August 15, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
Getting through nursing school can be challenge that will test your fortitude and your dedication to the profession at every turn. From attending lectures, completing various assignments and obtaining clinical experience to participating in extra-curricular activities and still managing a semblance of a social life, nursing school can be extremely stressful.
As most of us have learnt, stress cannot be eliminated completely. All of us have varying stress tolerance levels that determine how we react to it and depending on how we handle it, it can affect our performance. Worse still, it can also affect our health. People who are highly stressed tend to fall ill more often. When you are in nursing school with so much to cram into your 24-hour day, it is important to take steps to lower your stress levels so that you can stay healthy and keep on top of all your work.
Sleep may feel like a luxury you cannot afford in medical school. Even three hours of sleep a day may seem like too much because it doesn’t leave you enough time to complete your assignments on time. However, after staying up for 20 hours at a stretch, your brain craves sleep and begins to function very slowly. With your brain struggling to function, you would end up pondering over an essay for 3 agonising hours instead of the 1 hour it should ideally take. It will also cause you to make a number of mistakes that will cost you even more time in corrections.
When you get sufficient sleep, it allows your brain to get the rest it needs keeps it fresh so that you can concentrate better. Truth is, if you manage your time well, you can do it. Some of the most successful nurses have admitted that they managed to get in at least 6 to 7 hours of sleep every night. And it did them a lot of good too!
College life usually means quick, fat-laden bites at the cafeteria and no exercise. This will make you ill in the long run and your body will get into a very unhealthy cycle. Take an hour a day to exercise and stay fit. This will not only help your body but it is also a great way to keep your mind active and functioning to its best capacity. Also try to stick to regular meals. So if this means taking a half an hour break from an important project to get some lunch, take that break and refuel your body with healthy nutrition.
Prioritise Your Work
Although some days it may feel that every single thing you do is equally important, there is always stuff that is less important than others. Learn to prioritise and finish off work based on priority. So you have a test next week? Put that above meeting a group of friends over the weekend and instead sit and study for the test. Even though this will be difficult to do at first, you need to be firm with yourself and discipline yourself so that you learn about what is important and what isn’t. This practice will not only help you in nursing school but it is a great skill to work on so that you can carry it into your career. Nurses need to be able to prioritise work and patients in order to make tough decisions almost every day in their lives.
For more ways to help you deal better with stress, read on to part two of this article.