Strategies to pass nursing school can guide you as you go through your time in school, and in this post, we will share eight of them that we find helpful. One of the best jobs in the healthcare world belongs to nurses. Not only do you get to save people’s lives, but it is also a rewarding profession. You can work in different fields of nursing, choose hours of work, and have the opportunity to rank up on the leadership ladder. Studying to be a nurse is the first step to benefit all of these; surviving nursing school is the second important thing.
Life of a Nursing Student
Being a nursing student is fun! Looking back at my years in nursing school, I can say it was bittersweet, fun, yes, but it brought tears too. I can say from experience that everything I went through as a nursing student was all worth it, and how you want your student nurse life to be is up to you.
8 Strategies to Pass Nursing School and Enjoy Being a Student Nurse
Suppose this is your first year in nursing school. Congratulations! You have a long way to go till graduation, so make it your goal to pass all levels so you can get your license and work as a real nurse. While you are still studying to be one, here are strategies to tips you can use. 
1. Strategies to pass nursing school teaches you to be always prepared.
Readiness should be second nature to student nurses. Being prepared reduces anxieties. Keep in mind that you will always have tests, clinical rotations, and other activities. Organizing your notes and reviewing your lessons after lectures can help you in many ways. Understand that not all of your instructors are the same; some of them love giving pop quizzes. So it would be best if you came to class prepared.
2. Create a routine that works
Nursing school is not a race, and if you keep running without any plan, you will burn out. Remember that you will be learning different things in nursing school, go on clinical grounds, and take tons of examinations to test your nursing comprehension. That said, developing a routine for studying, setting time for different tasks, or completing an assignment is essential to your survival.
3. Strategies to pass nursing helps you focus on your goals.
What drove you to study nursing? Do you have long-term goals? Your answer should be the goal you need to reach. If you want to become one of the best nurses in the country, use that as a goal. Once you know your goals, it’s easier to take steps to meet them. Focusing on your goals also gives you enough reason to make it and graduate.
4. Be part of a study group
One of the best strategies to pass nursing school is becoming a member of a study group. Meeting with other nursing students offers fresh insights into the topics you are studying. Not only do you get to learn with like-minded students, but you also get to socialize. It makes learning more accessible, especially if you have a hard time with specific topics. Plus, what will nursing school be like if you don’t have friends? If you are not part of a study group yet, now is the best time to be. So go out and find them!
5. Don’t forget to exercise
Stress is high when you are a nursing student. I remember breaking down one time in nursing school because I had to report on duty for my assigned area for four days straight and then study for an exam on a weekend when I was supposed to be relaxing. In short, the exhaustion got the best of me. It ruined my mood and plans of relaxation. A good friend of mine suggested I take walks or jog when I am feeling stressed.
Although I was not too fond of the idea at first, I gave it a try. Little by little, I felt better; the run helped clear my head and gave me the energy to do other things despite the long hours of nursing rounds. It’s why I recommend that you mix exercising into your schedule. You don’t have to run if you want to, but do take time to do exercises like yoga or follow YouTube workouts.
Keep in mind that exercising elevates your serotonin; you are taking care of yourself and feel happier. It’s one of the best strategies to pass nursing school and help you survive while studying!
6. Eat well and on time
Besides exercising, you should never skip meals while studying. In my experience, I can say that I am a terrible example. I have a terrible habit of missing meals on time. In my defense, I didn’t have time to eat, so I settled for quick snacks. So by the time I got home, I was dizzy and starving. It went on for months until my mother found out and scolded me about it.
The moral of the story is that don’t skip meals and eat well. Eating correctly and getting enough nourishment helps you stay sharp in school. The nutrients from the food you eat give you energy so you can do all your tasks.
7. Strategies to pass nursing helps you find a support system
I’m not going to lie, but nursing school is hard. I have seen some of my classmates give in to the pressure of school work and quit even if they are almost at the finish line. Nursing school is stressful, so you should have a support system to go to if you feel like you’re falling apart.
Having people who can listen to you vent about school life is enough; it’s also pretty cathartic! A support system could also be a support person. It could be a close friend, your parent/s, or someone you look up to. According to Herzing University, your support system plays a vital role in your success. Make sure you have a few people to call in your corner!
8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
No man is an island; you need help if you want to succeed in life. You can also apply this in your time as a student nurse. Asking for help is not a crime, and in nursing school, asking for help is welcome. Understand that each student has different learning styles, and if you are having a hard time understanding a topic, reach out and ask for help. Remember, no one wants you to fail, not your parents and not those involved in your education. 
Take the time to talk to your professors, ask questions about a topic you don’t understand. If you don’t like face-to-face discussions, you can always send them an email for clarifications. Keep in mind that you can’t win nursing school if you do it on your own. So, always find the opportunity to ask questions. It’s an excellent strategy to have.
Strategies to Pass Nursing School Will Help You Make It!
Don’t be intimated by the things you encounter in nursing school. It will help shape you into the nurse you want to be. Yes, stress is part of it, but always make time to decompress. I believe that there’s no easy way in life or nursing school, but you can always do something about it. Strapping strategies to pass nursing school under your belt is the best way to go and will help you also in your plans to take NCLEX. So, make sure you have plenty! I hope you find this article helpful, good luck!
The types of nursing specialties you work in can play a role in your career as a nurse. In this post, we will talk about twenty of the best areas of nursing that you can work and enjoy.
Types of Nursing Specialties to Work in as a Nurse
Nurses are the heart and backbone of healthcare. They work with patients up close and work collaboratively with other health care providers to ensure that quality care is delivered. It is why the career path a nurse chooses should be according to their passion and interests.
The good news is, there are plenty of nursing career paths to take. Others may provide more education and training, but all of these nursing specialties allow nurses to work with different groups of patients and deliver quality care at the same time. 
This post will tackle the unique nursing specialties, how to become one, the estimated income of the said position, and the requirements you need to qualify. Here are twenty of the best nursing fields you can work in as a nurse.
Types of Nursing Specialties that Works with Newborns to the Elderly
1. Neonatal Nurse
Nurses in this area work and care for infants at risk for complications or needs specialized care. Their patients include premature newborns, specifically congenital disabilities, cardiac problems, genetic conditions, or drug dependency. Neonatal nurses care for these infants until they can leave the hospital; however, in some cases, nurses provide care even after the infancy phase.
To qualify, you must have a valid license as a registered nurse. An associate degree also allows you to work in this position, but a Bachelor of Science in Nursing is needed if you want a more competitive position.
All nurses working in this field must have a Neonatal Resuscitation Program certification or credentials. These could be Low-Risk Neonatal Nursing and Neonatal Intensive Care certifications. The average income for this position is estimated to be $70,000 per year.
2. Pediatric Nurse
One of the best types of nursing specialties you can work in belongs to pediatrics. The area focuses on caring for the healthcare needs of children. It includes newborns and adolescents. However, depending on the level of training of nurses, they can provide all sorts of healthcare. Their job description includes:
- Giving primary and preventive healthcare.
- Managing chronic and acute illnesses.
- Conducting physical exams.
- Performing diagnostic tests and treatment plans as well as healthcare education to patients and their families.
How to be a pediatric nurse? First, get an RN license and certification. Nurses with a BSN degree or APRNs with a pediatric focus, MSN, or doctor of nursing degrees can find more favorable positions in this area. An RN can also qualify for a pediatric nursing certification program if they completed two years of work experience with a minimum of 2,000 hours in pediatric nursing. The average income for this position is $62,000 per year.
3. School Nurse
A school nurse is a nurse that works within a school’s clinic or health care areas. They mainly work in elementary, middle, and high schools. Their role is to provide treatment and first aid for injured or sick students. They also provide and collect health care data of students, administer health screenings, provide acute care, and help students with chronic diseases.
So, how do you become a school nurse? According to the National Association of School Nurses, you need to secure an RN license and a BSN before working in schools. In some cases, schools don’t necessarily require a specialty certification. But to further land the job, applicants must earn their credentials from the National Board for Certification of School Nurses to enhance their skills and qualifications. The average income for school nurses is estimated to be around $48,500 per year, not so bad if you ask me.
4. Family Nurse Practitioner
A family nurse works who works with patients from childhood until adulthood. It is one type of nursing specialties that is in clinical and family practice settings. Interested nurses must have an FNP certification. Nurses working as FNP usually examine, diagnose, and treat patients from birth until old age. Their practice mainly focuses on preventive care. In addition to an FNP certificate, nurses must also have an MSN as a minimum educational requirement.
You can also enter a bridge program with associate degrees in nursing or a direct entry program. These programs are for certificate holders with non-bachelor’s degrees. After graduating, FNP nurses can improve their status by earning certifications from other nurse practitioner certification boards.
The average income for this nursing specialty is estimated to be around $100,000 to $114,000 per month. It may also vary, depending on their clients. 
5. Geriatric Nurse
Working with the elderly is one of the in-demand jobs for nurses . If you like working with the elderly, geriatric nursing is perfect. Your main job is to work alongside primary healthcare givers, physicians, social workers, and families of elderly patients to ensure quality care for them. They also educate the families of patients about their conditions and the treatment options they have.
To qualify, one must be an RN with an advanced graduate degree and training in geriatrics. Having a Master’s or Doctoral level will get you better employment prospects in the future. You can get your Gerontological Specialist-Certified through the Gerontology Nursing Certification Commission.
The estimated average income of geriatric nurses is around $57,500 per year or more, depending on the facility they work.
Types of Nursing Specialties That Are Booming
1. Dialysis Nurse
Dialysis nurses work with patients who require blood cleansing due to kidney-related diseases. As a dialysis nurse, you will be working with machines and equipment that cleans the patient’s blood. You will also assess their vital signs before and after the procedure and teach them about medications and healthcare. To become a dialysis nurse, you must hold an associate or BSN degree and a registered nurse license.
Nurses with MSN degrees have the potential to earn more in advanced practice registered nurses positions. A certification in nephrology or the certified dialysis nurse credentials from the Nephrology Nursing Certification Committee also gives you higher ranks in this area. The average income for dialysis nurses is estimated to be around $71,000 per year.
2. Nurse Anesthetist
One of the best-paid jobs as a nurse is being a nurse anesthetist. These nurses administer anesthesia and pain medication to patients while observing their vital signs and monitoring them during and after surgeries. A nurse specializing in this area works with all kinds of patients scheduled for emergency or surgical procedures. Before surgery, it is their job to record patient history and teach or provide information about the anesthesia during said surgery. 
How can you become a nurse anesthetist? A BSN degree with an RN license helps, and if you have an MSN degree with a specialization in nurse anesthesiology, much better. You must also have 3,000 hours of clinical experience and a passing score from the National Examination by the National Boards of Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists.
Lastly, apply for a state license if the state you are in requires one. The estimated income for nurse anesthetists is estimated to be $175,000 annually.
3. Nurse Midwife
Nurses who specialize in pregnancy, prenatal care, childbirth, and postpartum care belong to nurse-midwives. This advanced practice in nursing work with pregnant women, caring for them from labor until delivery. They also provide postpartum assistance to new mothers. The main focus of this work is pregnancy care and offer gynecological reproductive health teaching and preventive healthcare. Working in this field is considered one of the best types of nursing specialties that you will enjoy working as a nurse.
Having an associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing and a licensed RN are the basic requirements for this position. Nurse-midwives who want to take a level up in their place can enroll in a Master of Science program or a doctor of nursing degree. Once they have completed their education, they must earn a certification as a Certified Nurse Midwife by the American Midwifery Certification Board. The average income for this position is estimated to be around $63,000 to $105,000 per year.
4. Infection Control or Prevention Nurse
One of the exciting types of nursing specialties belongs to this department. The main job of an infection control nurse is to identify, survey and manage infectious diseases and viruses. These nurses are the most influential people in the fight of Covid-19. They focus on caring for sick patients, patient case reporting, and widespread infection prevention. Infection control/prevention nurses mainly work in hospitals, but they can also work in community health centers and clinics if needed.
Interested applicants must obtain a Certification in Infection Prevention and Control (CIC) from the Certification Board of Infection Control and Epidemiology. They also require candidates with an associate or BSN and at least two years of work experience with infectious diseases. The average income for infectious control/prevention nurses is estimated to be around $71,200 per year.
5. Oncology Nurse
It is one type of nursing specialty that requires in-depth knowledge and skills since you will take care of cancer patients. They are highly trained nurses who specialize in providing cancer treatment and help educate patients about their treatment options and remission status. Oncology nurses are also the ones responsible for monitoring their patient’s progress, symptoms and prescribing medication.
If you wish to become an oncology nurse, you must have an associate’s degree or BSN and a licensed RN. You must also have 1,000 hours of training as a registered nurse to qualify. The average income for being a nurse in this area is estimated to be around $65,000 to $72,000 per year.
6. Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse
An area of nursing that helps people deal with their mental health is psychiatric mental health nursing. Here nurses help in assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients with mental health disorders. They also offer services for people with mood disorders, dementia, phobias, and depression. They administer therapy and medication, assess mental health, evaluate, intervene during a crisis, and assist patients.
Interested parties must be licensed and registered nurses with a Master’s degree. The average income for psychiatric nurses is estimated to be $65,000 to $119,000 each year.
7. Nurse Advocate
Nurse advocates are nurses who provide assessment, representation, and education to patients. They also coordinate with doctors and patients to review patient concerns and consult with doctors to deliver quality and cost-effective health care. Their other roles include treating and educating patients about their conditions and the available healthcare procedures by communicating their preferences. They also mediate conflicts with their doctors.
To become a nurse advocate, you must have a BSN degree and pass the NCLEX-RN licensure exams. Continuing education courses is also essential if you wish to be a nurse advocate and have work experience. You can also get certified by the Patient Advocate Certification Board for credentials and working in this area. The estimated average income for this nursing field is $71,700 per annum.
8. Nurse Educator
Nurses who love teaching can become nurse educators. To become one, you must be a registered (NCLEX-RN) and licensed nurse who has completed advanced graduate training. It will help you in teaching nursing students in academic institutions as well as hospital nursing training settings. In addition to that, you must also be enrolled or have a degree in continuing education and refresher courses.
Nurse educators are responsible for creating a nursing curriculum, advise students, conduct research, and write grants. You must also be an MSN holder and have additional clinical experience in the APRN practice areas. While these are all essential, some universities prefer to hire nurse educators with a Ph.D. in Nursing or a doctor of nursing practice degree. You must also pass the National League of Nursing exam to receive Certified Nurse Educator certification. The average income for this position is $68,500 to $79,300 annually.
9. Clinical Nurse
Working as a clinical nurse is like your training ground for determining the type of nursing specialties you want to work in, in the future. Clinical nurse focuses on areas of care that include pediatrics, geriatrics, emergency, or critical care. They also tackle specific disease care like cardiovascular or diabetes, mental health and rehabilitation, and pain management and wound care.
Interested nurses who want to become clinical nurses must enter an MSN program after getting their RN license. Although this field does not necessarily require special certifications to work, many nurses who want to advance their career in this area pursue specialized credentials. The average income for clinical nurses varies from $85,000 to $90,000 per year.
10. Public Health Nurse
One of the most common nursing jobs belongs to the public health nurse. They usually work with communities and help educate people on safety issues and health and assist them in getting access to healthcare. While some nursing jobs require individual patient care, community nurses focus on preventing diseases, identifying health concerns, and implementing and prioritizing safety issues within communities.
A nurse applicant must pass the NCLEX examinations and have work experience in community or public nursing. You must also have a bachelor’s degree and at least five years of work experience as a public health nurse and completing the National Board of Public Health Examiners. Becoming a public health nurse works best for nurses who don’t want to work one-on-one with patients. The average income for this position is around $56,000 to $56,000 per year.
11. Nurse Researcher
If you don’t want to work with patients, you can work as a nurse researcher. A nurse researcher’s job consists of analyzing data, conducting scientific studies, and creating reports about improving healthcare and illnesses. Nurse researchers work in research laboratories as well as hospitals. Most NRs have bachelor’s and master’s degrees with valid RN licenses. And, if you wish to boost your career in this area, earning a Certified Clinical Research Professional certification from the Society for Clinical Research Associates is a must. They can also acquire credentials through the Association of Clinical Research Professionals. The average pay for this profession is around $81,500 or more annually, but it may vary depending on the research center.
12. Informatics Nurse
An informatics nurse works in managing healthcare data and communications. They mainly work for hospitals, nursing homes, public health agencies, or insurance agencies. Nurses in this area train in computer science, information and technology, and nursing. They also manage data gathered among healthcare providers to organize and increase the efficiency of overall patient care.
Applicants interested in working as informatics nurses must be a BSN with an RN license or MSN degree in health informatics. They also hire nurses with degrees in Information Science or Computer Science, but not all employers require this. However, specialized certification in nurse informatics from the American Nurses Credentialing Center can help you go a long way in this nursing field. The average income for an informatics nurse is about $76,800 per year.
13. Orthopedic Nurse
The work of an orthopedic nurse focuses on musculoskeletal issues and diseases that include fractures, arthritis, osteoporosis, and joint replacements. They help in treating and caring for patients with physical problems and manage these conditions. They also help cast broken bones, administer pain medication, and develop a treatment plan to address pain and muscular/bone issues.
Nurses with Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degrees who are licensed and registered nurses qualify best for this area. The average income of orthopedic nurses is around $76,200 annually.
14. Trauma Nurse
Trauma nurses work in emergency rooms and urgent care units as part of emergency medical response teams. They also received specialized training to work with other health caregivers to stabilize and treat patients. They also administer IV fluids, blood transfusion, wound care and provide emergency medications. Trauma nurses are also well-equipped in operating life-saving machines like defibrillators and monitor their vital signs.
Having an associate or BSN degree and passed the NCLEX-RN exams is a must to work as a trauma nurse. You must also have at least two years of working experience as an RN and other trauma nursing-related certifications needed. The estimated income for this job is around $65,800 per year.
15. Travel Nurse
One type of nursing specialties that works best for nurses who love adventures and traveling is travel nursing. Travel nurses can work across the states or internationally to fill the staffing needs of health care facilities for some time. They specialize in a particular practice area or perform the general nurse roles.
Travel nurses can be self-employed or placed through an agency under contracts that could last from 3 to 8 weeks or more. Applicants must have an associate or BSN degree with a valid RN license. You must also have at least two years of working experience as an RN.
The average income for travel nurses is estimated to be around $80,000 or more, depending on their contract or working areas.
Various Types of Nursing Specialties to Choose From
These are the most common types of nursing specialties you can work in as a nurse. However, there are also other areas that you can work. But whatever field of nursing you choose, be sure to pick the one you are genuinely interested in doing. This way, you don’t burn yourself out and enjoy every waking moment at work. I hope this post helped you in your decision-making, good luck!
You must have good nursing personality traits if you plan on working as a nurse in the future. While your knowledge and skills are top priority, so are your personality traits. So, to become a great nurse, possessing attractive personality traits is also a must! This post will talk about the different attributes nurses have and how they can impact their patients, coworkers, and work in general.
Good Nursing Personality Traits: Why is it Vital in the Job?
Our nurses are in a position of power when they interact with patients. That said, nurses must have good personality traits to provide the best care possible for their patients. These qualities will help them professionally and allow them to maintain healthy relationships outside of work.
Good Nursing Personality Traits of Future Nurses
If you are an aspiring nurse, it’s easy to look at this job and say to yourself it’s easy. But while working as a nurse is generally satisfying, it can also be very demanding. It is why you must possess these qualities if you wish to work in the nursing field.
1. Good nurses must be emotionally stable.
Being a nurse is a demanding profession. Your day can range from timid to toxic very quickly. You will encounter plenty of situations that can trigger powerful emotions. And to top all that, you will manage your colleagues, patients, and their families while keeping a calm and caring manner. Being emotionally stable doesn’t mean you don’t have to feel anything when the going gets tough. It just means you must know how to control your emotions or responses to focus on the tasks at hand. Emotionally stable nurses can solve problems, concentrate better, and make their patients their top priority.
2. A good nurse must have an innate desire to help.
Nurses should have a caring nature and desire to help people. It should be the foundation of their being. If you don’t have the desire to help people, you can’t care for others. Nurses care for people during the scariest times of their lives and act as a patient advocate. A good nurse must show compassion, sympathy, and concern for the people they serve. 
3. A good nurse must have good communication skills.
One of the good nursing personality traits should have is the ability to communicate well with people. Keep in mind that you will be working with many people, so listening and sharing with patients, their families, your colleagues, and other healthcare professionals is crucial in delivering quality care. Communicating also increases the chance of patient satisfaction and reduces the number of errors in your workplace.
4. A good nurse must be attentive to details.
The ability to pay careful attention to detail is another great quality nurses must have on their list. Whether you are reading and writing a patient’s chart or remembering the doctor’s orders over the phone, nurses should be able to pay attention to it. Being able to recall even the tiniest details about a patient can make a real difference. It can also save your patient’s life and lessen errors at work.
5. Good nurses can solve problems.
Nurses usually face problems involving patient care. One of the best qualities you should have is the ability to analyze and solve problems quickly. Nurses who can already anticipate and address issues before they occur are an even better quality to have. You can’t predict if the day will be calm or your shift will deal with emergencies. It would be best to be prepared with solutions, ready to talk to families, and even communicate with physicians. So having problem-solving and critical-thinking skills are essential in your day-to-day activities as a nurse. 
6. A good nurse must be respectful.
One of the excellent nursing personality traits that a nurse should place on top is being respectful. Being respectful is part of your duty as a nurse, and professional courtesy must be given to all, regardless of their attitude. Keep in mind that there will be moments in your career as a nurse when dealing with difficult people. Showing respect is a boundary that defines your relationship with patients and makes it possible to care for them.
7. Good nurses must have the willingness to learn.
Nursing is an ever-dynamic profession. You can choose to work in different fields of nursing. As a nurse, you must be willing to learn and adapt to changes. Continuous education is available to all nurses, and with the medical industry and technology advancing, equipping yourself with knowledge, you are growing as a nurse as well. Improving your skills and learning the latest trends in nursing is one way to keep yourself ready for the challenges in health care.
8. Good nurses are self-aware.
Being self-aware is to know who you are. Nurses work in all areas of health care. But while all of these are excellent opportunities to work, not all nurses enjoy the thrills and adventures of being a travel nurse, the adrenaline-pumping scenarios in emergency rooms, or the intenseness of operating rooms. Others prefer the business of administrative work or long-term hospice care. That said, it is vital that you, as a nurse, know what you want. Knowing your personality, preferences, priorities, and stamina can help you grow and enjoy a fulfilling career in this industry.
9. Good nurses must have a good sense of humor.
Laughter is the best medicine, and if you are a nurse, it’s one of the good nursing personality traits to have. Having a good sense of humor can lighten the load in such a stressful profession. The ability to find humor in difficult situations can lighten the load. Plus, it’s always a good thing to mix fun and humor into your work so you can enjoy it better. Working as a nurse is difficult, but it is also gratifying. Combining your knowledge, skills, and humor into this job can get you through even the most challenging times. 
10. Good nurses are assertive.
While being kind and compassionate are the main qualities of being a good nurse, assertiveness has perks. It means you can stand up for your opinions without aggression. In some ways, your passion can help you make firm and clear decisions regarding work and caring for patients. But don’t confuse this with aggressiveness, as assertiveness doesn’t involve manipulation or threat.
11. A good nurse must be organized at work.
A nurse should know how to organize work. The ability to be neat, prioritize, and delegate work while managing time well is not magic but a talent. And this trait should be on top of your list as a future nurse. If you are disorganized at home, how can you prove that you will not be as messy when you are at work? Not only will it affect how you work, but it can potentially increase the risks of your workplace.
12. Good nurses have strong work ethics.
Knowing what is right and wrong aids nurses through the challenges that their profession faces. It serves as their moral compass when they constantly make choices for their patient’s best interests. It is most needed when the right thing is not the obvious option. Having a strong work ethic helps nurses tell the truth about their condition even when it’s something that they don’t want to hear. It also acts as a foundation where trust between nurses and patients is built. Not only that, but your work ethics also help establish a nurse-physician relationship and their co-workers.
13. Good nurses must have stamina.
A nurse’s job requires one to be on the go most of the time, primarily if one gets assigned to the emergency room or trauma units. There’s patient lifting, pulling emergency carts, or standing for hours whenever there is surgery. The number of hours you work will depend on the area you are assigned. It is why your stamina must always be on the top. Yes, it’s exhausting and can burn out nurses but by the end of the day, knowing that you help save lives is the best feeling in the world. 
It’s more than just your personality!
You see, working as a nurse is more than just the license or certification. It takes humanity and a heart to serve others. If you believe you have all these good nursing personality traits, you are more than ready to be a nurse. Keep it up, and you will reach your goals in no time!
The challenges of a nurse go beyond the limits of their jobs. When you think about a nurse, you immediately think of starched caps and white uniforms – it displays compassion and care. But being a nurse is more than just the uniform or the virtues. It’s more than just bedside nursing.
What does it take to be a nurse?
I believe that being a nurse is a calling. You can’t just decide to be a nurse if you don’t have a “caring” nature. Anyone who says they want to be a nurse just because it pays well tells you a lot about the kind of nurse they will be in the future! So, what kind of qualities should you have if you want to be one?
1. A Caring Nature
A caring nature is one of the natural qualities a nurse should have. While anyone can be a nurse, this isn’t always an assumed quality. On the other hand, the quality of care given to patients makes a lot of difference when you have a caring nature. A nurse who makes a sound judgment and makes their patients feel that they genuinely care about them can improve their career as nurses in the long run. That said, being caring is a critical element of your role as a nurse.
2. Excellent communication skills
Communication skills are essential when you are a nurse. You must have the ability to communicate with your coworkers, physicians, and patients so you can deliver quality care. Without communication skills or grasping what nurses only understand, it’s easy to create medical errors and make patients feel nurses neglect them. So, as a nurse, you must have the ability to communicate well. It could also help your career as one.
3. Problem Solving Abilities
One of the challenges of a nurse is to solve a problem using their critical thinking skills. On-the-job training is the best way to help shape these abilities, and the years of experience also help hone these skills. However, some nurses have these qualities naturally. So why is it essential in your career as one? Problem-solving skills can significantly impact the quality of care given, no matter how small it seems. It can also cause adverse outcomes if done incorrectly.
4. Critical Thinking Skills
While problem-solving skills help you solve problems at hand, you must also have critical thinking skills as a nurse. The ability to think critically in stressful situations can help save lives. A nurse who can apply clinical practices while using necessary thinking skills is dependable. It’s these types of nurses who can become leaders in the future.
5. Impeccable attention to details
As a nurse, it is your job to pay attention to more information to provide the best care to your patients. Keep in mind that you are responsible not only for giving quality care but also for their lives. A simple mistake on your charting or an overlooked doctor’s order can change the whole course of your patient’s life. It is why attention to detail is a nursing quality you should have.
Nurses work long hours, and most of the time, this requires them to be on their feet. Not only that, but you also have to lift patients and provide them assistance. Having enough stamina to withstand extended working hours is crucial in your success as a nurse.
7. A good sense of humor
Caring for patients is a serious business, but you don’t have to be serious all the time. Having a sense of humor can help lift the spirits of patients, your stressed coworkers, and people in general. Working as a nurse is stressful, so getting a few laughs now and then can lighten a tight situation. A good sense of humor is not only an excellent quality to have, but it also reminds others that nurses are people too.
8. True Leadership
The last but not the least of nursing qualities you must have is authentic leadership. While many nurses go to this profession with caring for patients in mind, some become future leaders in their work. Exercising your leadership skills in any role or level of the organization shows that you are willing to learn, adapt, and grow at your own pace as a nurse.
The Challenges of a Nurse and Its Essence
When I went to nursing school, my goal was to get my license to become a full-time nurse. Of course, I was young when I entered nursing school, so the reality of becoming one didn’t sink in until later on. But as days turned to months and months to years, and I was doing my OJT, I realized that being a nurse is more than just the license or the letters that go after your name.
Beating the Challenges of a Nurse
To be a nurse means a commitment to the profession. It means you must embrace everything that comes with this profession. It could be the people you work with, your patients, their families, and even the possibility of losing patients in the process.
Being a nurse requires heart. It’s one of those challenges of a nurse that takes bravery. You will be dealing with stress and anxiety while providing care to others – to me, that takes courage, and nurses have the biggest hearts to be able to do all of these.
To be a nurse, you must have compassion; you must know how to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. You can learn all the tricks and tips from the nursing book, learn how to save a life, learn how to deliver it, but if you don’t have compassion – are you even a nurse?
Our Personal NCLEX Experience
Education and Background
We did our prerequisites at a community college for two years and then attended a university for another two years to receive our Bachelor of Science in Nursing, BSN. Many of you will be coming from a BSN program, but some of you will come from an and, or even overseas.
But it doesn’t matter where you’re coming from or what degree you have. The NCLEX exam will still be the same. You don’t automatically become a nurse by graduating from nursing school. The NCLEX is your final step. Many people pass nursing school and get stuck on the NCLEX, and that’s okay. You can make multiple attempts, and you’ll succeed if you work hard and focus. There are also people that pass on their first attempt with the minimal amount of questions. The key takeaway is to get it done and pass.
How we felt about the NCLEX
In the beginning, we felt the same way as everyone else: stressed! Once you graduate, you realize that it’s time to study for and pass the biggest and most important exam of your life. Everyone is nervous! The best way to calm your nerves is to slowly ease yourself into it. Look up some free Qbanks online to familiarize yourself with the format. Remember, it’s just an exam. It isn’t going to eat you up.
Before you dive deep into studying, make sure you’re having fun in your free time. This will provide an escape from studying and thinking about the NCLEX. You have to be able to relax to pass the exam. Some nurses have struggled to pass the NCLEX because all they did was study and didn’t take time off for themselves. Learn what helps you relax.
Here are a few things you can do to relax:
- Work out
- Go to a sauna/steam room
- Do yoga
- Make a change in your environment
- Enjoy free time
Whatever helps you reduce your stress as your NCLEX date approaches is good preparation. You’ll feel more confident and be more likely to pass. Driving to the test center is not hard mentally, but once you finally walk in and sit down, your cortisol starts to increase. Remember to stay calm and understand that you’ve taken multiple practice exams almost identical to the one you’ll be taking. In general, we felt confident and both passed the NCLEX on our first attempt.
Once you’ve completed the exam, you have to wait a few days to get your results. Those days will be some of the longest in your life. We were nervous during those days as well, but once you get your results you feel a giant sense of relief. Finally, you can practice nursing! If you didn’t pass on your first attempt, that’s okay. You’ll get there.
Didn’t Pass the NCLEX?
We know tons of nurses that had to retake the exam, and they’re some of the best nurses we’ve ever seen. If you didn’t pass, it’s time to take a week’s break and then repeat the process with extra effort. You may need to devote more time to it or use multiple studying methods such as Qbank and audio formats or even reading. Don’t get discouraged. Study harder and smarter, and you’ll pass.
Overall, the NCLEX is a hard exam, and studying for it is not easy. Studying takes a lot of time. but it’s something you have to do. When it comes to stressing about the NCLEX, realize that it’s normal. You need to devote not only time to studying but for yourself as well. This will keep you motivated and prevent you from burning out.
Test-taking tips and strategies for the NCLEX
Here are some tips and strategies to help you pass the NCLEX on your first attempt. This is the last major milestone in achieving your goal of becoming a Registered Licensed Nurse.
Your goal should be to take the NCLEX as soon as possible after graduation and pass on the first attempt. Aim to write the NCLEX 1-2 months from your first study day and within 3 months of graduation. You don’t want to take it too early, because you need time to prepare. And don’t take it too late, because you may lose knowledge or start to overthink and stress yourself more than you need to.
Positivity is Key
The exam is tough and will require you to study! Having a positive attitude will naturally create more paths to success. Negativity only deters you from trying to achieve your goal of passing the NCLEX.
Six tips for passing the NCLEX
Know your study style
This may be for you, as you’ve already spent a few years in college understanding different learning styles. Are you a visual learner, an auditory learner, or you need to write things down? Of course, you can combine different learning styles to maximize your studying, like understanding the flow of blood through the four chambers of the heart. For me, drawing things out with red and blue colored-pencils helped me learn faster than just memorizing.
Your study materials will depend on your learning style.
Flashcards: You can take them anywhere. Separate the ones you know and the ones you get wrong and focus more on the ones you get wrong. These are great for labs and meds.
Sticky notes: Use these as another way to go over the things you struggle with. Write down what you keep getting wrong, and post them on your bedroom mirror or a place you commonly stay in.
Notebook: Write down key topics and rationales. Separate them into categories so you’re not looking all over the place. Being organized is key. A notebook is a fine tool because you can quickly look back on rationales, key points, and information as a quick reference. Another benefit is you are writing what you’re learning, which is another study style that improves memorization.
Make a study plan
Create a schedule that reinforces your studying. For the next 1-2 months, your time must revolve around studying. Aim for 3-4 hrs a day. If you can manage more, even better. Studying for 4 hours a day gives you 120 hours of studying for a month. To give you some perspective, the average human life lasts a little more than 700,000 hours, and a typical workweek is 40+ hours.
Find a place to study that won’t have many distractions. The place we’ve found to be most beneficial is the library. Such a place enables you to separate your personal life from your study life. You go to the library for one reason only: to study. Once you leave, you’re done studying. Think of it as your 9-5 job.
- Look at some testing question examples online to familiarize yourself with the format and learn some strategies on how to approach the question. (Select all that apply, fill in the blank, drag and drop, landmarking, and auditory sound recognition).
Understand the NCLEX
The NCLEX format is computer adaptive testing (CAT). The test will continually give you new questions based on your performance on past questions. Try not to focus on the length of your exam. Plan on testing for 6 hours and completing 265 questions. If you have a long exam, remember that you’re still in the game as long as the computer continues to give you questions, so focus on answering them all to the best of your ability. The minimum the NCLEX will provide is 75 questions, and the maximum is 265 questions. If the test detects that you’re staying above the 95% confidence interval, you’ll pass!
We know that test anxiety can impair learning and hurt test performance. This might be the most important test of your career, but don’t sweat it! There are plenty of ways to manage stress. During nursing school, we learned about the effects of stress and coping mechanisms to lower stress. Can you apply the same stress management techniques to yourself? On the macro level, create a healthy balance between studying, work, family, and personal life. Sleep is the best form of self-love. Aim for 7-8 hours a night to keep your cortisol levels down. Exercise daily and master your daily routine to keep your stress levels manageable.
On the micro-level, make sure you’re prepared for the exam. Do not cram information at the last minute. Before the exam, take a day off to give your brain a break from all the studying. Have a hearty breakfast and plan to commute early, so you don’t stress yourself out. If you’re someone who gets cold easily, bring a sweater, as testing centers can be a little cool.
Practice questions are an amazing way to understand the areas where you need to brush up. The way to practice questions effectively is to list or write down all the questions you’ve answered incorrectly. Read and understand the rationales on why the question was answered incorrectly. A few days before my NCLEX, I opened my notes from the concepts/topics I answered incorrectly and focused on those problem areas.
Understanding the content on the NCLEX is important, as not knowing how the test is written can make you choose the wrong answer. Here are some test-taking strategies:
Look for cues in answers
- Doesn’t promote communication
- Discounts patient’s feelings
- May make patients feel inadequate or defensive
- Promotes open communication
- Uses of paraphrasing
- Acknowledges the patient’s feelings
Always think 1. Airway, breathing, and circulation. 2. Safety/Disability. 3. Communication 4. Nursing process.
The most important tip for the NCLEX
Most importantly, believe in yourself. You can do it! Deep down, you know you can do anything. Since starting nursing school, you’ve been preparing for this moment to become a nurse. All that’s left is to walk into the exam with confidence and know you will pass the NCLEX. Trust us, we’ve both passed the NCLEX, but we mentally scarred ourselves by making it this out to be a “giant test”. After taking the NCLEX and looking back as a nurse, it was funny how nervous we were compared to how difficult the test was. You got this! Don’t let any self-doubt creep ruin the dream you’ve worked so hard to achieve!