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How To Get Through Your Nursing Degree

Becoming a nurse is an incredible career choice and a very noble thing to do. You will be helping members of the public go through some of the most challenging times in their lives, comforting them as they worry over their health or that of a loved one, and assisting them with their recovery and treatments. This is rewarding enough in itself, but the other perks of being a nurse include having a stable job, plenty of opportunities to progress in your career, as well as making a comfortable salary. Yes, being a nurse is a wonderful career choice, but first, you need to get a nursing degree so that you can become a licensed nurse and put all of your knowledge into practice. 

Any degree can be a challenge, but there is a lot to learn when you are studying a medical course such as this, and there is a lot of pressure that comes with it. If you have recently started your nursing degree or are about to, here are a few tips on how you can get through it and reduce stress during this time.

Get Organized

If you want to be a nurse, then you must have excellent organizational skills as you will be juggling a variety of tasks throughout your shift. From liaising with other members of the healthcare team, patients, monitoring people’s progress, and updating patient records, there is a lot on your plate. The same is true when you’re studying to be a nurse, as you will need to find time to complete your assignments, revise for examinations, as well as working on your placement. If you want to limit the stress you have in your life while you study to be a nurse, the first thing you need to do is make sure that you’re as organized as possible and stick to your routine as best you can.

Practice Makes Perfect

You will have to carry out nursing clinicals as part of your course, which will be how you demonstrate that you know how to carry out certain procedures and general patient care. These clinical examinations can be overwhelming sometimes, but practice does make perfect, so you should always listen to feedback and take that constructive criticism. You might even want to ask for further feedback from your peers and mentors throughout this time to highlight other areas where you can improve your performance, as this will help to build your confidence for when you do start working as a professional nurse.

Accept That You’re Still Learning

Nursing is a high-pressure job in a lot of ways, and this can make it feel even more disheartening when you do make mistakes during your training. Of course, it’s important to understand how risky errors can be in healthcare, but equally, you need to accept that you are still learning and likely to get things wrong on occasion. Rather than putting even more pressure on yourself to be perfect, give yourself a break when these mistakes are made and simply make sure that you learn from them. 

Take a Break

Balancing work experience with study time can be tricky, especially if you have an assignment due or an exam on the horizon. Although training to be a nurse does take a lot of dedication, it is also important that you allow yourself to take a break now and again. If you don’t do this, you risk burning yourself out physically and mentally, which is not a nice position to be in for anybody. Schedule regular breaks during your delegated study hours, and where possible, try to take a block of days off from both work and study to allow yourself time to recuperate and unwind. 

Eat Well

When you’re busy working on the wards and then having to come home to study, it can be very tempting to indulge in comfort foods or perhaps order takeout because you can’t be bothered to cook. Doing this on occasion won’t do you any harm, but if this becomes a regular part of your routine, it will start to harm your health. Furthermore, not giving your body the nutrition that it needs will lead to feelings of lethargy which can make it harder for you to concentrate. It might take up more of your time to do this but think about batch cooking a few healthy meals at the weekend or one evening. You can freeze these meals and then defrost them throughout the week to make sure you’re still eating a balanced diet. This trick could also help you save money too, which is ideal for a student nurse!


You will likely be rushed off your feet when you’re training to be a nurse, so you’ll manage to get your daily steps in relatively easily. This can leave you feeling tired afterward, so hitting the gym might be the last thing you want to do. However, although you don’t need to work out every day, it is worth doing some strengthening exercises and cardio as this is great for your health, but it could be beneficial in your job, too. If you are helping patients with mobility issues to get out of bed or having to carry out physical checks, this could be more difficult than you might think, so being strong enough to hold their weight is key to avoid hurting yourself or them in the process.


As a student, you might be tempted to stay up into the early hours of the morning cramming your revision for your next exam. Some people do focus better during the later hours than others, but generally, it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re sticking to a good sleeping routine. This is even more prevalent during the time you are working on placement as part of your training, as these shifts can be long and exhausting. If you want to avoid feeling worn out and stressed, getting enough sleep each night is key to making this happen. Too little sleep can leave you feeling more irritable, anxious, and even depressed, let alone more prone to making mistakes because you’re finding it hard to concentrate. Aim to go to sleep at the same time each night and set your alarm for the same time each morning to maintain a good routine. If you struggle to drift off, a mattress for hot sleepers can help your body cool down to optimal sleeping temperature. Additionally, do something else that usually helps you drift off into sleep, like reading a book, for example.

Have Something to Look Forward to

Taking a break was mentioned above, and taking yourself on vacation is one way you can do this. Not only will this help you have some essential downtime, but it will also give you something to look forward to. This will do wonders to help keep you motivated and feel positive, as these events can act as a light at the end of the tunnel. If you don’t have anything in the future to look forward to, it can be easy to let yourself get overwhelmed with work and your studies, feeling as though this process will never end. If you can’t afford to go on vacation, organize a night out with your friends or even a day at home alone to pamper yourself and relax. 

Build Relationships with Your Peers

Nursing isn’t a solitary job, and you must be able to work well with others if you are going to succeed in this career. This is why building relationships with your peers during your nursing degree is essential, not only because it could open doors for you when you start applying for jobs, but your colleagues will also be going through the same thing as you. You can provide each other with emotional support, as well as making your study time more interesting by getting together to revise and share notes. If you have had a bad day on your placement, having a trusted ally on your team as someone to talk to can help you to feel better and reassure you when you need it the most. 

Pay Attention to Your Mental Health

Again, there is a lot of pressure when training to be a nurse and then more of that pressure when you start your professional career. There might also be times where you have the unfortunate experience of seeing a patient die, or someone might come in with a particularly traumatic injury that can be frightening to witness. These things do stay with you, and it’s OK for you not to feel OK as a result. If you want to get through your nursing degree and even during your time as a practicing nurse, you need to pay attention to your mental health. Try mindfulness techniques at home, such as meditation, to help you feel calmer, or perhaps try writing in a journal to help organize your thoughts and process your emotions. You could even speak to a professional counselor if you are feeling overwhelmed, as they will be able to teach you coping mechanisms and give you guidance on how to get through hard times.

Training to be a nurse can be a very exciting and wonderful experience, but it will also be hard at times, and you might even feel like giving up. If you want to reduce the stress that can occur when studying to be a nurse, consider the tips above and see how they can help you through this time.

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