If you are looking to become a nurse, you’ve probably been doing a lot of research online about programs and schools. Becoming a nurse is a challenge, but one that can be managed with the right program and the right support. Take for instance Marquette University’s Direct Entry MSN program for non-nurses.
Our accredited master’s in nursing program, which is offered as a campus-based program in Milwaukee or as an online-based nursing program in Pleasant Prairie near Kenosha, Wisconsin, builds on your existing non-nursing bachelor’s degree, making it possible for you to earn an MSN degree in less than 21 months. While the program has its challenges, staff and faculty offer an environment of inclusiveness, one-on-one support, and collaboration to help you cope with stress and, most importantly, find success. Here are five stress-relief techniques you can count on for your nursing education.
1. Practice Self-Care
The nursing curriculum at Marquette is made up of three main components: online nursing theory coursework, hands-on skills and simulation labs, and in-hospital clinical rotations. Once you begin the full-time program you will have limited free time outside of your studies, so it’s crucial that you have a self-care routine in place to remain both physically and emotionally healthy.
To be your healthiest self, you’ll want to incorporate a diet consisting of:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Healthy protein
- High quality fats and whole grains
- Minimal sugar and fast-food
Having a balanced diet will help you maintain optimal focus. However, if your body is craving something, don’t deprive it, but occasionally indulge – it’s called ‘balance’ for a reason. In addition to a healthy diet, be sure to move your body outside of skills lab and clinical rotations. Choose physical activities you enjoy such as:
- Running or walking
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you need to make sure you get enough sleep. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), sleep deprivation can hinder your decision-making process and slow your reaction times. For example, if you’re sleep deprived during clinical rotations, you may find it difficult to compute fast medication math, assess vitals, or even react to a patient stumbling. This puts you, your patients, clinical instructors, and your nursing future in a dangerous position.
2. Stay Organized
Marquette’s curriculum is compressed and moves fast, so you’ll need to stay organized to keep up with the rigorous pace. You won’t experience any “light” semesters or classes, so you’ll want to develop an organizational regimen right away. A student planner can serve as a great resource by making you more effective in multi-tasking. Being able to write down and visualize your learning activities on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis will help you stay prepared and keep your stress in check.
“I depend on my calendar for everything – when I’m going to study, when I’m going to do homework, when I have class, etc. It helps me stay very organized,” says Ruben, Direct Entry MSN student.
Your organizational routine will start to fall into place once you begin the online portion of the program. Since you’re not tied down to a specific classroom or location, you will have the freedom to learn core nursing concepts at a time that works best for you and your schedule. However, you will still be held accountable for all deadlines given by your instructors.
3. Ask Questions
Nursing school will require you to absorb massive amounts of information, making it crucial for you to put aside your pride and ask questions when necessary. Just because you communicate with your professors through an online learning platform doesn’t mean you can’t meet with them one-on-one. In fact, your professors want to meet with you in-person if something isn’t making sense.
“We encourage students to contact us,” said Dr. Karen Robinson, Assistant Professor of Nursing. “We want to support students in every way possible and a quick email with a question or asking for help gives us that opportunity.” Direct Entry MSN student Shelby says, “I had some questions about APA formatting, so I emailed my professor and the next day she showed up to campus to review it with me.”
As part of the Direct Entry MSN curriculum, you’ll complete a series of labs that teach you how to safely and effectively deliver patient care. These labs will provide you with the equipment and supplies needed to prepare you for your diverse clinical rotations. Just like your online professors, your clinical professors will expect you to be upfront and honest about any additional help you may need. Whether you are struggling with a specific skill, piece of equipment or just need extra practice, your professors will gladly schedule time with you during open lab.
“Take advantage of open lab,” says Shelby. “Whenever you have questions, someone is always available to help you.”
4. Cultivate Your Nursing School Tribe
The memories you make in nursing school will stay with you for the rest of your career and most of them will involve the students you meet in your cohort. Coming from all walks of life, the students in your cohort will share your fears and goals for nursing school success. “We have a respiratory therapist, a graphic designer, an insurance agent, a social worker, and someone who worked in cardiac rehab; everyone’s experiences are rich in our learning process,” said Courtney, Direct Entry MSN student.
Your “nursing school tribe” will hold you accountable for deadlines, tutor you on challenging topics and serve as a sounding board when you are feeling stressed. You will provide the same amount of support for them in return.
“Everyone’s collaborating to help you do well. I’ve never heard someone say no when I’ve asked for help,” says Direct Entry MSN student Kassie. Towards the end of the program, you may even look to some students in your cohort as family.
5. Remember the End Goal
There’s a reason why you’re reading this blog post – you want to change careers to become a nurse. Whether you’ve been called to serve others, have experienced a traumatic life event, or have always been passionate about working in the field of healthcare, there is a reason behind your nursing school search. Before you begin your nursing school education, write down your “why” on a piece of paper and keep it safe. Whenever you feel the stress of nursing school is too much, you will have this for reference.
Nursing school is challenging, no doubt. It has to be – patients trust nurses with their lives. So while Marquette’s Direct Entry MSN program is demanding, these stress-relief techniques can help you successfully earn your masters of science in nursing (MSN) degree with confidence. Contact an admissions adviser to learn how you can get started today!