If you are applying to nursing school, you’ve taken a big step toward a challenging and fulfilling career. Next, you should focus on preparing yourself to take advantage of this learning opportunity. Nursing school is not easy – if it were, everyone would be able to ace it. Look at nursing school as your chance to gain the professional skills and medical knowledge that will be the foundation of your career.
Six Effective Ways to Prepare For Nursing School
Preparing yourself long before you walk through the classroom door or log onto your first online class will go a long way toward your success in nursing school. Here are six effective tips to help you get ready to enter nursing school with confidence.
- Network with nurses. Most everyone knows a nurse, or another healthcare professional who could introduce you to a nurse. If not, contact your local hospital about setting up informational interviews with nurses. Let them know you are a prospective nursing student seeking information from those in the field, and they will likely be happy to speak with you in person, over the phone or through an email interview. Prepare your questions and keep the interview brief and professional. Be sure to thank the nurse for his or her time. Sending a thank you note is a nice touch that will be remembered – and it could even help you stand out from the crowd when you start your job search.
- Volunteer in the healthcare field. Working in a hospital, nursing home, clinic or other healthcare setting is a sure way to determine whether nursing appeals to you – and if you are a good fit for nursing. Most hospitals have volunteer programs, and VA hospitals often need volunteers. Keep in mind that you will probably not be involved with medical procedures, but it will still be great exposure. Volunteering is also good to have on your resume.
- Think like a nurse. Pay attention to what you hear on the news. Search for medical-related and healthcare news sites that interest you and subscribe to their feeds, or just browse through them regularly. If you’re going to be serious about a nursing career, you need to be aware of what’s happening in the field of healthcare, and how it could affect you and your future patients.
- Check out online nurse forums. Participate in discussions and ask questions of the other nurses. Be sure to identify yourself as a prospective nursing student, and you’ll get plenty of great advice.
- Put your finances in order. Nursing school is an investment, whether you’re enrolling in an online school, an RN to BSN program, or a four-year baccalaureate program. It’s a good idea to prepare yourself financially, by establishing a budget, giving your credit cards a rest and avoiding big expenditures. You won’t be sorry if you begin nursing school debt-free and ready to focus on your studies, instead of worrying about your finances.
- Build up a support network. Nursing school is going to be tough, and you will need the support of friends and loved ones. Ask for their help and patience in advance. Find a study buddy (a friend who also attends the same school) so you can keep each other motivated during the long years ahead. If you will be working while attending school, let your supervisor know and request shifts that work with your school schedule. One advantage of online schools is that you may attend classes at any time, when it’s convenient for you and your work schedule. When researching nursing schools, be sure to consider this option.
Nursing is a Rewarding, In-Demand Profession
Nurses are in demand, and in some areas of the United States, there are now critical nurse shortages. It is a rewarding career where you can enjoy a wide variety of excellent career opportunities. If you’ve applied to nursing school, or are a nurse who’s enrolling in an RN to BSN program, you should be commended for making the decision to advance your education. If you follow these tips to prepare for nursing school, you’ll be ready to succeed from day one!