These tips are taken from post's of snursers who have come and gone but their spirit still remains.
ACE THE TEST
Take your tests in comfort and style Wear comfortable loose fitting clothing on test day. Loose fitting
does not mean sloppy. Do your confidence level a favor and dress for success. Cardigan sweaters, full
skirts and stretch pants are comfortable without compromising your professional style and attitude.
If you need to take issue with the instructor over a point on a test, do it privately. To dispute a mark in
public will embarrass them and make them want to be proved right. And bring it up in the context that
you need the correct information, not that youíre going for that one little point.
When the instructor and the text conflict. offer both answers on the test when possible. If not (as in
multiple choice) most instructors will allow you to approach them quietly during the test. You can
display your knowledge and ask which answer is being requested.
Ask former students about an instructorís testing style before taking that first exam.
ADJUST YOUR ATTITUDE
Buy a good personal planner and note all projects, deadlines and tests in it. Plan a realistic schedule
and follow it. Just take one day at a time.
Then just take one day at a time confident that every dayís tasks bring you closer to your goal
Being a nursing student is harder than being a nurse in many ways. just relax, donít sweat the small
stuff, and be receptive to patient and staff needs.
Replace your fear, anxiety, and worry with joy. have fun with what you know. have fun learning neat new
stuff. You canít stop bad things from happening. but you can learn from it. You can enjoy your new
Donít give up. Failure is not an option!
Graduation is not a goal. It is simply the natural consequence of your actions!
set the tone of the clinical day right. press uniform, lay out cloths and shoes. get essential items
together (always in the same place) and pack your bag the night before. Youíl feel "with it" and together
the next day. Itís a great confidence builder.
FORMING AND USING A STUDY GROUP
FORM A STUDY GROUP!
Especially one you can stick with through graduation. develop an invested interest in each other. and
divide and conquer the huge amount of info. nursing students are expected to learn.
Go through your notes together. Sometimes someone else puts information down in an especially
memorable way. Sometimes someone else catches something you missed.
Sit in the front row! Most study groups form from those you associate with during classes. So select
your lab partner with care and sit in the front row with the students who are (or want to be) brilliant.
Divide and conquer!
Assign a portion of each chapter or assignment to each member of your group. Each person is to
make up study questions for their portion and distribute copies to the others.
Presto! your own practice exam!
Network with students ahead of you for information on courses and instructors. A little fore knowledge
can go a long way.
Select a net-friend from the snurse-l and exchange topical questions over e-mail
GET THAT FIRST JOB
Keep your resume to one page! Edit,edit,edit, then, if all else fails, shrink the point size. Just keep in
mind reading ease.
Donít list each clinical in your resume. Do list any unusual clinical experience or clinical experience
gained outside of school. (Red Cross volunteering, paid positions within hospitals, etc.)
List any unusual or unique experience in your resume. Anything that will make you memorable and
make you stand out.
List professional memberships (ANA,NSNA etc.) in your resume
Donít overlook the obvious sources of employment information. The Phone Book. Many hospitals list
special numbers for recruitment. Also look at employment agencies, and temporary help agencies (like
the Kelly girls) but remember no one can get a job for you. your job is YOUR responsibility.
at your interview, ask for a copy of the nursing department mission statement and goals. Better yet,
procure them before hand from the hospitalís public relations dept. and mention them in your interview.
Let the interviewer know you care about the direction theyíre trying to bring nursing.
Most companies, hospitals included, hire from within first, so getting a non professional job within a
hospital can give you a edge after licensure.
Take continuing education classes. Collecting CEUs can give your resume a short line that will speak
volumes about your proactive attitude and self motivation. "I have (x#) CEUs"
GET THE MOST OUT OF CLASSES
During even the most boring lecture, look interested. The secret of a good image is striving to be that
which you wish to appear.
Remember, some teachers are just jerks. Deal with it. Learning how to deal with jerks is a good skill to
cultivate in any discipline.
Introduce yourself to your instructors. You donít want to just be a "face in the crowd.
GET THE MOST FROM YOUR BOOKS
Take your materials out of your house to study. Get away from distractions, undone dishes, radio and
TV. The doughnut shop or all night café will offer quiet and ample amounts of coffee.
Read nursing journals and magazines. Often current articles will compliment your text and make the
information more easily understood.
use individual sheets of paper or large index cards to make a file of disease/conditions and their
treatments. List etiology, signs and symptoms, diagnostic tests, interventions, etc. and keep them in a
binder for future reference as well as present study.
Take notes from your notes!
After taking notes in class or from the book, put away the book and tape player and outline the notes.
Use NCLEX review materials as your study guide. Sort questions by topic as you go through school
and study those questions pertaining to your current lesson. It will help you learn and give you a head
start when itís time to schedule your NCLEX .
Turn course objectives (as found in the beginning of each chapter or from the course syllabus) into
Instant study guide!
THRIVE IN CLINICALS
Whether you donít know how to make a bed or have been an EMT for years, remember everyone
begins clinicals as different levels of experience. Focus on where you are going, what you will learn. not
on how much (or little) you know now.
If you have trouble remembering protocols, lab values or even your patientís name :) write them down
on index cards and keep them in your pocket. The more you use them the more you study them.
In Psych rotation, take a moment to center yourself before working with patients. Most respond best to
a calm focused approach.
Study your instructors. The more you know them the more likely you are to understand them and what
they are expecting from you.
If you donít know how to do a procedure, look it up, check the protocols, ask for help. Instructors would
rather be "bothered" walking you through the procedure than fixing the mess or hearing the complaints
if you do something wrong.
Be helpful to the nurse you are assigned to for clinical. Take all the vitals, never contradict publicly,
donít ask constant questions (thatís what you have instructors for) In general Kiss-up The nurse will be
glad of the help and be more likely to help you.
Donít make your supervising nurse hold your hand. Even if your scared and have never done something
before, jump in and do anything suggested.
Volunteer information! Instructors like to be informed about your patients.
If they can trust you to keep them informed you are likely to be trusted to
Explore volunteer opportunities in your area. It ain't just for candy stripers any more.
Many clinics and outreach organizations are completely run by volunteers. The experience can help
you shine on the floor.
Tape the lectures on audiocassette. Then listen to the lecture again while you re-write your notes.
youíd be surpassed what you missed the first time.
read you clinical notes into a tape recorder by topic in a concise repeatable form. then ASK
QUESTIONS on tape that you can answer when you listen to it. Listen to tapes on your way to
clinicals in your car or on a headset walking to class. You can even save them to be used for NCLEX
Search out and use web resources in your research papers. Also get the free learning software
available from FTP sites on the net.
Use your e-mail account to communicate with instructors. You are likely to get a well crafted, concise
answer to your concerns if they must be put in writing. It also eliminates phone tag and restrictions to
Some software and database programs allow you to create a template to your specifications. You can
make forms for careplans, assessments, process recordings, any standard paperwork. Then all you
need to do is fill in the blanks and print it up.
WHEN YOU ALSO HAVE A FAMILY
Lower your standard of housekeeping. You donít need to make the beds every day as long as your
sheets are clean. You want the place clean enough to stay healthy and organized enough to find your
shoes in the morning. Every thing else is just petty pride.
Care and up-keep of a significant other is important. Tell your SO how much you appreciate them and
count on them. When they do something you find helpful - THANK THEM. Remember, youíre in this
If you have all day day care (not hourly) use it! drop the kids off when the doors open and STUDY. It
helps the kids and you if you have a regular time you reliably pick them up though.
Shop around for reliable daycare. Most facilities will send a child home "sick" with a touch of diarrhea
or have an arbitrary degree temp as the "sick" point. Have a back up plan if your child is "under the
Look around your community for activities you kids can enjoy while you are in class or studying. Little
league, after school programs and community events are all good possibilities.
Set aside family time and protect it - even when you have a paper due the next day.
Set aside study time and protect it - even if it means hiring a babysitter or trading babysitting duty with
Enforce a "family homework time" let everyone study together at the table. You will set a good example
of study habits and have some extra family time together.