Skip to main contentSkip to main navigationSkip to footer content

What we wish we knew our first week: A letter for new nursing learners from veteran learners

What we wish we knew our first week: A letter for new nursing learners from veteran learners

Dear new nursing students,

There’s quite a few things that we nursing students wish we would have known in the first week of nursing school. Don’t buy shoes that look good but aren’t comfy, GO FOR COMFORT even if they look bulky and unfashionable. Keep your head up. Don’t let the stress seize the joy out of learning about the human body and the amazing things it can do. Thank your family for their support. Start studying early. We could go on and on. We just wanted to pass on the things we’ve learned so that maybe nursing school will be a little less painful for you.

There are many tips and tricks we could tell you, from the secrets of dose calc to the best mnemonics for remembering steps in certain processes, but some of you might be taught that, or might already know. We wanted to tell you, just in general, what helped us get through. Good luck, and we look forward to have you join us as nurses in this great field.

Start preparing for the NCLEX from week one.

You can’t become a nurse if you’re not prepared for the NCLEX. Although your classes will teach you concepts and content, you really need to be preparing for this test from the very beginning. Familiarize yourself with the style of the test early by using books and apps to help you become mentally aware of what is re

quired, so it doesn’t seem too overwhelming when you get to the upper levels.

“Start studying for the NCLEX now. You’ll be much better prepared for the test once you graduate. Also to reach out to fellow students and get together in study groups. You’re not in it alone so use your community of fellow students to help each other along the journey.” – Monique Van Orden, class of Fall 2017

“Open up that NCLEX study book, now, right now the very first week. Don’t wait until your last semester. It’ll help you more the more you use it.” – Maranda Hammack, class of Summer 2017

Make school a priority

School is the most important thing in your life right now, and you get out what you put in. If you have a job, be prepared to work minimal hours or even quit. If you have a family, make sure you have the time blocked out to study at the library or at least a few hours a day where you can be sure to get some serious study time. No one ever said nursing school was easy – it takes a lot of time, patience, and dedication.Commit to focusing on nursing school. This is a fast program, and it will be over quickly if you really dig in and work hard. Giving a halfway effort could end up costing you in the long run if you do not pass and need to retake classes. Just set aside this time just for school and really give it all your attention.

“Don’t let yourself get behind – catching up is so much harder than staying up.” – Jessica McFadden, class of Summer 2018

Plan Smart

Nursing school can be overwhelming, especially if you’re also juggling a job or a family. You need to become a list master. Make sure that when you start the semester, you have a list of the things you will need, how much it will cost, and what to expect. Our blog page (where you found this one) contains many blogs for new learners that can help you navigate this complex world. Simply search by the “New Learner” category to sort out the ones that would be useful to you. Ask your cohort what they have done to stay on top of their course load and stay motivated, because everyone has a different system. Find what works for you, and stick with it. If you find that you’re falling behind, talk with Learner Services to find tutors, planning tips, and other resources that can help you catch up start dominating this!

“One thing I did was got a weekly planner, and scheduled out my week with assignments, and wrote down ALL test dates and clinical dates, then at the end of each week put down however many days to the end of the semester and graduation ??‍???” – Leathie Yeaman, class of Spring 2019

“How much $ it will cost you for everything extra you need including books that the school doesn’t supply you with. Aps, books, extra scrubs, new stethoscope…” – Shannon Abrams, class of Fall 2018

Maximize your Resources

Make sure that you set yourself up for success. First off, talk with the LALR counselors. They are the best. Don’t be afraid to talk to your instructors if you’re not understanding the concept. They are extremely understanding and they really want you to succeed, and they can recommend resources for you to really learn the concepts and understand the content. Form study groups early, with people who care about their schooling at the same level you do. Download study apps, get extra books, take steps early to succeed. If you do, you can maximize your understanding of nursing.

“I have found the nurses I work with to be an awesome resource.” – Stacey Figuera Lopez, class of Fall 2018

“The additional books are EXTREMELY helpful for the semester. NCLEX study prep, HESI, drug books, any other material or apps or podcasts or YouTubers are a helpful source throughout school.” – Emme Kaylor, class of Spring 2019

Keep your Head up

Don’t get discouraged! It seems SO daunting at first, but just plan ahead, and you’ll be surprised how fast it goes by. Don’t let a bad score on a test get you down; use it to gauge the concepts that aren’t yet concrete and take the opportunity to really study these weak areas. These tests are HARD! Nursing is not for the weak! But just because you scored badly on one test doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to be a good nurse. You are going to be an AMAZING nurse, full of competence, confidence, and compassion. You are going to rock it. In the words of Babe Ruth, “Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” Start now. Don’t wait. You can do it. We believe in you.

“It’s not as impossible as you think it is!!!!!” – Leathie Yeaman, class of Spring 2019

Best of luck and FLAME! FORWARD!


Nightingale Learners

Skip to main content