Dear Nursing Major

Belmont University
United States

Dear Nursing Major

This article is for any incoming nursing students, current nursing students or just someone looking for an outside perspective on what’s like to go through nursing school. Nursing school isn’t for the faint of heart. Dealing with constant deadlines, exams and studying 24/7; no wonder they always tell you to try to find a balance to prevent the “burnout” phase of nursing. From a fellow nursing major just know it is definitely possible to live a balanced life.

First, know you will feel lonely sometimes. It is completely normal to feel like you’re alone and that no one understand how hard the course load is on you. You may constantly compare your college experience to other non-nursing majors and you have to realize that your major is more mentally, physically, and emotionally demanding. You may overhear people walking around campus talking about how they have so much free time and that may make you question “When was the last time I had nothing due or nothing to worry about studying for?” You just have to keep reminding yourself that you’re subjecting yourself to this because you have the drive and passion that it will pay off in the future.

Tying into what was written above, it will be hard. Like my mother says “If it was easy, everyone would do it.” Long were the days that you would just go with the flow and pray in hopes you remember to turn in that one assignment due next Thursday. You will have lists on top of lists, you will be forced to create a schedule for yourself and make sure your life is super organized. My pro tip is making sure you stay on top of assignments by checking your syllabus and writing all the due dates in your planner at the beginning of the semester. You will grow to know that a “typical” study sesh may last upwards 6-8 hours of reading the textbook and taking notes for a class and that you may still not understand after all that. That is perfectly normal and okay, just try and prepare as early as possible and break the material down so you don’t get too overwhelmed all at once.

One thing you do have to remind yourself is to take care of yourself too. At the end of a long day of clinical or pathophysiology you have to close the books and indulge in your self-care routine. If you don’t have a self-care routine, you should figure out what relaxes you and try to have a little wind down time. Personally my favorite things to do are:

  1. Turn on my essential oil diffuser (I use lavender oil)

  2. Take a bath and light a candle

  3. Look over what classes and assignments I have for tomorrow

  4. Read a book

  5. Maybe call/facetime a friend from home

  6. Meditate

Also another helpful thing to consider is that if you get too overwhelmed know that it’s okay to get professional help or vent to a friend. This semester I know so many people who are utilizing the free counseling service on campus. Even if you don’t have any major issues it’s so okay to go talk to someone about what you’re feeling in the present moment. I signed up for therapy this semester and my therapist has helped me work through my stress and anxiety and even gave me recommendations of how to cope with all the feelings. Some of the following has helped me:

  1. Do something and not expect productivity as an outcome ( Go on a walk or listen to music)

  2. Writing or journaling about my feelings throughout the day

  3. Meditate ( I use the apps Headspace, Pacifica, Calm)

Just know that at the end of the day you chose this major to make human connections and help people in their time of need. You must always carry yourself with a kind heart, friendly smile and remind yourself that you are an advocate for those who need help. Whenever you’re having a bad day you have to put all that behind yourself. Once you walk through the doors of the hospital know you’re dealing with something beyond yourself. This major is so demanding because you will devote a majority of your day studying and working just for what may seem like little pay off in the moment. You may have days where you feel like giving up because you did bad on a test or you messed up in clinical. Acknowledge where you went wrong and note the severity of your mistakes, but don’t dwell for too long, learn and move forward. Know that the patient will remember the nurse who offered a hand to hold, who prayed for them in a severe situation and was always at the bedside with empathy to offer.

Dear nursing major, you will make it through the semester. Remember to breathe and not take everything too serious. Cut yourself some slack, you’re still growing as a person and will make mistakes and go through some hard times. Just know when to pick yourself up and keep pushing forward. Go rock those scrubs and study hard.

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