Working in healthcare is competitive and challenging, so it's important to try to maximize your career potential while you’re still in school. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when working to improve your nursing skills and knowledge.
Don't stop learning.
If you want the opportunity to stand out from the pack, you’ll want to go above and beyond the normal responsibilities you have as a student. Look for ways to learn more than what’s being taught in class.1 For example, if there’s a certain area of expertise you’re interested in for nursing, start researching it and familiarizing yourself with the terminology and popular topics within that subject. You can also start studying early for your National Council Licensure Examination. By doing this, you may discover early on what subjects you find challenging and be able to ask your instructors pointed questions in class.
Expand your nursing network.
Sure, connecting at career fairs and networking events can help open doors of opportunity. However, that’s not the only way to create effective networking. Connecting with other students in nursing school may help create opportunities for you too.2 Who knows? Maybe a student you get to know from class can put you in contact with a manager at a hospital or care center. From there you may be able to arrange for an internship or participate in a hands-on training program where you're able to work directly with patients and staff members. Getting this kind of experience in addition to what your school’s program offers could help you stand out as a nursing candidate for employment.
Commit to a higher standard.
According to an article from Forbes, one of the keys to getting ahead is having a positive attitude about learning and working. This means you should have the right mental attitude toward producing high-quality work. No one else can tell you what attitude to have—you’re in control of that. Make sure yours is admirable and motivating. Keeping a positive attitude takes a commitment to that point of view, especially when you face challenges. It can help you succeed, and other people are likely to notice and be inspired as well.
Get serious about being organized.
One of the best attributes you can develop as a nursing student is organizational intelligence.3 That’s optimizing your ability to understand and recall information through organization. Consider writing out a timetable for completing your assignments and other goals to accomplish over a set period of time. A planned approach to learning may help you to better perform in class and on exams. This works for people who use it because it helps to reduce the confusion and frustration that is caused by clutter. Keeping a schedule for tackling assignments and studying for tests may help you develop new skills and abilities you never knew you had.
Find a mentor.
Try to find an experienced nurse to be your guide throughout your schooling. Remember, every nurse was in school at some point. They understand the pressure and scheduling challenges of being a student. Once you’ve figured out what kind of nurse you'd like to be, whether prenatal, critical care or any other path, seek out connections and start looking for someone to mentor you. If you’re feeling nervous about asking someone to mentor you, keep this tip in mind: Someone who gives nursing advice to you without you asking for it may be willing to spend the extra time to mentor you.