1. Nine Things Every New Nursing Student Should Know
A nursing student speaking with a doctor in a busy hospital hallway.

9 Things Every Nursing Student Should Know

Nursing school can be one of the most challenging — and rewarding — experiences of your life. We asked some on-the-job nurses what they would tell someone just starting out in school, and a few pieces of advice came up over and over again.

Find a stethoscope for nursing school

1. You’re not alone.

“If you feel like giving up at least once a week, congratulations. You are normal,” is how one commenter put it. Becoming a nurse can be difficult and frustrating at times. But know you are not alone in feeling like it’s just too much sometimes. Which brings us to the next tip.

“If you feel like giving up at least once a week, congratulations. You are normal,” is how one commenter put it. Becoming a nurse can be difficult and frustrating at times. But know you are not alone in feeling like it’s just too much sometimes. Which brings us to the next tip.

2. Find a way to deal with stress.

Cry it out. Punch a pillow. Call a friend and tell them all about it. It’s important to deal with the stress instead of denying your feelings. You’ll feel better and be able to move on to the next challenge if you do.

Cry it out. Punch a pillow. Call a friend and tell them all about it. It’s important to deal with the stress instead of denying your feelings. You’ll feel better and be able to move on to the next challenge if you do.

3. Ask questions.

Don’t pretend to know something you don’t know. You may be tempted to fake it to impress your instructors, but now’s the time to get all your questions answered. At the same time….

Don’t pretend to know something you don’t know. You may be tempted to fake it to impress your instructors, but now’s the time to get all your questions answered. At the same time….

4. Trust your gut.

You may be new to nursing, but you may know more than you think you do. Listen to your instincts and if something doesn’t seem right, bring it up

You may be new to nursing, but you may know more than you think you do. Listen to your instincts and if something doesn’t seem right, bring it up

5. Remember to take care of yourself.

You won’t sleep enough. You may not have time to exercise. It will be hard to eat right. It happens to everyone. Do what you can to take care of yourself despite the demands on your time and energy.

You won’t sleep enough. You may not have time to exercise. It will be hard to eat right. It happens to everyone. Do what you can to take care of yourself despite the demands on your time and energy.

6. Adjust your expectations.

You may be used to being at the top of your class. You may have always had a 4.0. That may not happen in nursing school. It’s just plain harder to get it right every time. Luckily, the grades are not as critical in nursing school. As one commenter said, “A graduate who passes with a C is called a nurse.”

You may be used to being at the top of your class. You may have always had a 4.0. That may not happen in nursing school. It’s just plain harder to get it right every time. Luckily, the grades are not as critical in nursing school. As one commenter said, “A graduate who passes with a C is called a nurse.”

7. When in doubt, wash your hands.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. And probably good advice for anyone.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. And probably good advice for anyone.

8. Invest in a high-quality stethoscope.

Learning how to listen with a stethoscope is easier with a good one. A high-quality stethoscope gives you an advantage in hearing what you need to hear. And spending a little more now on one that will last means you won’t have to buy another one when you graduate.

Learning how to listen with a stethoscope is easier with a good one. A high-quality stethoscope gives you an advantage in hearing what you need to hear. And spending a little more now on one that will last means you won’t have to buy another one when you graduate.

9. And finally, “It’s gonna be hard, but the end is worth it!”

There will be days when you want to give up. And then there will be days when it all clicks and you realize you’re starting to think like a nurse. Hang in there and know that when you graduate, you’ll be doing rewarding work that you love.

There will be days when you want to give up. And then there will be days when it all clicks and you realize you’re starting to think like a nurse. Hang in there and know that when you graduate, you’ll be doing rewarding work that you love.

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