Guest blogger Shannon Barnes attended accelerated nursing school in Indianapolis. Today, she offers her advice on who to ask for help and when you should ask for it.
If you are considering an accelerated nursing degree, it shouldn’t come as any great surprise that it will be a challenge. And if this is news to you, recall that you will be obtaining your bachelor’s degree in nursing in a mere 16 months! The American Association of Colleges of Nursing agrees it is “the quickest route to licensure as a registered nurse (RN) for adults who have already completed a bachelor’s or graduate degree in a non-nursing discipline.” Certainly that is a phenomenally attractive element—to change careers and be ready to work in that field in such a short time! But in order to achieve that, you are going to have to put some effort into it. And, more importantly, you are going to have to ask for help.
If you are considering an accelerated nursing degree, I can also reasonably guess some things about you. It’s a good bet that you are motivated, organized, independent and a self-starter. Those are admirable qualities that indeed will serve you well in both school and in your career as a nurse. But, if you are not careful, they can also be potential barriers to success because they may make it hard for you to ask for help. According to the Journal of Professional Nursing, “Many RN students juggle home life, children, and careers as well as continuing education.” Given all these competing demands, it is imperative you recognize at the outset that an accelerated nursing degree is one thing you just cannot do alone. I encourage you to ask for help from a variety of sources. And ask often.
In addition to considering who you should ask for help, I suggest you also consider the types of help you might need. Of course there the obvious ones—help learning a tricky concept (The Krebs cycle is what, again?), or help understanding the tricks to successful IV insertions on patients with terrible veins. But there are a few areas that are often overlooked, such as asking for understanding, patience and support.
Ask for help first from your family. And do it now, well before you enter school. The support of your family is the single most important factor in an accelerated nursing program. They must be on board and understand there will be times when you will need to study and they are going to have to eat dinner without you/do their own laundry/go to the grocery/ and clean the house on their own. Studying is a priority and having their help in other areas of your life will make your path to becoming a nurse so much smoother.
Ask for help from your friends. Well, not so much help, but understanding. Unless your friends are already nurses, they aren’t going to fully understand the demands and pressures you will be under while you are in school. You may find yourself declining dinner invitations or out-of-town trips because you need to study. It’s completely legitimate of course, but after the twentieth time you decline their invitation, they might begin to wonder if something is wrong. Asking for their help and understanding in the beginning will prevent a lot of misunderstandings.
As you head back to school as an adult, I probably don’t have to tell you this, but don’t be afraid to ask for help from your professors. Nursing school is complicated and challenging and the pace is rigorous. The content builds on itself so if you fall behind on a topic, it may prevent you from really understanding the next topics. Don’t hesitate to schedule a call or office hours with your professor if you don’t quite understand something.
If you happen to be lucky enough to already know some nurses, start buying them their favorite treats now to thank them for all the help they are going to give you in the future! They will be an invaluable resource for clinical knowledge, as well as industry knowledge. Plus, when you are knee-deep in homework ,they will be there to remind you that you will make it! And that’s worth every latte and cupcake you buy for them.
Are you ready to get started in our accelerated nursing program? Contact us today.