Student Life


Self Care for Nursing Students

Written by: Hannah Shay, RN, BSN

Nursing students are over-achievers. It is in our blood. We beat ourselves up whenever we forget an assignment, don’t study as much as we told ourselves we would, or fail a skills check-off. Being so tough on yourself can take a toll on your mental health. We must remember that it is ok to make mistakes and it is ok to not be perfect.  

Self-care is more than just face masks and excuses for binge watching Netflix. Self-care is taking the time to give yourself what you deserve mentally, physically and spiritually in order to make sure you are the best version of yourself. Throughout the last semesters of nursing school, I have learned a thing or two on dealing with stress and anxiety.  

  1. Everything happens for you, not to you. It is OK to make a mistake. In some cases, your professors and preceptors WANT you to fail, because these certain mistakes and failures happen so we can learn how to provide the best care possible for our patients to be able to thrive.
  2. Show up for yourself the same way you would for a patient. If you make a mile-long to-do list and only finish half of it, you might feel upset or disappointed in yourself. This disappointment leads to a depletion in your self-confidence. Confidence is a reoccurring concern for nursing students when it comes to skills and clinicals.  When you “show up” for your commitments, such as extracurriculars, clubs, and clinicals, you arrive prepared and professional. When you “show up” for your patients you ensure that all of their needs are met to the utmost satisfaction. Make sure you are giving yourself the same time and love that you do everything else in your chaotic life.
  3. Put your leisure time into your schedule after important things has been completed. For example, set aside time for an activity that helps you to de-stress. This might look like scheduling time to listen to a motivating podcast, taking a nap (personal favorite), reading a book, etc. The trick is to schedule this “me-time” after you have finished all the tasks you told yourself you would do. But also make sure not to jam pack your day with a to-do list! There are only so many hours in the day.
  4. Always stay humble and kind. There will be days that you sit in your car after a 13-hour shift absolutely discouraged, drained, and defeated. During these times it is important to reflect. Remember where you came from. If you are a nursing student, remember the anxiety you felt when you gave your first set of vital signs. Look at where you are now. If you are a patient care technician or nurse, remember your worst shift. Reflect on all that you have learned from that day. Nursing is an intense profession. There is constant learning and growth to be done. When you are struggling, remember the reason why you chose nursing as your career path, and always be kind to yourself for choosing this profession.