A nurses unique role in healthcare involves the ongoing assessment of their patients response to the current plan of care and keeping tabs on their health status. Nurses are involved in the recovery of the patients and they effectively improve the quality of life of communities. Therefore, nurses must be skillful enough to handle the medical needs of their patients and offer emotional and social support to them. This requires a great deal of proper training and preparation. A big part of a nursing students success or failure while in training is the students individual effort. Time management, identifying the appropriate learning styles individually and having a sound action plan are three factors the student should consider while developing their learning strategy which will determine the success of a nursing student in the RDPN program.
An individual students success is largely dependent on how they manage their time. Good time managers appear to possess a heightened sense of time. This does not mean that they are clock watchers but rather that they are aware of time in general (Arnold and Pulich, 2004, p. 66). Time management skills cited for healthcare managers can as well be utilized by nursing students. There are a number of steps to becoming a better time manager. A student should begin by analyzing their behavior to determine the habits that cost them valuable time.
To better understand how their time is spent, students should keep a time log to account for how they spend their time daily for a specific period of time. Students are often unaware of how much time they spend doing specific tasks. They spend more time than necessary on tasks that could be done in a shorter time to achieve the same goal. By analyzing the time log, a student can identify those tasks and cut down on the time spent on them thereby freeing up time for other tasks. For instance, a student may be spending too much time socializing, while neglecting their studies.
Improvement of time management skills is also essential. Students can establish daily goals such that they are geared towards achieving long-term goals. These goals should then be prioritized in order of importance to ensure that the most important ones are accomplished first. Based on these prioritized goals, the student should develop a to-do-list on a daily basis to identify the specific tasks that require attention. After creating a clear picture of everything that needs to be done, the students can now establish routines that enable them to use time efficiently. Activities can be scheduled at specific and separate times so that each task is completed effectively without interruptions.
Another student related factor that is critical to the students success is identifying the learning styles that are the best in helping them study. This enables the student to enhance their study skills for maximum content retention. They can also advise their educators accordingly as to which teaching methods would be best for them. Following research done by Sayles, Shelton, and Powell (2003), results of t-test analysis suggest the importance of three learning styles, visual, oral dependent and writing dependent among nursing students (Sayles and Shelton, 2005, p. 98). Additional learning styles suggested are visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic.
Visual learners need to see. Demonstrating skills, presenting examples whereby visual learners create a picture or mental image to transfer to paper and assigning activities which engage the visual learner. In both teaching and learning using bright eye-catching colors, charts and maps hold the visual learners attention (Sayles et. al., 2005).
Auditory learners learn by listening, hence benefit more from group discussions. The learning ability of tactile learners is enhanced by the sense of touch. They often require more time to grasp abstract concepts to which they cannot attach a tactile image. The best strategy for them is to increase study time and finding a tangible way to learn new content. Kinesthetic learners need activities that involve the movement of the body to reinforce learning. Encouraging creativity in the learning process has lead students to the creation of original nursing raps, skits and other forms of aesthetic knowing (Sayles et. al., 2005).
For nursing students, having a sound action plan for both their academic, career and personal life is crucial to ensuring their success. Learners should develop an academic action plan that must include a study plan coupled with proper study habits to make the plan useful. Students may adapt the historic formula that for each hour of instruction students should plan at least three hours of study time per week.
Any student also needs a personal action plan that involves other physical, social and spiritual activities to avoid being worn-out. Students should set aside time to relieve stress through activities such as social and cultural events while ensuring that they dont prioritize these at the expense of their academics. Resting is often neglected by most students especially in the run-up to exams. However, research shows that late night cramming is overrated and may lead to worse grades. Eight hours of sleep daily is essential.
Exercise and diet should also be considered when developing a personal action plan. Some form of exercise should also be factored in for a few hours every week and it need not involve expensive gym memberships because after all, they are still students. A simple daily morning jog would benefit a student greatly because it improves stamina and also allows for deeper states of sleep. This, and a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet can boost cognitive abilities.
Therefore, for any nursing student to succeed, they must learn how to properly manage their time and plan their activities and know themselves well enough to identify the methods of study that benefit them. Finally, they must have a proper action plan to keep them on top of their game and not wear them out. These are all part of the students learning strategy and instead of focusing on other elements that they may not have control over, they should have a proper handle on all things that relate to their personal responsibilities.
Arnold, E., and Pulich, M. (2004). Improving productivity through more effective time management. Health Care Manager, 23(1), 65-70.
Ashurst, A. (2013). Time is of the essence: working to a deadline. Nursing and Residential Care, 15(1), 50-52.
Rogers, T. (2010). Prescription for success in an associate degree nursing program. Journal of Nursing Education, 49(2), 96-100.
Sayles, S., and Shelton, D. (2005). Student success strategies. ABNF Journal, 98-101.
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