5 Ways to Cope with Nursing School Stress
Nursing is one of the most rewarding careers. Nurses’ contributions to healthcare and the difference they make in their patients’ lives are priceless. However, the path leading there may not be as easy as students imagine it to be.
Nursing is one of the most challenging programs. One study confirmed that nursing students suffer from stress and sleeplessness due to long hours of studying and the demands of their coursework. In the clinical setting, these students also experience anxiety when they fall short of the high expectations, which can be compounded by their emotions once they get involved with patients’ health and well-being.
However, many students are still keen on getting an RN degree. In the US, student enrollment in baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs surged, notwithstanding pervasive concerns about the ongoing pandemic. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) survey, nursing student enrollment increased by 5.6%, with 251,145 entry-level baccalaureate enrollments.
AACN Board of Directors Chair Dr. Susan Bakewell-Sachs said, “With the pandemic ushering in a period of unprecedented change and innovation in higher education, schools of nursing moved decisively to adapt their programs to ensure a steady supply of nurses needed to join the fight against COVID-19.”
How can nursing students cope with the challenges of the program and become valuable members of the healthcare industry? Here are some ways:
1. Practice Self-Care
Self-care is the practice of taking care of yourself. It is more than just taking a break from studying or skipping classes—it involves attending to the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of one’s life. Students who make it a priority to take care of themselves experience less stress and illness, and better productivity. Take a break to tend to your well-being, and focus on things that have positive long-term effects, such as getting a night of restful sleep, eating right, or getting into a workout program.
2. Follow a Schedule
Often, the main source of a nursing student’s stress is the load of their coursework. As they level up in their education, they are not only expected to pass their exams, but they are also required to submit term papers, attend to patients, and present reports. All these activities can overlap and overwhelm students. Before things get out of hand, create a schedule. Make it a habit to set tasks to accomplish for the day. This way, there is better organization of the to-do list and things do not get left to the last minute, making everything more manageable.
3. Develop Professional Competency
Most nursing students feel stressed out in their studies because they are still developing their professional knowledge and skills. When they’re still starting out, these shortcomings may be forgivable. However, as they advance in their course program, students are expected to perform better. As such, it is important they take an active role in acquiring the required skills and competencies. Students can benefit if they develop a learning method. They can start by undergoing a direct experience, observing nursing professionals during their clinical rounds, or requesting consultations with educators and other learners.
4. Learn from Mistakes
It is anxiety-inducing when students are called out for their mistakes. Once students enter their clinical training, the weight of their responsibility—including taking care of patients and ensuring they are safe and as comfortable as possible—can be stressful. Mistakes can happen, and students must learn from those mistakes. Use these experiences to mold your competency as a nurse. Whenever students set foot in the hospital or any clinical setting, their thinking should always be set on learning.
5. Keep the Goal in Mind
There may be times when students will feel like quitting in the middle of their studies. When this happens, look back at why you started. What do you want to achieve? Why did you want to earn this degree? Why did you want to become a nurse? Once these questions are answered, it will be easier to focus and get back to work.
Stress is not entirely bad. Eustress or positive stress (it’s something you’ll learn when you enter the nursing program) can bring good rewards as it can help you stay motivated and push you to work towards your goal. So, don’t let stress hold you back. Learn how you can get an RN degree from HCI College.
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