I may be biased, but I think nursing school is hands down the hardest major to deal with in today’s pandemic. We, as students, are expected to go on with school as normal and expected to fulfill our clinical roles in hospitals packed with COVID patients. Everything is so unpredictable these days that it feels almost impossible to survive classes, much less be successful in them. As a senior nursing student who has been in upper division for awhile and who has worked in a hospital for the past year, I’ve been there. It has taken me a long time to figure out this whole pandemic situation, but I think I could lend my advice. Here are some tips:
1. BE FLEXIBLE. As future nurses, we are expected to “go with the flow” on the floor, so now is a great time to learn and adapt to this type of lifestyle. This took me a long time to figure out with my Type A personality, but speaking from experience you don’t need to have everything planned out. Your professors are figuring things out the best they can, so relax and let THEM figure it out. Stop worrying about due dates, stop freaking out about assignments, and (please dear god) stop stressing about clinical schedules.
2. Have a planner, but also keep whiteout on you- I cannot stress this enough. With everything changing nowadays, my planner has become a jumbled mess of due dates scribbled out and clinical days switched to different days. Keeping whiteout handy has helped me to easily change around my daily schedule and not get confused with all the edits.
3. Do NOT sit in bed during class or while studying. You will get way too comfy and you will fall asleep. Go to the library (with a mask on), go to a starbucks (with a mask on), or just go sit outside. The best study environments are quiet with little distraction, yet public enough that you can’t just lay down and take a nap.
4. Make friends in your clinical groups. Since clinical schedules are a nightmare and since being a student on the floor is so stressful right now, make friends with your fellow clinical nursing students. These are the people you can rely on to keep you accountable, while also lightening the mood at a 5am clinical. Building relationships within a hospital setting is the best way to make a 12 hour clinical somewhat bearable.
5. Last, but surely not least, become a germaphobe. It sounds weird, but whether you’re already one or you learned to be one from working in a hospital, this is vital. As future frontline healthcare professionals, it’s important to demonstrate good hand hygiene and to live a rather “germaphobe” lifestyle. Keep hand sanitizer on you, always wear a mask, and be a role model for other UofL students on campus. If we want to improve today’s situation at all, it starts with us. Just like everyone else in nursing school, I’m still learning to adapt to today’s ever-changing pandemic. The good news though is that as long as you’re being flexible during this time of uncertainty, you’ll make an amazing nurse!