Nurses must gain the correct qualifications before reaching their nursing goals. Many decide to do an online nursing course so that they can work while they study. It’s an excellent choice for flexibility, but it requires a ton of organizational skills.
If you’re studying for an online nursing course, use these 20 study tips to succeed.
1: Consider Your Options
First of all, ensure the course you choose is the right one for your career goals. Want to become a nurse-midwife? Choose a masters degree focused on the study of midwifery. If your goal is to become an acute care nurse practitioner, choose a program that offers an AGACNP post masters certificate.
Take the specific university into account, too. You want someplace that offers tons of support and opportunities.
2: Discuss Your Studies with Your Manager
Studying for an online nursing degree while working as a nurse won’t be easy. If that is your plan, be sure to talk to your work manager. You can discuss shift options to suit your studies, and they will also be more understanding about you not wanting to take on overtime during certain periods, such as during exam season.
3: Get to Know Your Course Mates
While you won’t go for after-class drinks or coffee as you would on a traditional college course, you can still get to know your classmates online — and you should! Making these connections means you’ll have future networking options, as well as the chance to give and receive study notes when necessary. Plus, it’s always good to make like-minded friends.
4: Use Student Apps
With so many apps out there, it makes sense that there’s a bunch focused on students, so make the most of these. You’ll find apps that help schedule study time, and other apps that will make your notes clearer.
Some student apps are great, while others aren’t quite as useful. Check out the reviews on the various apps to determine which ones work best.
5: Stick to a Schedule
Without a schedule, there’s a chance you’ll fall behind your studies. You might miss a whole chapter or a textbook, or even forget that your assignment is due next week. To avoid this, you should create a schedule at the beginning of each term and week — and stick to it.
Avoid flooding your schedule with too much work and study though. While you’ll need to do a lot of both, you also need time for yourself. By putting both work and play into your timetable, you’ll have an easier time managing your workload.
6: Buy the Best Tech
Owning the best tech helps you keep up with your online studies. A good laptop is almost essential, as that is where you’ll attend online classes and read your coursework. It’s also a good idea to get a good tablet so that you can access your course material on the go with ease. Consider investing in a quality headset, too.
7: Listen to Your Notes
Cleaning, walking and showering all become study time when you can listen to your notes! If you have a lot to remember (and, studying an online nursing course, you will), consider keeping a voice recording of the most important notes and listening to them when you can. It will help the information stick while letting you get on with other obligations.
8: Reach Out If You Need Help
As a nursing student, you will likely run into challenges from time to time. While you can’t schedule an in-person meeting with your tutor, that doesn’t mean you can’t chat with them via email or video call. When you need help, schedule a meeting with your tutor and let them know where you’re struggling. They will do what they can to get you back on the right track. After all, they want you to succeed!
9: Get Comfortable in Your Local Café
As an online student, you won’t have a university library to make the most of after class. Instead, you’ll have to come up with your own place of study. Your home works well, but you might get tired of the same four walls. In this case, find a nearby café that you love and get comfortable working there.
Being away from home removes distractions such as the TV and family. If you tell yourself the café is only for work, you are more likely to study for longer while there. Just try not to overdo it on the caffeine!
10: Study on the Go
You won’t always have time to fit in the amount of study you want to. During these times, you should make the most of any opportunity to read or take notes, and that includes when you’re on the go.
Whether you’re on a train to work or riding shotgun on the way to your friend’s house, squeeze in some study time by putting on your headphones and going over your notes. This is where some of those student apps will come in handy!
11: Keep Up a Good Relationship With Your Tutor
You need a good relationship with your online tutor. They will help you stay focused, prepare you for exams and assignments, and give you good recommendations in the future. Schedule online meetings with them, and don’t be afraid to hit them up with an email when you have a question.
12: Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
As an online student, you must maintain a focused mind by leading a healthy lifestyle. Otherwise, you might end up stressed and behind on work. For healthier living, cover the basics, including eating well, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, and maintaining a social life. If you feel stress building, give yourself a time out. Everyone needs a break from time to time.
13: Read Nursing Articles
For those who are serious about their nursing careers, getting into the habit of reading nursing articles is a great idea. It might seem like you already have plenty to read as a nursing student, but all you need to do is fit 10 minutes into your day to soak up what’s going on in the nursing world. Doing so will give you a more balanced view of nursing, and you might learn pieces of information that help your studies, too.
Not sure which journals to sign up to? Ask your professor for some recommendations.
14: Rise Early
When getting organized, it’s better to rise early and catch the day rather than work late into the night. Of course, the chance to do so depends on your work schedule. Whenever you can, set an alarm early to study/work with the sunrise and then go to bed at a reasonable hour. You’ll feel more prepared that way, and the early sunlight will give you the motivation you need for the day.
15: Ignite Your Passion
Feeling stressed out? Overrun with coursework? Take a step back and remember the reasons you’re doing the nursing degree in the first place. Igniting your passion is the key to getting back on the horse. You could speak with your work superiors, read stories about incredible nurses, or write down a list of reasons you want to finish the course and become a specialized nurse.
16: Find Time To Switch Off
Amid work and studies, you likely don’t find much time to spend quality time alone. Quality time alone where you can switch off is essential, though. It will help revitalize you for your next shift or study session. When planning your week, make sure you allow time for self-reflection and relaxation. That might include a simple activity such as running a bubble bath, or, if you have the time, you might allow yourself a trip to the spa!
17: Keep Easy-To-Read Notes
One of the most straightforward ways in which you can help yourself as an online student is to keep easy-to-read notes. Doing so will help you study wherever you are — all you’ll need to do is skim them.
18: Simplify Daily Life
With such a packed schedule and so many responsibilities, you need to simplify your daily life. Don’t focus too much of your energy on what to have for breakfast or how to fit in a 10-step skincare routine. Instead, make the daily tasks as easy as possible. For example, you could meal prep at the beginning of the week so you don’t have to worry about what make every day.
19: Don’t Take on More Than You Can Realistically Do
Has your shift manager asked you to work a couple more hours? Are you expected to provide the week’s notes for your study group? While it’s good to put in the effort, you should never take on more than you can realistically do. When asked if you can complete a particular task, consider it carefully before accepting. Otherwise, you might end up stressing yourself out.
20: Be Proud of Your Achievements
Whether you passed your first assignment with flying colors or you just managed to scrape a pass, you should be proud of your achievements. Even just doing the work puts you ahead of most! Studying for an online nursing degree is anything but easy, so when you achieve a good grade or even just a word of praise, be sure to congratulate yourself. You deserve it!