Monday, April 15, 2013

[My] Top 15 tips to succeed/survive pre-nursing and nursing school.

Hello, all! I've been wanting to write about nursing school/practice for around three years.

I would love to encourage people who love the profession as much as I do!

I know that some of you may relate, and some of you may not. I hope you still enjoy reading about my nursing adventures from time to time!

Anywho, here goes something. haha!

[My] Top 15 tips to succeed/survive pre-nursing and nursing school. 

My momma receiving her nursing cap.
(These are from personal experience)  

1] Go for that four-year college degree! 

I understand that some of you can't do this due to the lack of financial support and/or time. Let's not forget the competition that exists to even be accepted! It's crazy. Don't get me wrong, an RN with an associate degree or a bachelor's degree is able to give the same quality of work (you can ask my sister, she had her associate before her bachelors)! Both types of nurses are just as smart. Unfortunately, nowdays, most hospitals (or at least hospitals with magnet status) are requiring nurses to have at least a bachelor's degree. Nursing has so many roads. That's its beauty. 

2] Strive for a good science GPA.

It is part of your ticket to nursing school. This includes the never-ending Biology, Microbiology, Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmacology classes!. 

3] Volunteer in the health care field (or other fields). 

Please don't do it for the sake of having something on your resume. If you are passionate about it, go for it. I was blessed with the opportunity to volunteer at a hospital, as a eucharistic minister in the church I was attending, and as a third grade tutor in a gifted and talented school. Nursing schools, and potential employers, look for an all around student! They teach you things school doesn't. Your beliefs and values may strengthen. One of the greatest assets of volunteering? The people you meet! I made friends with a very sweet Catholic nun who was my volunteer partner at the hospital! 

4] Make connections with professors and your counselors.

Go to "office hours"! They will remember who you are because you established that connection outside of class. They will become a very important source of information when you look for a job. 

5] Join organizations that advocate for nursing students, nurses or others. 

Join their board. As I said before, if you are passionate about something, let your passion shine! One of my friends had the idea of creating a student led organization that advocated for Hispanic nursing students. He invited me to join their board. The organization is still running (and membership is increasing from what I've heard) after five (or so) years!

6] Don't worry too much about that "C" you received on your first test. 

Grades will get better or worse. It is all about motivation and dedication. I am talking about you, dear Pharmacology. 

7] Practice public speaking (it counts if you do it in front of your mirror, too)! "Hi, my name is Gabby and I am going to be your student nurse today." 

You will be more comfortable as you approach the patient's room on that first day of your clinical rotation. Really. Unless you are a natural talker, of course. ;-) 

8] Document, document, document.

Everything! Computer or paper charting. Write down everything you did. Besides being on the "safe" side, it will also help in completing careplans a week after taking care of so and so. 

9] Go to class.

Take notes in that "I-am-never-going-to-use-this-again-in-my-life" class.

10] If you are not sure about something, tell your professor. 

He/she would rather have you not know and ask questions than have you harm a patient because of your negligence and/or pride (and you will learn more!). 

11] Be a friend. 

The people in your nursing class will become your best friends for the rest of nursing school and maybe for life. Treat them well. 

12] Humility. 

Around school peers, professors, nurses, doctors, housekeeping staff, etc. You really do not know it all. Nurses like a humble student. They remember you and ask for you to follow them "the next time you come" (happened to a friend).

13] Show up to clinicals. 

Remember that what happens there, stays there. HIPPA, anyone? By the way, look your best. Even if it is five thirty in the morning and you have to wear that uniform and those white shoes!  ;-)

14] Take every [appropriate] opportunity.

If there is an IV to be done, do it. If the patient needs a feeding tube, do it. If the patient needs a bath, do it. If there is a diaper to be changed or a baby to be fed, do it. Needless to say, if you do not feel comfortable doing something, whether you are not sure how to do it or it may violate a hospital policy and/or it may be illegal, say it! Earlier this week, there was a student nurse who did not go into the room when the primary nurse was assessing the patient "because there is already too many people in the room". Don't be afraid, they are your patients, too! 

15] Pray. Memorize Jeremiah 29:11 and 1 Peter 5:7. 

These two verses were my rock. Fill yourself with that truth. Have a lot of faith. There will be hard times. There were times where I did not know if I was really going to "make it". I struggled with my faith.
Know that very soon that "RN" will be behind your name! 

I just have a few months of experience under my belt, but I would love to answer any questions you may have!

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3: 23-24
Gabby, RN. ;-)


  1. Thank you soooooo much for this post! I am going to bookmark this for the future!

    1. Thank you for commenting on this post! It was fun looking back at this post and re-reading my tips! ;-) I am glad it was of help to you. If I can help in any way, don't hesitate to ask! ;-)


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