Healthcare Insider Blog

Nurses: What I Wish I Knew Before Starting Nursing School

  • Healthcare Alvernia

Prospective nurses get ready for a wild yet rewarding ride, say experienced nurses.  In classrooms and online, nurses are sharing the wisdom they have gained from their educational and work experiences.

They know starting nursing school can be a big adjustment that is followed by an even bigger transition from a student to a professional with major responsibilities. But, having taken the journey from nursing school to nursing career, they have much advice to offer those just starting out.

Here are a few of the areas of focus that emerge when nurses answer the question “What do you wish you had known before starting nursing school?”:

Study, Study, Study

Prepare for long hours spent studying as a nursing student. Effective study habits are critical for any college career and the goal of studying is to retain information. Basic tips that can help retention include developing a well-organized note-taking system, reading assigned materials a day before lectures and reviewing them after they are taught in class. It might also be helpful to join a study group with fellow nursing students who you can also turn to for support. As one commenter on says: “I would say for a new student to study, study and study some more! Higher grades mean a graduate degree which means more job opportunities.”

Internships and Externships

Clinical experience while in nursing school is one of the most important factors in getting a job. “That is where you show what you are made of and get a chance to network,” says a nurse on Nursing internships and externships present students with opportunities to explore their areas of interest and learn from professional nurses in the hospital setting. Nursing students should treat these experiences like actual jobs with the same expectations and requirements. Like internships and externships, nursing capstone courses also have become increasingly important in facilitating student transition into practice. Students in the Alvernia Master of Science in Nursing program are required to complete a track-related capstone near the end of their studies.

Understanding Nursing Theory

Nursing theory is important and worthwhile, one nurse writes on Various research supports the importance of nursing theory to practice. According to Mike Nolan’s article “Is nursing becoming a disembodied profession?” published in the British Journal of Nursing (1996), the benefits of having a defined body of nursing theory include better patient care, improved communication between nurses, guidance for research and education, and an enhanced professional status for nurses.

Becoming a nurse will be a big life change. It changes your outlook on many things. As your experience and confidence grows, you will be able to better handle challenges that come your way.

Before you decide which Bachelor of Science in Nursing program to enroll in, ask the following questions: Do the faulty have expertise in their specialty areas? Will you have access to state-of-the-art equipment in nursing skills laboratories? Also, ask about the class size. Are the classes small enough for you to develop connections with the faculty? These questions will help you find a program that will provide the necessary background to succeed in nursing.

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