Preparing for nursing school
Nurses are an integral part of the healthcare team and are valued for their dedication to others and their commitment to professional excellence. However, becoming a nurse is no easy task, so preparing for nursing school early will give you your best chance of success.
First decide if nursing is right for you
1. Talk with professionals: First-person communication with those in the nursing field can be very helpful. Find someone who is willing to sit down with you and answer a few questions.
2. Contact local health agencies: Express your desire to learn about clinical experiences. Talk with nurses in different clinical settings to get a comprehensive view of nursing.
3. Gain healthcare experience: By working as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) you will receive valuable training in basic nursing skills which will provide you with a strong foundation.
The following essential skills are required of nursing students beginning with the first semester of study and continuing throughout the program:
Communication Skills: Language (both verbal and written) and listening skills are extremely important. You will have to be able to communicate well with faculty and fellow students. In the clinical setting you will be communicating with patients, nurses, doctors, and allied healthcare workers in a very fast paced environment.
Time Management Skills: Lectures, exams, assignments, care plans, clinical rotations, as well as home and family obligations are the life of a nursing student. With such demands proper time management is critical. Making the best use of your time can result in better outcomes, reduced stress, and fewer errors.
Organizational Skills: Good organizational skills and having the ability to multi-task are key ingredients for success. Talk to fellow students to learn how they organize; they may have some helpful ideas to share.
People Skills: As a nursing student you will see people at their worst and at their best. You will have to be strong enough emotionally to provide for the needs of others in a caring, understanding, and non-judgmental way. Empathy, compassion and the ability to comfort are essential people skills.
Physical Skills: Nursing requires an increased amount of physical activity. When caring for patients you will be lifting, bending, and pushing. The ability to do a lot of walking and standing for extended periods of time is also required.
Intellectual Skills: A strong background in math and science is critical to your success. The exams you will take in nursing school are likely to be the hardest you have ever taken.
Study Skills: Effective study skills and habits are essential for understanding complex material and achieving and maintaining good grades.
Be sure your life is in order before nursing school
Have your finances in order. Working and going to nursing school is not recommended. Apply for financial aid and as many scholarships as you can.
Have a good family and friend support system.
Have a stable and calm place to live and study.
Arrange your schedules to accommodate class, clinical and study time.
Have reliable transportation.
De-stress your life as much as possible because of the pressures associated with juggling school and family responsibilities.
If your skills, interests or abilities do not match what is outlined above to be successful in nursing, IVCCD offers other career programs in the healthcare industry. For more information on any of these career programs, please click on the link below.
Additional healthcare related majors and programs offered through the Iowa Valley Community College District:
Dental Assisting (MCC)