If you want to kick-start your nursing career, earning an associate degree in nursing, or ADN, is a terrific option. This route allows you to become a registered nurse more quickly than the alternative way, which is earning a bachelor of science in nursing, or BSN. Although ADN training can be completed more quickly, it is still very intense and can be extremely stressful. Pick up seven great tips for surviving ADN training below.
1. Work With A Study Group
Due to the fast-paced nature of ADN training, it is easy to fall behind. A great way to stay on track is by forming a study group with some fellow students. During study sessions, you and your classmates can cheer each other on, help each other out, and provide moral support. Helping others is also a great way to gain an even better understanding of a subject, so you will benefit in that way too.
2. Avoid Cramming
Waiting until the last minute to study for an important quiz or exam is never a good idea. Although it's a way of life for many students, it's far from optimal. Avoid putting that kind of pressure on yourself by engaging in short, frequent study sessions. After class, try to sit down for a quick review session and recap of what you just went over. By adopting this habit, you won't have as much studying to catch up on when a test or exam is on the horizon.
3. Get More Sleep
Sleep deprivation and nursing school seem to go hand in hand. It doesn't and shouldn't have to be that way, though. Attending class on just a few hours of sleep is counterproductive, as you are unlikely to absorb much of what is taught. A lack of sleep can negatively affect your performance on tests too. Avoid late-night cram sessions, and try to get to bed at the same time every night. If necessary, learn how to take "power naps" here and there during the day to stay refreshed and ready to go.
4. Eat Well
Another area where nursing students often suffer is getting proper nutrition. With so much going on, it is often difficult to sit down and have a good, healthy meal. Students often find themselves surviving off of junk food and other unhealthy snacks, and their performance in school tends to suffer for it. Make sure to get plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. If possible, prepare several meals ahead of time so that you are less likely to grab something that's convenient, but unhealthy.
Exercise is one of the best stress relievers around. You don't have to become a gym rat to reap the benefits, either. Just 20 to 30 minutes of exercise per day will do wonders for your mood and general sense of well-being. You might even consider finding friends to walk or run with you, and the group can quiz each other during workouts. Other ways to get more exercise are to take the stairs whenever possible and to park far away when driving places.
It's easy to start feeling completely overwhelmed by it all while trying to complete ADN training. Sometimes, all that it takes to get back on track is to sit down and engage in a little meditation. A Harvard study has shown that meditating doesn't just help you feel more relaxed, but it also has significant psychological and cognitive benefits. You don't have to meditate for hours on end to enjoy those benefits, either. Try meditating right before studying, first thing in the morning, or at some point in the middle of the day.
7. Take A Break
In the mad rush to complete ADN training, it is easy to forget to step back and take a breather from time to time. Even busy nursing school students deserve breaks, so make a point of penciling some into your schedule. Once every week or two, plan an outing where you can just get away from your usual environment and enjoy yourself. Whether it's a peaceful walk through the woods, an afternoon on a beach, or an evening out dancing the night away, occasional breaks will help you get through ADN training more easily.
ADN training programs cover huge amounts of information in short periods of time. Stress and fatigue are very real problems among nursing school students. Don't let yourself get too overwhelmed or your performance may suffer and your training will be that much more difficult. Keep the tips above in mind to get through your ADN training as easily as can be.