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Nurses are in great demand, and this career has an excellent outlook for the coming years. Employment opportunities for nurses are projected to grow 19 percent over the 10-year period that began in 2012, while the average for all occupations is just 11 percent. Get ready to take your place in this lucrative and rewarding field with these smart tips for nursing school.
Maintain Healthy Habits From the Start
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Habits are difficult to form and even tougher to break. Use your time as a college student to begin building healthy lifestyle habits that will stay with you through your professional life. With these core habits in place, you’ll adjust much better to a busy clinical schedule and a fast-paced career as a nurse.
These habits should include eating a well-balanced diet with healthy snacks like fresh fruits and vegetables or protein-packed Greek yogurt instead of chips and candy bars. Drink lots of water throughout the day and get to know your body so you can sense when you’re feeling dehydrated. Get plenty of sleep and don’t push yourself to maintain a schedule without adequate time for shuteye.
Work With a NCLEX Review Book
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While the NCLEX exam won’t come until you’ve completed your nursing education, it’s helpful to have this book with you from the start. Work with the review book throughout your entire college education, preparing for this ultimate exam every step of the way. As you learn new content, see how it’s presented for the NCLEX and make sure you have a solid understanding of the topic.
Create Short-Term and Long-Term Plans
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Organization and time management are essential skills for nursing students. Carefully plan your weekly and monthly schedules to make sure you have ample time for classes, clinicals, studying, and taking care of yourself. Take a long view of your career as well, so you can prepare properly for your ultimate goals.
After you become a registered nurse and gain some experience, you can go on to pursue further education. Consider whether you’re interested in pursuing a master’s degree to become a nurse practitioner or nurse midwife. Many schools, like the University of Cincinnati, have online master’s degree programs for your convenience.
Get Real Health Care Experience
Spend your summers volunteering or working in a health care environment. Though your responsibilities may seem mundane in these early years, you’ll gain valuable experience working with patients. People who are ill or injured are not the best versions of themselves, and it takes a practiced hand to deal skillfully with patients in these situations. You can hone your communications skills while building a better resume. Spending time in health care during your summer vacation also will keep your skills sharp so you feel more comfortable returning to school the following year.
Nursing school can be challenging, hectic, and stressful, but it’s also supremely rewarding for students who look forward to a career helping others. With smart tricks and adequate preparation, you can ace your time in nursing school and go on to pursue a long and successful career in health care.