Ain't No Rest for the Weary Nursing Student

By Accelerated Nursing Student Ashley Prince

It’s been a little over month since I started my accelerated BSN program, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned for sure, it’s that these kind of programs need a speeding ticket. 

I knew accelerated meant fast, of course, but what I didn’t understand was that it also meant four semester classes in eight weeks. Or just how dense each lecture is. The smartest of my classmates and I felt like we were in over our heads by week two. Midterms were on us in just a few weeks, and many of us crumbled under their pressure. To add insult to injury, we have finals just three short weeks after midterms. So if I tell my clinical patient to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, it’s more of a “do as I say, not as I do” type of situation at the moment. 

Anyways, the whole point of this post is not to say that ABSN programs are bad or that they will crush your soul. It’s just to say that it’s perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed. I’m of the opinion that the first round of exams is designed to break you: to see who is going to sink or swim, to see who is resilient enough to bounce back. Once you get past that first round, you’re going to be so much more prepared for what’s coming that you’ll fly by.

I wouldn’t say I’m sinking, but I’m not exactly doing the butterfly stroke. With the exception of one class, I did really well on my midterms, and my lab skills could use some fine tuning. So I’d say I have a snorkel on- I’m not sinking or above water, but I can still get some oxygen. 

Since I’m doing relatively well, I’d thought I’d offer some tips for how I’m snorkelin’ along:

  1. Keep up with the work. This is not the time to take a night off or say you’ll catch up tomorrow. There’s a lot of work to be done, and if you get caught in the procrastination cycle, you’ll never catch up.
  2. Don’t switch up study styles. Stick with whatever got you good grades in the past. Playing around with alternative methods because other people in the class swear by them might just waste precious time and may not work for you.
  3. Get an NCLEX review book and app ASAP. I love Saunders Comprehensive NCLEX Review* book and the NCLEX RN Mastery App*. If your program uses NCLEX-type questions on exams, mastering these complex question types is essential. 
  4. Study groups. I studied solo for a while, but when I joined one class study group it actually really helped. Hearing other people’s mnemonics, the way they thought, or teaching what I knew was a great way to study.

*Neither Saunders nor NCLEX RN Mastery sponsored this post. They’re just that good that they’re worth the mention.

How are your ABSN programs going? Anybody else need a speeding ticket? Let me know in the comments!

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