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Nursing School Stress: What Causes it and How to Deal with It

If you have a helpful and caring personality and cannot imagine not being there for others when you know that they are in need, nursing is an ideal career for you to consider. Perhaps you have decided that you want a career that gives you the chance to truly do something rewarding and meaningful with your life and have a positive impact on others. However, nursing school and working as a nurse isn’t the easiest direction to go in. Nurses face a career that is emotionally and physically demanding and involves a lot of huge responsibilities that sometimes have other people’s lives at stake. While you’re in nursing school, learning to manage and stay on top of your stress levels is not only important for successfully getting through the degree program, but also to prepare you for the future when you’re working as a registered nurse.

How Stressful Can Nursing School Get?

Nursing school can often feel like you are being thrown in at the deep end, and while support will always be available for you while you learn, the experience can come with a number of stressors that you’ll need to learn how to manage successfully and control in order to be successful as a nurse. Some of the most common stresses of nursing school include maintaining your grades to stay in the program, balancing study sessions with your other commitments, and clinical experiences where you’ll often be getting hands-on experience as a nurse for the first time. In addition, many nursing students find that finances can be an additional source of stress since tuition does not come cheap.

How Stress Might Affect Student Nurses

While you’re in nursing school, getting too stressed out and failing to manage your stress levels can have many different consequences. Health issues can often arise as a result of stress and this might manifest itself as poor sleep, headaches, stomach aches and mood changes, which can result in you feeling too sick to study and ultimately creating a vicious cycle that can have a knock-on effect on your grades, which will once again contribute to your stress levels. Stress can also impact your ability to think clearly and could lead to you making decisions that may even be dangerous and impact your ability to pass the program.

Ways to Manage Stress in Nursing School

The good news is that if you go to nursing school fully prepared for the fact that it is going to be stressful at times, it will become much easier to manage your stress levels and create a situation that you can handle. When you are aware of just how stressful nursing school could get for you, you can make the right decisions when planning your education to mitigate these stresses and how you are going to deal with the stressors that arise.

Online Nursing School

Today, one of the main decisions that nursing students are making is to study online. Attending nursing school online can be one of the best ways to keep your stress levels down to a minimum if you are planning to get your nursing degree alongside working in another career, looking after a family or other commitments that you can’t just give up to study. Online study will still require you to attend clinical placements and get experience in-person, but the lectures and classes will be held online to offer you a more flexible and convenient alternative that you can do from the comfort of your own home. Many online nursing degrees offer complete flexibility when it comes to when you study by simply uploading the materials that you can access at a time that’s more convenient for you. This gives you the chance to arrange the degree program around your life rather than the other way around, which means it’ll be much less stressful. You can find everything from BSN accelerated programs available at Baylor University to more advanced online nursing degree programs like the DNP.

Live a Healthy Lifestyle

The lifestyle that you lead while you are at nursing school will have a direct impact on your stress levels and play a major part in how able you are to deal with the stressors that arise while you are studying. Your body and mind need the right fuel and enough rest to deal with stressful situations, so make sure that you are getting enough sleep each night, eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise. As a student nurse, you probably already know just how important all of these things in combination are for our health and wellbeing, so make sure that you are putting it into practice in your own life.

Stress Reduction Techniques

Learning what you respond to best when it comes to managing your stress levels is important for nurses, who work in a very stressful environment. The sooner you are able to do this, the easier it will be for you to manage your stress in nursing school and in your future career as a nurse. Figure out what you can do that has an impact on you in a positive way and helps your mind calm down and enables you to get back in control. Some people find that talking therapies are useful for this, while others prefer guided meditation or yoga, and others get their stress out with sports like boxing – there’s really no right or wrong way to reduce your stress as long as it works for you.

Take Time for Yourself

Working and studying flat out will eventually burn you out and exacerbate your stress levels even more. When you are in nursing school, whether you are studying on-campus or online, it’s important to make sure that you are taking some time for yourself and giving yourself time to continue doing the things that enjoy so you have a chance to wind down and relax in between study sessions, clear your mind and rejuvenate yourself.

A career in nursing is highly rewarding, but it can also be very stressful from the moment you start at nursing school. By keeping your stress in check as a student, you can master stress management by the time you become a registered nurse.

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