nursing educationInitially it may seem easy to list the necessary attributes for a nursing student. We want them to be honest, ethical, hard-working, etc. These are certainly essential characteristics for someone who is preparing to take care of others.

But let’s face it—being a nurse is hard; studying to be one is just as hard. Hence, you need these five additional attributes to survive nursing school and become licensed in our profession.

  1. Time management.

    This is especially true at the beginning of the school experience. It doesn’t matter whether you are attending a traditional nursing school or online nursing program. They all impose requirements on time that previously didn’t exist. Something else typically has to get pushed aside and demoted on the priority list.

    For example, reading the most popular novel or watching a week-long miniseries on TV may have to wait. Hopefully, time with family won’t be neglected to any great degree. But there may be times when you need to beg off from an event to study or write a paper. Time management is a skill that can be learned over time and it must be learned. You need to master it to become successful without being constantly stressed.

  2. Good study skills. 

    Many individuals in schools today are non-traditional nursing students who may have been out of school for years. Learning to study is a skill which, like time management, can be acquired. However, there is no perfect system that everyone can use. Some people study better at night; others study better in the mornings. Some highlight books; others take notes from the text. Whatever works, works.

  3. Ability to work with faculty. 

    Faculty members are not the enemy. They are not friends either, but they can definitely help you to be successful. If material from a course isn’t clear, writing skills aren’t the best, etc., they can be a great resource for help. They can also refer you to someone else who can help.

    You also have to be able to ask questions, clarify what isn’t clear, and in general, see the faculty as an important resource.  Granted, some faculty members will be more open to this than others. You just need to find nursing educators who are there because they love to teach and remember what it was like to be a student.

  4. Strong support from family and friends.

    They need to understand that for the time period you are in school, their lives will also change to some degree. They may need to make sacrifices and pick up some of the slack, such as doing the laundry, grocery shopping, etc. on occasion. The presence of this support, both emotional and practical, can make all the difference in whether you stay in a program and becomes successful.

  5. Ability to manage money.

    You have to be sure that funding is adequate to both go to school and survive. Higher nursing education isn’t cheap. There is money available for many students through grants, loans, and scholarships. You just need to have the ability and the perseverance to find it.

    If private pay is the only way, budgeting is needed to make sure that after one semester you aren’t forced to drop out strictly due to financial issues.  Nobody can predict when an emergency will occur, which may interfere with education, but financial planning can help.

Studying and earning a degree is one of the most challenging times of a nurse’s life. It can also be the best time for you to grow personally and professionally. That’s why anything that you can do to be the best nursing student you can be is worth the effort.