Nursing School Do’s and Don’ts

May 29, 2015

Students and mentor in Iringa, Tanzania Congratulations, if you have been accepted into nursing school. Whether you are enrolled in a two-year or four-year program, you have some hard work ahead. Nursing school includes tough science classes, such as anatomy, chemistry and physiology. Core nursing classes, such as nutrition and pharmacology can also be a challenge.

Besides classroom lectures, some classes will also have an accompanying lab. If that was not enough, you also have to complete clinical rotations at various medical facilities affiliated with your nursing program. It may seem like a lot to handle. But understanding some of the do’s and don’ts can help you get through nursing school.


Do develop an organizational system that works for you. There are a lot of tests, projects and assignments during nursing school. Staying up to date on everything you need to do is essential for your success.

Do find a mentor. It can help to have a nursing student who is a year ahead of you show you the ropes. If you know anyone who has already started the nursing program or better yet, is a recent grad, learn as much as you can from them.

Do have the right attitude. There may be aspects of nursing school you do not like. For example, you may be unhappy with a clinical site or not like an instructor. But having a bad attitude will only make the situation worse.

Do be helpful. When you start your clinical rotations, make sure you ask what you can do to help during downtime. It may be something as simple as filling water pitchers or stocking supplies. Keep in mind, you may be applying for a job at one of your clinical sites, and a good attitude goes a long way.

Do ask questions when you do not understand. The human body is complex, and you may not understand everything at first. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.


Don’t skip classes. Attending class is essential to keeping up on everything and knowing what to study. If you have to miss, make sure you get the lecture notes from a buddy.

Don’t miss an opportunity to learn. There may be times in clinical rotations where you have the opportunity to watch a procedure or attend a workshop. Take advantage of all learning opportunities. You never know when it will help you down the road.

Don’t get involved in gossip. Avoid getting involved in gossip about hospital staff or other students in your program.

Don’t correct an instructor or preceptor in front of others. Everyone makes mistakes, and that includes teachers and preceptors. But if you catch a mistake, talk to the person involved away from others. State that you have a question about something and what to clarify.

Don’t give up when things get tough. Learning to take care of the human body is not easy, and nursing school can be challenging. You may fail a test or not do well during a clinical rotation, but that does not determine what type of nurse you will be. Stay focused on learning and your goal of becoming a nurse.