How to stay motivated in nursing school

motivated in nursing schoolStaying motivated in nursing school sometimes can be a challenge, especially with those looming exams and strenuous homework assignments seem to keep building up class after class. It is easy to lose motivation during nursing school and fall victim to the nursing school blues. You begin to count down the semesters, maybe even months, to graduation when you are able to celebrate your hard work and take the next step in your nursing journey.

As the days go by, you slowly start to see that motivational triumph losing its effect. Whether it is caused by stress, anxiety, or school burnout, getting out of the rut seems impossible. Go ahead and admit that motivation dwindles away after some time and that you are in desperate need of a pick-me-up. All learners experience burnout and lack of motivation some point during nursing school. The question that needs to be answered now is how to stay motivated in nursing school before you reach the brink of motivational withdrawal. The beginning of the new semester is the optimal time to freshen your mindset with positive and motivational thoughts.

While there are several causes resulting in motivational withdrawal, one thing is constant, which is being in a motivational rut is not productive, effective, or efficient. Nursing school is a commitment requiring 100 percent of your focus and effort; it is energy consuming.

Let’s help you find your motivation.

Celebrate your successes. Even if you are just starting nursing school, it is important to keep celebrating your successes no matter how small or large. A pat on the back for a job well done will do wonders for your motivational health. Arrived to class on time when you struggle with time management? High five! Did well on an exam? Treat yourself with a dessert of choice. Studied until one in the morning but finally understand that one difficult concept? Do something you enjoy to celebrate.

No matter what you deem as success, celebrate it with a reward.

Take deep breaths. Remembering to take deep breaths when things get overwhelming calms down the mind, allowing you to focus on the task at hand. Too many times, learners allow themselves to get overwhelmed and it is unnecessary. You are in control of how you handle tasks and your outlook. Do your best to not let the stress overcome you, depleting your motivation. Next time you struggle with motivation during school, take a moment to just breathe.

Say positive affirmations. Saying one thing and doing it are not the same. However, saying positive affirmations and living by them is an exception to the common saying. By saying out loud positive, motivational statements such as “I can do this” and “Snap out of it! I have to get this done.” all have a positive effect on your conscience. As those troubling thoughts fight their way in, meet it at the door with your positive affirmation(s) and shut the door before you allow the negative thoughts in. Many learners, not just in nursing school, continue to fight with negative self-reflective thoughts that steal their motivation. Don’t let it happen to you. You are a nurse! Fight like one.

Set your goals. It is proven that if you write your goals down and share them with someone you trust, it can improve the likelihood of you completing your goals. Find a few goals that you want to crush this semester, draft them down, and share your goals. Motivation increases when you are able to cross goals off of the list; the feeling of accomplishment and accountability fuels your motivation to continue going. Go ahead and set attainable goals. Let’s see what you can accomplish.

Look for help. School has often gotten the bad end of the stick, being referred to using terms such as fun sucker, lame, and pointless. However, attending a program comes with perks. Utilize the resources available to you like Learner Services. Sometimes all that is needed to spark motivation is knowing that there are people to support you who have endless amounts of resources at the ready. Instructors know first hand what it is like being a nursing learner. If you can’t find the motivation, ask instructors and other learners for suggestions on how to get motivated again.

Discovering motivation can be both internal and external. Look for opportunities, like improving your mindset, that you can do to help improve your motivation. Likewise, search for the external support tools and services that will help you keep going.

What keeps you motivated in nursing school?