Nursing is one of the world’s oldest professions, but it’s only recently that it has been backed by high levels of training and commitment. The first nursing degree was offered in the 1900s, and the master’s and doctorate programs are only a few decades old. What this means for nurses today is that you can specialize and you can work your way into exciting career opportunities with your education.
You can work within healthcare, privately, or even adjacently. Human health is a critical topic, and as a nurse, you will be one of the leading experts.
The best part is that there are so many ways that you can get into nursing. Regardless of what approach you take, this guide will help you study better and get the utmost out of your education experience:
Start by Selecting the Right Approach
We all have our own specific needs and responsibilities. Educators and governments around the world have recognized this fact, which is why there are so many different ways to approach your education.
To start, you have the option between online or on-campus. While some thrive using online education and enjoy the freedom of being taught without having to relocate, others suffer. The same applies to full-time or part-time degree options. If you need to juggle your time and responsibilities, you will almost always be better off managing a part-time degree that allows you to be a full-time parent or worker.
On top of that, of course, is the fact that you can always fast-track a degree. Fast-tracking simply means using credits you have already earned (usually as part of a STEM-related bachelor’s). If you have the option, it’s usually a great idea to go down this route.
You could, for example, earn a BSN in just 16 months if you can fast-track it with an accelerated degree. Do note that accelerated degrees with that fast of a turnaround are usually full-time and not meant to be completed around a job or other big responsibilities. Considering that you can get started with a new, thriving career in just over a year, however, the payoff is certainly worth taking an educational break in your career.
In order to apply for the ABSN online program, you will need to have certain prerequisite credits under your belt and a bachelor’s degree. Click here to see all of the prerequisites, and know that if you don’t have them all, there are options that will let you achieve them. You could earn extra credits at your community college, for example, or go to night school.
Preparing Your Personal Life
Making the switch from a career to a degree can be jarring for many, particularly if you have opted for a full-time, online degree like the ABSN. If you want to improve your ability to comfortably complete said degree, then there are a few different ways that you will want to prepare.
Though you will likely take out a loan that includes maintenance fees to cover your education, it is in your best interest to take out the minimum you need and also have a financial buffer. The only time you may not want to do this is if it invalidates any financial aid you may have once received.
Regardless of your situation, minimizing your outgoing costs (think subscriptions and even utilities or rent) can help you live more comfortably so you can focus your entire attention on your studies.
Create a New Budget
Regardless of how you pay for your education or what type of savings you may have, it is important to create a new budget. Be aware of where all your costs are going and try to find ways to save more in the long run. Being financially stressed is terrible for your money and your efforts at learning. By establishing a better budget in advance, you can make better use of your loan or savings and use that financial buffer to give you peace of mind.
Tip: It may be a good idea to relocate during your education. For example, if you could temporarily relocate to your family home, you can cut down on rent and utilities. Use the money you save to invest in items you need for your degree (like a new laptop, for example) or to help you feel more stabilized while you complete your degree.
If you decide to enroll in a campus-based degree, then being strict with your budget is going to be even more important. Try to use all the financial aid and on-site resources available to help.
Establish a Routine for Success
Routine is how we build good habits and get our minds on board with our goals. It can be exhausting to change up our routines, even if what we were doing in the past was stressful. The body simply likes knowing what to expect.
That’s why a good tip to successfully transition from working to studying is to start preparing in advance. Decide on a physical routine (when you wake up, eat, and sleep), and then start to add in study periods. If you are working up until you start your degree, then you can try to format your learning periods around that old routine. If you have a bit of a break between quitting and starting your degree, you can create and work on sticking with a more nuanced learning schedule.
Care for Your Health and Wellbeing
Eat well, sleep well, and try to keep stress out of the equation. Doing all three can help improve your ability to learn and memorize.
Start by establishing a healthy sleep routine. Getting a good night’s rest regularly can be life-changing. It can help improve your mood, your ability to handle stress, and your memorization and learning capabilities. Since the body has an internal clock known as the circadian rhythm, the best way to get consistently good sleep is to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
Your diet will also play a huge part. Giving it the nutrients and minerals it needs to function at optimum levels can greatly improve your day and your ability to learn. Start by cutting out foods that are hard on the body, like those full of processed sugar and saturated fats. Make simple switches to healthier alternatives.
Regardless of your approach to diet, aim to drink more water. Being properly hydrated is key to good brain health.
From there, try to be a little bit active to improve circulation, and try to stay out of stressful situations. For students, stress comes from not properly managing their time. If you commit to a little every day, then you can avoid that stress and improve your performance all at once.
Tips to Improve Studying
Unlike with other degrees and subjects, you need to have a good memory when working in healthcare. It could make all the difference between first passing the state exam and then to patients in the real world.
The good news is that there are many great tips that can help improve your ability to study.
How do You Learn?
We all have strengths when it comes to how we learn. Some of us are visual learners, others are tactile learners, or they learn by doing, and some are audible learners. Understanding what senses you use most in your memory can help you adjust your approach to education.
If you remember what you listen to most, for example, then try creating audio notes to go with your study notes. Visual learners can add picture tricks and diagrams to their notes to help them remember information. Those that learn best by doing will have the opportunity during their clinical placement. But in the meantime can try to pair a physical action with the topic you are learning.
These tricks help with memory recall. They add additional paths through your brain. For example, using only blue highlighters for notes on one topic can help you recall that topic simply by thinking of the color blue.
These tricks are going to be very personal to you. Some use association maps to help get them to the information they need. Others use visual or audible cues, and some may even use physical cues.
Spread Out Studying
Cramming does not work. While it can help you pass an exam, the information you stuff into your head during a short period will typically be lost unless you reaffirm that information again and again afterward.
Instead, spread out your studying. Create notes and go over them quickly every day. As more information is added to your notes, cut away the fluff. It is all down to association. You could start by having fully written out explanations and then start using cheats. You can cut away all but the most important part of each sentence or start using explanation words that only make sense to you.
By spreading out your studying and doing a small amount every day, you can commit the information to your long-term memory, which will continue to help you in your efforts.