to have a small study session every day, or every few days. Unfortunately, you cannot cram two weeks’ worth of work into one weekend, even with breaks in-between.
If you use a study planner (see below) you can create these small study sessions around your work and family. Try to set goals with what you want to learn or achieve in each study session, such as finishing a page of your essay or understanding a condition.
Consider an Online Program
If you have a busy life and lots of commitments, choosing to study online could be a more effective and easier way to study. That being said, you do need to be self-motivated, as you will often be watching pre-recorded lectures and working from home. For many nurses, this is much easier than traveling to and from university alongside attending placements and having a social life.
Many online programs use an online portal, where the hours you spend each week studying are recorded and your lecturers are easily reached via an email or video call if you need any help. If you are wanting to further your nursing career, this doctor of nursing practice online degree from Baylor University offers you the chance to study online, while gaining a qualification as a nurse practitioner or a nurse leader.
Understand Your Learning Style
If you don’t already know how you learn best, you will have a hard time studying. Understanding how your brain works and how you retain information can help you when studying and revising before an exam. Everyone learns differently; for some, reading a chapter of a book is enough to understand the subject. On the other hand, you may pick up things better by doing it in practice, or watching others do it. If you are a learner that enjoys listening to other people talk about a subject, watching your lectures back again may help you to learn and remember important information. If you want to find out your learning style, try this online assessment.
Create a Plan
Most of the time a plan can keep us in check when it comes to studying. If you know you procrastinate, without a plan you may not be using your time as best as you should, which will lead to late night study sessions and added stress. Creating a plan can help you to see when you have time for study, when you are working or attending placements, and when you have time to relax and socialize.
It is important to allocate some time in the week for yourself too, as caring for yourself will ensure you have enough patience and energy to do everything else. Create a study plan on a piece of paper, or download one from here.
Study with Others
If you struggle to motivate yourself to study or you learn better with others, why not create your own study group? Even if you study online, you can create a study group with your online classmates, and study together with the help of video calling apps, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. There are many benefits of learning with others, including improved concentration and better information retention. If you know more about a subject than your peers, talking to them about it can help you to remember it better.
If your peers know more about a subject, they can help you to learn it in a better way so you understand. Learning from each other in this way can help, especially when studying online. Study groups also allow you to make friends that understand what you are going through with nursing, and you then have someone to talk to and share experiences with.
Ask for Help
If you are struggling to make time for study and have a busy life, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your loved ones, or even a friend or neighbor. Studying for a nursing degree is a lot of work on its own and if you factor in caring for kids, pets, and yourself, making time can be difficult. If you need some time for yourself, or you need a quiet night away from the kids so you can study for a test, ask someone for help. Your loved ones are there to support you and if you don’t ask, they won’t know you are struggling.
Use Books and Other Resources
When you start studying, you will get a list of books that will help you to learn what you need to. Have a look at the list of books, as they are there to guide you to what is going to be asked in an exam. Nursing books can be read before bedtime or during your downtime to better understand a subject.
Doing this alongside your own studies and lectures will help you to get ahead in class, and in placement. If something comes up while you are in practice, coming back to these books can help you to learn more about a particular condition or treatment. Other resources that are great to use when studying for nursing include Khan Academy, Mayo Clinic and other trusted websites.
While a nursing degree can be difficult, coming out of the degree at the end as a registered nurse, or advancing your nursing career to gain a higher qualification, such as a doctor of nursing practice, makes everything worthwhile. Use these tips to make studying for your nursing degree easier.