8 Ways To Cope With Nursing School Stress

8 Ways To Cope With Nursing School Stress

Nurse school can be stressful for a variety of reasons. A quality degree program, good grades, and passing licensing exams are just the beginning. There is also the looming trepidation of working with patients every day.

It goes without saying that nursing students have a lot on their minds. Nursing school stress cannot be entirely eliminated from your life – in some cases; it could motivate you to do your best! Fortunately, there are a few ways you can reduce stress.

Here are some tips for dealing with nursing school stress.

Stress In Nursing School: What Causes It?

Nursing school is known for its challenges. Many aspiring nurses do not go into their degree program thinking they’ll be able to skate by doing the bare minimum. While demanding workloads certainly play a role in stress, they aren’t the only factor.

It takes hard work to succeed in nursing school. Learning medical vocabulary, performing clinical work, and demonstrating an understanding of nursing ethics and the best practices, to name just a few. However, nursing students must master a wide range of topics even with traditional study tips.

On top of that, many nursing students are so immersed in their coursework that they feel like they’re in a bubble. Workloads and classes are demanding, which makes socializing and having fun very difficult. To make matters worse, social isolation will exacerbate school-related stress.

Sometimes, the pressure of quickly reaching the career ladder can also add to the stress. To help with that, nurses can take the short road, such as an accelerated program. Enrolling in online ABSN programs can reduce higher education time by one year, helping students graduate sooner than a traditional bachelor’s degree.

Here Are 8 Tips For Surviving Nursing School Stress

The reality is: Nursing school won’t always be a bed of roses. But that does not mean you have to deal with nursing school stress throughout your program! To lighten the workload of nursing school, use these survival tips.

  1.   Develop a routine

Nursing school is not a sprint but a marathon. Studying without a plan can lead to burnout.

Students who tackled each day without a plan were the most stressed. You will be focused and able to get through your day if you have a set routine. Set aside time to complete tasks like reviewing flashcards, completing homework, and meeting with your study group. Make sure you exercise, cook a nutritious meal, and relax!

  1.   Practice an after-class recap

Do not wait until the last minute to study for an exam! You may want to review the most important material after class in order to solidify what you have learned. This can make the task of thoroughly reviewing and mastering everything on your list more manageable. After a class, reviewing your notes not only reinforces what you’ve just learned but also gives you a chance to identify areas of confusion–without having to wait until the night before a test to ask for clarification.

  1.   Join a solid study group

Study groups provide an alternative to flipping through flashcards alone for reviewing information. It is possible to compare notes, practice skills, and questions with a study group that meets weekly.

While in nursing school, interaction with other students is crucial for both social support and actual learning. By providing both social and academic support, a study group can solve two possible causes of stress at once. It’s a win-win for nursing students on a tight schedule.

  1.   Work out while studying

Get moving when your stress levels rise! Exercising is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. It also improves your memory when you’re studying. Regular exercise can boost mental acuity by reducing stress-induced mental fog.

Exercise can even be beneficial when you are studying under the right conditions. An excellent way to accomplish both is to take a brisk walk while discussing class materials with classmates or quizzing each other with flashcards.

Being active can also mean putting everything else aside, and that’s OK too! Taking a break from studying through exercise can be very helpful. Nursing school can be an emotionally draining experience, but exercise can help you cope with it. It also helps you focus on keeping your body healthy while you study.

  1.   Feed your body well

In the short term, your health and sanity can cope with exhaustion, caffeine, and on-the-go meals, but your performance will plummet over time. Keep in mind the connection between mind and body.

The challenge of eating well during nursing school is that high-stress levels may lead people to overeat unhealthy comfort foods. Eating healthy foods can reduce stress. Try substituting carrots and hummus for potato chips during study sessions.

If you want to be a nurse, you need to invest in your career by eating well. Throughout nursing school and beyond, you will have the opportunity to excel. Maintain good health, and you will better handle stress psychologically.

  1.   Have a support system in place

During nursing school, don’t forget to stay connected with those who are rooting for you along the way. Talk about your struggles and accomplishments, and accept help when it comes, such as prepared meals or quizzes before big tests.

Call your parents and text your friends during your commute to and from school. Family and friends help you stay upbeat. Staying positive and smiling will help you stay happy.

  1.   Seek assistance

Nobody said you had to do nursing school all by yourself. While you are in school, you can access academic assistance as well as social support. Ask for help whenever you need it, and remember that no one will want you to fail.

If you need help understanding any concepts, contact your professor via email or during office hours. You can consult a librarian if you’re having trouble finding the right resource or need assistance conducting research. Compare notes with a classmate if you’re having trouble recalling what you wrote.

Isolating yourself from the rest of the world won’t benefit your nursing career. Do not hesitate to reach out to others for assistance!

  1.   Seek support from your peers

You won’t be able to get through nursing school on your own. While you’ll have support from your family and friends, getting official academic support can be just as helpful!

Many universities offer student tutoring and mentoring programs to help students develop better study habits and work through academic topics they need help with.


Getting through nursing school is just the beginning of your potentially stressful journey to become a nurse. You can keep nursing school stress at bay whether you’re considering a nursing career or halfway through your degree program by following these tips on stress management.

Katherine Baldwin

Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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