How to Keep Calm and Carry On in Nursing School

keep calm and carry on in nursing school

Being a nurse and the time in school that leads up to it is defined as anything but “low stress.” There are many high pressure moments during nursing school that will prepare you for the trials you will face as a nurse. However, it is important to manage this stress as so you don’t end up needing a nurse to tend to you after a heart attack! Stress raises your blood pressure, causes and complicates various health disorders and heavily affects your mood and performance. So how does one follow the notorious motto “Keep Calm and Carry On” during tough situations at the Northeastern University School of Nursing? By following these five rules when stress kicks in:

Breathe: When pressure starts to build, remember to breathe before you react. If you studied all night but can’t choose between A or C, BREATHE before you answer. Whenever stress levels rise, take five deep breaths, in through your nose, out through your mouth. Allow yourself to completely focus on those breaths, really trying to inhale positive thoughts and exhale tension. If five breaths don’t do the trick, try ten. Close your eyes and concentrate on relaxing your muscles. Breathing deeply sends a message your brain to “keep calm,” which “carries on” the message to your body, allowing you to make better decisions and react appropriately with a clearer mindset.

Cue Happy Triggers: Sometimes, the key to handling traumatic situations is as simple as changing the way you look at them. Of course, we have all been told to look on the bright side during tough times, but let’s face it, that’s much easier said than done. When you are tense, it is natural to think of the obvious negative aspects of a stressful situation versus trying to find the positives. But you can change your point of view easier than you think by cuing your happy triggers. These triggers are cheerful thoughts you can call upon when you start to get pessimistic. Happy triggers can be memories of a vacation, thoughts of ice cream, pictures of your pet, etc. Anything that makes you feel all warm and happy inside. Use these triggers to re-center yourself and find the bright side in tough circumstances. Positive thoughts bring positive results.

Don’t Carry the World upon Your Shoulders: In nursing school and in your career as a nurse, there will be days when you will feel like you’re on top of the world and others when you will feel like the world is crashing down on you. The world will continue to spin and life will carry on. During times where you feel immense pressure, you must realize the things you have control over and those you don’t. For example, you have control over how prepared you are for clinicals but you do not control the patients and what happens in clinicals There will be times of great joy in nursing but there will also be times of disappointment. It is important that you not feel disappointed in yourself if something happens that is out of your control.

Take Care of YOU: The goal of nursing is to aid in the treatment of patients and to take care of them. But to be the best nurse you can be, you must also take time to take care of yourself. Stress heavily affects your physical and mental health. That is why you must keep it under control. To carry on, you must keep calm. This means eating a healthy diet and consuming enough calories throughout the day, especially during high stress times when your body metabolizes at a higher rate. It also means taking time to exercise and occasionally pampering yourself. In the selfless career of nursing, don’t feel selfish for having a little me time. It is mandatory for your health and your patient’s health.

Prioritize and Organize: When you enter nursing school, you are dedicating your time and focus toward becoming the best nurse you can be. This choice to further your education results in a rewarding career that benefits thousands of lives. However, it is a large responsibility that comes with sacrifices. It is important to map out your priorities in nursing school and pace yourself accordingly. Don’t spread yourself too thin. You must accept that you will be spending less time with friends to spend more time studying. You must prioritize where to allocate your time and stick to a schedule. Procrastination is your worst enemy in nursing school. It makes it almost impossible to succeed. That is why you must use a calendar and task manager to minimize stress-triggering surprises and last minute studying. The more organized you keep your life, the more calm you will be.

By following these tips, you will be able to successfully “Keep Calm and Carry On” at Northeastern University Direct Entry Nursing Program and throughout your nursing career. If you would like to learn more about our nursing programs in Boston, please contact us today.

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