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How to Excel in Nursing School Tips from Nursing Professors

Nursing is one of the most respected and rewarding professions that requires a high level of dedication and expertise. To achieve success in this field, nursing students must excel in their academic and clinical performance. Excelling in nursing school not only leads to better career opportunities but also equips students with the knowledge and skills they need to provide exceptional patient care.

In this blog post, we will provide some practical tips on how to excel in nursing school.

How to Excel in Nursing School: Tips from Nursing Professors

Navigating nursing school can be both challenging and rewarding. As a nursing student, you are taking on a rigorous course load while also gaining hands-on clinical experience. It can be tough to know where to start or how to stay organized, which is why we’ve gathered tips from experienced nursing professors who can offer some guidance.

  • Develop a Study Routine

Developing a study routine is an essential key to success in nursing school. Setting a study schedule and sticking to it is a strategy that is often recommended by nursing professors. A well-organized schedule helps students stay on top of their coursework and material, minimizing anxiety and allowing them to devote focused time to studying. Scheduling study time around other activities and commitments, such as classes and clinical work, can also help to optimize students’ time and energy.

Additionally, study aids such as flashcards and study guides can be an effective way to reinforce learning and improve retention. Flashcards are particularly useful in nursing school, as they help students to memorize medical terminology, drug names, and other essential concepts. Study guides can help to organize and simplify complex information, highlighting the most important points and connections between concepts. By utilizing these resources during study sessions, students can enhance their understanding and mastery of nursing material.

Another useful strategy for excelling in nursing school is taking advantage of study groups. Studying with peers can offer a range of benefits, such as promoting teamwork, encouraging active learning, and allowing students to ask and answer each other’s questions. Study groups can also help students stay accountable to their study schedule and their peers, which may help to increase motivation and productivity. When forming study groups, it is important to seek out individuals who share similar goals and work ethics, and to establish clear expectations and communication channels for the group.

  • Focus on the Basics

Focusing on the basics is critical to excelling in nursing school. Fundamental knowledge, such as anatomy and physiology, is the foundation of nursing practice. As nursing courses typically build on prior knowledge, understanding the basics can make it easier to learn and apply advanced concepts. Nursing students should strive to grasp these fundamentals from the outset of their education and continually build upon their knowledge through their coursework and clinical experience.

Keeping up with class readings and assignments is a crucial part of understanding the basics of nursing. Reading textbooks, journal articles, and other assigned material is essential for gaining the knowledge base required for success in nursing school. To stay up-to-date with coursework, students should establish a daily routine that facilitates completing assignments and readings as required. It is also beneficial to take notes or create summaries of key concepts as a way to reinforce learning.

Practicing critical thinking is another essential element in excelling in nursing school. This skill involves using logic, reasoning, and deductive and inductive reasoning to evaluate situations and develop solutions. Critical thinking is key in the nursing field, where a nurse must make rapid decisions based on complex information. In the classroom, nursing professors often use case studies to help students develop their critical thinking skills. Students should practice actively engaging with course material, questioning assumptions, and analyzing different perspectives when it comes to clinical problems. By doing so, they can expand their critical thinking skills, which will be useful in the workforce.

  • Seek out Resources

Using online resources such as videos, interactive quizzes, or mobile apps can make studying more engaging and convenient. Additionally, online nursing textbooks and databases can be accessed through academic libraries or university portals which offer a wealth of information to supplement course material. Students can utilize these resources to supplement their learning, improve their understanding of topics, and learn about current evidence-based clinical practices.

Attending tutoring or study sessions is another way nursing students can seek out resources. Universities typically offer various forms of tutoring and study sessions, such as peer-to-peer support or group study sessions. These sessions offer an opportunity for students to reinforce their understanding of complex topics, clarify coursework requirements, and work collaboratively with their peers.

Consulting with professors or academic advisors is also an essential resource for excelling in nursing school. Students should feel free to connect with their professors or academic advisors when they have concerns or questions about their coursework or program requirements.
Professors can offer helpful context on coursework and projects or offer individualized feedback on student work. Academic advisors can help students create customized academic plans and navigate degree requirements.

  • Build Clinical Skills

In the lab setting, nursing students can practice hands-on skills such as administering medications, performing procedures, and using medical equipment. Lab simulations offer a safe and controlled environment for nursing students to develop their skills prior to working with actual patients. Professors can guide the students’ practice, offer clinical scenarios, provide feedback, and encourage critical thinking during lab simulations.

Volunteering or shadowing nurses in clinical settings can provide nursing students with valuable exposure to real-world nursing practice. As volunteers or observers, nursing students can develop communication, situational awareness, and collaboration skills essential to nursing practice. By shadowing nurses in different clinical settings or specialties, students can discover their areas of interest, observe a range of care styles, and understand the role of nurses in healthcare.

Seeking out opportunities for clinical rotations is another crucial component for building clinical skills. Clinical rotations allow students to connect theory with practical application in the clinical workplace. During clinical rotations, students can apply the knowledge, skills, technics learned in nursing classes, and work alongside experienced nurses and healthcare professionals. Clinical rotations provide a meaningful and unique chance for students to work directly with patients, maximize learning opportunities, and gradually develop clinical competence.


In this article, we’ve gathered tips from experienced nursing professors on how to excel in nursing school. The key points of the article include developing a study routine, focusing on the basics of nursing, practicing critical thinking, seeking out resources, and building clinical skills. Nursing students should set a study schedule, utilize flashcards and study guides, practice critical thinking, take advantage of tutoring and study sessions, volunteer or shadow nurses in clinical settings, and seek out opportunities for clinical rotations.

The importance of excelling in nursing school cannot be overstated, as nurses play a vital role in healthcare. By following these tips, nursing students can strengthen their academic knowledge, gain hands-on experience, build a network of support, and improve their chances of success in the nursing profession.

We encourage readers to take advantage of the tips and resources provided in this article to excel in nursing school. Success in nursing school is not just about receiving a degree but developing the competencies needed to serve patients in the healthcare system. The tips provided will guide nursing students to develop a strong foundation of nursing knowledge, clinical skills, and critical thinking abilities, which are essential components to succeed in this industry.