As you embark on this new year, perhaps there is a nursing student in your life that you are resolved to support on their educational journey. There is so much fulfillment in knowing that you helped make a difference in another person’s life. Nursing school is a challenging undertaking, and the support of friends and family is paramount for reaching the exciting milestone of graduation.
Many students are considering nursing as a second career to help with the national nursing shortage and to expand opportunities for meaningful work. Many current nurses are also looking to advance their careers with graduate-level education, but need support.
In this blog, we will consider how you can support a nursing student and encourage them through their exciting transition from student to professional clinician. Whether you are a friend, family member, teacher, preceptor, or fellow student, you can be part of the reason that qualified healthcare providers continue to move forward into the United States workforce.
How Family and Friends Support a Nursing Student
When you are in nursing school, the genuine support of your family and friends is so beneficial. The time commitment required for nursing studies is more manageable when friends and family understand the demands of rigorous education and persevere through the more difficult moments.
You can support a nursing student by:
- Helping ease any potential burden of personal commitments by pitching in with housework and other shared family activities
- Arranging quiet spaces for studies and allowing uninterrupted sessions for focus
- Making snacks, encouraging rest breaks for exercise, and advocating for a healthy balance between work, study, and leisure time
- Celebrating milestones such as the completion of major assignments or courses within the nursing school curriculum
Some nursing students choose to complete an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program to finish their degree in a shorter amount of time. Uplifting perspectives and encouragement from family and friends can help nursing students keep their momentum during times of mental fatigue.
How Professors and Preceptors Support a Nursing Student
Those who have walked the nursing path themselves are some of the greatest mentors for students because of their ability to empathize throughout the program of study. Nursing students need to know they have the support of their faculty and that the goal for their success is mutually shared. Professors who are available during office hours, who reach out equally to students who are struggling and thriving, and who genuinely listen are extraordinarily valuable to the educational experience of nursing students.
Preceptors can support nursing students by teaching clinical pearls that cannot be learned from a textbook alone. The hands-on time when students are working with patients in a supervised learning environment is where you can see and encourage personal and professional strengths while providing suggestions to help remediate any clinical practice skills where this is needed. Preceptors who vulnerably share how they overcame their fears or uncertainties make a personal connection with students that fosters a learning environment of trust.
Teachers, professors, and preceptors can also help create an environment of self-care for students. This helps to prevent burnout and empowers our future generation of nurses to care for their health so they can best help others do the same.
In graduate nursing programs, many students are continuing to work as registered nurses while completing their advanced education. Faculty can help support students by providing class materials and learning opportunities through a variety of methods. Students may benefit from listening to podcasts, discussing case studies, role-playing to practice patient education, and any other ways to diversify the means of engagement with class materials.
How Nursing Students Support Each Other
Nursing students also have a unique ability to support each other because they are peers with different perspectives. One way that nursing students support each other most is through open dialogue about the experiences they mutually share. Students may share strategies for studying or they may simply share relaxation tips for nurses that help keep them going through longer clinical shifts. Many nursing students remain professional colleagues and friends long after graduation.
Other ways that nursing students support each other include:
- Sharing notes, forming study groups, and quizzing each other before exams
- Listening to one another and laughing with one another
- Eating meals together and developing a sense of community within the classroom
- Holding each other accountable for meeting assignment deadlines
- Encouraging each other to actively participate in online environments
- Checking in with one another outside of class or clinical times
Fellow nursing students can be an excellent source of motivation and teamwork. Likewise, nursing students must find ways to keep themselves organized and motivated to persevere through their studies and reach their goals.
How Nursing Students Support Themselves
One of the biggest ways nursing students can support themselves is by breaking down larger goals into smaller, more manageable ones. It is important to push yourself to study when you may prefer to relax, but it is equally important to rest when you need to rest. Developing self-awareness through reflection and journaling is a way nursing students can practice self-care. If you are a nursing student, you must take time to eat nutritious meals, stretch your body, and get adequate sleep each night if you want to be your best.
Nursing students who courageously seek support early when difficulties arise are positioning themselves to receive help and move forward through unexpected situations. When orienting to a nursing program or class in the curriculum, take time and get to know what school resources are available to help support you in times of need.
How School Resources Support Nursing Students
Advisors are available to help guide both undergraduate and graduate students on curriculum decisions including program choice and schedule of classes. Nursing programs include required clinical hours, and school resources for securing clinical placement help ensure nursing school clinicals are completed with a qualified preceptor in a facility where the program outcomes can be successfully met.
When academic challenges arise in any nursing program, dedicated student success coaches may help tutor on the course material, aid with writing skills, or work through personal matters that may impact educational performance. Campus career services help students navigate the career options for BSN-prepared nurses and discover the right pathway toward fulfilling, future employment post-graduation.
Online nursing students also have unique support needs. Technology is implemented within virtual classrooms where face-to-face presence is facilitated through web conferencing software. Discussion boards and messaging systems allow asynchronous communication so that students can engage with the materials on a flexible schedule and be connected in real-time correspondence with their classmates and professors.
Many universities offer comprehensive student services to ensure there are adequate resources available for advising, clinical placement, financial aid, curriculum questions, and more. The University of Indianapolis has excellent nursing student resources to support you as you earn your undergraduate or graduate nursing degree online.
Nursing Student Resources at the University of Indianapolis
The University of Indianapolis excels in student support for those who enroll in their online Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program. If you have a bachelor's degree in a non-nursing field, you can use this degree as the foundation for making nursing your second career at UIndy.
The program applies a hybrid learning model where there is 100% online coursework coupled with in-person clinicals and two on-campus residency experiences. A dynamic simulation laboratory places you in real-world scenarios so you can gain confidence in patient care and develop critical thinking skills that will help you excel as a nurse.
Graduate nursing options at UIndy include the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree that is offered in four tracks:
- Primary Care Nurse Practitioner
- Primary Care Adult/Gerontological Nurse Practitioner
- Nursing Education
- Nursing and Health Systems Leadership
Post-master’s certificates are also available to attain through online curriculum delivery. Your success is important to the faculty and staff at UIndy. If you are resolved to advance your education and become a qualified nursing health professional this year, an advisor is ready to help support you and develop a realistic plan to make your resolution a reality.