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How to Survive Your First Week in Nursing School


Survive Nursing

Nursing school is a journey—a long one, and the beginning is always the most difficult. Your first week in nursing school will be full of excitement and fear, stress and joy, and at times it will feel impossible. Of course it isn’t. The 2.9 million nurses in America today all went through the same feelings and things you’re going through yourself. They survived, and you can too, and these tips will help.

1. Get to know your classmates

The minute you begin school, look around. The people in your classes, on the ground or online, are your cohort, and you’re going to become very close to them throughout your program. You may not become best friends. You may become frustrated with or jealous of them at times, but these people are now as much a part of nursing school as your textbooks, faculty, and clinical supervisors. Whatever emotions you’re feeling during your first week in nursing school, they’re probably feeling too, and so at the very least you know you’re not alone. Some of these classmates will become friends, but almost all of them are now a part of your support network, and you’re there for each other to process stress, air grievances, and study together.

Related Resource: 10 Ways to Keep in Touch During Nursing School

2. Put every date from your syllabi in your calendar

Do this the day you get your syllabi. If you use a calendar on your computer or phone, add deadlines—with alerts—but a physical calendar is helpful to visualize your whole semester and all of the tests and projects it contains. It may seem daunting to have so much work ahead of you, but it’s better to be prepared. If nothing else, assembling all of these dates and projects will help you mentally process them, which can reduce some of the stress everyone feels their first week in nursing school. You’re going to survive, and laying all of your work out in front of you will help.

Related Resource: 10 Tips for Creating Your Ideal Study Space

3. Introduce yourself to your instructors

They’re going to be a huge part—sometimes the biggest part—of your nursing school experience, and so it’s wise to introduce yourself to them now, rather than when you’re struggling with a project or material. Your instructors want to know you. They teach because they love passing knowledge on to students, the future of nursing, and if you establish a relationship from the start, their expectations and grading will be less scary down the road.

4. Readjust your expectations

Did you get straight A’s before nursing school? Well, join the club. Most RN students received great grades throughout high school and college, but nursing school is different. Evident in every syllabi, you’re expected to learn more than you’ve ever thought possible, which may be true. Straight A’s just aren’t possible for most nursing students. So just remember receiving a B doesn’t signify a failure. Every good nurse knows she always has more to learn, and if nothing else, a B reveals that.

5. Be excited

Whatever other emotions you feel throughout your first week in nursing school, remember that you’re here: Your nursing journey has finally begun. Be excited. Be proud of yourself. Look forward to the friendships you’ll create and the knowledge you’ll learn and all the lives you’ll impact in clinicals and your career. Nursing school may be daunting at times, but even when you’re stressed, remember where you are, and be excited about the fact that you’re becoming a nurse.

Related Resource: How to Survive Your Overnight Clinical Shift

At Ameritech College of Healthcare we’re proud of all of our nursing students, and we want them to be as proud of themselves. Whether you’re just starting nursing school or are curious and want to learn more about our curriculum, read here, and please reach out with any questions. We’d love to hear from you.