Congratulations!
You are one step closer to a dynamic and rewarding career in nursing. As you continue to embark on what will no doubt be a rigorous path, be proud that you have been chosen to join an honored profession of healthcare professionals that positively impacts the lives of many. Welcome to the profession of Nursing!
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As you engage in your 1st year of nursing school here are some tips for you. First of all, build a support network at school, find mentors both from faculty and upper-classman. Mentorship is vital to your success so you can glean knowledge and skills from an experienced person. It also provides an infrastructure for socialization and support while in school that could last throughout your career. Reinforce your support network by building a coalition of friends among your classmates to support each other. It will also help you develop collaboration skills.
Second, focus on understanding the material in your classes rather than just getting the grade. Remember, higher education is about learning, comprehending, and applying the material. Bridge the gap between memorizing information and applying the knowledge, thereby improving your ability to think critically in high-stakes situations.
My third tip is a combination of behavioral recommendations for the classroom. I recommend you sit at the front of the classroom. Be prepared and open-minded, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. In fact, it is helpful to jot down specific questions that come up during lecture. Afterwards, ask the professor for clarity or challenge yourself to find the answers on your own. As a doctoral student at UCLA’s School of Nursing, I work with a lot of students as a Teaching Assistant (TA) and I believe it is imperative for students to find their voice, speak up and ask questions. Dialogue is strongly encouraged in the classroom. Our desire is to create an open environment for collaborative learning in order to help them achieve their highest potential as influential leaders who will transform the profession of nursing. Lastly, remember to breathe. Take care of yourself and find moments of peace and quiet to both refresh and sustain you throughout this long and ultimately rewarding journey.
For nursing professionals, learning is an ever evolving, lifelong endeavor. In fact, the most critical aspect for elevating the nursing profession is the continued advancement of nurses through higher education. The importance of education cannot be overemphasized. Its impact is profound not only for unlocking the potential of the individual nurse, but also, for the continued progression of the nursing profession. I believe Nelson Mandela said it best, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Because the healthcare system is currently in transition, it is imperative that we take advantage of the situation to expand roles for nurses and nursing responsibilities in healthcare overall. This can be achieved by preparing nurses to attain requisite competencies to deliver high-quality, evidence-based, culturally sensitive care in an ever-expanding nursing role. But, nursing education does not cease when one graduates from school. As John Dewey said, “Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself” (Dewey, n.d.). Therefore, I challenge you to adopt this wisdom and be the light of knowledge in our beautiful world.
With this, I wish luck and future success to you my fellow nursing colleagues.
Fiat lux.
Stephanie P.