Nursing school is no joke. Students have to quickly absorb large amounts of information and retain it so they can pass their licensing exam and work with patients successfully. Getting through nursing school is challenging and often takes a toll on students’ work-life balance and overall well-being.

If you’ve met all the prerequisites for nursing school and you’re preparing to work toward your nursing degree, it’s important to have a plan so you don’t get overwhelmed or burned out as you advance through the program. Here are some tips for maintaining a healthy work-life balance as a nursing student.

Create A Clear Separation Between Study Time And Personal Time

It’s easy to feel like you have to learn everything all at once when you start nursing school. It can be tempting to just study nonstop and try to cram as much information into your brain as you can. However, this isn’t the best strategy for your mental health or your long-term learning.

Taking breaks from schoolwork is important. This means creating boundaries and separation from your work — if you’re studying, you’re studying. If you’re not studying, be intentional about your time away and avoid thinking about school.

Stepping away and really disconnecting from your schoolwork will help you recharge. It can also help with latent learning and might make it easier to retain what you learn. While it might seem counterintuitive, stepping away from your desk regularly is a great way to boost your academic performance in the long term.

Find Time Management Strategies That Work For You

In order to maintain a healthy work-life balance, you have to be able to fit in the schoolwork you need to do around your personal activities and your job, if you have one. Getting organized and finding a time management system that works for you is key.

For some students, taking the syllabus and mapping out learning goals for each week of the school term is helpful. For others, a simple Pomodoro timer for study sessions is the best way to be productive. If you have a large goal for a course, such as learning medical terms or abbreviations, breaking it down into smaller chunks can make it more manageable.

Remember, it’s all about finding what works for you. Try out a few time management techniques and see what works best!

Carve Out Time For Adequate Sleep

Rest is important for both your physical and mental health. If you sacrifice sleep for studying, your ability to focus and retain information will suffer. You’ll have to work longer to accomplish the same amount of learning than you would if you were well-rested.

Most adults need 7 or more hours of sleep per night, according to the CDC. Try tracking your sleep patterns to see how much sleep you personally need to function at optimal levels. Once you know how much rest you need each night, you can schedule it and set yourself a bedtime. Do not make the mistake of skimping on sleep!

Create A Reward System

Scheduling study time is important for nursing students who want to maintain a healthy work-life balance. However, many students don’t celebrate their wins or reward themselves. This can lead to motivation problems down the road.

If you stick to your study schedule and hit your academic goals, you deserve a reward. It’s important to create a reward system that’s tailored to your preferences and motivates you to do your best.

It’s important to note that these rewards should feel like treats. They shouldn’t be self-care activities that you withhold when you don’t reach your goals. Physical and mental well-being are important and they shouldn’t be used as rewards for a job well done. Plus, self-care practices like exercising or eating more vegetables usually aren’t the most motivating forces!

Use Nursing School As Practice For Your Career

Burnout is a huge problem in the nursing profession. Nurses tend to be extremely compassionate people who are willing to go above and beyond at work to help others. While these are admirable qualities, they can also lead to chronic stress, overwhelm, and burnout.

Practicing strategies in nursing school that will help prevent burnout once you start working as a nurse is a great idea. Not only will it make nursing school less stressful, but it will also help you learn how to set healthy boundaries and take care of yourself even when you have a lot to do.

Nursing can be very stressful because it’s fast-paced, intense, and the stakes can be very high. However, it’s also one of the most fulfilling jobs in the world if you can learn to maintain a healthy work-life balance and make your needs a priority!


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