Starting your nursing degree can be a daunting yet exciting time of your life.
For all future student nurses and to all those who are thinking about joining the profession, I have created ten top tips as a student myself, in hope that they will be useful - so that you too can gain the most out of your first year in university.
- Relax– You are not expected to show your true potential within your first few weeks of your course. Relax and take in all the information that is given to you.
- Have an open mind – Explore different areas of nursing despite of other’s experiences and what you think are your personal preferences. You may realize that you have grown an interest in something that you never thought you would have done!
- Socialize– Make solid friendships and learn from each other as you are all taking the same journey together.
- Take advantage of the extra support available – If you think you have a weakness in a particular area then make the most of the support sessions that are available to you. These can range from essay planning, drug calculations, advice and guidance, etc.
- Remember why you wanted to become a nurse – Expect the nursing course to be challenging. You may have experienced a bad shift or are struggling with an assignment but it’s always important to refer back to the reason as to why you wanted to become a nurse in the first place.
- Read from different resources – By reading a variety of books, journals and reliable online sources, not only will you be improving the quality of your theoretical work but you will also gain a greater understanding and knowledge base that will help you throughout your practice.
- Get involved – Be curious and ask questions. These are the behavioral traits that your mentors will be expecting you to have. Make the most of all the opportunities that come in your way.
- Look after yourself – In order to care for others, you must take care of yourselves. Get plenty of sleep, eat a balanced diet and get regular exercise to maintain good health and wellbeing.
- Keep a reflective diary when in practice – By keeping note of all your experiences, you will have something to refer to when writing your reflective accounts. This will help document what skills you have gained, what improvements could be made and what you have accomplished in practice.
- Be positive –There is no point in starting this course with a negative attitude. By being optimistic and having faith within yourself, you are more likely to succeed and graduate as a registered nurse at the end of three years. Nursing is an incredibly rewarding profession to belong to so stay positive and enjoy these three years as much as possible!
Jodie Mitchell is a first year student nurse studying adult nursing at UCS.