How To Stand Out In Nursing School

Getting into nursing school is an achievement on its own, but what about when you get there? Nursing students are rightly competitive with their work, and most peers you come across will be just as eager to please as you are. Your goal is to stand out for all the right reasons, and this takes more than just good grades.

Standing out in nursing school plays an important role in your future career. If you make the right connections and impressions, you have a higher chance of securing a role through them. If you are thinking of applying to nursing school or you are already there, here is what you need to do to stand out.

Choose the Correct Course

OK, so this one is mainly for those who have not yet applied, but it is very important. If you truly want to stand out from the crowd, then you must choose a nursing course that genuinely interests you. Don’t just go for the one that you think will enhance your career – look through the course details and choose the one that you want to know more about.

If you already have nursing qualifications and are looking at progressing your career, then take your time to look at different advanced nursing courses. Whether you want to pursue an MSN or a DNP degree, there will be the right one for you out there, so try not to rush into a decision.

By choosing a course you love, you have a higher chance of impressing people, as your genuine passion will shine through and motivate you.

Study Hard

Studying hard is important for any college course. It may seem obvious, but you’ll be surprised how easily students fall off the bandwagon early on. Make it your mission to fit in the right amount of studying hours and make them your priority.

If you are planning on studying the whole of Sunday, don’t let your friends persuade you to skip – make it your top priority. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a social life, just that you shouldn’t skip studying.

Learn to Listen

Many nursing students try to stand out by being loud and always putting forward their input, but this can have a negative effect. If you are keen on making a good impression, then focus on listening before speaking. The people who are guiding you know a lot more about nursing, and you must learn from them. By listening intently, you show that you respect their leadership and that you are eager to learn.

There will come a time when speaking up will work in your favor, but while you are still learning, you should prioritize listening.

Always Show up on Time

Attendance is crucial when it comes to nursing, so make sure you always arrive on time and rarely miss a day. Of course, you cannot help it when you are ill, but try to keep those few and far between. Remember, how you act in nursing school is a reflection of how you will be when you are a qualified nurse, and tardiness isn’t allowed in the medical world.

Take Responsibility

As a nursing student, it’s important to understand that you will make mistakes. It’s OK – your fellow peers will, too, and your tutors most certainly did when they were at school. What makes a student stand out in a positive light is how they handle it. If you instantly deny and try to throw someone else under the bus, that will only reflect badly on you.

The best nurses are those who can take responsibility for their actions, so if you make a mistake, make sure you own up to it and apologize sincerely. You might think your tutors will remember you for the mistake, but they’ll actually remember just how well you handled being wrong.

Learn to Communicate Effectively

Communicating is a huge part of nursing, so it is a skill you must learn to perfect. Nurses speak with co-workers and patients daily, and much of the information they relay is sensitive and important, making it imperative that you learn how to speak clearly.

If you are an expert at studying but you are struggling to get used to the communication part, consider joining a group that will help you come out of your shell. An improv class or even a reading group will help you communicate with people more confidently. If you are still having trouble, then you should speak with your tutor, as they will be able to help you.

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

There comes a time in any student’s life where they must ask for help. As a nursing student, you’ll probably need to ask multiple times, and that’s OK! It is better to understand sooner rather than burying your worry and skipping out on an important part of education.

Asking your teachers for help will show them that you are serious about your studies and that you are eager to understand. Don’t worry about seeming stupid, as no question is too stupid. Remember, you’re in school for a reason!

While many of your peers might feel asking questions will damage their pride, you will show that you’re more interested in learning. Nurses 30 years into their careers still need to ask for help at times, so there’s no shame in needing it when you’re just starting.

Create a Study Plan

Staying on top of your exams and assignments is a crucial part of standing out, as it shows your tutors how much you’ve learned each semester. Many nursing students struggle to keep up with the work, but one way of combatting that is to create a study plan.

Start in your very first week. Instead of cramming in the last few weeks before an exam, spread your studying out over the semester. This way, you won’t end up burning out by the time your exams roll around.

Always Show Up Prepared

When you are entering the classroom or work experience, you should act as if you are already a nurse. This means always having the right equipment on you. You don’t want to be the person in class who has to let the tutor know that they need a spare something, as that will show them that you aren’t organized.

Instead, come more than prepared, and become the person that others can come to if they’re running short. It will reflect excellently on you!

Work on Your Writing Skills

When you think of nursing, you probably think about the tasks involving caring for patients, but you will also be doing a lot of writing. Whether you are writing an email to a co-worker or taking notes on a patient, you must be able to write well to communicate your points effectively.

By working on your writing skills, your assignments will gain a higher grade, and you’ll show your tutors that you have a wide range of talents. Don’t hesitate to ask for help with your assignment to stay happy with a result and get an excellent grade. Nursing isn’t just about how much medical knowledge you attain – there’s a multitude of skills that play a role in being an excellent nurse.

Take Care of Yourself

While you must study hard to stand out as a nursing student, you should also take care of yourself. Your tutors won’t be impressed by your hard work if you are showing up to class and work experience with bags under your eyes wearing yesterday’s clothes. Looking after yourself is an important part of being a nurse – the hours are long and the work is hard.

If you are starting to feel overwhelmed with work, allow yourself some time out. Read a book, go for a walk, or simply call a friend and let the stresses of studying melt away. Creating a routine will help you manage your self-care and studies – if you allow yourself time for both, then you will create a balance that will work in your favor.

Take Up all Opportunities

In nursing school, the students who stand out are the ones ready to take any opportunity thrown at them. If there is an offer of work experience, a day-trip, or a leadership role, make sure you make yourself known!

Let your tutors know that you are eager to soak up every bit of education that they have to offer, and they will keep you in mind for the stuff that will help you excel, such as a fantastic placement opportunity.

Help Your Fellow Nursing Students

Helping your peers shows that you have attained a lot of knowledge. If your tutors see you guiding other students in the right direction, they won’t only know that you are excelling at the course, but they’ll also learn that you are a giving individual. Both of these qualities are essential when becoming a nurse.

Helping others out won’t only make a good impression – you will also help cement your knowledge. Teaching others is a proven way of helping you memorize information, so, the more you teach, the more you learn.

Learn More than What is Asked

Learning what is on the curriculum is not enough if you really want to stand out. Go above and beyond by researching more than what you are studying that week. When questions arise in class, and you are the only one able to answer, your tutors will surely keep you in mind.

Make Long-Lasting Friendships

It’s hard to get through nursing school without great friends, so make sure you introduce yourself to everyone and make friends with the people you bond with most. There will be days where you need someone’s notes, or you need someone to vent to, and only a nursing friend will help you there.

If you are struggling to make connections, consider forming a study group to get to know your peers more.

Stay Enthusiastic

If passion drove you to apply for nursing school, let it guide you through the whole experience. Many nursing tutors are used to seeing enthusiasm at the beginning of the semester, but by the end, many students lose it.

No matter how much you have to study, you should keep your enthusiasm for the subject. It will show your tutors that you are someone who can manage a high workload without falling under pressure.

Set High Goals

The students who impress the tutors most are the ones who reach for higher than their peers. Set your goals high and show people that you are serious about excelling. If you are working in a team, then aim to lead the group rather than following someone else. By doing this, you will prove your worth and show that you are eager.

Use Initiative when Necessary

While it is important to listen and ask questions, there will also be times where you must simply use your initiative. This doesn’t mean guessing when working, but rather, figure out what you need to do from experience and understanding.

After some time, your tutors shouldn’t need to tell you how much to read or what you should bring – you should know yourself and do it without asking. The quicker you learn this, the better of an impression you will make.

Push Through the Hard Days

As a nursing student, you will have days where you will feel overwhelmed. This happens to everyone, and while you should let yourself feel your emotions, if you want to stand out as resilient, you should work on pushing through.

Tell yourself that it’s just this one day, and think about the reward of getting home once you have finished your work. It won’t always be easy – it is how you act on the hard days that will prove your worth the most.

The journey of becoming a nurse is a long and eventful one. It will be filled with highs, lows, and many in-betweens, and you should embrace every one of them. Study hard, be enthusiastic, and aim high, and you will surely pique the interest of those around you.