5 Tips to Deal With Nursing School Stress
Fran Roberts | Scrubs Magazine
The stress level of nursing students is higher than those in most other academic programs, and some studies have even suggested that their stress levels are higher than their counterparts in medical school, social work and pharmacology programs. The workload of nursing students is profound—not only maintaining academic studies and a clinical practice, but also a work/life balance that is important to both young students and those who are more mature when they achieve their degree.
Many nursing students today are “re-careerers” and have multiple family concerns, including coping with adolescent children and caring for elderly parents. Think about the questions patients are asked when they complain of health issues, and then consider your own lifestyle and habits. These may be obvious, but consider the following suggestions for maintaining optimum health and an even disposition during nursing school.
1. Eat right. Just as we say during the elementary years, having a nutritionally well-balanced diet is equally important during college. The body metabolizes more during stressful times, meaning you may be hungrier more often, but without proper planning you might find yourself making poor food choices. Because the nursing profession is largely comprised of women, it’s not surprising that eating disorders are prevalent in the profession. By maintaining good eating habits through your education and training, you’re more likely to continue on a healthy path throughout your career. Eat five or six small meals a day, drink plenty of water and be conscious of choosing whole foods, with an emphasis on fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
2. Adopt smarter study habits. Nursing students are frequently encouraged by faculty to study in groups. While this is sometimes helpful and constructive, it can also lead to “group anxiety.” The stress levels of individual students can begin to mount and actually accelerate within study groups. So determine what works best for you. You may find that quizzing each other in groups while preparing for tests works well, but reading difficult chapters and articles is best done alone and isolated in a quiet, undisturbed place.
3. Pace yourself. Generally you know at the beginning of a term or semester what your student workload will be. Resist the temptation to procrastinate completing assignments, which frequently results in the dreaded and extremely unhealthy “all-nighter.” Remember, you’re not a history major who can sleep the entire next day. More than likely you’ll have to show up at a clinical assignment the morning after your marathon event!