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5 Tips for Nurses Going Back to School

October 6th, 2010 by – Marijke Durning

Deciding to go back to school can be a natural career course or it can be a tough decision. Some nurses go into nursing knowing they’ll return to their studies to either get another designation or move up the degree chain. This could mean going from LPN to RN or RN going on to BSN or BSN to MSN – or higher.

Going back to school can be challenging and/or it can be frightening. For nurses who have been out of school for a while, the idea of attending classes and writing papers and exams may be paralyzing, but with the right help, this doesn’t need to be so.

If you are thinking about stepping back into school, here are some tips that may make it easier to ease into it:

1- Ease into school

Even if you can go back to school with a full load, this isn’t always the wisest move. The definition of full-time studies may differ from college to college, so if you are going full-time, it may be wiser to take the minimum load possible. If you’re going part-time and working, don’t overdo the course load. Start with one, if possible.

Easing into it is often recommended for older students because they may have to take some time to regain their school skills. It gives you a chance to focus on fewer topics, deal with fewer teachers, and give you more time for the assignments you do have.

2- Consider On-line nursing education

Online nursing programs have become increasingly popular over the past few years. The ability to study at home during odd hours can be very appealing for nurses who have to juggle jobs and family.

3- Lower your standards

This may sound scary, but it does make sense. If you were an A+ student when you were young and single, you may not be able to reach those goals if you are working and caring for a family. While there’s nothing wrong with striving for that goal, you have to understand that it may not be possible in your present life. Work as hard as you can, but be reasonable with your expectations of yourself and your abilities.

4- Ask for help

There are times in life when we just need to ask for help from those around us. If you’re studying and find yourself struggling, don’t be shy or afraid to ask for help. Chances are that if you’re struggling, you’re not alone. If possible, join study groups and take advantage of any extra help offered by your instructors or teaching assistants. If you’re really struggling, be sure to speak with your instructor. Your problem may not be as severe as you think it is, given a little help.

5- Take breaks

If you’re working and going to school, you may need to take some time for yourself. Be realistic with your workload and if you have to take a semester off to recoup, then it’s likely best you do so. Better to slow down your progress than to burn out and never finish.

Going back to school is a big endeavor and a lot of work – but the results are worthwhile. Keep at it and before you know it – you’ll be at the end of the road.

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Posted in Nursing School

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only, and is intended as a supplement, not as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.