Returning to school to pursue a nursing degree is a significant – and exciting – step. After all, obtaining a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in nursing can significantly improve your resume. Resuming your nursing studies from where you left off is an excellent method to advance your career, whether you intend to make more money, become a nurse practitioner, or work your way up to a leadership position.
No matter how eager you are to go back to school, whether you want to pursue a degree in nursing online or at a local university, you could also feel a little nervous. Perhaps you’re thinking, how would you juggle school and work? Will you have enough time to study? How would you fit your education around obligations toward family? It is natural for these queries to pop up in your head. This article provides certain tips that can help you answer these questions effectively:
Be clear about your reason for going back
Your reason for going back to nursing school can help you make a lot of decisions, get your priorities straight and eventually settle into your new schedule. It also helps you decide which program you will be looking to pursue. For instance, if you are looking to upskill professionally in order to take advantage of the growing demand for specialist nurses and increase your pay scale, RN to MSN online programs can effectively help you achieve all these goals. Online bridge programs are a great option for working registered nurses wanting to hit the books again.
Make up your mind beforehand about why you want to resume your educational degree. Not only does it give you clarity of purpose, but it also solves many issues for you. Since your professional development and the ability to make more money than you are at the moment is crucial to you, you will know that the whole process will require time management on your part. Picking an online program gives you some flexibility in this regard, though.
Focus on proper time management
Healthcare professionals are always pressed for time. With already grueling shifts, they can be called in for emergency duties from time to time. In the midst of all this, how do you manage to find time to continue your studies? Well, it’s as they say; when there is a will, there is a way.
If you have decided that it is high time to elevate your academic qualification and you have the right motivating factors, you will strive to make time for it. Here are a few ways that can facilitate the process for you:
- Use a mobile app or a calendar: The beauty of digital tools and smartphones is that you have the resources at your disposal to plan your day better. Download a daily planning app or use the calendar already available on your phone to manage daily tasks. Plan by listing everything you have going on. Start by making weekly entries and then finding the slots where you can fit in your classes. It is better to take up an online degree as it offers the option to take lectures whenever you have time.
- Stay ready for unexpected occurrences: As a nurse, you are always on edge because emergencies can pop up anytime, and you can do nothing about them. And it’s not just work emergencies that you need to be prepared for. It is imperative, therefore, to have a backup plan at all times. If an emergency call comes in, ensure you can take the class on your phone and record it for taking notes afterward.
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- Utilize free time: It may not be what you wanted, but no success ever comes without sacrifice. Your studies will need you to give up some of your free time to complete assignments. By being prudent, you can optimally allocate your free time, like taking an excuse from a night out to visit your family, for example.
Strategize your study routine
Multiple-task management is a necessary nursing skill and an inherent element of the profession. Nevertheless, it’s preferable to concentrate on the assignment at hand when studying. According to various experts, scheduling your study time, place, and method helps keep you engaged and effective.
Always make sure you dedicate a comfortable space to study at. That is even better if it is a public library or a school campus. At home, your bed or the bean bag won’t work. Always have a comfortable chair and a desk you would want to study at; otherwise, you will witness productivity drop considerably.
Also, it is crucial to eliminate distractions when sitting down to study. Identify the elements that distract you, like your phone or the television. Shut them out, at least for the duration of the time you’ve set for studying.
Stay in touch with your instructors
As a nursing professional, a lot can happen in life. When this happens, you will need to be in constant contact with your lecturers and instructors. For any issues, ensure your supervisors are informed when something comes up.
Also, make sure you respect all the staff and instructors you are in direct contact with. They are your seniors in various respects and deserve nothing but a healthy tone from you in all types of communication.
Be careful to remember that facial expressions are not communicated through email. So, you could mean something else, but if you phrase it in a manner that comes across as disrespectful, you may end up offending the person you are communicating with.
In essence, you need to stay in constant communication with the chain of command that your degree provider has. Simultaneously, you also need to be respectful throughout the conversation so that you stay in these people’s good books throughout your time there. Staying on good terms with professors and giving them the attention they deserve paves the way for you to stay in touch with them long after you’ve graduated, and maybe they can even connect you with various opportunities in the market.
Returning to nursing school can be challenging on numerous fronts, but it is something that becomes imperative after a certain amount of time in the field. When you want to explore better prospects in the field, returning to get a higher degree than the one you already have is the best way to do that. And the tips mentioned above can make the process much easier.