5 Nursing School Study Tips and Tricks For 1st Year Nursing Students

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Nursing students who are accepted into a four-year bachelor’s program experience mixed emotions and tend to be more nervous than excited. The aspirations of students to do well in the program and the need to clear the licensure exam to be a qualified registered nurse is high in the first year. New curriculum to learn, nursing essentials and bags to be prepared, exams, quizzes, study groups, assignment deadlines, and clinical rotations sometimes leave many students gasping for breath. 

Nursing students

Although nursing courses are challenging, clearing one can be dealt with smartly and through systematic preparation. Nursing students have access to many useful tools and aids to prepare them with easy-to-understand concepts that can be learned online. Medtech platforms like Lecturio courses on nursing have proven to be purposeful to students in helping them with multiple videos that cover the concepts of clinical topics. 

So instead of being tensed through the first year of nursing school, it is advisable to follow a few tips and tricks that can help one in the future:

  1. Organize 

Nurses who learn to organize from the first day of school can achieve a lot in their careers. The organizational skills they develop over the years will become a good foundation for the future.

As nursing students stand with organizing your calendar. Keep a scheduled time to prioritize study plans with groups and solo. Keep a binder to include all the important class notes with different colored tags for easy access. All the essential things like a stethoscope, scissors, gauze, hand sanitizer, essential books, medicated gloves, and a watch are some of the common stuff that is seen in a nurse’s bag. 

Always keep a set of clean scrubs, compression socks, and functional footwear handy so that you can change them if required. Maintain apps for jotting down important points and writing down the to-do list on the smartphone. 

  1. Clear concepts

Trying to remember hundreds of different clinical topics can be very difficult if one is not trying to understand the basics. Each lesson in a nursing class builds on to future classes. Unless a nurse is clear about why a particular process is necessary they may not take a mental note of that and allow that to be part of their cognitive thinking. A student should be able to coordinate between the five steps of assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation, and evaluation. 

Developing skills to enhance critical thinking is very important for nurses and should be taught from the beginning of the program. They should have an unbiased, independent thought process, be curious and seek relevant answers, and dare to voice their opinion in public or a class. 

  1. Preparation and studies

Nurses need to process a lot of information which means that they read a lot. It helps nurses to skim read important topics and prepare for topics in a study group to explain to others. Each student can read their part and share the important points with others. In this manner, the workload is divided. Flashcard memory retention quizzes are popular and doable ways of recalling information.

Practice tests conducted in online courses can be answered when nurses are waiting in the hallways in between their patient care schedules, thus managing their time effectively. 

Most students buy too many books in the first year as they are not aware that resources are limited and it is not necessary to buy all the expensive books. Use a library card and make use of the books that you intend to use. Rotate books between other students in a study group instead of splurging hundreds of dollars by buying all the books that are listed as reference material. 

If you are not a part of a study group try to make one by expressing interest mentioning your preferred time of study and the number of members required to fill the positions. Study partners proactively help each other. They motivate to try again and not be disheartened by initial struggles or failures. 

Maintain a rubric of notes and concepts that are learned with stress on takeaways and learning outcomes of each topic. 

  1. Develop your style

Each person has a way of working that will be developed with hacks and tips they learn over time to work efficiently and accurately. This method is best learned through observation and should not be completely copied from another person’s workflow. Likewise, nurses should understand what works for them best and develop a routine around that. A few examples of developing your style of working are:

  • You are good at understanding whether you learn better through visuals or by jotting down notes. Develop your study plan around these features and try to be part of like-minded individuals in a study group.
  • Whether you are a morning person or night person should determine when you would like to work and study

You can also try to understand what are your barriers and work on them to make your weakness your strength. 

  1. Self-care is important

Nurses promote the health of their patients through diligence, clinical knowledge, and compassion. But often trying to absorb the information in class, hurrying to head to clinical rotations, and providing the best patient care can cause burn-out and fatigue in nurses when they neglect their diet, physical exercise, and mental stimulation. 

Nursing students have to develop a healthy regimen and not neglect their health. They should take time and talk to someone to feel rejuvenated and bounce back. Sometimes taking short trips to trek with friends, socializing for a cause, practicing mindfulness, and yoga can help a person feel energetic to get on with the next few weeks of nursing. 


Whether you want to take up nursing to be a full-time primary caregiver or transfer the skills to another profession where nursing and clinical knowledge will prove to be a good foundation, how you respond to your first year in nursing school is important. It is challenging but workable with some effort and a few smart hacks that will prove beneficial in the long run for your career.

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