Have you ever thought about going back to school to become a nurse but worry that it would be too difficult? Too hard to balance classes with your lifestyle? Work with the technology? Stay motivated through the entire program? Well, in many ways, starting a nursing program is similar to learning a new sport. It can be challenging at first if you’ve never done anything like it before, but eventually with hard work and practice you can be successful and develop some great skills. If you’ve ever been successful playing a sport, though, you probably had at least one very good coach along the way. A good coach is someone who always has your back and pushes you to succeed, and in the nursing world, your nursing advisor will fill that role.
For ABSN students at Marian University in Indianapolis, Melissa Spratt is the full-time coach. In considering the ways that her job as a nursing advisor is similar to that of a coach, Melissa described her image of the role as, “Someone who is a mentor; who supports you and challenges you; who has high expectations but also gives you the tools to achieve those expectations; who listens (about anything) and offers sound advice.” Here are just a few ways that nursing advisors accomplish all of these goals:
- Taking time to help new members to the program get acclimated – The transition into a full-time nursing program can be a tough one for many people, and your nursing advisor is the one who ensures you set off on the right foot.
- Keeping students at all levels motivated – Nursing school is hard work no matter how you go about it, and sometimes it takes someone cheering from the sideline to help you persevere and see it all the way through.
- Assisting those who may be struggling – If a class starts giving you trouble or something serious comes up in your life, your nursing advisor is a great resource who will be able to lay out and discuss all of your options so you can make the best decision for yourself.
- Identifying leaders who can help others – Whether you’re looking for a study buddy or just some extra help, peers are always a great resource, and your nursing advisor can often tell who would work well together and be a good person to go to for assistance.
- Acting as a consistent, supportive presence – The best nursing advisors have an open-door policy and make themselves for any and all student concerns that may arise.
- Being the resident expert on the program – Similar to the way an athlete can lose focus on the team and concentrate on his or her own position, so too can students have a solid understanding on where they fit into the program while losing sight of the big picture. As the most knowledgeable person of the curriculum, the nursing advisor can translate some of this understanding and provide a more holistic perspective of the nursing school and entire program.
One of the most important things to remember when considering nursing school is that your success as a student is definitely a team effort. Just like with a sports team, you will be surrounded by peers and advisors to celebrate your every success and help pick you up when you stumble. Nursing advisors like Melissa want to help you get the most out of your education and achieve all of your personal and professional goals.