How to take care of yourself as a nursing student


The road to being a successful nurse is extensive and long, but one with a high reward. Before you can become a successful nurse, you must first achieve your nursing certifications. If you are in nursing school or considering applying, then you must take care of yourself just as much as you plan on caring for others.

There are many causes of stress in nursing school, and these include:

. Exam Stress

Much like any other degree, the nursing school requires exams, but this can cause students high levels of anxiety.

. Fighting to Gain Respect

Unfortunately, many people don’t give nursing students respect until they have completed their studies. This means many nursing students might fight to be taken seriously. Sometimes, the constant need to prove yourself can tire you out.

. Competitive Students

Nursing school is full of competitive students, and this can weigh heavily on people.

. The Cost of Education 

Tuition costs can cause a lot of stress for students, especially when they are high and they don’t have scholarships. This can increase even more if they have to work long hours alongside their studies.

Due to these stresses, there is a great need for nursing students to take time to relax and look after their own minds. It’s not always easy, but following certain steps can help make sure that you are getting the best education you can while keeping a happy and healthy brain.

Take Breaks 

It is no secret that nursing school is a lot of work. Of course, you must do the work that is needed, but that isn’t an excuse for not taking breaks. Nobody can be in work-mode all the time, and if you strive for that, you will find that you burn out quickly. If you find that you are stressing over the fact you rarely have time to yourself, you must put your foot down and let yourself take some time off! Whether that be a day where you enjoy a stroll in the park, or even just thirty minutes to take your eyes away from a textbook, it is necessary for ensuring you don’t overstress.

Forgive Yourself

Sometimes, you will make mistakes. This is inevitable. What is controllable, however, is how you deal with it. It doesn’t matter how other people perceive you at the time; you must make sure you forgive yourself and move on. If you don’t, how will you ever learn? Remember that everyone is going to make a mistake at some point on their path, and most likely far more than one! Of course, you should learn from your errors, but it is just as important to forgive yourself and move on.

Make Friends

When starting nursing school, many students tell themselves they will focus solely on education. This isn’t the way to go! Throughout your journey, you will reach highs and lows, and you must have a group of people you can share that with. Nursing friends will be there for when you need to laugh, cry, or vent about your day. It would help if you had those who understand you, who are also striving towards their nursing certifications, and can sympathize with how much hard work you are putting in.

If you are struggling to make friends, put yourself out there! There are several ways you can initiate friendships, such as –

. Joining a Club

. Messaging on Social Media

. Asking Someone for Help

. Starting a Study Group

Remember, everyone is in the same boat as you, so don’t hide away. Before long, you will find that you have friends everywhere you turn, and they will help you get through your years of working towards your nursing certifications and beyond.

Talk to Your Mentor

At some point in your nursing student journey, you will receive a mentor. They are there to help you achieve your nursing certifications, but that doesn’t mean they are only there to provide you with educational assistance. If you are struggling in any way, make sure you reach out to your mentor and ask them for their advice. After all, they are there to guide you, and they have been exactly where you are now – a student. More than anyone, they will be able to point you in the right direction and give you peace of mind that everything will be OK. Allow their wisdom to relax you and remind you that you are on a wonderful path towards a nursing career.

Create a Study Schedule

One of the main creators of stress, when you’re earning your nursing certifications, is the overload of work. Of course, nothing can stop the amount of work you must do, but there are ways of managing.

Don’t let deadlines creep up on you by creating a study schedule. This way, you are less likely to fall behind. You will be able to see clearly how many hours you must put into studying and how many hours you have free. It will create a way of learning that is stress-free and allows you time away from textbooks. Organization skills are a must as a student!

Don’t Compare Yourself

Comparing yourself to your fellow nursing students is a one-way ticket to anxiety. You must remember that everyone works differently, and some brilliant nurses didn’t achieve the best grades while there are nurses who aren’t as brilliant who did extremely well in their exams.

Focus on yourself primarily, and don’t worry too much about what everyone else is doing. Your only competition should be yourself!

Join a Study Group

If you find you are struggling, or you want a little extra help, join a study group. Not only will it give you a chance to make more friends, but it will also allow you to seek help from others. It is one of the most beneficial things you can do as a nursing student. If you are surrounded by others who are in the same boat, and you are all working to help each other, then your stresses will feel much lighter.

Consider Online Courses

Sometimes, it can be difficult to fit nursing school around your schedule, especially if you have to work at the same time. These days, there are plenty of ways to achieve your nursing certifications online. Whether you are studying to be a registered nurse, an FNP, or any other specialized area in nursing, there is an online course out there. This is perfect for those who have other obligations in life and require flexibility on their nursing journey.

Look After Your Mental Health

Keeping track of your mental health as a nursing student is extremely important. With the amount of work and stress you go through, there is a chance that your mental health could deteriorate, and this must be addressed as soon as possible. If you feel that you are struggling there are certain measures you can take, and these include:

. Therapy

. Online Counselling

. Reaching Out to Friends

. Getting Enough Sleep

. Speaking to Your Doctor

. Eating Well

. Exercising

. Avoiding Drugs and Alcohol

It is crucial that you seek help if you are struggling mentally, as leaving it to fester will only make it worse. Remember, many are in the same boat as you, so you shouldn’t bottle your emotions. There are always people who are happy to listen! While you are striving towards a career that focuses on helping others, remember to help yourself along the way.

Plan a Trip Away

Sometimes, getting away from the world of nursing is exactly what you need. No matter how much you love it, everybody needs a break sometimes. If you feel you are over-stressing, then perhaps take the time to plan out a trip. This will give you something to look forward to while you’re busy working hard, and when the trip comes along, you will have time to relax.

Keep in Touch with People from Home

As a nursing student, it’s easy to become caught up in new friends, the workload, and the prospect of your bright future. This doesn’t mean that you should ignore the ones you love at home, however, so make sure you take the time to reach out. Give your family a call, message your friends, and remember to visit as often as you can. They will give you much-needed time away from nursing, and sometimes, that can be exactly what you need.

Always Prepare

A way to mitigate stress is to make sure that you are always prepared. If you are entering class, remember to bring all the equipment you need, and the same goes for when you are on work experience. You don’t want to be the person showing up forgetting your notebook or a pen, so always allow an extra ten minutes in your morning to prepare properly.

Treat Yourself

Everybody needs a little pampering now again, and you are no different. If you find yourself looking in the mirror after a long day and a tired face peers back at you, then it is time to give yourself a well-deserved treat! Imagine you are a friend and take care of yourself like you would someone you love. Some ideas for treating yourself are –

. Running a Warm Bubble Bath

. Buying Yourself a New Pair of Shoes

. Booking a Spa Day

. Ordering Your Favourite Takeout

. Planning a Get Together with Your Friends

Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you love and will provide you with some time away from your studies.

Be Open

One of the worst things you can do as a nursing student is to block other people off from your feelings. You must be as open as you can, and you will find that many others feel the same way as you do! Let your emotions splurge, and you will feel far better once they are out there.

Create a Comfortable Home

At the end of a long day of nursing school, the last thing you want to come home to is a messy home. Take the time to create a relaxing environment. Throw in some blankets, add colorful cushions, and maybe even light some candles. The atmosphere of your home can make all the difference, so make sure it is a space you are happy to be in.

Focus on the Future

When nursing school gets tough, and it feels like your nursing certifications are far out of reach, then focus on the future. You might be feeling like you are climbing a never-ending mountain right now, but you must remember what you are striving towards. Once you have gained your nursing certifications, you will have the chance to embark on the career you have always dreamed of.

Remember Why You Are Doing This 

You started nursing school for a reason. Think back to when you first sent in your application and the moment you learned that you were accepted. Do you remember the ecstasy? The thrill? The excitement? To be where you are now is a dream come true, and whenever you are feeling overwhelmed, you must remember that. Remember why you are embarking on this journey in the first place, and what you will become at the end of it.

Many stresses accompany nursing school, but there are also many benefits –

. The Road to Job Security

. Patient Relationships

. Life-long Nursing Friendships

. A Variety of Opportunities

. A Respectable Career Path

. The Chance to Care for Others

You have much to look forward to, and your experience is one you will look back on fondly one day.

A nursing career is one of the most rewarding in the world, and by taking on nursing school, you are proving that you are worth it. Find ways to take care of yourself throughout your experience, and you will thank yourself once you are given your nursing certifications and the chance to pursue a life-long career in nursing.