10 Nursing School Tips

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Staying organized, utilizing resources, making a plan and knowing your learning preferences are top on our list of nursing school tips. Our best nursing school advice also includes implementing self-care, rewarding yourself, being prepared to dedicate time and energy to the program and creating a support system.

UST nursing students with red scrubs working with a simulation manikin

Are you wondering how you can get ahead in nursing school and set yourself up for success? The University of St. Thomas Houston Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program prepares you to join the healthcare industry with quality nursing education that can be completed in as few as 12 months. While ABSN@UST works hard to ensure that our program is accessible and comprehensive, we’d like to give you a leg up and offer some helpful nursing school tips that will make your time in our program run smoothly.

1. Be Ready to Commit

ABSN@UST fits the curriculum of a traditional 4-year nursing program into 12 months—you’ll learn a lot in a very short amount of time. The first item on our list of nursing school tips for success is to come into the program ready to make it your top priority. To be successful, you may have to miss out on events or social activities you’d regularly attend.

We also don’t recommend working a full-time job during the program. It’s not uncommon to need to dedicate 40 to 60 hours each week to studying, attending classes and preparing for tests, so we suggest treating the ABSN program like a full-time job.

Is Nursing School Hard? - woman sitting working on laptop

Is nursing school hard? Find out more about what nursing school is all about in this blog post.

2. Get Organized

When it comes to succeeding in nursing school, we recommend buying a planner or creating a spreadsheet to keep track of what you need to get done. It’s vital to keep track of deadlines, labs and tests—this way, nothing can sneak up on you, and you can be better prepared for anything that comes your way.

3. Use Your Resources

The University of St. Thomas faculty and staff are available to help you on your journey toward earning your nursing degree, and we want you to succeed. From identifying which prerequisite courses to take to studying for the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN), they’re here to help. They can help you with study resources, test-taking strategies, housing options or anything else! Your instructors never want you to stress out about finding the resources you need. Anytime you need additional support, we can offer guidance and point you in the right direction.

hand typing on laptop

Learn more about nursing school resources in this blog.

4. Build a Support System

The ABSN@UST program is rigorous and will challenge you in new and exciting ways, and you’ll face a variety of new situations and obstacles. As such, your time in the program will be more manageable if you have a solid support system. This system can include your friends, family and cohort. Knowing that you have people on your side to listen or even help out with meals or chores can make all the difference.

5. Connect With Your Cohort

One of our biggest pieces of nursing school advice is to use your cohort. A cohort is a group of peers who are attending the same program as you; they’ll be in your classes and labs and can be a great source of support.

There are several advantages to forming connections with the people in your cohort:

  • Your peers understand the pressure of meeting deadlines and balancing schoolwork.
  • Your peers can empathize with the sacrifices needed to finish the program.
  • Your peers are likely studying for the same classes and for the NCLEX-RN, so you can study together.

Making friends with other students in your cohort will inspire you to excel. If you ever need help understanding a nursing concept, your classmates can provide their perspectives and offer support as you study.

6. Be Proactive With Communication

Make sure that your loved ones are ready for the changes that will occur once you begin the ABSN@UST program. Successful nursing students invest a considerable amount of time and effort in their studies. Let your family know what you will be facing before starting the program.

Inform your friends and family that the nursing program will need to come first and let them know that you will need to make adjustments to your daily schedule, home duties and how you spend your time.

two nursing students in lab

Discuss what assistance you may need from your family and friends to help you succeed. For example, your partner might have to start picking up the kids from school or your parents might need to occasionally assist with cooking and cleaning.

As you discuss these changes, remember that families may find it challenging to settle into a new routine. Remind yourself and your loved ones that the program is only 12 months long, and when you have some free time, make sure to spend it with them and express your love and gratitude.

It’s important to tell your loved ones that despite not seeing them as frequently, you still need them in your life. You might benefit from arranging a graduation celebration with them so that everyone has something to look forward to. Your true friends will support you on your journey toward earning your nursing degree.

7. Prioritize Self-Care

As you navigate how to succeed in nursing school, it’s vital that you take time for yourself. Make sure you’re eating well, getting enough sleep and managing your stress while studying.

A few ways to manage stress are taking outdoor walks during study breaks, practicing yoga, keeping a journal and spending time on hobbies to ensure you maintain a healthy school-life balance.

8. Connect With Professors

Make sure that you communicate with your teachers frequently to ensure that you are aware of their expectations for the ABSN@UST program. You'll get to know them better this way, which will make it easier to approach them for assistance when you need it. Moreover, after getting to know you, a professor is likely to help you find your first nursing job and serve as a reference once you graduate.

UST ABSN student standing by sim manikin in lab bed

9. Know Your Learning Preferences

To study more efficiently and retain more information, take time to understand your learning preferences. You can take a quick and free VARK questionnaire to help determine your strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you’re an aural learner, podcasts and lectures might work best; if you’re a visual learner, YouTube videos and PowerPoint presentations may be helpful.

10. Reward Yourself

If you hit a wall while studying, it can be helpful to set rewards for yourself. This can be as simple as treating yourself to your favorite snack after you finish reading a chapter or watching a show after you finish reviewing flashcards. If you meet a goal to score a certain grade on a test, treat yourself to a bigger reward, like a dinner out or purchasing something special.

Of course, the biggest reward you’ll gain from the program is earning your BSN and being prepared to enter the healthcare field as a confident nurse. Take the next step toward your future career now at UST!

It’s Time to Make a Bold Move Toward Your Future as a Nurse

ABSN@UST has three start dates per year: January, May and August. If you’d like to find out if you meet the requirements for admission, fill out our online form to get in touch with an admissions advisor today.