How Can I Stand Out in Nursing School?

You’ve been accepted into a nursing program, and now you’re wondering how to stand out in nursing school. Among so many students working hard to learn and further their careers, how can you ensure that you do well and perhaps even rise to the top among those students? Though there are many possible answers to that question, those who have experience as nursing students and graduates, as well as teachers within nursing school, seem to agree on a few basic ways you can shine while in nursing school.

Go Above and Beyond

When it comes to the academic and clinical work you will be doing as a nursing student, doing more than you have to is one way to stand out. Reading beyond what you’re assigned and asking lots of questions are two ways to show that you’re eager and willing to work hard. Fostering that kind of attitude doesn’t have to be something trumped up either. Find a nursing area or a subject that you’re genuinely interested in learning more about and ask your instructors the questions that arise from the extra reading you do. Do research into areas in which you want to learn more. Your professors will be glad to engage your questions, help you find answers, and assist you in skill building.

Doing more reading may mean looking into nursing magazines, journals, and blogs. There are many great online resources for nurses. It’s also worth looking into the student discounts that some organizations offer for their publications. Actually joining some nursing associations can also be beneficial and help you to get ahead. Many groups offer discounted courses and also provide opportunities for you to network with other nurses and nursing students (please also see: How Important Is It For a Nursing Student To Be Involved in a Professional Organization for Nursing Students?). All of these things will serve you well as you seek to be a leader in nursing school.

Be Willing to Work Hard and Stay Enthusiastic

The advice to “work hard” and “be enthusiastic” may sound obvious or trite, but it’s an important commitment to make during your nursing school years, which can be very tiring. Nursing students typically have heavy course loads but also many clinical hours, and the combination can make for a grueling schedule. You will get tired, and you will likely have days when it all feels overwhelming or like it’s too much to handle. Keeping a positive attitude on those days and continuing to do what needs to be done — or even going beyond what needs to be done — can definitely help you stand out. Learning to handle stress in healthy ways while you’re a student will not only make you stand out among your classmates, it will be an important practical skill to take with you into your nursing career.

Your willingness to do these things in nursing school will likely be tested on hard or stressful days, but they will help you to shine as a student and to become truly prepared for your job as a nurse. In the end, remember that your goal to stand out in nursing school is really a longer-term goal: to learn and grow so that you can be the best nurse you can possibly be.