Whether you want to work with newborns, infants, adults, or seniors, all nurses must earn the relevant credentials before they can qualify and work in their chosen role.
If you have a caring personality and want to make a difference, going to nursing school and earning your titles requires you to be in the best frame of mind possible.
While your sole focus will be on getting top grades, this shouldn’t come at a cost to your health and wellbeing. When going into the nursing world, you need to pay close attention to your mind and body.
Here are some ways you can keep your productivity levels up and stay positive during your nursing degree.
1. Choose the Right Program
Before stepping into the nursing sector, you must take time to research into specialties that interest you most.
Whether you want to work as a neonatal nurse, pediatric nurse, or complete a post masters to earn your family nurse practitioner certificate, learning about the entry requirements, the modules you will study, and the course fees will give you a thorough understanding of what to expect.
You need to remember that a great deal of time, money, and concentration is needed to succeed in your nursing program, so don’t rush into any decisions.
Taking time to look into the different areas of nursing will give you an educated idea of what specialty you will flourish in.
2. Make Time for Sleep
Regardless of what nursing specialty you go into, you must be prepared to work all different kinds of shifts. Long hours are a given, so to be in the right frame of mind and have the energy to get through the day, you must make time for sleep.
A good night’s sleep is critical for recharging your batteries, helping you to wake up feeling well-rested and ready for anything on the agenda.
During your nursing degree, you need to establish a sleep routine that keeps your body clock in check. If you’re the type of student who studies well into the night, you may feel groggy and rundown in the morning which can affect your productivity and efficiency.
There are many things you can do to get a good night’s sleep, such as creating a relaxing bedroom environment and investing in a new mattress.
3. Watch What You Eat
As a nursing student, fueling your body with the right foods is key for success. If you’re the kind of student who reaches for junk food and take-outs, this will do your mind and body no favors.
While no one is saying you have to banish processed food entirely from your diet, making minor changes and incorporating more fruits and vegetables onto your plate can make a real difference.
A balanced diet full of protein will help keep you feeling fuller for longer. When you begin working in nursing, the last thing you want is to operate on an empty stomach as you won’t perform your duties as well.
Therefore, getting into the habit of eating healthier during your studies will pay off in the long run.
4. Find Time for Exercise
There are powerful health benefits you can gain from working out regularly alongside your studies. Physical activity gets your blood pumping, reduces stress and anxiety, and increases energy levels
If you’re stuck behind your computer for hours on end, having some time away from learning to exercise is key for staying motivated.
While gyms may be shut at present due to the coronavirus outbreak, there are many exercises you can do without having to leave the front door.
If the social aspect of the gym appeals to you, there are virtual physical activity programs you can participate in that allow you to connect with fellow fitness fanatics.
5. Do Something Fun
Although your concentration will be on getting the best marks possible from your nursing program, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun along the way.
To stay productive and on track with your degree, finding a hobby that you love will give you something to take your mind off learning.
Burning out at the beginning of your course may result in you falling behind, so to avoid falling into this trap, make sure you factor in some ‘me’ time.
There are tons of hobbies you can try out that will teach you new skills, build your confidence and give you something to work towards. Once you have something else to focus on, you will gain a great sense of accomplishment.
6. Speak to Your Family
If you live at home with your family, having them around you can be a big help during your nursing degree. While some students fly through their course with ease, others come up against stumbling blocks, so having your nearest and dearest by your side can take the weight off your shoulders.
Don’t hesitate to speak to those you live with, as they may offer words of wisdom that can help you throughout your course.
What’s more, you may have a family member that is already in the nursing profession and can offer you expert advice on how to best navigate through your nursing program.
Above anything else, you should never suffer in silence.
7. Connect with Friends
For current nursing students, learning throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge. While you may have already chosen to study for your degree online, not being able to see your friends in person can make it difficult to stay focused. However, thanks to technology, there are tons of ways you can stay in touch with your buddies. Whether you host a Zoom call or use FaceTime, make sure you check in on your friends.
However, thanks to technology, there are tons of ways you can stay in touch with your buddies. Whether you host a Zoom call or use FaceTime, make sure you check in on your friends.
You should also connect with fellow nursing students on your course. Knowing there are other people in the same boat as you can reduce stress levels and keep you motivated with your learning.
If you are stuck on a particular module, speaking to a classmate may help.
8. Practice Relaxation Techniques
Many nursing students put too much pressure on themselves to do well. If you’re a natural-born worrier, your stress levels may be through the roof.
However, when it comes to succeeding, being anxious from start to finish won’t help. You may find your productivity dwindles when your mind is filled with worry, so practicing relaxation techniques like meditation can help.
Meditation can clear your mind, bring a sense of calm, and ensure you return to your studies feeling motivated and ready to continue.
There are other relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises and yoga that can work just as well. If you live in a busy household, try and find a quiet area of the home to practice any of the techniques listed, as any interruptions can affect the results.
9. Get Outside
If you’re currently in lockdown due to COVID-19, the idea of being stuck within the same four walls may make you stir crazy. For nursing students especially, having an escape from your coursework is more important than ever.
While there may be restrictions on meeting up with friends and going retail shopping, you are allowed to go outside and get fresh air. Regardless of the weather forecast, getting outside the house for 30 minutes can do wonders for your mental health.
Whether you go for a run or jog around the neighborhood, try and get outside in daylight to boost your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is vital for boosting immune function, calcium absorption, as well as protecting your muscles, bones, and heart.
Having some time outdoors away from the stresses of your course will allow you to return with a fresh mindset and new perspective.
10. Ask for Help
There are bound to be challenges during your nursing program, so don’t be afraid to speak to your tutor for help. If you’re studying online, there will be a dedicated support team who are there to help you along the way.
Whether you need help on a module, or have a general inquiry, don’t hesitate to get in touch, especially when you factor in the amount of money you will be shelling out on your nursing degree.
If you are worried about your mental health, make sure you speak to your doctor. If you try any of the tips above and find they aren’t working, you shouldn’t be nervous about making a doctor’s appointment.
Speaking to a healthcare professional will ease any problems you have and ensure you get the right support and treatment.
There may be times during your nursing program where things get on top of you, so you may also want to consider seeing a therapist who can support you on your journey.
To help patients in the best way you can, you must put your health, wellbeing, and happiness first. With patients putting their lives literally into your hands, you need to be in the right mindset to deliver excellent care.
During your nursing degree, the key to success is trying to achieve the best grades without compromising your health.