Back-to-School Tips: Healthcare Edition
Going back to school to become a nurse, medical assistant, or other type of healthcare worker can be a jarring experience. Some students come back to school after years of being away from any kind of academic setting, and the transition can be tough. Others go from high school to studying healthcare in a matter of months and are shocked by the sudden uptick in work they have to do. But it is survivable and manageable. Whether you’re studying to be a nurse or a dental laboratory assistant, here are a few back-to-school tips for healthcare students.
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Studying is a lot easier if you have your materials in order. Going back to school means you’re going to need a backpack, notepad, pens, and all the rest of the gear you remember from your high school days. Get ready to carry around the reading material you’ll need for any given day, and be ready to make notes on it. Trying to carry things around in pockets or a purse is a non-starter. You’re a student again, and you’ll need to carry your daily gear like a student.
If you can, create a space at home that will house your school materials, such as your books, flashcards, and backpack. Make sure it’s reasonably comfortable and conducive to study and thought. That usually means studying away from distractions like the television — as tempting as that can be. Organize yourself into a space that lets you learn.
It might also be worthwhile to determine what your learning style is, and find ways to take advantage of that. If you’re more of a visual learner, spend more time with charts and diagrams. If you’re an auditory learner, read out loud to yourself. It might seem strange, but it can be effective. Tailoring your personal study strategy to your learning style can help you stay focused and organized.
Of course, one of the most important things to organize is your time. Speaking of which …
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Make a study schedule
We’re not going to sugarcoat it for you: Studying healthcare is hard, and there’s a whole lot of terminology, information, and new knowledge you’ll have to familiarize yourself with.
You should get a syllabus at the start of every class. Read it, assess how much work it’s going to be every week, and plan out when you’re going to study, work, see your loved ones, and rest. If you have a changing work schedule, try to work with your boss to get your hours nailed down. Set up a study group with your fellow students so you have a reliable time to go over material with your peers.
If you’re working while you’re in school, it can become very easy to be isolated from your friends and family or to overwork yourself. While it’s true that studying is demanding and does require a certain degree of sacrifice, it shouldn’t consume your life. Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule will help you become more effective overall while you’re in school, and maintaining healthy relationships with your friends and family will help you be less stressed and more sane. It will often be your job to read, study, and take tests, but sometimes your main concern will be eating a healthy dinner with your family or getting a good night’s sleep.
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Be okay with change
Probably the most important back-to-school tip for healthcare students, though, is to be okay with change. Studying healthcare will, in itself, be a big change. Your time at school will be markedly different than what came before, but it doesn’t stop there. Once you get out of school, you’ll be working in the world of healthcare, and that will be an even bigger change. You’ll still have to keep learning (continuing education for healthcare professionals is very important) and every single day on the job will bring new challenges. So embrace the change that comes with school. That change will be your new constant — and your life will never be the same.
If you’re studying to be a nurse, be sure to download our free e-book, “49 Proven NCLEX Strategies” for tips on mastering the biggest test in nursing. Good luck, students!