The nursing sector is one of the busiest in the medical industry. As a nurse, you’re expected to look after patients, assist doctors, and stay on top of your education. Consequently, you may feel stressed out and find it challenging to balance your work and academic life. Once you become overwhelmed and anxious, your professional and academic side starts suffering.
You may make more mistakes at work, struggle to maintain your grades, and impact your nursing profile. That is why you must learn how to balance both critical aspects of your life. While it may take some trial and error at the start, you’ll emerge victorious as a nurse as soon as you find your rhythm. Hence, to help you be the best version of yourself, here’s what you need to know:
1. Use online resources
The world has become increasingly digital. Previously, you would need to manually investigate and figure out how to work on your career and speak to other professionals within your field to attain career guidance, but not anymore. Online degrees are a blessing. They have removed several obstacles from your path, making it easier for you to streamline your career.
For instance, if you are a nurse willing to land a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner job, online resources will guide you in the right direction. As a psychiatric mental health nurse, you’ll work closely with patients who have severe mental health issues. It entails diagnosing, prescribing medication, and creating treatment routes for them.
Online degrees also save time and are relatively inexpensive. You’re not bound by a school timetable and can flexibly study your coursework and submit your assignments. The student portal is also accessible anytime, so you can catch up on your syllabus if you have free time at work.
2. Create a timetable for yourself
When you have a busy day ahead, it’s best to draft a schedule. It allows you to manage your day productively and ensure you don’t neglect your duty. List all the tasks you need to handle and start by working on them according to their priority. If you have numerous patients to check daily, consider your urgent cases and tend to them before you work on others. When you get time during your break, use your schedule to focus on the literature you need to catch up on and study while you eat. However, ensure your timetable is realistic and puts less pressure on you.
If you have too much to do at work, check the deadlines on your assignment and see how much leeway you have to divide your syllabus. If you’re studying for upcoming tests, join a study group and exchange resources to get prepped for them quickly. You can ask your nursing manager to give you day shifts so you can use your night to study. But if you can’t do that, any time you’re on a break between shifts, pull out your coursework. Don’t forget to add sleep and relaxation to your timetable. If you don’t get enough rest, it will be harder to progress.
3. Talk to a mentor
Having a mentor can be an incredible source of guidance for you. These professionals have years of experience and expertise that you can benefit from to tackle work and academic challenges. If you want genuine feedback on how you’re doing at work, discuss it with your mentor and learn where you can improve. You can also shadow them while they’re demonstrating patient care and, under their supervision, perform patient care.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your career and education. Your mentor may have access to educational resources. They can help you get the clinical knowledge you need and use their skills to test your understanding of theory. This way, you’re improving your work ethic and picking up the skills you need to perform well in your degree.
4. Work on your soft skills
Your interpersonal skills are crucial for both your school and work. How you handle responsibilities, take accountability, and effectively communicate makes a difference in your career. While working on your shift, always stay in contact with your nursing team and never attempt to solve a patient case alone. Looking after a patient with your teammates allows you to treat them more effectively. If you feel burnt out at work, let your nursing manager know so they can go easy on you. Vocalize your needs instead of assuming your manager knows what you need.
Schoolwork needs to be submitted on time. If you’re unable to, always email your professor beforehand and not at the last minute to get a timely extension. Practice voicing your concerns, asking questions, and working on your body language. All of these make a significant difference when you’re with your patients. If your peer tries to take advantage of you by pushing their shift on you, learn to say no and draw boundaries. If they continue pressuring you, talk to your nursing manager. The more you don’t remove hardlines, the more you’ll get burdened with work.
5. Turn up to your shift early
Going early allows you to organize your daily tasks and help you plan. You’ll also be over your shift quicker. The extra time you have in the morning helps you fill out charts, answer emails, check your student portal, and catch up on a quick read.
It would help if you also listened to nursing podcasts early in the morning, so you’re more in touch with your sector as soon as new advancements enter the industry. When you know how long you’ll be in the hospital, let your nurse manager know, allowing you to take off or at least use some time to study. This strategy also gives you enough time to go home to sleep and eat and regain strength.
Being a nurse is not easy. You have to balance different aspects of your life, which can often take a toll on you. When you lose the grip on your education and find yourself struggling at work, it comes at a heavy price. So, you need to find a way to ensure you’re not neglecting one for the other. There are many ways to manage your work and study life. Try opting for an online degree, creating a schedule, or using your mentor’s guidance to understand your role better. It would also help if you worked on your soft skills and instilled traits like leadership, confidence, and effective communication in your personality. Lastly, try showing up to work early and ensuring you use the extra time you have to be a productive nurse and a student.