Staying motivated in nursing school can be challenging with competing life priorities, long hours of studying, learning to care for patients and keeping up with class. With so many things on your plate, nursing students have to work really hard to avoid burnout or a loss of motivation.
We’ve put together a list of 5 habits that can help you stay on top of it all, while maintaining the same motivation you had on your first day of class.
- Set Goals
You are probably thinking, “of course I set goals, that’s why I’m in nursing school, my goal is to become a nurse!” Becoming a nurse is a long-term goal and it’s also important to set small, short-term goals that you can accomplish leading up to graduation.
Start by setting some realistic, weekly goals. Instead of setting a goal to study 12 hours over the weekend, break it up throughout the week into small digestible slots to set yourself up for success. When you accomplish your smaller goals, you are more likely to feel better about yourself and motivated to keep going on your long-term ones, like earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree or even a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree.
- Manage Your Time
Juggling school, family, friends and work takes a lot of planning. Dedicate some time to effectively manage your obligations and priorities. Plan blocks of time that are meant for tackling each of your priorities daily, weekly and monthly. Don’t forget to schedule some time for self-care like reading, listening to music and working out. With the right balance of priorities, staying motivated will be more feasible.
Read more about time management here:
- Celebrate Successes
You are going to have days where you feel overwhelmed and tired of studying. Some days you’ll just want to curl up on the couch to watch a movie or spend time with your friends. That’s when it’s time to start focusing on achieving those short-term goals and then rewarding yourself when you do. Whether it means treating yourself to something chocolatey, a fun night out or that long-overdue movie night – give yourself permission to celebrate all the great work you are doing in nursing school. This will give you the confidence to keep moving ahead and reaching those goals.
- Stay Focused
Studying is a big part of nursing school. Sometimes it’s difficult to focus on studying when you have your phone sending you notifications, you hear someone else in your house watching your favorite show, or you have kids or pets that need your attention.
When you can’t focus while studying, it’s easy to feel defeated and lose motivation – which is why finding a quiet, distraction-free, study space that works for you is so important. Almost no one is effective at multi-tasking so it’s important to focus on the most important task at hand - studying. Dedicate an area where you can focus and retain what you are studying so that you feel confident in your knowledge. Confidence will help you stay motivated.
- Ask for Help
For most of us, asking for help is difficult. It’s important to remember that asking for help doesn’t mean you can’t do it on your own, it simply means you could use some guidance to get there.
Ask a friend or family if you need help finding a sitter so that you can focus on studying. Reach out to a classmate or peer if you need a study buddy. Ask your professors for help if you have questions on a specific chapter. Use your university’s resources for academic support. For example, Chamberlain pre-licensure students have access to Chamberlain’s Center for Academic Success, which provides free tutoring, exam preparation tools and more. Asking for help when you identify a gap can help you achieve your goals and keep you motivated.
Creating good habits while in nursing school can help you stay motivated and continue to be successful. For more nursing tips, check out these blog posts:
By Sunita Rao-Fogt
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