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What to Know Before Your First Day of Nursing School


Once you've earned your coveted seat in our nursing school program ask yourself now what. Aside from the usual first day of nursing school jitters you may experience, your new life as a nursing student can be extremely exciting and terrifying at the same time.

The first day of nursing school can we a rude awakening. But hey, if you can survive microbiology, then you can survive the first day of nursing school, right?

Here are some helpful tips to get your feet wet before you start your journey to becoming a registered nurse:

Hot off the nursing school press!

Being prepared before your first day of nursing school is a big part of survival and will help you start your semester organized.

As first-timers and rookies on campus, your guidance counselor will generally create your first semester of courses with you and sign you up, print out your schedule, and send you on your merry way. Here is what I suggest you do—take that paper, go to the bookstore, and grab copies of your syllabi ASAP. Get a head if you can on the readings, or glance over the different topics that your professor will cover.

I also suggest stocking up on highlighters, Post-Its, big three-inch binders, and endless amounts of black pens—trust me, you will need them. Your clinical and lab professors will provide you with a list of items you will need beforehand (lab coat, stethoscope, medical scissors, clinical uniform, white sneakers, name badge, etc.). Make sure you have these items on hand prior to the first day of nursing school.

Why can’t we be friends?

Making connections early on is a crucial part of your success during nursing school. Find at least one other nursing student that either lives in your dorm, near you, or shares a similar schedule. This is important so that you can have a study buddy to help you understand topics when you do not, and vice versa.

I have always found that whenever I lacked knowledge or understanding in a topic, another nursing student in my study group is there to pick up the slack and help out. This will also come in handy as you may have tests every week, and by dividing up assignments between your friends will lighten the course workload.

Don’t be afraid to open to new other nursing students—on the first day of nursing school I found my nursing group by tapping two girls on their shoulders and asking, “So you wanna study together or what?” And the rest is history. It’s important to have at least 2-3 study buddies in your group to help with the course load reading and assignments.

Keep your eye on the prize

Before you start your first day of school, remember one thing—there are people who are placed on waitlists who are itching to take your spot in your nursing school program, so don’t take it for granted.

You are in it for the long run so stay focused, stay driven, and stay organized. Keep a routine that includes healthy meals, some sleep, and social activities to keep yourself sane, and some alone time to recharge. Stay on top of the reading, and don’t be afraid to go to your professors for help, especially when it comes to testing.

If you feel discouraged after your first test, which can be devastating for a first-time nursing student, don’t be afraid to schedule to meet with your professor for a time to discuss your test. A nursing multiple-choice exam is extremely different from any other multiple-choice exams you will ever take. On a nursing test, every answer is correct, but often you are asked to find the best answer, which alone can drive you insane. So stay focused, utilize your nursing school buddies, and don’t be afraid to seek help when needed.

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