Guest Post: The Self Employed Nurse
The Reality of Nursing School
Admission into most nursing programs is a highly competitive process. When you receive your letter of acceptance into a program the experience can parallel winning the lottery. Later, toward the end of your first semester in nursing, reality sets in and your social life is replaced with endless hours of studying. Then you realize that you didn’t win the lottery and quickly learn how to survive being cut from the program.
The only relationship you have time for is your new love affair with coffee. You muster up the courage and determination to get through your nursing program. Amazingly, as you near the end of your program, you begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel. You can practically taste the freedom and eagerly await the beginning of your new life. Can you even remember what it was like to have a social life? Now, the only thing holding you back is preparing for and taking the NCLEX-RN which is the ultimate culmination or your whole school experience.
Preparing for the NCLEX-RN
However, why wait until your NCLEX is over for your life to begin? The key to NCLEX preparation is to strike a balance between studying and life. Here are 5 tips to help you have a life while preparing for the NCLEX:
1. Start preparing as early as possible. Try studying in mini sessions for the NCLEX. At first this strategy may seem counter intuitive. However, you could spend the same amount of time studying over a longer time period as opposed to cramming for days on end which leaves you unable to have time for any other activity. The habit of studying NCLEX practice questions on a daily basis will help you gain confidence. “Cramming” is not an effective study method for learning complex material.
2. Prepare a daily schedule. Allot a certain amount of time for every activity in your day. Be sure and set aside time for friends and activities. For maximum effectiveness, stick to a set schedule. If you find that your schedule is not working, make adjustments. Also, practice mindfulness when you complete any activity on your daily schedule. Mindfulness is the art of being present in the moment.
For example, if it is study time, be mindful and give your full attention to studying. Don’t text, check your email, or listen to music. Likewise, if it is your scheduled free time to hang out with friends don’t be on your phone answering study practice questions. Multi-tasking is highly overrated and not very effective!
3. Exercise daily. Besides being a healthy habit, exercise may help lower your stress levels. Are you falling asleep while you are studying? This is one of the few instances that you should deviate from your schedule. Try a twenty minute walk to help you wake up so that you can focus on your work.
4. Eat properly and stay hydrated. Consider which meal will give you more energy and would be the least likely to lead to a carb crash; a meal of pizza or a grilled chicken salad? Also, be sure to drink enough water to can keep yourself hydrated. Mild dehydration can lead to irritability, and the inability to concentrate.
5. Engage in your passion. Remember how much fun you would have participating in your favorite hobbies or activity before starting nursing school? Plan time to have fun doing an activity that you love each day. Make sure that is totally unrelated to nursing. Engaging in an activity that helps you relax would also be a beneficial.
Lastly, feel free to customize these tips to meet your needs. Also, check out the Board Vitals’ NCLEX- RN Review and Question Bank with options for a 1, 3, or 6 months online subscription. These NCLEX style questions are written by content experts and include the rationales you need to grow your critical thinking skills. You can even trial it for free, so it’s a good way to pick up some free extra study time.