It’s certainly no secret that nursing is a highly demanding career both physically and mentally. The demands often begin from the moment that you begin nursing school. As a student nurses, there are not only classes to attend and books to read, but you will also need to take part in work placements that will help you gain the necessary on-the-job experience that is needed to become successful in your future career.
Thankfully, online nursing degrees are now available to take some of the stress out of becoming a nurse, especially if you are working full-time alongside studying. They offer more flexibility and control, along with the option to study from home that can be easier compared to commuting to classes every day. But studying to become a nurse can still be highly stressful and a lot of hard work – here’s what you can do to look after yourself and avoid becoming overwhelmed and burned out in the process.
Choose the Right Degree
Before enrolling in a nursing degree program, it’s important to consider your needs and use it to decide on the best nursing degree for you. If you have a lot of commitments that are going to be difficult to work around when attending classes or are considering changing your career to nursing and need to continue working full-time while you study, a flexible online nursing degree program could be the best choice for you. Find out more about online nursing degrees from Carson-Newman University, how they work, and why you could benefit from this option.
Set Your Schedule
If you’ve decided to study for an online nursing degree, it’s time to sit down and go through your schedule to ensure that it’s working for you as well as possible. Consider the work that you currently do and the hours you need to dedicate to it and any other commitments you might have, like looking after your kids and other family members who will need to be a priority. Online nursing degrees can often be studied from home and at times that suit you best, so it’s worth thinking about the times that you’re normally engaging in leisure activities or hobbies to see what you can cut back on to free up more time to study. It is also a good idea to think about when you are likely to be most focused on what you’re doing – for some this might be early in the morning, while others might focus better in the evenings.
Create a Study Space
Getting into the right zone and mindset when you are studying can make it easier for you to focus. When deciding where to study, consider an area of your home that is quiet and not heavily frequented like a spare bedroom or sunroom. Avoid working in your bedroom wherever you can since this could lead you to associate the space with studying and cause sleep problems for you in the future. Setting up a designated area with a comfortable and ergonomic chair at a desk or workstation will make things easier.
Stay Physically Active
Studying to become a nurse might involve a lot of sitting down in front of a desk when you’re not getting work experience in a healthcare setting, so it’s important to make sure that you are keeping yourself physically active and getting enough exercise. As a student nurse, you are probably already aware of just how important exercise is for your physical and mental health and wellbeing. Setting aside some time each day for exercise can make a huge difference to how you feel, and make sure that you avoid sitting for long periods of time throughout the day by setting a timer on your phone or smart speaker to remind you to get up and stretch your legs.
How you fuel your body right now will make a huge difference to how you feel and your overall performance as a student nurse. If you are living off takeout and convenience foods, this might be easier when you have a heavy workload, but ultimately, it might affect your ability to focus on what you are doing since these foods are not usually very nutritious. Instead, it is worth spending some time to plan your meals at the beginning of the week and batch-cook healthy foods that you can then simply warm up during the week when you are busy, if possible. Not only is this better for your health, but also much better for your bank balance!
Take Time Off
Working while studying nursing to change your career can get very intense, but it’s important to remember that taking time off and doing things that you enjoy is just as important as the time that you spend studying. If you do not have any days off and there is something that you need to focus on every day of the week, you could end up burning out, and your performance will be affected. Try to ensure that you take at least one full day off per week where you can forget about work and studying and do something that you enjoy, whether that’s shopping, watching movies, going for a meal with your friends, or enjoying a date night with your spouse.
Stay Mentally Strong
Paying attention to your mental strength, health and wellbeing are important as a student nurses. It is always best to speak to somebody if you start to feel overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed during the process. With such a heavy workload, it’s normal if you begin to feel affected, and a good therapist can help you make sense of the pressures and anxieties that you are facing and talk you through healthier ways to cope with them so that you can ultimately make the best decisions for yourself in terms of how you manage.
With online degrees growing in popularity, many students are juggling full-time work and other commitments while studying to become a nurse. Looking after yourself and keeping yourself physically and mentally healthy while taking on this huge workload is crucial for your success.