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Hot Topics in Nursing: Peer-to-Peer Wisdom

Hot Topics in Nursing: Peer-to-Peer Wisdom

CU Nursing graduates share advice for success in school, profession

Believe it or not students, graduates from the University of Colorado College of Nursing say you’re going to miss school. It’s the small things you don’t think about now; the friendships, comradery, access to brilliant instructors and the ability to make mistakes without big consequences. Believe it. That’s what several 2023 BSN graduates told us during interviews about what advice they’d give their peers still facing the coursework, homework and tests. The grads have learned firsthand what it takes to succeed in school. Now, they want to pass along their wisdom to you and others along your journey.

Peer-to-peer advice

  1. Time Management - This is the most important skill you can develop as a nursing student. With a heavy course load, clinical rotations and studying, it can be easy to fall behind on assignments and readings. Make a schedule, prioritize your tasks, and stick to your deadlines. Grads also advise that you avoid multitasking, eliminate distractions like checking your cell phone repeatedly throughout the day, and setting boundaries by letting people know when you can be reached and when you are studying and unavailable.

Before you put years into a profession you may not be sure about, grads recommend you stay prepared, flexible and open to all ideas.

“I would say probably become a CNA first to see if you actually want to be in this field. Because with nursing, you have to be truly committed to this, this is not something that you can just do just because it sounds good. Because it takes a lot of passion, a lot of sweat, a lot of tears, just to become a nurse,” says Zhane Conner, BSN graduate from CU Nursing.

  1. Self-Care – As the saying goes, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Studies show the mental health of nurses impacts the care of patients. Nurses suffer from burnout, depression, poor physical and mental health, weight gain and more. Evidence-based interventions can make a difference in your quality of life including taking breaks when needed, expressing emotions, exercising, getting sleep, practicing mindfulness and stress-reduction techniques.

“Self-care is critical, 100%,” says Marie Stahl, BSN, 2023 CU Nursing graduate. “Without my learning how to care for myself physically and emotionally, I don't think I could have gotten through nursing school.”

  1. Find Study and Support Groups - Nursing school can be stressful and overwhelming, but having a support system can make all the difference. Find a group of classmates who you can study with, bounce ideas off of, and share notes with. That will help you emotionally and academically.

2023 BSN graduate Taylor Santangelo says getting involved made her time at CU Nursing more meaningful and rewarding. She developed lifelong friendships. Santangelo was also elected president of the student council and was awarded the 2022 Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nursing Students.

“I really recommend getting involved in campus life, whether that's through Future Voices, Student Council, CUSNA, Dawn Clinic, or any of the other organizations that we're so lucky to have at the Anschutz campus. I think that it provided me with the opportunity to meet more faculty members. And it really allowed me to connect with my peers in a way that was really special,” says Taylor Santangelo, BSN, 2023 CU Nursing graduate.

  1. Utilize Your Clinical Rotations and Important Courses - Clinical rotations and tough courses are an essential part of nursing school. The rotations provide hands-on experience and allow you to apply what you have learned in the classroom. Take advantage of this opportunity by asking questions, observing different techniques, and getting feedback. Also, don’t skip over tough coursework like pathophysiology and physiology because you’ll learn critical information.

“Those two classes (pathophysiology and physiology) are the worst, but they're also the best,” says Billy Schwartz, BSN grad. “It comes in handy when you give somebody a medication and you have to know what it is doing in the body… what are the effects of that at a physiological and at a chemical level. Then, when you need to give meds, you don’t have to think so hard and…you can do that with confidence, you can do something knowing that you're not going to harm somebody. A lot of people, including myself, are against those types of courses, just because they are dense, but if you take it seriously, the rest of nursing school will be a lot easier.”

  1. Embrace Challenges - Nursing school is not easy, but it is possible. Embrace the challenges and obstacles that you will face because they can make you a stronger and better healthcare provider. Graduates say it’s a journey that requires hard work, dedication, and perseverance. But you are not alone in the journey. With the tips from grads, the right mindset and support system, you can achieve your goals.

“Don't give up. I think nursing school is very challenging, at least it was for me. And as a second career, you know, there are other things that I have to worry about that I didn't have to worry about when I first went to college. Like paying bills, or renting an apartment and having a husband; so it can be very challenging and it can take a lot of your time, but make friends, form study groups, and when you're struggling, reach out to your instructors,” says Stahl.

Topics: Education, Hot Topic