Why is nursing school so stressful? Because to succeed, you need to put your blood, sweat, and tears into your education. Just know that despite all the trials and tribulations of nursing school, you’d be hard-pressed to find a graduate who doesn’t think the experience was totally worth it. So if you’re serious about a career in nursing, here’s what you need to know to survive our 16-month ABSN program.
Before your first semester of nursing school, it’s important to understand the most common sources of student stress, so that you can find ways to cut certain struggles off at the pass. Typically, nursing school stress stems from academic, emotional, or financial struggle – sometimes all three.
1. Academic Stress and Solutions
ABSN students must learn, retain, and absorb massive amounts of information in a short period of time. It’s an intense education path where everything works toward building a solid nursing foundation.
To keep yourself from becoming too overwhelmed, it’s important to stay organized and maintain a consistent study schedule. Otherwise, you’re apt to procrastinate and fall behind in your studies.
It helps to get a physical planner where you can use the time-blocking method to plot out every moment of every day. While this might seem a little old school, it’s actually one of the easiest ways to juggle multiple priorities and manage your time.
“Prioritization and planning are key to success in the program.”
—Patti, a 2017 Northeastern ABSN program graduate
Developing efficient study habits is another way to deal with information overload. Determine how you best learn and get creative. For example, if you’re an aural learner, you could record yourself reading your notes out loud and then listen to the recordings while exercising.
In addition to information overload, nursing students take a lot of exams, and they’re unlike any test you’ve taken before. Every nursing school exam serves to challenge your critical thinking skills in preparation for the NCLEX-RN® licensure exam. Expect complex multiple-choice questions where every answer is correct, but you need to identify the one that’s the most correct.
You’ll be happy to know that we integrate NCLEX preparation into our ABSN curriculum. Our faculty will teach you how to break down these complex questions to get to the right answer. It also doesn’t hurt to take advantage of the countless free NCLEX practice questions available online.
“Northeastern definitely prepares you to take the NCLEX.”
—Shaelyn, a 2017 Northeastern ABSN program graduate
2. Emotional Stress and Solutions
To thrive as a nursing student, your studies should be a top priority in your life – just not to the point where you eat, sleep, and breathe nursing school. Otherwise, you could find yourself on an emotional rollercoaster fueled by caffeine, sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, and the like.
This is another area where a planner with time blocking comes in handy. By carving out time for every aspect of your life, you can keep up with your studies and your self-care. When you fail to make time for your health and wellness, your studies start to suffer.
In fact, the exhaustion and lack of confidence many nursing students experience often come from self-neglect. Therefore, it’s important to block out time in your planner for self-care just as you would for exam preparation. Self-care can be as simple as meditating for 10 minutes every day, watching a movie on the weekends, or getting a weekly massage. What matters most is that you find an activity that allows you to relax and recharge.
Another cause of emotional stress while in nursing school stems from friends and family. A lot of times loved ones start to feel slighted when they frequently hear you say, “I can’t, I have to study.” While no one can truly understand the struggles of nursing school unless they’ve been there, it’s important to tell your friends and family what you’re up against. It may even help to meet up with friends (who are not fellow nursing students) once a week as part of your self-care routine.
3. Financial Stress and Solutions
No matter where you go, nursing school is an investment. Aside from the costs of attending, nursing school is a full-time commitment. That’s why most nursing students don’t work while in school, which puts an additional strain on their pocketbooks. And when funds are limited, it’s important to find ways to budget what you have and stretch every dollar as far as you can.
It helps to set a weekly spending budget and stick to it. Let’s say you decide to spend only $30 per week. Get that $30 in cash and once it’s gone, it’s gone. Following a strict budget requires a lot of discipline, but it will be worth it in the end. Think about it this way; there are so many other things that make nursing school stressful, you don’t need your financial situation adding to that stress.
We’ve seen a lot of nursing students find ways to earn extra cash without detracting from their studies. Some babysit, some sign up for temp work, and some take consumer surveys on websites such as InboxDollars®.
It’s common for students to want to give up on nursing school at some point. If you find yourself struggling in our ABSN program, don’t give up. It’s only 16 months, and if you make your education a top priority, these struggles tend to have a way of working themselves out. Not to mention, you’ll have the support of our nursing faculty and staff every step of the way.
And should things start to weigh you down, it helps to remember why you applied to nursing school in the first place. Once you earn your BSN, a world of opportunity and reward awaits. Not only will you be able to go down any number of career paths, you’ll also have the ability to make a difference in the lives of others wherever you work.
Want to know more about why the stress of nursing school is totally worth it? Contact our admissions team and ask about our 16-month ABSN program near Boston or in Uptown Charlotte.