Nursing school involves a host of responsibilities that can make anyone wish for more than 24 hours in a day. As a nursing student, you’re always on the go. Between the classroom, library, studying and more studying, you barely have enough time left in the day to sleep. Utica College asked their New York Accelerated BSN program nursing students how they manage their time between clinical, lectures and simulation labs.
These are the 7 tips they came up with:
Get organized. At the beginning of each semester, review your syllabi for important dates like assignment deadlines, exam dates and clinical hours and add them to your various planning devices: appointment book, smartphone, tablet, wall calendar, etc. Include as much detail as you can, such as addresses and if you need to bring anything. Then, set up reminders when possible to alert you of future tasks so you’re not completely going by memory.
Plan your meals. It’s easy to grab something quick in the car for dinner. But after a while, that can get expensive and isn’t the healthiest habit to have. Meanwhile, who has the time to cook a meal every night? What you can do is plan out your meals for the week. Utica’s students suggest dishes such as soups, roasts or casseroles that make a lot at once and can be reheated later as leftovers. Smaller meals you could take with to campus that make good lunches are things like trail mix, fruit, vegetables, and hummus and chips.
Stick to a daily schedule. Taking time at the beginning of each week to organize your school and personal responsibilities can save you a lot of time later. Figure out which tasks and/or assignments you need to get done that week and make to-do lists for each day. Cross something off when you’ve completed it and if you run out of time one day, make a note to get to it the next. Also, keep your supplies and study materials organized and in a designated location so you can quickly pick up where you left off.
Be flexible. Life happens. If an assignment takes longer than expected, don’t get frustrated or stress out. Be aware that this could happen and plan accordingly. Don’t leave anything to the last minute and you’ll be flexible enough to adjust your schedule. Just take it one day at a time and you’ll be fine.
Break Up with Social Networks. Networks like facebook, twitter, youtube, and Instagram are fine in moderation. If your study group stays connected through Facebook, then obviously you’ll want to log in for discussion and/or updates. But these can also distract you and take up too much of your valuable time. Moderation is the key here. If it’s between checking your twitter feed to going to bed, sleep should probably have the priority here.
Download the “Evernote” App. A favorite of Utica’s accelerated nursing students, Evernote is a free app available on Apple and Android devices that allows you to record notes and lectures, organize class information and websites, and store pictures. It uses a cloud-based system and is compatible with almost every computer, phone or tablet. It could be a huge time saver for you.
Use the “Quizlet” App for Studying. Flashcards have been proven to increase academic performance on a test. But unless you’re making them as you go, they can take a while to put together. With the Quizlet app, you can make flashcards on your Apple or Android device quickly and easily. You can even take information from Evernote to build content for your flashcards. Quizlet also allows you to use flashcards other users have already created, so you can share these aids with your study group.
A piece of advice that colleges often give their students is to: ask for help when/if you need it. Nursing schools want their students to succeed. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed and like you don’t have enough time to get through it all, don’t think you have to figure it out alone. There are typically admissions advisors and counselors available and waiting for someone like you to call. Their job is to provide help.
Nursing school can be overwhelming, but only if you let it be. As long as you plan ahead, think it all through, and stick to your schedule, you’ll do just fine.