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How to Prepare for Nursing School: 11 Tips from a Nurse


August 14, 2023

One of the most exciting days of my life was the day I accepted the offer to nursing school. I mean, I couldn’t believe it – I was going to be a nurse! It all seemed surreal. How would I prepare? What if I wasn’t good enough? I definitely had the butterflies often the summer before college.

There are many things I wish I’d known before saying goodbye to my parents and going off to live two hours away at nursing school. And now I’m going to share those things with you!

11 Things to Know Before Starting Nursing School

Nursing school is an incredible experience, but getting started can also be so intimidating. I hope you feel proud of taking this big step! I’m here to arm you with a few essential tips.

1. It’s OK not to know a lot

I’ll be honest, the first year of nursing school felt so hard. That’s because I expected myself to know a lot of the basics already. But when you’re brand new, you don’t know what you don’t know. In fact, you won’t know much at all, and that’s perfectly OK. That’s why you’re going to school.

2. Perseverance is everything

Prepare to be dedicated, especially during the hard parts of nursing school. You will face long nights, tough outcomes, and pressure to do well. You must not forget why you chose to be a nurse. Perseverance is everything in nursing school. 

3. You can still have fun if you manage your time well

Nursing programs can be rigorous. Expect to carry a lot of responsibilities. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be social and have fun while still being an excellent nursing student. You just need to learn to manage your time well. Here are some great time management tips for nursing students.


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4. Good study habits start early

Develop strong study habits early on. Your core nursing classes may not begin until sophomore year, but that doesn’t mean the first year doesn’t count. Build good study habits during your freshmen year to carry you through to graduation.

5. Asking questions is a superpower

I know it can feel intimidating to ask a question in a classroom full of strangers but don’t be afraid to speak up. It’s your education, and it’s up to you to make the most of it. Nursing is a complex field, and your professors are there to help you understand the information. You are not expected to know it all. 

6. Embracing challenges helps you grow

I knew a lot of nurses who could not handle failure or tough times. They’d break down because they expected everything to always run smoothly. That’s not the reality of nursing school. You will face challenges, but there’s nothing to be afraid of. You can get through them as long as you remain determined and strong. Challenges help you grow. 

7. Self-care is essential

Burnout doesn’t just happen to working nurses; it can very well happen in nursing school, too! Don’t put self-care on the shelf during nursing school. Learning to care for yourself while you care for others is the key to thriving as a nurse, so build those skills now.

8. Teamwork makes the dream work

Teamwork and study groups are so helpful during nursing school! Develop friendships with other nursing students, then collaborate and work toward the same goals. You’ll appreciate the support and camaraderie. 

9. Showing up makes life easier

The ability to decide whether or not you attend your college classes can feel like a real privilege. Finally, you’re making your own choices! But please don’t skip classes. It may feel “cool” to skip out, but you’re actually doing yourself a disservice. If you miss classes, you may miss important information you’ll need to know for your exams, not to mention your career!

10. Making sacrifices is part of nursing school life

That really fun party or outing can seem so tempting. But if you have an important exam coming up, you may have to say no. It’s important to learn how to make sacrifices to keep your goals in focus. Enjoying a late night out may feel good in the moment, but you’ll likely regret the consequences. 

11. Curiosity is a career skill

Stay curious! Being hungry for knowledge will take you far not only in nursing school but in your professional (and even your personal) life, as well. 

How to Prepare for Nursing School? Relax and Enjoy the Ride

Nursing school is an exciting time full of new experiences, challenges, and growth. While it may seem daunting at first, being prepared with realistic expectations, good study habits, time management skills, and a commitment to self-care will set you up for success.

Remember to embrace curiosity, teamwork, and perseverance throughout your journey. Stay focused on your goals, and don’t be afraid to ask questions along the way. With the right mindset and preparation, you’ll be ready to take on nursing school and thrive. Use these tips on how to prepare for nursing school to enjoy the ride and make the most of this rewarding next chapter!

Pooja Patel is a registered nurse of eight years with a master’s degree in nursing leadership. Her primary specialty is in women’s health. She has worked as a labor and delivery nurse, fertility nurse, and now a fertility nurse manager. She has also worked in corporate insurance and ambulatory care. Pooja started her wellness and lifestyle blog, Nurse Bestie, to help overwhelmed nurses conquer their stress and learn how to live a happy and healthy life. She’s passionate about being healthy and sharing all of its life-changing benefits for busy nurses.