Succeeding with any degree is as much about learning how to get the best out of yourself as it is about the course itself, so it is imperative that you have a number of effective learning strategies in place.
This is particularly important when it comes to succeeding with a family nurse practitioner qualification, which could become overwhelming if you haven’t organized an efficient routine, learnt how to get the best out of your own performance, ensured you can stay on track with targets, and ensured that you are continuing to maintain a balanced lifestyle.
In fact, while you cannot control how easy or hard the course content is, especially with a degree as intensive as a family nurse practitioner’s qualification, you can control how you approach it. This means deciding whether you want to undertake a full-time course at an in-person university – which would require your full attention – or whether you would prefer to complete the course online alongside your current commitments – whether that be a job, family or work experience.
Although it might not sound like much of a difference, this decision alone can have a huge bearing on how successful you are at achieving the qualification.
For instance, if you are struggling for money and want stay in employment as a safety net while you study in your free time, you are arguably better off opting for the online degree, whereas if you don’t trust yourself with self-management, remaining disciplined and focusing in a more domestic environment, then perhaps an in-person course would work better for you.
Once you have decided on the type of degree you want to study, you will need to set about creating a study routine that works for you. This doesn’t just mean that the routine squeezes random hours into your week, but that it is realistic and takes the rest of your life into consideration (which includes how tired you may or may not be when you sit down to work).
If you already work within the healthcare industry, then you will know how intense your workload is already, without the added stress of a Masters qualification. To prevent yourself from burning out, be prepared to bargain with yourself. Avoid loading yourself with work you know you can’t complete, because you are just setting yourself up to fail.
Moreover, you may want to acquire a few additional skills which will serve you well when you eventually become a nurse practitioner. For instance, you may want to develop your people skills, team working skills, or management skills, in order to help progress your healthcare career at a faster rate.
Here is the ultimate guide to succeeding with your family nurse practitioner’s qualification:
Choose how you want to undertake the course
The first question you must ask yourself when you want to enroll on a family nurse practitioner course is whether you want to complete the course at an in-person university or online.
While in-person universities are the traditional option, the necessity of having to move to a university town, rent accommodation, commute into campus for lectures and seminars, and leave your old life (and potentially job) behind, has been called into question with the rise of online courses.
These enable you to complete the course syllabus at your own pace, in your own working environment, whatever that may be. Although many people are skeptical about how viable this is, the recent pandemic has proven that remote working has, if anything, raised productivity, and given people a greater level of personal responsibility than they enjoyed before.
The benefits of enrolling on an online course are stark. You are able to mold your study routine around existing commitments, which, if you already work in the healthcare industry, is a huge advantage.
For a long time, needing to achieve a qualification in order to progress with your career was impossible for many people. When you are already invested in a career, risking it all to go back to being a full-time student is just not viable, and nor is the inevitable regression into a party culture that you may feel you have grown out of.
You can seek an online nursing education from TWU at https://onlinenursing.twu.edu/.
Make sure you are organized with your studying
If you want to succeed with your family nurse practitioner’s qualification, then you need to ensure that you are as organized with your studying as possible.
This might sound blindingly obvious, but it is extremely easy to fall off course and end up unable to find enough time to study. If you have a full-time job, or you look after family, then this is particularly critical.
Without organization, your studies can quickly be pushed to the bottom of your priority list and end up causing you to embark on a few all-nighters, leading eventually to burn out.
Instead, make a detailed plan for your routine, plotting each hour carefully so that you make the most of your time. Daily routine plans have received a bad name, because they are associated with rigorous discipline, lack of spontaneity, and a miserable schedule.
In reality, this is the opposite of what you want your routine to be. If you are going to be productive, then you need a balanced, rewarding lifestyle. Planning your routine can help you achieve this, because it will remind you to include all the fun pursuits you enjoy, alongside the obligations you need met.
You might, for example, want to position your studying hours in your routine so that they aren’t being completed when you are tired after work – instead being done when you are fresh and focused in the morning. Alternatively, if you are a night owl, the opposite might be true.
The details are up to you, but the principle you need to remember is that you should be kind to yourself when deciding your studying routine. Pencil in the hours you know you are realistically going to work, rather than the amount you would like to work. The former is a realistic ambition which you are likely to fulfil, whereas the latter is wishful thinking, and only setting yourself up for failure.
Set yourself regular targets
Following on from the previous point, you need to be able to set ambitious but achievable targets for yourself.
Targets are a fantastic way of keeping track of your progress. Without them, you are shooting into the dark, unable to gauge where you are or where you are going. While your study targets will largely be formulated by your course leader, you can still aim to have a certain piece of work finished by a certain date.
This is especially crucial if you have a busy life and find it easy to lose motivation with your work when you are tired and unfocused.
Of course, just as with your routine, it is key that you don’t set yourself up to fail. Make sure that you think through your targets carefully, ensuring that they are realistic for your time frame and ability, in order to get the most out of yourself without becoming burnt out.
Cultivate the right qualities to succeed in your nursing career
Naturally, when you are embarking on a nursing degree, your primary focus will be on graduating. However, it is important that you have one eye on the future, because if you do pass the course, you will want to give yourself the best head start possible in your nursing career.
Therefore, it could be a good idea to begin cultivating skills which will serve you usefully throughout the course of your nursing career – and help you stand out from other applicants.
For example, you could start developing your teamwork skills, or at least learn more about how to work well as a team. You might not have a physical team to practice with, but reading books about working well in teams could help, as could sharpening your social skills.
It might sound excessive to need to sharpen your social skills – especially if you already consider yourself to be good with people – but you can always improve. You will likely be working in large teams with people from a variety of backgrounds under considerable pressure. It is easy to fall out, miscommunicate or fail to delegate properly. The problem is, if this happens it could endanger your patients.
There is no shortage of bestselling books, video courses and YouTube videos about social skills, developing personal magnetism, and knowing how to communicate clearly and accurately.
Similarly, you may want to begin learning more about leadership and management. While you won’t be starting off in a leadership role, you will stand out from your colleagues if you know the basics of leading a team, making sure everyone is sharing tasks equally, and that you are organized enough to ensure every patient is receiving the care they need at all times.
Create the right working environment
Being able to succeed in academia is largely about learning how to focus, and one of the best ways to ensure that you are focused on the task at hand is to create the right working environment.
A good working environment trains your brain to enter work mode, rather than wander into daydreams, and ensures that everything you might need is close at hand.
People often think that developing the necessary willpower to stop your mind wandering, getting up to check your phone or to clean your room as a means of procrastinating is impossible, or a natural born talent.
While some people are naturally more focused than others, everyone can be disciplined when there are no negative triggers or temptations around them. For example, some ultra-productive people insist on having a full glass of water in front of them, giving them no excuse to leave their seat if they are thirsty.
Others place objects and images that remind them of work and success on and around their desk when they work. Whatever the method, there is no doubt that ensuring your desk is tidy, your phone is hidden away, and your computer is decluttered is a great way to maintain focus for long periods of time, and put your brain into a productive mode.
Ensure you have enough money to finish your studies
Another useful tip if you want to succeed at achieving your family nurse practitioner’s qualification is to ensure you have enough money to see you through your studies and beyond.
This sounds incredibly obvious, but when you are devoting most of your resources (both mentally and financially) towards your studies, it can be easy to neglect your income stream.
It is a sensible idea to hold down a job while you study, in order to take the pressure of money off your mind. No one wants to be struggling to afford food or rent when they are supposed to be concentrating on studying, so try to keep working while you study.
Furthermore, you are unlikely to land a job as a nurse straight after you graduate, so allow some time to either keep working in your current job or to save up enough money to see you through the application process.
Regularly remind yourself why you are training to become a nurse
If the pressure of trying to pass your degree is starting to get to you, then don’t worry, it is perfectly natural. Everyone second guesses their decisions, and you might curse yourself for attempting to qualify for such a difficult profession.
In moments like this, it is advisable to remind yourself exactly why you chose to embark on a nursing career. Perhaps you are passionate about helping others, or other people in your family are working in the healthcare industry. Whatever the reason, write it out on paper a few times or say it out loud. This will restore your motivation and remind you why all the hard work is worth it.
Seek out a medical mentor
If you feel like you are in need of guidance at any point during your studies, it could be a good idea to seek out a medical mentor – someone who has been through what you are experiencing, or at least has a similar background.
Mentors can be incredibly helpful, especially if you are feeling all at sea, unable to see which route to take or whether you are making the right decisions.
A mentor could be a fellow nurse who is further up the career road than you, or even just a family member or friend who has enough experience to give you constructive advice.