Being a nurse is not an easy career choice. It’s massively rewarding and it’s hugely enjoyable for the right people, but in order to become a nurse, there is a lot of work to do. It takes months, and sometimes years, of studying to gain a nursing qualification, and that means having to go to nursing school and studying as hard as you can.
Of course, this is what those who have chosen to be nurses want – they want to learn as much as possible about their new career so they can be the best possible nurses and help as many patients as possible. However, wanting this is one thing, but staying motivated even when things get hard, or they’re tired, or they feel overwhelmed, is something quite different.
The truth is that nursing school is not going to be something you can just sail through, even if you are very intelligent or are one hundred percent invested in becoming a nurse. It has to be hard because nurses are so important and need to know and be able to do so much. It’s vital that you’re prepared to put in the hard work, but it’s also essential to understand how to stay motivated even when things are tough.
That’s what this article is about; here, you can learn what it takes to stay motivated throughout your nursing studies so you can become the best nurse you can be and help as many patients as possible through a long, successful, and varied career. Read on to find out more.
Find The Right School
There is a lot to think about when you first start your nursing journey, but one thing you might not have considered in terms of the motivation factor is that the right school really makes a difference. There are many nursing schools, but not all are going to help you get where you want to be in the same way, which is why it’s very important to research the schools you’re interested in fully before making any kind of financial or time commitment to them.
You’ll want a school that isn’t just there to give you the facts about nursing, but one that cares for its students and wants them to do well. A school like Holy Family University is a great example of this kind of nursing school where you will feel part of a real community.
When you have this feeling, you’ll always know there is someone to turn to with your questions and concerns, and you’ll be much more motivated to keep studying because you know your school and the people working within it are there for you.
Take your time when you look at nursing schools and decide on the right one for you. This is a personal choice, and it really depends on what you are specifically looking for. However, bear in mind that choosing a school that offers plenty of advice and support will help you stay a lot more motivated, and that’s an important consideration.
Have Goals To Work Towards
As we said earlier, nurses have to learn a massive amount of information. The knowledge they need to gain isn’t just about how to treat a wound or what medication to give either; it’s about patient care in all its different forms, from giving advice and communicating well to working in a team to provide the best recovery and healing environment for the patients.
There are so many aspects of nursing to take into account that it can feel overwhelming at times, and this is when motivation can start to lag; you might feel as though you’ll just never learn it all or that your studies will never end.
Of course, in reality, at a good school, you will learn enough (and more) and it will end, and you’ll be able to start working in your dream job. However, in the midst of it all, this can seem like a difficult thing to do and understand, and that’s the problem.
This is where your goals will help a lot. Your main goal will always be to graduate from nursing school and to start nursing full-time, but that could be many years away (especially if you’re taking a part-time course to fit in with your other responsibilities), and that in itself can be a little demotivation. This is why having small, shorter-term goals is an excellent way to keep moving forward.
As you get to each goal and achieve it, you’ll feel as though you are really making progress, and you’ll become more and more motivated to keep doing more and reach your next goal, and the next one, and the next. This is a great way to work through nursing school and keep your motivation high, but it’s also a good way to work through your career, and even life in general.
Always have small goals that can act as steppingstones to reaching your ultimate goal, and you’ll never be confused or lost and you’ll always be moving forward – this is how successful people keep doing well, so it’s something you should certainly incorporate into your daily life, as well as your nursing school studies.
Have Good Time Management Skills
Sometimes a lack of motivation can come from feeling out of control. Perhaps you have had a lot of deadlines all at once, or there has been a huge amount of research to do for various classes, and trying to get everything done has been hard – leading to problems getting anything done at all.
There is a way to deal with this problem, and again, just like the idea above, it’s a skill that, once mastered, you can use in your nursing career and your life as a whole to great effect. The answer is to learn good time management skills. This will stop you from rushing from assignment to assignment and potentially missing deadlines (or at least leaving things until the last minute).
If you can have good time management on your side, not only will you get things done when they’re meant to be done, but the quality of your work will be better as well because you will be able to spend enough time on each different element.
In terms of your own wellbeing, good time management means you’ll be generally less stressed. You’ll be able to focus more on the task at hand (or tasks, as nurses will usually be learning about more than one thing at once), and this will ensure you are able to retain more information.
In turn, this means you’ll be a more competent nurse once you graduate. As you can see, being able to manage your time well means that you can do your best and enjoy the process rather than being stressed and rushing through everything.
There are various ways to be better at time management. These include downloading time management apps and ‘time blocking’ to make sure everything gets equal time in your schedule. Everyone works differently, so you’ll need to experiment to find out what option is best for you.
Ask For Help
Being motivated isn’t always about how hard you’re working or how well you’re doing. Sometimes other factors will be present that make being able to focus on your studies difficult. These could be personal issues, financial ones, or perhaps health problems. It might simply be that you’re finding the work hard and you’re not sure what to do next.
This is where asking for help will be so important to you, your career, and your motivation to continue. It’s true that you’ll need to put in a lot of hard work to ensure you have all the skills, knowledge, and expertise that a nurse needs to be able to help their patients. However, that doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone; ask for help if you need it, and you will get the help you need.
This could be helpful in terms of the work you’re doing (your tutors or fellow students could advise you and give you additional support, for example), in terms of your motivation, in terms of your future ideas, and perhaps even in terms of your mental health.
No matter what the issue is, there is never any benefit in keeping it to yourself and trying to carry on. Your motivation will be lacking if you do this, and more than that, you could even lead yourself to burn out or suffer from stress and other problems. You might even feel as though it’s time to quit your nursing studies and try something else.
Of course, nursing is not for everyone, and if you do feel this way, it could be an idea worth exploring, but the fact is that it could just be your demotivation that is giving you these thoughts. If you speak to someone to get the help and support you need, you may well realize that nursing is actually exactly what you should be doing.
In any case, it’s crucial to know when to ask for help and who to get that help from. Make sure you look into this even before you need the help, just in case a time comes when you do. The sooner you get the support you need, the sooner you can move forward in whatever direction that might be.
Establish Good Study Skills
There are many skills that a nurse will need to master, and because there is so much learning involved, good study skills is one of them. Plus, remember that nursing education doesn’t end once you graduate and start working; the best nurses know there is always more to learn, and they will endeavor to get as much new knowledge and information as they can throughout their careers, perhaps even going back to school to obtain additional qualifications.
So it’s clear that learning how to study well is something that will benefit you in nursing school and beyond. It will help to boost your motivation levels because it will show you that even though there is a lot to learn, once you have the right measures and processes in place, it is entirely possible to do.
What are good study skills? Although it will be different for every topic, the general rule when it comes to nursing is that you cannot simply learn what is written in your textbooks and then be ready to nurse. You must look more in-depth and ensure you have every aspect of a particular element covered. This will often mean doing your own research on top of what you are learning in class.
One piece of advice that is always worth following is that there must not be any distractions when you study. In nursing, you cannot only be partly aware of what you are learning – your entire focus must be on it.
It’s also wise to come up with a study timetable. This will be helped by your time management skills, as you will know when the best times for study are that won’t interfere with your classes or your rest time (which is equally important and something you need to ensure fits into your schedule).
Make Sure You Have Free Time
As we briefly touched on in the point above, it’s important to have free time in order to relax as much as possible, as well as study hard when you are in nursing school. It may not sound like this is a good idea, especially when you know how much work there is to do, but it can truly help you to stay motivated and to help you feel less stressed.
You don’t have to do a lot in any spare time you might have. You don’t have to do anything at all if you’d rather spend it napping or just sitting and thinking. However, you could also use that time to speak to friends and family, play games, read a book, exercise, meditate, cook enough food for the next few days (to help you with your time management), or anything else.
It really doesn’t matter what you do as long as you aren’t studying. Taking a break is crucial if you want to keep your motivation levels up. Plus, taking a break means you can clear your mind and when you return to your studies, you’ll be more energized and ready to continue.
If you keep trying to work when you are tired and you’re lacking motivation, the studying you do won’t stay in your head, and your assignments won’t be your best work. Taking a break and stepping completely away is often the best thing you can do.