Preparing for nursing school can make the difference between feeling confident in your nursing education and struggling to get through the semesters. When you first start the application for Marian University’s accelerated nursing program in Indianapolis or Nashville, it’s likely that you are eagerly anticipating your nursing education and career. It’s easy enough to imagine spending your time with classmates working in simulation labs, talking to your lab instructors and professors, impressing your preceptors during clinical rotations with your willingness to get in the middle of the action, and acing your NCLEX after only 75 questions and earning your nursing license.
However, being well prepared is a crucial component to your success as a nursing student. Use these tips on preparing for nursing school so you can feel confident as you start your classes.
Job Shadow a Nurse
One great way of preparing for nursing school is to job shadow a nurse.
Job shadowing allows you to see firsthand what you will experience as a registered nurse and nursing student. If possible, see if you can job shadow nurses in different areas of a health care facility. By seeing how nurses work in different units, you are able to see what you will be doing in those units when you are completing your clinicals. It also allows you to get an idea of a unit you may want to pursue a career in once you become a BSN-educated registered nurse.
When looking for a nurse to job shadow, first consider any family or friends you may know. Even if you don’t know any nurses, your friends may know one, or someone who works in a hospital. Finding a direct contact is the best way to go about looking for a job shadowing opportunity.
If you strike out in that arena, contact one of your local health care centers- many, such as Marian University’s education partner in Indianapolis, St.Vincent Health, have education centers. They can connect you to the departments in which you are interested in job shadowing.
If you are job shadowing a nurse you are only recently acquainted with or just met, be sure to be respectful of him or her and follow all directions. Job shadowing offers you a great opportunity to start building your professional network, so be professional and courteous.
Take Prerequisites Seriously
Although ABSN prerequisites may seem like just another hurdle to jump on your way toward nursing school, it is important to take them seriously. Nursing prerequisites play an important role in preparing you for nursing school.
The seven prerequisites you will take before nursing school are all designed to provide a foundational knowledge upon which you will build in nursing school. These courses comprise:
- BIO 214 Introductory Microbiology
- BIO 225 Human Anatomy
- BIO 226 General Human Physiology
- CHE 100 Elements of General and Biological Chemistry
- PSY 205/BUS 205 Statistical Methods
- THL 105 Introduction to Theology OR THL 216 Moral Issues
Additionally, your prerequisites puts you and your classmates on the same education level. This means you won’t feel left behind while your classmates are getting a head start.
Develop Good Study Habits
While you are taking your prerequisites and before you start your classes in the Accelerated BSN program, you should develop a study schedule that works for you.
Because you will be completing your prerequisites through MAP, you are able to experience online learning before your nursing classes begin. This is the perfect opportunity to find a good study space. Do you enjoy working and studying at home, at a café, or at a library? Do you work better in the mornings or at night? Can you study with noise, or does it have to be perfectly silent?
Although your schedule will be changing while you are in nursing school due to labs and clinicals, you can still develop a loose study schedule that you can stick to throughout the 16-month ABSN program at Marian.
You should also focus on developing good study habits. If you don’t already know, look for a quiz online that can help you find out what your learning style is, whether visual, auditory, or tactile. By discovering your learning style, you can adapt your class material to that style.
- Visual Learner- If you are a visual learner, writing down notes, color coding, and flashcards may be your best study methods.
- Auditory Learner- Auditory learners learn best by listening. Reading out loud, using and reading flashcards, and recording yourself reading might be the most effective study habits for you.
- Tactile Learner- Tactile learners learn best by doing. Chewing gum or walking around while studying, tapping a pencil, and completing hands-on activities help you succeed in school.
Talk to Nursing Students and Nurses
Nobody can help you understand what to expect from nursing school quite like a nursing student. Before you get too deep into your nursing education, find a couple to talk to. Take a look at any Facebook or other social media groups of nursing students, or check out some online nursing student forums. If possible, try to find nursing students from the school you are planning on attending.
Speaking to nursing students who are already enrolled in nursing school can help you get a clear picture of what you will experience in your education. Ask them what they enjoy about nursing school, what they’ve struggled with and why, and what tips they can offer future nursing students. Speaking with a few different students lets you see how the education experience differs for everyone.
You should also try to find a couple of registered nurses to speak to. While you are going through your nursing education, you will be completing clinicals, in which you will work with a preceptor. Talking to a nurse offers you the chance to understand what will be expected from you during clinical rotations. This is also a great opportunity to get some advice on a nursing career and start building a great professional network.
Work with your Admissions Advisor
From the moment you first reach out to Marian, you are paired with an admissions advisor that will work you through every step of the admissions process until the day you start classes. Your advisor can offer great tips on everything, from getting a letter of recommendation to completing your prerequisites to starting your online classes. If you are struggling with a certain aspect of the application process, the first person you should contact is your advisor. Your admissions advisor will be alongside you during your nursing application journey- she or he wants you to succeed just as badly as you do.
By preparing for nursing school well, you are setting yourself up for success.
Not quite ready to start the admissions process but want to learn how you can earn your Bachelor of Science in Nursing? Contact one of our advisors today.