How to succeed in nursing school

Registered nurses (RN) must be able to perform a wide variety of nursing skills at their job. These nursing skills are usually learned while in nursing school. However, some more advanced nursing skills will be learned by the nurse while working at their nursing job. Nursing school teaches the nursing student basic nursing skills such as starting an IV, inserting a Foley catheter, and putting on sterile gloves etc. In order to learn more advanced nursing skills, such as arterial line maintenance, ventilator management, and dialysis therapy, the new nurse must specialize in a nursing field that requires nurses to perform these nursing skills on a daily basis. For a complete list of nursing specialties see our RN Jobs category.

What are Nursing Skills?

How to succeed in nursing schoolA nursing skill is a task that can only be completed by someone who is a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) who has been deemed competent to complete this task. In order to be deemed competent to perform a nursing skill, the nurse must complete a competency skills check off list. This competency skills check off list is completed by a nurses manager or preceptor. By the manager or preceptor completing this checklist it states the nurses is competent to perform these nursing skills independently. Many hospitals require nurses annually to submit a competency checklist that has been initialed by a colleague or manager and this is usually due every year at their annual evaluation. This helps the nurse keep up to date with their nursing skills.

In nursing school, nursing students are tested on nursing skills by performing certain clinical nursing skills in front of their instructor. The setting these skills are performed in is setup like a hospital room with a mannequin in a hospital bed. Sometimes mannequin simulators are used to help the student learn.

These stimulated mannequins can be manipulated by the instructor to have problems that the student may encounter in the real hospital setting. For example, a stimulated mannequin can be programmed to go into cardiac arrest, which in turn would test the student on how they would respond correctly. Their instructor would carefully watch and make sure the student is performing their nursing skills correctly. These test are called nursing skills check off tests. A nursing skills checklist is usually provided to the student to study before the skills test.

Where Will I learn How to Perform Nursing Clinical Skills?

During nursing school a nursing student will learn how to perform basic nursing skills. Nursing school will lay the foundation for basic nursing skills, but if a nurse wants to expand their clinical nursing skills they will have to specialize in a certain nursing field that interest them. During nursing school the nursing student will learn basic skills like how to make a hospital bed, how to properly wash your hands, how to take a blood pressure and heart rate, provide hygiene to a patient, how to complete a full body assessment etc with many of these skills being basic skills that could be performed by a nurses aid. Once these skills are mastered, the nursing student will learn slightly more advanced skills that only a licensed nurse can perform, such as how to give an injection, how to start an IV, and how to insert a Foley catheter etc.

If a nurse is interested in learning advanced nursing skills like how to give dialysis therapy or how to manage ventilators etc., the nurse should apply to nursing positions where they will learn how to do these tasks. Many hospitals will also provide training classes that will teach advanced nursing skills.

Nursing Skills List

Below are very helpful videos and step-by-step instructions on how to perform a wide variety of nursing skills. We have complied a list of nursing skills that you will learn in nursing school or while at your nursing job. Nursing students who are waiting to take their skills tests can use these videos and articles to help them study and practice. Nurses can use these videos and articles to help refresh them on certain nursing skills they may not use everyday in their job. Check out this page daily as we continually add nursing skills.

The list below contains some common nursing skills. For more examples, visit our online database for clinical nursing skills and techniques.

List of Nursing Skills with Videos and Step-by-Step Instructions:

Updated January 13, 2022 Updated January 13, 2022

This article is sponsored by Loyola University.

There’s no question that nursing school is challenging. And when you are trying to manage home and work responsibilities on top of your nursing studies, the amount of studying you need to do could seem insurmountable. How on Earth are you supposed to get all of these chapters read, never mind review notes, prepare for the nursing exam and retain all of the vital information that you absolutely must know for a successful career in nursing?

The first step is to take a deep breath. You can do this. Nursing school just takes a little bit of planning, some time management and a few study tips and strategies to help separate the “need to know” from the “nice to know” and improve your information retention.

How to succeed in nursing school1. Follow the nursing exam study guide

One of the best ways to focus your nursing studies is to base your learning around the NCLEX test. Reviewing a study guide not only reveals which subject areas the nursing exam focuses on, but also how the test presents questions. Clearly, not everything you need to know as a nurse is contained in the licensing exam, but if you study towards the nursing exam all along, you’ll feel more confident on testing day.

How to succeed in nursing school

You cannot cram a week’s worth of study into a few hours on the weekend. Commit to spending a little time on your nursing studies every day, even if you have to break it into several smaller increments in order to get it in. You’ll feel less overwhelmed and retain more information.

How to succeed in nursing school3. Focus on the material covered in class

Your instructors are going to assign many chapters to read each week, plus outside resources to review. Instead of carefully reading and outlining every single word, take a cue from your class time. What topics does the instructor spend time reviewing? What are the key points covered in class? Focus your attention on these areas.

How to succeed in nursing school4. Think in terms of action, not facts

It’s important for nurses to understand why certain conditions occur and what is happening physiologically in a patient. However, the patient is not interested in hearing those facts – he or she just wants to feel better. When you are studying for the nursing exam, ask yourself, “How will I help my patients with this information?” You’ll be a better nurse as well as a better student.

How to succeed in nursing school5. Form a study group

Research shows that students who study with peers retain approximately 90% of what they learn, as opposed to just 60% of what they hear in class alone and just 10% of what they read. Not to mention, studying with others helps provide encouragement and moral support. Get together with a few of your fellow nursing students (research shows that groups of three are the most effective) and put your heads together to share study tips and improve your performance.

How to succeed in nursing school6. Skim-read first

Nursing school requires a lot of reading, but if you try to retain everything on your first pass, you are just going to be frustrated. Before you read a chapter, skim the material first. Look at headings, subheadings and highlighted terms and review the summaries and questions at the end of the chapter, to determine which information is most important.

How to succeed in nursing school7. Use outside sources

There’s nothing that says you can only learn from your text or instructor. Augment your class resources with others; for example, if you are learning about diabetes, review the Mayo Clinic, WebMD and American Diabetes Association websites to learn more. Do this before you read a chapter, as a type of “preview” to your reading. Remember, though, that your textbook and instructor are to be considered the final, correct authority.

How to succeed in nursing school8. Know your learning style

Everyone learns differently: some need to see information, some need to hear it, while others learn kinetically. So in effect, everyone needs to discover which study tips work best for them. Know your own style and use it to your advantage. For example, kinetic learners often do best when they write out their notes, as the motion of writing helps them remember.

How to succeed in nursing school9. Use downtime as study time

Nursing studies require a certain level of memorization. Create flashcards or notes that will help you review those facts when you are doing other things. For example, tape cards listing vital sign ranges to your bathroom mirror, so you’ll see them when you’re brushing your teeth. Eventually, without even really trying, those numbers will be second nature.

How to succeed in nursing school10. Take breaks

If you spend all of your time studying, you are just going to get overwhelmed and probably not retain as much information as you would hope. Be sure to take regular breaks so you do not lose interest or enthusiasm. Sometimes, just a short change of scenery can help recharge your batteries and improve retention.

Successfully completing nursing school is a major commitment, but one that you can easily handle with a plan, some good study tips and the right approach to studying.

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Enrolling in nursing school is a wonderful step toward achieving your career in the health care field. Nursing school

will give you the background, education and connections you need to begin your professional life. While this time in your life will be demanding, many strategies can help you prosper.

Why go to nursing school?

. In fact, the nursing field is growing much faster than the overall job market. Nursing careers can also be very lucrative

. Nursing careers offer an opportunity to work in a variety of environments, including offices, hospitals, nursing homes, and home health care environments. Many unique opportunities will be open to you once you complete nursing school.

How to complete nursing school successfully

Once you have committed to attend nursing school, here are some tips for success:

1. Plan out your time and work on creating a schedule

List everything you need to do in a week, including studying, working and housework. Don’t forget to budget time for relaxing and spending time with family. Once you’ve got that list, schedule time

to accomplish all of your activities. The more you plan, the less stress you feel and the more likely you will get everything done. Also, share your schedule with your family so that they can support you and plan with you.

2. Study effectively

As you start nursing school, take some time to think about what kind of a student you’ve been in the past. When and where do you study best? Does music help you focus or does it distract you? Do you remember things better when you read them or when you hear them? Knowing what kind of learner you are

will help you to figure out how to study most effectively.

While you prepare to study, create an organized, uncluttered space to study in your home or find a great place to study outside of your house if that will help you avoid distractions. Coffee shops are often great places for this activity and many offer WiFi that will be useful as you work.

It’s common for nursing students to study together for exams. Try working with classmates to see if that’s a strategy that works for you. Remember, your peers know what you’re experiencing and can offer advice and sympathy. You and your peers may also want to work together and plan for major assignments. Budget your time and break down big projects into smaller tasks with individual due dates. Creating your own deadlines will help you to stay on task. Lastly, if you’re struggling to stay focused, try the 45-15 strategy. Set a timer for 45 minutes and focus, distraction-free for those 45 minutes. Then, take a 15-minute break. Studies show that taking a break will actually help you to remember more. Investing in small breaks can have big results.

3. Set small goals

To get and keep a positive attitude, avoid starting your journey with just one goal to get a degree. Instead, set smaller goals that will help you to achieve that larger goal. For example, you might set a goal to find one hour to study every day, or you might set a goal to get a high grade on your next test. Small, manageable goals will help you to feel good and stay motivated.

4. Keep Yourself Healthy

As you learn about diet and exercise in class, make sure to apply that information to keeping yourself healthy. Schedule time to get fresh air and exercise. Also, a healthy diet can help you fight the contagious illnesses you will probably be exposed to in your new profession.

Part of staying healthy is getting enough sleep, which can be a challenge when you are balancing studying with the rest of your busy life. It’s important, however, because studies show

that getting the average seven to nine hours of sleep can mean a stronger ability to comprehend and retain new information.

5. Ask for help

People in the helping fields sometimes struggle with asking for help, but it’s really important during this challenging time. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your professors when you are struggling with complex material or trying to manage all of the responsibilities of school. Also, don’t forget to ask your friends and family for support, whether you need them to give you a hand or just to listen to you vent. Nursing can be emotionally draining, and it’s important for you to feel comfortable asking for support when you need it.

6. Reward yourself

Spend some time thinking about how you can reward yourself throughout nursing school, whether it’s big or small rewards. Perhaps you will have a weekend away or buy an expensive gift for yourself. Or if you prefer smaller rewards, make it a special coffee drink on Fridays or a relaxing hot shower at the end of a long day. Make sure you take the time to reward yourself. It will help you to keep working and stay positive.

What are some of the challenges you may face while in nursing school?

One of the major challenges of nursing school is balancing your commitments to your family and your friends with your academic responsibilities. Many of today’s nursing students are considered “non-traditional,” meaning they don’t come directly out of high school and they often have other commitments outside of school.

These older students have so much to offer their patients because they have many life experiences, but those additional commitments can also present additional challenges. First of all, there’s an incredible amount of material to learn as you earn your degree. You’ll also need to adjust to unusual work schedules because nursing shifts run 24 hours a day. You may also need to support yourself financially while you study, and you will still want to have time for your family and friends. Most importantly, you’ll have to stay healthy so that you can accomplish all of these goals. These challenges may seem overwhelming, but they are worth overcoming.

How to succeed in nursing school

Chamberlain’s St. Louis Campus President Janice DeMasters, PhD, MSN, RN, recently shared some helpful tips on how to have a for a successful semester in nursing.

We added to her list, sharing advice from the students and alumni in our Facebook community who have been there and learned the secrets to success in nursing college.

Whether it’s your first week at Chamberlain College of Nursing or your last semester, we hope this guidance is helpful in getting you off to a fresh start in the new semester!

Tips from Dr. DeMasters:

1. Form a study group of people who complement your strengths and weaknesses.

2. Have a back-up for your back-up. Babysitters, transportation . . . whatever it takes. Don’t let lack of preparation set you up for failure. Be ready for when life throws you a curve ball. Planning now will prevent a crisis later.

3. Try to get some sleep – sleep deprivation will sabotage your learning.

4. Avoid junk food. The carbohydrate haze will make it tough to get through class, clinical and labs.

5. Drink water – dehydration is also a brain numbing phenomenon.

6. Do the reading . . . really, do the reading and come to class prepared. Finding out too late that test questions can come from materials assigned but not covered in class can really be a problem.

7. Remember that you are in an accelerated curriculum. It’s not easy. It’s not supposed to be easy. But you can earn your degree way before your friends who went to other schools. That means a job, a paycheck and launching your career.

8. Ask for help, sooner rather than later. Don’t wait till things have overwhelmed you before you reach out.

9. Avail yourself of the resources available at Chamberlain, including: a. Student Services b. Center for Academic Success c. Faculty d. Library e. Staff f. Career Services

10. Know the policies that are helpful to you when life gets complicated, including when you can withdraw from a class or how to take a leave of absence. CAS, Student Services and our faculty are all here to help.

More tips from our Facebook community:

11. “One day at a time, one assignment at a time and do not try to bite off more than you can chew!!”— Beth Ann N.

12. “You get what you give. Give it your all and it will be amazing.”— Dana W.

13. “Don’t procrastinate on compliance!”— Hailee Jo C.

14. “Take advantage of every free moment, and set a routine for yourself. While at work, take advantage of your breaks and READ READ READ. Let your co-workers know you can’t chat because your school work is very important.”— Cat K.

15. “Study, read and keep a good balance in your lives!” – Laura D.

16. “Take procrastination out of your vocabulary. and your life. Do your reading!”— Corin S.

17. “Stand steadfast in working toward your goal while remaining optimistic, no matter what may befall you. Keep your eyes toward your goal and be proud of each and every accomplishment. Of equal importance, accept and know that the professors and counselors are there for you to guide you along the way.”— Brenda B.

18. “Don’t wait until Wednesday night to make your first discussion post for the week!”— Elizabeth W.

Nurses and students, are we missing anything? Let us know in the comments!

Anyone who has ever encountered a nursing student can understand just how hard nursing school is. Long hours, challenging courses and sleepless nights are all but standard, and burnout is a sensation many come to experience. Fortunately, there are ways to tackle the workload.

Table of Contents

In this article, we’ll explore different ways to help you manage the workload. Our study tips are designed to help you succeed, no matter how stressful the moment may be. We’ll also look into what you can do to prepare for the journey before your arrival.

Preparing for Nursing School

How to succeed in nursing school

There are a few different things you can do to begin preparing for nursing school. Check out the list below for suggestions on how to set yourself up for success.

Enroll in a Pre-Nursing Program

They also provide an important clinical experience where nursing school students will have the opportunity to test their skills, ask questions and adjust to school life. These programs typically last a year or two.

Take All The Necessary Exams

There are a number of tests nurses must take throughout the nursing school journey. Check with your college and see what their degree program requires. You’ll most likely need to complete the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS), which assesses your skills in reading, math, science, English language and usage.

Students will also have to complete additional exams upon graduation.

You can check with your university to learn more about NCLEX requirements.


Earn your degree in Nursing from NEIT and begin your new career path today!

Think About How You Digest Information

Staring at words on a page may work for some, but many nursing students will find that alternative preparation methods will more effectively help them retain information. Experiment with a few different mediums to see what sticks. Practice exams can be useful for some while video or audio instruction may be more helpful to others.

Make Sure You’re Up-to-Date with Immunizations

That’s right, patients are the only ones who need their shots! Check with your admissions counselor to see which immunizations your nursing school requires. If you want to play it safe as a nursing student, make sure you’re up to date with the following:

    Tetanus Rubella Rubeola Mumps Meningitis Pertussis Chickenpox Tuberculosis Hepatitis B

Nursing School Study Tips

Now that you know how to prepare for nursing school, it’s time to discuss what you can do to get through the program.

Studying for nursing school exams is no easy task, but some organizations can provide a huge amount of help in the long run, no matter what your learning style may be. Check out the list below for important information on helping you get through the hardest parts of nursing school.

Use All Available Resources

How to succeed in nursing school

Nursing students are expected to do a lot on their own, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any resources around to help. Go through the syllabuses and see what areas you are least comfortable with. You can also turn to external guides.

The NCLEX licensure exam offers tutorials and practice exams for students to complete leading up to their assessment. Go through them a few times and see how you perform. Tailor your study guide based on this experience.

Form a Study Group

Sometimes, it helps to hear information explained from another perspective, especially if it pertains to school material you may be struggling with. People excel in different areas, so pooling that knowledge together will only help strengthen everyone’s understanding of the subject at hand. Compare notes within your study group, make sure you get filled in on anything you may have missed.

Of course, you don’t have to stick to coursework the entire time. Remember that this time is also an excuse to be social with friends and classmates throughout the week.

Are you wondering if you will succeed in nursing school? Do you find yourself doubting whether you’re cut out for it? If so, this free test that can help you determine whether or not you can succeed in nursing school.

After you complete the “Will I Succeed In Nursing School” Quiz, hit the submit button. It will refresh this same page for the results.

How to succeed in nursing school

Will I Succeed in Nursing School Quiz

(NOTE: When you hit submit, it will refresh this same page. Scroll down to see your results. This quiz is not to be considered a guarantee of success or failure in nursing school, but rather, a tool to help you learn ways to improve your chances of success.)

Don’t forget to tell your friends about this quiz by sharing it your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. You can also take more fun nursing quizzes.

Get the Guide to Help You Succeed in Nursing School

If you’re thinking of going to nursing school, or if you’re currently enrolled, get the new guide to help you succeed. “How to Pass Nursing School” has information students can use to help How to succeed in nursing schoolthem prepare for the journey ahead. Learn about everything you can expect in nursing school, the different programs available, how to study and prepare for tests, and more.

You’ll also get tips on passing NCLEX and getting a job after graduation. As a FREE BONUS, you’ll get a special download link and password in the book, which gives you access to premium resume templates and cover letters (in .docx format) that you can use after graduation to secure a job.

What are you waiting for? It’s a no brainer. Click here to learn more and grab your copy today of How to Pass Nursing School.

Thank you for taking this free “Will I Succeed in Nursing School” Quiz/Test.

How to succeed in nursing school

Is it possible for a nursing student to get good grades while working in nursing school? How to get through nursing school while working full-time? How can you juggle the demands of both? This is one of the most frequent questions I get from people. Well, It’s not as impossible as it seems!

We all know It’s not easy being a nurse. Not only do you have to be one of the most compassionate people on earth, but you also must juggle intense coursework and long hours at the hospital.

It can be hard enough to get through nursing school while working full time, so it helps if there are some tricks that help make your workload.

According to a study, 50.9% of nursing students work while studying, out of which 45% work 20 hours per week, and their risk of failing is more than other students.

In fact, a study shows that students who work while studying also tend to have health and safety risks which definitely demonstrates that there is a lack of self-care.

There might be many reasons if a nursing student is working while in nursing school. The most common cause is to help pay for their education. However, working while studying can also have other benefits, such as teaching time management skills and assisting students in developing a solid work ethic.

Despite these benefits, working full time can also be challenging. But with the right approach, it can be made accessible.

Are you interested in learning more? Here are some tips that might help you figure out how to make it work for you.

How to succeed in nursing school

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Ever feel like you’re walking on the edge of a nursing school cliff, trying so hard not to lose your balance between your dreams of becoming a nurse and your life?

If your answer is a resounding “yes” then you might be able to relate to Jamie.

Like any other nursing student who has built a dream on succeeding in nursing school, Jamie aspires to achieve the same. Even with two kids, Jamie strives hard to focus, spending her sleepless nights studying. This routine has stressed Jamie out and her efforts led her to barely minimum results. This is like flipping a coin for her family’s future.

To make matters more complicated, whenever she sits in class, she couldn’t figure out what her instructors are saying; like they were speaking Greek or an entirely different language. Jamie does her best to concentrate, understand, and absorb all the lectures being presented, which are crucial in passing her exams. However, her focus is a complete mess. This entirely repetitive process is frustrating, humiliating, and downright maddening.

Jamie is desperate. She wants to succeed and wants her life back, too.

Thankfully, at, Jamie can have both. has unlocked the secrets to paving the way to that seemingly elusive success in your nursing student journey. These three essential and effective ways presented by Mike, are the things that your instructors didn’t want you to know.

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Ah, medical-surgical nursing. Most nursing students refer to this course as “med-surg.” It is typically offered in two semesters, depending on your program, and focuses on the different body systems and disease processes, signs and symptoms testing, treatments, and nursing interventions.
Med-surg nursing comes as a challenge to most nursing students, even for those intending to become medical-surgical nurses. Some may find themselves needing to re-take the course. We’re here to help you break it down.

Medical-Surgical in a Nutshell

Med-Surg Survival Tips

  • Don’t read word for word. Skim the pages, read the bulleted key points, etc.
  • Form study groups with people in your class.
  • Utilize practice questions from your textbook, online, and from Hesi or websites like Evolve.
  • Use flashcards to organize your information.
  • Study a little bit every day instead of cramming everything the night before.
  • Think of questions that your professor may ask on the test (especially select-alls) as you are doing your reading.
  • On exams, always utilize your ABCs when deciding which answer is correct based on priority patient care: airway, breathing, circulation.

Remember, it is important to find out what study habits work for you in med-surg, as everyone learns and retains information differently. If you start to fall behind and your grades aren’t where you would like them to be, don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors, as they are here to help you succeed.

How to Approach Medical Surgical Questions

Secret to medical-surgical questions

  1. Understand the normal and abnormal anatomy for the disease/condition in the question. For example, think to yourself, “What does the client with bronchitis look like?” Knowing what “normal” looks like will help you to distinguish what abnormal looks like.
  2. Know the anatomy and physiology. Again, understanding what “normal” looks like for anatomy and physiology (which you should have gotten this from your Anatomy and Physiology I and II courses), will help you to apply what you know and narrow down your choices in the questions.
  3. Understand the nursing interventions for the signs and symptoms of the disease/condition in the question. Knowing what the signs and symptoms are is a straight knowledge based question, but understanding concepts like “what should the nurse do first” or “what is the best nursing action” are critical thinking skills you will need to apply.
  4. Think about why the client is experiencing signs and symptoms. Again, this refers back to your anatomy and physiology. Understanding why the client is experiencing certain things will help you to see the big picture of what the question is asking.
  5. When analyzing select all questions, you never select all the options in the select all. This may seem like a given, but there are times all of the options may seem correct. As you go through each option, ask yourself “is this true or false” and base your decision on that.
  6. Always look at the “ABC’s” for each question–Airway, Breathing, and Circulation. If the question is a priority question, the first option you would pick would be anything pertaining to the airway (respiration, administering oxygen, etc.). If airway isn’t an option, then look for the answer that focuses on breathing, then circulation.
  7. Focus on the stem of the question and avoid the distractors instructors may throw in a question. Typically with the med math questions, they may throw in extra information that you don’t need to solve the medication math problem. It’s important to understand what exactly the question is asking you, and looking at the information only pertaining to the question asked.

How to succeed in nursing school

Are you ready to start the journey of a lifetime?

Starting the Journey of a lifetime!

So, you are getting ready to start nursing school! We have three tips to help you succeed, survive and thrive in Nursing School. Let’s talk about having fun and building a framework for a successful nursing career.

If you want some tips on starting strong, check out our previous blog (CLICK HERE).

Top Tips to Thrive in Nursing School

  1. Work or volunteer in a hospital or other healthcare facility while you are in school.
  2. Find a study group.
  3. Take care of yourself.

Success Tip Number 1: Work or volunteer with patients!

Isn’t this the reason you are in nursing school in the first place? Working with patients prior to nursing school or during school will give you several distinct advantages. You will:

  1. Have the opportunity to practice empathy,
  2. Develop strong communication skills and
  3. Learn to organize and prioritize.

If you can manage to hold a very part time job in a hospital you will be well on your way to preparing yourself for school and graduation. When I hire new nurses, those that really struggle have no prior work experience in a healthcare facility. Working in a healthcare environment sets you up for success and gives you a distinct advantage. Healthcare demands excellent communication, organizational and prioritization skills. If you can’t manage a job, look for volunteer opportunities.

Pro RN Tip: Find a job in the facility you think you want to work in and work your bottom off! If you have a good work ethic, word will get around. Leaders will fight for you. On the flip side, if you complain a lot, cancel your shifts, and are difficult to work with…. Guess what? Word will get around.

Success Tip Number Two: Find a study group.

I don’t know what I would have done without my study partners. I listened to their hearts (literally) checked their pulses, assessed their tonsils, and palpated their abdomen. They even let me poke them with needles. Today these are some of my closest friends. We studied together, complained about our professors together, ate bad food, laughed and cried, held each other up and graduated together. Find a study group. They’ll keep you sane.

Bonus Tip Number Three: Budget time for yourself!

My daughter (who happens to be in nursing school), suggested I add one more. Budget some time for yourself. We get busy and stressed. Call someone you love. Remember your manners. Say please and thank you. Find a quiet place, take a walk, watch a movie or keep a journal. Practice positive self-care. We can’t take care of patients if we aren’t taking care of ourselves. Whatever it is, reserve some time to revive.

There is lots of research out there boasting the benefits of connection, strong relationships and positive self-care. Positive self-care improves happiness, increases life span, and decreases chronic illness. There is even evidence that happy providers diagnose patients faster and more accurately. Empathetic nurses are less like to restrain patients. Connect with people and practice self-care. The benefits to you and your future patients is priceless.

Do you want to get a jump start on Nursing School? Check out our free dosage calculation course!

From coursework to school-life-work balance, the life of a nursing student is busy. Sure, not everything you cover in class is tested on the NCLEX Ⓡ Ⓡ , but when you combine studying for class with NCLEX prep, you’ll feel more confident on testing day. Nurse Mimi, BSN, RN shares tried-and-true habits for building success in nursing school into passing the NCLEX on your first try.

And after, she shared additional tips during Q&A.

Looking for a summary of Nurse Mimi’s habits? Here they are…

5 Essential Habits for Success in Nursing School

HABIT #1: Set a Study Schedule

Study in a QUIET, dedicated space. Remove distractions and turn off all social media and screens

🔥 Hot Tip: Keep a PostIt pad close for any ideas or random thoughts that pop into your mind.

🔥🔥 Even Hotter Tip: Use different colored highlighters:

  • One color for what you already know
  • One color for what your instructor said you needed to know or will be tested on
  • One color for what you need to review later.

Study at 30 minutes to 1-hour increments, no longer. Your brain actually shuts off around 45 minutes to an hour. Make sure you take 15-20 minutes breaks every hour.

HABIT #2: Study Smarter, Not Harder

Use your course syllabus to STAY AHEAD OF THE GAME—read the material, watch the Picmonic(s) covering the topic(s), take the quiz, and then attend the lectures.

Nobody’s brain does well with cramming . It’s like a filing cabinet, you cannot cram large amounts of information the night before—that’s like jamming all your office files together.

Block time to study daily. Have you ever noticed nursing students carry their books everywhere? It’s because they’re constantly studying. This is all new material. New material is easier to master, as you learn it. They study EVERY DAY. Even if it’s just 20 minutes of Picmonic or a Question Bank of 25 questions or Medication flashcards.

Now, about the NCLEX… it’s terribly ineffective to wait until after your graduation and have to cram for the NCLEX. Matter of fact, you cannot CRAM for the NCLEX! You need to study for at least 4-6 weeks leading up to the NCLEX. And, Picmonic made studying easy with the 4 Weeks to NCLEX Workbook & Study Planner.

No matter where you are in your nursing journey — your first day, a week before the NCLEX, or practicing in the field — there will be times you can use a little help. Like a shortcut. Or a tiny cheat…if you will. And while we don’t encourage cheating, we’ve created Picmonic, our content, and our companion tools, like nursing cheat sheets, to make learning complex nursing topics so easy, it can FEEL like you’re cheating.

Try Critical Clinicals before you buy with a FREE digital download, click here.

HABIT #3: It’s Never Too Early to Start Thinking Like the NCLEX

There’s a difference between nursing school and NCLEX-style questions. Nursing school tests on everything and gives you the foundation of knowledge, but the NCLEX is testing safety and competency. The NCLEX focuses on PRIORITY and BEST questions – and yes, there is a difference. This is a new way of thinking and when you start exercising this early, you create muscle memory.

Adding a regular Question Bank practice to your study routine can help develop this. There are many free resources such as Nurse Labs you can use for NCLEX-style questions to help prepare you for the NCLEX.

Also, it’s NOT ABOUT THE QUANTITY BUT THE QUALITY of the questions you’re doing. You cannot just click through an infinite number of questions. You need to actually read the rationales and understand where you are going wrong in the questions.

HABIT #4: Ask Questions—Lots of Questions

Don’t be afraid to reach out if you need help or don’t understand a concept. And, as a nurse, you will need to ask patients questions every day, so it is best to get in the habit now.

Professors and Instructors have open office times, USE THIS RESOURCE! And, don’t wait until you’re failing or on the border. Check-in with your professors and instructors any time you feel as if you’re struggling with a concept or topic.

Try tutoring. There are really great, competent nursing tutors out there who can also assist.

Tutoring Platforms:

HABIT #5: MOST IMPORTANTLY – Practice Self Care

Take breaks. Take walks. Just take care of yourself. It’s important to learn how to take care of yourself and de-stress now before you become a nurse.

Nursing School Resources: At the Click of a Mouse 🖱️

  • How to Prepare for the First Semester of a Nursing Program in 2021
  • Electrolyte Imbalances: Everything You Need to Know in 2021
  • What is ADPIE & The Nursing Process? [Updated for 2021]
  • 5 Tips from Students for School Success in 2021
  • What I Wish I Knew Before Nursing School
  • The Best Nursing Study Resources and Printables at Your Fingertips in 2021
  • Top Nursing Student Resources & Channels for 2021
  • Nursing School Myths You Can Totally Ignore [Updated for 2021]

Download our mobile app and take Picmonic on the go!

How to succeed in nursing school

Nursing school is hard. If it were easy, our society would have a big problem on its hands. After all, would you want an inadequately prepared nurse taking care of you or a loved one? Neither would we. So while our 16-month ABSN program has its challenges, it’s nothing you can’t handle if you’re dedicated to becoming a nurse. It also helps to consider these six nursing school tips for success.

1. Get a student planner.

Our ABSN program comprises four full-time semesters of a compressed curriculum. From your first to your last day of class, you can expect a whirlwind of learning, with a fast-paced blend of online coursework, nursing skills labs, and clinical rotations. Therefore, being able to prioritize and manage your time wisely is vital to your success in nursing school.

A student planner can help keep you from becoming overwhelmed by making you more effective in juggling multiple priorities. When you can visualize your learning activities on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, it becomes easier to get your nursing school routine down to a science.

How to succeed in nursing school

2. Develop unique study habits.

Nursing school requires you to absorb massive amounts of information, making it important for you to become efficient in your study efforts. Because everyone retains information differently, think about how you best learn and get creative.

Let’s say you’re an auditory learner. Record yourself reading your notes out loud, and then replay these audio recordings as you drive in the car or go for a walk. Maybe you’re a visual learner. Try developing note cards that feature nursing mnemonics to help you remember terms or concepts. Not to mention, our online learning platform features technology that supports multiple student learning styles.

P.S. You can find other fun nursing mnemonics on Nurse Buff blog.

3. Find relatable resources.

Given the compressed nature of our ABSN program, there really aren’t any “light” semesters or classes. While each semester poses a unique set of challenges and unknowns, the intensity of the curriculum remains consistent throughout. During the first semester, for example, most students are dealing with the fear and anxiety that comes with not knowing what online learning is like or what to expect during clinicals.

To help you mentally prepare for each semester of nursing school, you might find comfort in reading blogs or listening to podcasts created by nursing students and/or practicing RNs. A quick Google search of top nursing blogs will set you in the right direction.

P.S. Once accepted into our ABSN program, you can join our private Facebook group to connect with current students. They can tell you firsthand what it’s like to be in the program.

4. Focus on comprehension.

Nursing school is less about memorizing facts and more about synthesizing concepts. Therefore, it’s important to focus your efforts on learning the course material, understanding how the content ties together, and developing your critical thinking skills. For example, simply memorizing the term “renal failure” and its associated complications doesn’t mean you understand what’s going on inside the body. You need to know how kidneys work and how they influence other parts of the human body.

A good way to gauge your comprehension of a concept is to try explaining it to someone. If you can’t explain it, you know you need to do some more studying. Being able to synthesize nursing concepts comes in handy when taking courses such as pathophysiology, which many students claim to be one of the most difficult classes in nursing school.

How to succeed in nursing school

P.S. It’s important to do well in pathophysiology because it helps put all the pieces of the nursing puzzle together. A good understanding of this subject can also lead to better clinical experiences.

5. Practice makes perfect.

As part of the ABSN curriculum, you’ll complete a series of nursing labs that teach you how to safely and effectively deliver patient care. These labs, which cover everything from hygiene to musculoskeletal assessment, also help prepare you for your clinical rotations in diverse areas of health care.

However, before you can apply a particular nursing skill in an actual clinical environment, we must verify your competency by way of a skills check off. For example, before you can take a real patient’s blood pressure, we must check you off for this skill. Therefore, as you learn new skills throughout the program, we encourage you to practice as much as you can during open lab hours.

If you’re someone who can effectively perform a skill but becomes anxious under the watchful eye of an instructor, you might consider roleplaying with a friend or family member before a skills check off to help calm your nerves.

How to succeed in nursing school

P.S. You’ll complete 13 practicums during our four-semester ABSN program, with each one featuring a lab and clinical component.

6. Develop self-care rituals.

While in the throes of nursing school, it’s easy to let self-care fall by the wayside. However, regularly taking time away from your studies to relax and recharge is vital to your success. A good rule of thumb is to block out time in your student planner for self-care just as you would for exam preparation. Self-care rituals can be as simple as meditating for 15 minutes every day or getting a massage once a week.

How to succeed in nursing school

P.S. You should consider self-care rituals to be just as essential as daily hygiene practices. Licensed professional counselor Leslie K. Lobell explains, “You cannot keep giving to others if you do not give to yourself first. It is like pouring water from a vessel: you cannot pour and pour without refilling it. Eventually, it will run dry.”

Want to know more about our 16-month ABSN program in Cincinnati, Ohio? Need more nursing school tips for success? Contact our admission team today!

We’ve all heard about how challenging nursing school can be, any college studies for that matter. But anything can be a struggle if you’re not putting in the right efforts to be successful. These are my tips for all nursing students to stay on the right path to success:

  1. Be Prepared
    • In order to even begin to think about success in nursing, you MUST be prepared. If you haven’t prepped yourself for what’s about to come, there will just be a disaster waiting to happen. Make sure you have all materials, supplies, books, and whatever else you might need ahead of time. A lot of the time, your professors will put a list of required materials on the class syllabus so make sure you read that! Also, be prepared to study your butt off. You will have to set a lot of time to the side that will be dedicated to your studies, so be prepared to put the social life on hold for awhile.
  2. Stay Organized
    • PLANNERS ARE KEY! My life would be a mess without my planner. I am able to organize everything I need done in one little book. Assignment due dates, exam dates, class schedules, work schedules, I put basically everything into my planner that way I am always on top of the things I need to do. Keeping organized also helps me with my time management, I am able to plan study times and writing all this down helps me stay dedicated to my priorities.
  3. Study Group
    • Study groups have helped me a tremendous amount so far in nursing school. Being able to converse with other nursing students in your classes is very beneficial to your studies. If you miss something in lecture, or are not able to grasp a concept, chances are that other students in your class were able to pick up on these things and can help you get a better understanding of the material. And vice versa as well, if you understand a topic that someone else doesn’t, teaching another student will only improve your understanding. Forming study groups will also assist you in building bonds with your fellow nursing students. Having good relationships with your peers is crucial considering you will be spending 4 years of your life with them.
  4. Take Care of Yourself
    • This is a hard one. Sometimes it feels like there is no where near enough time in the day to be eating enough or sleeping enough. But making healthy choices is so important when it comes to success. Without the right diet and enough sleep, you’re going to feel run down and this will prevent you from being on your A game. Sometimes you’re going to have to skip meals, and all-nighters are definitely something you will encounter in nursing school, but managing your time to prevent these as often as possible will benefit you in the long run.
  5. Stay Motivated
    • Sometimes you just have to take a step back and look at the big picture. I can’t even count the amount of times I have questioned my major, but what keeps me going is the outcome I will receive if I stay motivated. Classes are going to be tough and overwhelming at times, but it only takes 4 short years of schooling for a lifetime of a career you will love. It’s all about keeping one foot in front of the other and staying focused on the goal.

Smartphones are quickly becoming invaluable resources for nursing students around the globe. These devices are useful tools for checking answers on calculations; studying different parts of the body, conditions, or treatment; and maintaining a healthy mind and body. The large screens and high speeds of today’s latest smartphones, such as the [easyazon_link identifier=”B01LZ4YHZJ” locale=”US” tag=”medicalisland-20″]iPhone 7 Plus[/easyazon_link], means that they offer as much information as traditional computers. Make sure you have the following five apps to help you succeed in nursing school and in your future career.


How to succeed in nursing school

Image via Flickr by timefornurses

Recently designed for iOS 7, the Medscape app is regularly regarded as one of the best apps on the market for medical students. The app offers a complete encyclopedia of drugs, conditions, and procedures, along with medical news that can be filtered by speciality. This functionality allows students to research different conditions and possible treatment options and study specific parts of the body.

Whether they’re researching information on a specific patient condition or reviewing information during some downtime, Medscape is a key guide. Not only will this app be an important resource for students to have in nursing school, but it will also be a key app to have on hand throughout their careers.


NurseGrid positions itself as the first calendar built exclusively for nurses. So far, more than 200,000 professionals have taken advantage of this tool, one of the highest-rated medical tools in the Apple App Store.

NurseGrid adds shifts within seconds, allowing nurses to see when they’re on call — even across multiple work sites. As a result, nurses can see when they’re needed and where, which avoids overlaps. This app also syncs with third-party and personal calendars, so your whole month is neatly organized in one space.

Nursing Essentials

This app will be your study guide during your first few years of nursing school. Nursing Essentials breaks down different parts of the body and presents flashcards with important information about each area. Users can bookmark specific sections that they need to return to, make notes on various pages, and record patient information to document later for charting purposes.

Most recently, this app has included vital assessment information and details on drugs or infusions. Specifically, Nursing Essentials offers guides for inserting chest tubes and catheters and has tips for staying healthy in a hospital environment. Bilingual nurses will also appreciate the Spanish translations when communicating with their patients.


A large part of nursing school is memorizing and familiarizing yourself with formulas to prescribe the right amount of medication for patients and evaluating their risk factors, health, and condition. However, you may not always have time to find a calculator or pencil and paper to remember the formulas and track their progress.

The MedCalX app makes calculations easier. Users simply type in a few data points of patient information and select what they’re trying to learn to solve the formula.

Human Anatomy Atlas

Download the Human Anatomy Atlas to take advantage of more than 5,000 3D structures in the male and female body. Students will love the ability to zoom in and rotate the models so that they can see what these structures are like, almost as if they’re holding the parts in their hands. Notes will pop up when users tap on any structure, which can promote learning about specific muscles and nerves as needed.

Once they’re ready to test what they know, students can study using 1,000 quiz questions on various parts of human anatomy. The best part about this app is the shareability. Users can upload screenshots of their notes to peers and send models to professors to ask questions. Students will find this app to be one of the most interactive study guides in the app store.

The best apps are the ones that you will use. If you download these apps and never touch them, then they’re only taking up space in your smartphone’s storage. Make sure you take advantage of all the resources offered to nursing students and young professionals so that you can succeed and graduate at the top of your class.

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Nursing school is challenging but in the end hard work and dedication will get you through. One of the things that make me succeed in nursing school is having a good study group. Studying with a group keeps me on track and I enjoy it. Every week I look forward to getting together with the group. Planning ahead and staying on top of my assignments saves me time and also prevents a rush to complete everything right before the end of the term. With all the challenges that come with nursing school, sometimes it’s not easy to do your best because you may get also get tired of studying. It is import to set goals and develop good study habits in order to succeed.

There are many perks to being in nursing school, passing the NCLEX and becoming a registered nurse. However, there are many challenges as well. Some of the challenges include many hours of study, exams, pressure to do well on exams, and trying to balance school with work and personal life.

There are ways to help reduce the impact that stress can have on one’s life while in nursing school. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help reduce the chances of nursing students becoming susceptible to illness. One can maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating well-balanced meals, getting an adequate number of hours of sleep, exercising, and staying hydrated. Exercise releases endorphins into the brain which act like a natural painkiller. Once these chemicals are released, it makes the ability to sleep much easier, which in turn, can reduce stress. Figuring out what reduces your stress and doing it goes a long way in helping you succeed in a healthy way in nursing school.

As nursing students who want to be successful, we should learn how to be well organized. It is difficult to combine personal commitments with studies, but we should not deny ourselves outings with family members, friends, engaging in religious activities, working to earn a living, and caring for our loved ones. We need to be well organized in order to do well in our classes and lives.

If you spend all your time studying, you are just going to get overwhelmed and probably not retain as much information as you would hope. Be sure to take regular breaks so you do not lose interest or enthusiasm. Sometimes, just a small change of scenery can help you recharge and improve retention. In order not to get overwhelmed, I would advise not to wait until the last minute before preparing for exams. Study after each lecture. Studying daily will go a long way and make remembering information easier.

In conclusion, it is wise to pace oneself, study regularly and make time for a personal life in order to succeed in life and the nursing profession. (Toyin)

If you have decided on nursing for your chosen career path, you are about to embark on a journey to an incredibly rewarding career that will both challenge you and allow you to contribute to the health and wellbeing of your future patients. Nursing is also a career that provides for an abundance of opportunities to practice in various capacities and roles within the greater world of healthcare.

How to succeed in nursing school

Before you are ready to start your career in nursing, however, you will need to enroll in nursing school and complete your degree. While there is more than one way to become a qualified nurse, the most popular route these days is to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.

A BSN degree will take roughly four years to complete, depending on your past education and qualifications, and can be quite a taxing process. From your first introduction into the world of medicine to your last clinical rotation, you will find yourself challenged throughout nursing school in ways that you might not have imagined. In fact, around 20% of nursing school students drop out and abandon their programs altogether each year.

The best thing you can do in order to achieve success in nursing school is take a proactive stance in setting yourself up to succeed. With many nursing school dropouts attributing their early departure from school to a variety of reasons ranging from financial to personal, it is impossible to provide for every eventuality. However, by thinking ahead and taking care to make the right decisions regarding your education, you can put yourself in a better position from the start of your education.

If you are about to enter nursing school and want to set yourself up for success to the best of your ability, here are a few things to consider.

Choose the Right Program

There are a great many nursing school students who choose to leave the program they are in because they ultimately find that the school is not a good fit for them. Not all nursing schools are created equal and many differ both in structure as well as in general philosophy when it comes to educating nurses. It is important that you choose the right program for you if you want to have the best chances of sticking it out.

For starters, you should consider the type of program that you are more comfortable with. While some people perform better in a traditional academic setting, there are other options out there these days for those who are not able to attend college in the traditional sense.

Online nursing school programs are becoming more and more popular. This is because nursing students are able to complete their courses on their own time without feeling restrained by being in a classroom at particular times. This flexibility helps many students who are in a situation where they need to work while they are in school as well.

Furthermore, making your selection from a number of accelerated BSN nursing programs means that you might not need to spend as much time on your degree as you would if you enrolled in a traditional four-year program. Ultimately, you will set yourself up for the best chances of finding success in nursing school when you take the time to choose a program that fits you.

Master Time Management

No matter what sort of program you choose to enroll in, it is important that you understand right from the start that nursing school is a very demanding process. This is because the job of a nurse is demanding as well, and you will need to be prepared for such a career. You will need to learn how to budget your time wisely through solid time management practices.

For starters, learning how to schedule your time from week to week is going to be a skill that is worth acquiring. While you will have designated class times and clinicals, you will need to schedule in time for studying and extensive reading. If you have social or professional obligations that must be seen to throughout the week, these should find their way onto your schedule as well.

The key to mastering time management, though, is to be honest with yourself. If you know that it is going to take you longer to prepare for a certain exam, then you need to make sure that your schedule and priorities reflect that. You will not do yourself any favors by overscheduling yourself throughout nursing school.

Do Not be Afraid to Ask for Help

Nursing school can be an incredibly humbling experience. Because of the demands of the workload, it is easy to find yourself overwhelmed and struggling to keep up. In such cases, you need to understand that there is no shame in asking for help.

In fact, many students who are pursuing degrees in medicine are encouraged to have at least a consultation with a school counselor in order to help them become more aware of the mental health risks associated with such endeavors and to learn the best ways to manage stress and anxiety. Asking for help in this way can be incredibly beneficial and help you to learn the signs of stress and burnout before things spiral out of control.

There are also other ways that you should be prepared to ask for help. For example, if you have previously seen yourself as an independent studier, nursing school is going to be the perfect time to learn the many benefits of joining a study group. It is nearly impossible to memorize and master all of the reading and material that you will be presented with in nursing school. A study group is a great way to share the workload a bit and make things a bit easier to manage.

Lastly, bear in mind that your professors and instructors are there to guide you. Never be afraid to ask for clarification or guidance when you are not entirely sure about something pertaining to a class.

About Marie

One and Co is owned by Maria Smith. She is an interior designer with a love for DIY, budgeting and everything home-related. You don’t have to be a professional to have an awesomely designed home.

Nursing is very different from other degree programs that you will find in a college or university. It prepares you to hold a patient’s life in your hands; you learn how to give drugs that can be dangerous if given in the wrong dosage; you also learn how to resuscitate a person and perform physical exams, and this helps you to develop critical thinking skills. A nursing degree also prepares you to become an educator as well as an advocate for healthcare providers, patients, and their families.

Nursing is a career line that has a host of responsibilities that can make you question why you only have 24 hours in a day. Not an ideal career for the faint of heart, you need to be able to overcome challenges you might encounter in nursing school before you even step into your first nursing job.

Time Management

One of the most common challenges that you will face as a student nurse is maintaining a balance between your studies and your personal life. Keep in mind that it’s important to succeed in both because neglecting your personal life will have a negative impact on your studies and vice-versa. Therefore, to maintain a balance, you have to manage your time correctly.

While you may get burned out by focusing on school alone, failing to focus on academics is a recipe for disaster. If you’re struggling to balance between family, work, and school, then take a deep breath. It’s a lot for anyone to deal with.

Tips to help you manage your time:

  • Keep a schedule
  • Limit your time on social media networks
  • Plan your meals
  • Stay organized
  • Be flexible
  • Download free studying applications that allow you to record notes and organize class information

Becoming Overwhelmed

Most student nurses get overwhelmed during the practical phase of nursing school, especially when demonstrating important skills in front of supervisors and other students. To avoid getting overwhelmed, try writing down everything you need to do and when you need to do it by. That way you can break your workload into smaller chunks and worrying about a test next week doesn’t cause you to miss out on a lecture this week.

Problems Reading Materials

Just like any other discipline, nursing school bombards you with information. However, this is information that you will need to understand and apply in a real-world scenario. This means that you need to find the best reading technique that works for you. If you find yourself staring at a page without reading, try reading out loud. Sometimes our minds can wander and the only way to remain focused is by reading aloud.

To avoid problems when sifting back through pages of your notes, save time by highlighting key information when taking notes. Be judicious and only highlight important information. Doing so will help you remember what was emphasized during class.

Problems Choosing the Most Correct Answer

Nurses have to use their intelligence in more ways than most people. As a student nurse, you will notice that a problem can have several correct answers. However, the challenge involves choosing the most correct solution. To be able to choose the most correct solution, you need to have good deductive reasoning skills and a strong grasp of the material, especially in tests that require you to select the best solution from a list where all answers are technically correct.

Passing the NCLEX

The NCLEX is most likely the biggest challenge that all nursing students have to face. Keep in mind that it’s never too early to start preparing for the NCLEX. In case you have purchased a review book, don’t wait until a few weeks to the exam to dive into it. It’s advisable to use it along with your course material to help you understand the most important parts of the exam. Other than having a review book, it’s equally important to take advantage of practice questions.

Tips on How to Remain Focused on Your Goals While in the Thick of Things

Study smart: While most people cram for tests and pass, in nursing you have to understand the material. To do this, create some time after class and get into the habit of reviewing what you have covered.

Take care of yourself: Nursing school is a marathon, and while you may be able to endure a short period of exhaustion, with time your performance will plummet. Therefore, regardless of how exhausted you are, ensure that you make healthy choices.

Lean on friends: While having friends outside school can help you get away from work and school, having friends at school is beneficial. Studying with a friend or a group of friends is fun and will help keep you on track.

How to succeed in nursing school

Are you interested in becoming a nurse? If you want to earn your Associate of Applied Science in Nursing, consider ECPI University for your education. For more information about this exciting degree program, connect with a helpful admissions advisor today.

It could be the Best Decision You Ever Make!

In Pursuit of Nursing Excellence

How to Thrive in Nursing School

The goal of this workshop series is simple: to help you thrive in nursing school and move forward to a satisfying, and successful, nursing career. There are four videos in this free workshop series: Video 1 – Managing Expectations Video 2 – Planning for Success Video 3 – Seeing the

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The Strengths of a Professional Nurse

How to succeed in nursing schoolHave you been thinking about joining the nursing profession? If you have, you have made a wise decision. Nursing careers are among the most lucrative occupations today, and BLS predictions indicate that the demand for qualified nurses will continue to increase for many years in the future.

But just what types of skills and personal characteristics do you need to become a successful nursing professional? While there are actually many skills and personal characteristics that make a great nurse, described below, you will find the top five strengths necessary for success in the nursing profession.

Related Nursing Topics

1. Communication and People Skills

First and foremost, to be a truly successful nurse, it is highly essential that you possess both communication and people skills. While working as a nurse, you will be interacting with many different types of patients. Because of this, you need to be able to speak to them effectively as well as understand what they communicate to you.

You must also be able to understand and carry out the directions given to you by your superiors. Finally, since you will be working with a large variety of patients and coworkers, it is important that you are able to steer away from conflicts and handle difficult situations should they arise.

2. Empathy and Compassion

Another area of strength that is necessary for success in the nursing profession is possessing empathy and compassion for others. No matter where you may choose to work as a nurse, you will encounter patients experiencing a wide range of physical or psychological issues.

Because of this, you will need to interact with patients who may display a variety of emotions including fear, anxiety, depression, resentment and anger. To interact with them effectively and help them cope, you need to show them you care, try to understand them and help them to cope with their concerns.

3. Reliability and Flexibility

Reliability and flexibility go hand-in-hand as an essential area of strength necessary for nursing careers. Patients need specialized care every day, and your supervisors will count on you to show up on time each day that you are scheduled to work. Even if you are just a few minutes late for work, a critical task may not be completed on time.

Flexibility is extremely important in the nursing profession because you may often need to work overtime or on your days off. At times, you may also be asked to work on weekends or holidays. There may be occasions when you will need to work a different shift or in a different department as well.

4. Honesty and Trustworthiness

Nurses who are honest and trustworthy are some of the most valuable nursing professionals in any medical facility today. If you make a mistake during your shift, it is essential that you are honest and speak with your supervisor about the situation. The same goes if you notice a coworker make a mistake.

It is also of the utmost importance that you do not disclose any personal or medical information pertaining to your patients. Doing so not only goes against the nursing code of ethics, but there can be severe consequences for these types of behavior including, but not limited to, reprimand, the loss of your job or legal action.

5. Time Management Skills

There may be times while working as a nurse when you just feel overwhelmed with your work load. This can be especially true in medical facilities that are understaffed or located in areas with large populations. With that said, to be successful in your career, you will need to strengthen your time management skills.

The best way to handle a heavy work load is to look over your work agenda early in your shift and determine what tasks cannot wait. Perform these tasks first. If you encounter a task that you cannot handle on your own, do not be afraid to ask for help. Likewise, if a coworker seems to be struggling with a difficult task, offer your assistance.

To be successful in the nursing profession, there are many areas of strength that you will need to possess. In addition to those described above, you will also need such skills as critical thinking, good attention to detail and a strong desire to learn.

How to succeed in nursing school

Are you thinking about going to nursing school and already have a family at home to take care of? While balancing nursing school with a family can be a big commitment, it’s definitely doable, and many nurses going to school later in life already have a family, often including multiple kids. If you have a family and are thinking about going to nursing school—or are already enrolled—here are eight tips for balancing it all and staying sane.

1. Talk about the changes with your family.

Before you start school or run out to purchase your scrubs, discuss all the coming changes with both your partner and the kids so everyone knows what is going on. If your partner is going to take on new responsibilities once you start school—such as picking up and dropping off the kids at daycare or taking them to doctor’s appointments—clarify expectations beforehand and work out a plan. Then let your kids know that you’re going to nursing school, and explain that everyone’s schedule is going to change as a result. If they’re younger, they may take time to adjust to the new routine, so be patient with them.

2. Create a master calendar.

Some people like to keep their work or school and personal calendars separate, but it will be a huge help for you and your partner if you consolidate everything into one master calendar. At the very least, the calendar should feature major events such as exams, recitals, and doctor’s appointments, and if you’d like you can get more granular and add your class schedule as well. And don’t forget to bring your partner on board and invite them to contribute to the calendar: They can add work trips and other major events from their schedule so you’ll have all the family commitments in one place.

3. Figure out your peak study periods.

Are you a morning person or a night owl? Would you rather get up at 4 a.m. and do your studying early before anyone else wakes up, or do you like to stay up late and crack the books after the kids have gone to bed? There’s no right or wrong answer, but your studying will be more efficient and you’ll retain more material if you work with rather than against your circadian rhythm. You probably already have an idea of when your most productive periods are during the day, so try to get homework done during those times whenever you can.

4. Make the most of nap time.

If you have little kids, you know the blissful quiet that (finally!) descends on the house when nap time comes around. While you may be tempted to take a nap yourself after running around after little ones all day, use this time to check some things off your to-do list: Finish that assignment, study for that exam, take care of that chore. After all, the more you get done during nap time, the less you have to get done either super early or very late in the day, when you’re less alert.

5. Determine what you’re willing to sacrifice.

You’re not a superhero. You’re only human, and you can’t do everything on top of managing your family and getting through nursing school. Before school starts, take stock of all the activities in your life and determine what you must keep and what can go. For example, you might not be able to spend as much time with extended family as you used to, or you might have to give up a time-consuming hobby such as knitting. At the same time, make sure you leave some time to take care of yourself: Maybe you give up the knitting projects, but you can continue to make time for your daily workout.

6. Schedule family and couple time each month.

Wrangling a family is difficult enough without adding nursing school to the mix. Despite the schedule chaos, do your best to block off at least one day or night a month for family time. Visit the zoo, host an at-home move night, or go out to a park together. And don’t neglect your love life either: If you’ve got a partner, aim to schedule one date a month if you can. Put away the books and stethoscope, get a babysitter, and enjoy some well-deserved time away from the kids, just the two of you.

7. Find a support system.

There’s a good chance there are other parents in your nursing program, so seek them out and make friends. They’ll understand the challenges you’re going through, and you can swap tips and babysitter recommendations. Of course, everyone in the nursing program is going through the same experience, but fellow parents will be able to sympathize with cramming during nap time and other strategies only moms and dads can understand. You may even become study buddies, as fellow parents will probably keep a schedule closer to yours, which makes it easier to find mutually available times to study together.

8. Consider a part-time program.

If going to nursing school full time isn’t feasible because of your family situation, don’t be discouraged—there are plenty of part-time nursing programs out there. Check to see if there are any part-time programs in your area; these programs will be spread over more months, but they’ll require less time of you each week. You can also look into online nursing programs, some of which provide on-demand video classes, let your work at your own pace, or otherwise offer a more flexible schedule to accommodate the demands of parenting.

Written by Caitlin Kretschmar, Student Nurse

Caitlin Kretschmar is in her junior year of nursing school at the University of New Hampshire. In high school she planned to go into business after graduation, but she found her plans changed suddenly, when a ruptured arterio-venous malformation landed her in the Children’s Hospital of Boston for weeks. It was there, surrounded by amazing nurses, that she began to re-evaluate her plans. During her recovery, she realized that she truly wanted to be a nurse, and that everything happens for a reason. is grateful to Caitlin for sharing her story and perspectives on nursing school.

As you prepare to begin your journey toward becoming a nurse, you’re likely thinking, “What am I going to need to make it through nursing school?” It’s an important question and the sooner you get it answered, the better off you will be.

In college you don’t get the list of school supplies like you did in high school. Instead, you end up with a long list of really expensive (and heavy) textbooks. The first rule when it comes to text books is this: Don’t buy them all brand new. You can buy used books, share a text book with a roommate or borrow one from the library.

How to succeed in nursing school

You’ll need the obvious things like pencils, pens, notebooks and numerous highlighters in a rainbow of colors. You will also need notecards, a stethoscope and good comfortable shoes. You will need an alarm clock that you can’t sleep through, penlights and a watch with a second hand. These are all things that you can find pretty easily at the local five and dime store or online.

There is, however, one thing you will need for nursing school that you won’t find at any office supply store or on Amazon. This one thing, this essential supply, is the single most important thing you will need to make it through nursing school alive (yes, alive).

The most important thing you need for nursing school is a solid support system.

You will need friends and family who are willing to listen to you rant and rave about school. People who acknowledge how hard you truly are working, and who tell you it is okay to take a break once in a while. Your family can help remind you of this, and won’t let you forget to keep things in perspective.

There is a preconceived notion that when you’re in nursing school you will lose all of your non-nursing friends. I can tell you, from experience, that this is not true. Not all of your friends are going to be willing to listen to stories about your patient with c-diff (don’t worry if you don’t know what this means yet…you will), but that’s okay. Those are the friends who send you that “Good-luck” or “Let me know if you need coffee” text just when you need it. Keep these friends close, and stay in touch. And never turn down an offer for coffee!

Another vital part of your support system is the group of friends you will actually gain after you begin nursing school. You will have nearly every single class with the same fifty-something nursing students, all of whom understand what you are going through, and are simultaneously going through it with you.!

Your nursing classmates will become your school family. These are the people who will understand your crazy pre-test rituals, and know that when you say “I’m going to to throw up,” you aren’t actually going to throw up, you’re just nervous. You will spend almost every waking minute with some of these people, studying together, getting coffee together, and even grocery shopping together when you have time.

These are the people that will listen to your story about that patient who had c-diff, and will have a rebuttal story about their patient with Crohn’s. It is amazing how these people can make you laugh, when what you really want to do is cry about a test grade or about how stressed you are.

Your support system: Your family, your friends and your nursing classmates. These are the most important things you will need to make it through nursing school.

Being a junior I can’t say that I have fully survived nursing school yet, but I can say that for me – my support system and classmates are the reason that I have made it this far.

Finally, don’t be afraid to reach out to your support system if you need help. They are always there for you. Let them know when you need them.

If you’ve made the decision to go to nursing school – congratulations! Healthcare needs qualified and dedicated providers, and nursing is an excellent profession. Nursing school can seem daunting both at the beginning and all throughout. Ask any nurse and they’ll tell you that nursing school held some of the most challenging times of their lives. But instead of telling you how challenging and time-consuming it can be, we’ve rounded up a few great tips to get you off on the right foot. Ready? Here we go!

Ask Questions & Sit Up Front

One of the best things you can do for nursing school success is getting in the right mindset from the very beginning. Break free of habits like trying to be invisible in class or sitting in the back of the room. Instead, on your very first day of classes, head to the front of the room and find a seat. Don’t be afraid –you’re preparing yourself to pay attention and not get distracted. It’s even a good idea to show up a couple minutes early. Also, don’t be afraid to raise your hand and ask questions when (not if) you need clarification or are not quite understanding something. Asking your professor right away while help to immediately understand concepts better, and there is always someone else in the room who has the same question.

Get Organized

As soon as you know what classes you will be taking and what books and materials you’ll need, it’s time to find an organizational system that works for you and put it into practice. A favorite of mine is color-coding. Assign each course a specific color. Then, buy all your notebooks, folders, and binders for each class in that specific color. If you can’t find the colors you want, use tape, markers, or paper to identify them. If you can easily access your materials and keep them together, that’s half the battle of studying!

Another good organizational tool is using a planner or calendar. You can use a paper one or a digital version on your phone or computer, but whatever you decide to use, make sure to use it consistently. Update it each day with assignments, readings, projects, exams, and reminders. Fill out the information for each day so you know the night before what your day will look like and you don’t run into any surprises. Don’t forget to schedule time for self-care and relaxing – those are important too!

Don’t Wait to Ask for Help

If you find yourself struggling with a certain concept, don’t wait until test time to get it figured out. Instead, you should reach out to classmates or your professor for assistance. This is especially important as time goes on because in nursing school classes generally work off of the previous classes’ information. That means if you don’t understand a major concept in a course, whether you pass it or not, you should get help before moving on to the next course or you’ll find yourself falling further behind.

Figure Out How You Study Best

Nursing school is very demanding of time and brainpower. If you don’t know how you best study, now is the time to figure it out. Nursing students often find that the way they studied or worked in previous courses doesn’t work as well in nursing school. By determining how you best learn and study early on, you’ll save yourself time and frustration down the road.

Take Care of Yourself

Because nursing school is so demanding it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself. Your priorities might change to favor doing well in school, but don’t forget that you have to take care of yourself if you’re going to succeed in the long run.

Your physical health is of utmost importance, you cannot learn well if you don’t feel well. It may seem difficult to make time for yourself, and you might feel like these things are unnecessary, but they will help you in the long run. Make sure you are eating healthy, and stay hydrated with water. Try to avoid energy drinks and soda, even on your most tired days. If you need a caffeine boost, opt for green tea or black coffee, but leave out the sugar. You should also be getting 30 minutes of exercise each day. Squeeze that in, even if it means just taking a brisk walk and breaking it up into two 15-minute sessions.

Don’t neglect your mental health during this time, either. Make sure you have a good support system in family and friends and don’t hesitate to talk with a therapist if you need to. There’s no shame in keeping yourself healthy.


  • 1 About the Authors Jennifer J. Coleman, PhD, RN, CNE, COI, is a professor, Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama. Nina R. Harvey, DNP, FNP-C, CRNP, COI, is assistant professor, Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing, Samford University. Tameka Pritchett, DNP, RN, is a staff nurse, Novato Community Hospital, Novato, California. For more information, contact Dr. Coleman at [email protected]
  • PMID: 34265822
  • DOI: 10.1097/01.NEP.0000000000000854
  • Search in PubMed
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  • 1 About the Authors Jennifer J. Coleman, PhD, RN, CNE, COI, is a professor, Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing, Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama. Nina R. Harvey, DNP, FNP-C, CRNP, COI, is assistant professor, Moffett & Sanders School of Nursing, Samford University. Tameka Pritchett, DNP, RN, is a staff nurse, Novato Community Hospital, Novato, California. For more information, contact Dr. Coleman at [email protected]
  • PMID: 34265822
  • DOI: 10.1097/01.NEP.0000000000000854


The nursing workforce is not keeping pace with the racial demographics in the United States. In addition, attrition rates for ethnic minorities in schools of nursing remain high. This qualitative study examined African American students’ perceptions of factors that affect successful completion of nursing school. Five themes emerged: being invisible, sense of isolation, proving myself, focus on school as protective, and being misunderstood. Findings suggest that attention to identified influencing factors may affect minority student graduation success, increasing the likelihood of a diverse nursing workforce.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared no conflict of interest.

  • CHEMISTRY CLINIC– This clinic seeks to support students in all chemistry and biochemistry courses.
  • ENGLISH WRITING CENTER AND ONLINE WRITING LAB– The English Writing Center offers students both face-to-face tutoring (offered in the Central Library) and online interaction. Appointments may be made on the English Writing Center website where you will also find other tips and resources for improving your papers.
  • LIBRARY SERVICES: The Library sponsors a wealth of resources and information for you.
  • MATH CLINIC/MATH EMPORIUM– The Math Clinic and Math Emporium are drop-in tutoring centers located in Pickard Hall that offer assistance for students in specific undergraduate math courses and final review sessions before exams.
  • SCIENCE LEARNING CENTER– The Science Learning Center offers resource materials and study aids for students in Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology classes.
  • STUDENT ACCESS AND RESOURCE CENTER( formerly the OFFICE OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES- The SAR Center provides services, in the form of academic accommodations, to students with all types of disabilities. Our accessibility specialists provide aid and guidance to students in personal, academic, and career matters.
  • STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES– Student Support Services provides free academic support to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are either first generation, low income, and/or disabled. Free services include tutoring, counseling, advising, a private computer lab, seminars, cultural events, and laptop, calculator, and textbook lending programs.
  • UNIVERSITY TUTORIAL AND SUPPLEMENTAL INSTRUCTION– The University Tutorial offers individualized tutoring by high-quality, nationally certified tutors to students in a variety of subjects at a low price per hour. Supplemental Instruction is an internationally recognized student assistance program aimed at improving student performance in historically difficult courses and is free to all students.

More academic assistance services can be found at RESOURCES.

  • UTA HEALTH SERVICES-Provides quality, accessible, comprehensive, and cost-effective primary health care. In addition to a general medicine clinic, Health Services houses a pharmacy, laboratory, radiology department, women’s health clinic, immunization clinic, and a health promotion and substance abuse prevention office.
  • COUNSELING AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES-Provides services to help students increase their understanding of personal issues, address mental and behavioral health problems, and make positive changes in their lives. CAPS offers counseling, psychological, and psychiatric service.
  • MAVS TALK 24 HR CRISIS LINE: 817-272-8255
  • RELATIONSHIP VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT PREVENTION– Committed to creating and maintaining an environment in which all members of the University Community can persevere academically, personally, and professionally in an equitable and safe manner, devoid of sexual and relationship violence.
  • BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION TEAM– A network of professionals from across campus that are committed to a caring, confidential program of identification, intervention, and response in order to provide students with the greatest chance of success and our community with the greatest level of protection.
  • CENTER FOR STUDENTS IN RECOVERY– Provides a safe, healthy, and welcoming environment for students to cultivate life skills and celebrate success. With a variety of programs that emphasize community and accountability, CSR helps students draw upon their own inner strength, develop compassion, and build resilience.
  • MAVS STAND UP/BYSTANDER INTERVENTION– Bystander intervention is recognizing a potentially harmful situation or interaction and choosing to respond in a way that could positively influence the outcome. Steps to Intervention: (1) Recognize, (2) Choose, (3) Act.
  • EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE FUND– The Emergency Assistance Fund provides limited monetary help to students who are suffering temporary financial hardship due to a sudden emergency, accident, or unforeseen event that would otherwise jeopardize their ability to attend UTA.
  • THE MAC: MAVERICK ACTIVITIES CENTER– The MAC, a $34.5 million recreation facility, is approximately 190,000 sq. ft. and includes a variety of equipment and activities. The MAC also offers group fitness – including virtual live and on-demand fitness classes, personal training, and massage therapy
  • STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS: MAV ORGS– There are hundreds of groups that serve to complement your academic work, provide leadership development, and enhance your collegiate experience.
  • NURSING STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS: There are seven nursing organizations and two kinesiology organizations that you can join, even as a pre-nursing student.

For more opportunities to be involved on campus, see GET INVOLVED.

  • LOCKHEED MARTIN CAREER DEVELOPMENT CENTER – Visit the career center for all your job-related questions. Services offered:
    • Career Fairs
    • Resources for Creating your Resume and Cover Letter
    • Career Spot Drop-Ins and Appointments
    • Practice Interviews
    • Assistance Planning for Grad School
  • NURSINGSTUDENT RESOURCES– Our faculty mentors and advising staff are dedicated to the success of our students. We also offer peer mentors and a variety of student organizations that enhance the academic experience and build professional skills.
  • BSN APPLICANT CHECKLIST– This document serves as a guide through the minimum requirements to apply to the upper-division campus-based BSN program.
  • PRE-LICENSURE NURSING IMMUNIZATION REQUIREMENTS– The most recent information about immunizations that are required as part of the application process to the BSN Program.
  • TEAS INFORMATION- UTA’s Pre-Licensure BSN program requires a minimum score in the “proficient” range in each section to be eligible to apply to the BSN Program.

For more information about the undergraduate nursing program, please see the CONHI BSN page.


Strategies for Success in Nursing School: From Start to Finish by Leslie Jennings, RN; RaeAnna Jeffers; Laura Haygood; and Craig Keaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

How to succeed in nursing school

You’ve completed all of your nursing school prerequisites, submitted all of your paperwork and are finally ready to start nursing school. Now, the anxiety sets in. You ask yourself – Can I really do this? Will I be successful in nursing school? The short answer is yes – it is possible to earn your bachelor’s degree in nursing in as few as 16 months after completing your prerequisites through Concordia University’s Accelerated Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (ABSN). The long answer? We have to break down exactly what to expect in your first semester of nursing school.

Your First Week

Before you begin classes, you will attend an orientation where you will receive a syllabus, get to ask questions from faculty, meet your classmates, and get a general feel for the nursing site and the work that lies ahead. Then it’s time to actually start classes. While your first week will likely feel overwhelming, most ABSN students adjust rather quickly to the rigorous schedule. Here are the two best ways to organize and prepare for the first day:

  • Write it down. Writing things down is proven to help calm your nerves and help you organize. According to Psychology Today, the act of writing reduces anxiety and helps trigger your brain to organize your thoughts calmly. Organize your study schedule, and write down all of the materials you’ll need (notebooks, pens, computer battery for back-up, etc.) Simply writing it all down will allow you to better prepare for your first week of classes.
  • Build up your contacts. This is the time to speak up and not be afraid to ask questions, especially from those who are in your exact shoes – your cohort. Use orientation to get their contact information and to share any concerns or questions with your fellow students. After all, you all are going to be spending a lot of time together over the next 16 months.

Your First Semester Courses

Below are the courses that you will complete in the first of four semesters. They include online coursework, onsite labs and clinical rotations.

First semester courses:

  • NUR 350: Fundamentals of Nursing and Caring for Persons with Chronic Conditions*
  • NUR 351: Nursing Integration of Pathophysiology and Pharmacology I
  • NUR 352: Introduction to Nursing Informatics and Information Literacy

*Includes onsite clinical component.

What to Expect From Blended Coursework

In each of the four semesters, you will be working through three primary components of the accelerated BSN: online coursework, onsite simulation labs, and in-hospital clinical rotations.

Online Coursework

How to succeed in nursing school

Unlike a classroom-based nursing program, the online learning component of the ABSN gives you the flexibility to choose when and where you participate in class. The coursework consists of five main sections:

  • Learning Outcomes – an overview of what you’ll be learning in the course
  • Read and Study Materials – a list of the necessary textbooks or resources you will need
  • Learning Activities – a detailed list of projects/tasks you will be required to submit, this portion also includes your deadlines
  • Assessment – go here to check out the discussion forums or see your other assignments
  • Review – test yourself with the optional self-assessments and review the lesson summaries

Online learning does not mean you are left alone to learn. Concordia University’s dedicated faculty and staff are available to guide and support you through the program. In fact, most ABSN students say they have more interaction with their instructors online, than they ever did in their previous on-campus college experiences.

Skills and Simulation Labs

Onsite skills and simulation labs are where you will put what you learned online to work. You’ll practice your lessons on a medical manikin and under the supervision of a clinical instructor.

How to succeed in nursing school

Our high-fidelity medical manikins allow you to:

  • Apply basic skills, like checking vital signs and monitoring blood pressure
  • Practice responding to acute and critical events in a controlled, safe environment
  • Evaluate various patient-care scenarios and administer treatment
  • Learn from mistakes and effectively correct them with the supervision of faculty
  • Experience scenarios that focus on understanding and collaborating with a team

Students enjoy the simulation lab because they can get their technique down – like inserting an IV – before seeing real-life patients.

Clinical Rotations

During clinical rotations inside top area hospitals, you will apply what you’ve learned in a real world setting. While the length may vary, you may complete clinical rotations in the following areas:

  • Adult Health
  • Mental Health
  • Behavioral Health
  • Obstetrics
  • Pediatrics
  • Intensive Care
  • Acute Care
  • Long-term Care

Accelerated nursing students especially love clinical rotations because it gives them an opportunity to explore various areas of nursing to find their fit. Clinical placements help provides students an opportunity to identify what area of nursing they want to pursue following graduation and licensure.

Why Concordia University?

Concordia University offers accelerated nursing students a small school feel with big opportunities. Concordia provides a Christian community that encourages student and faculty interaction, individual attention, and spiritual growth – all backed with an emphasis on service. Students who graduate from the nursing program learn to care for the whole patient – mind, body and spirit.

I am more and more convinced that my nursing education at Concordia was incomparable to other schools I could have chosen,” says MacKenzie Kampa, a 2014 Concordia University nursing school graduate. “I am so grateful for the excellent preparation that Concordia University gave me. The depth of the curriculum and the one-on-one interactions with professors and clinical instructors was invaluable and I am a better nurse for it.

Nursing school is not supposed to be easy. But at Concordia University, you’re going to be well prepared and have plenty of resources to help you succeed, not just in becoming a nurse, but also in becoming a healthcare leader.

Take the first step toward you nursing future and contact an ABSN admissions counselor today.