Summer Smarts for Nursing Students


July may be coming to a close, but you can still use whatever’s left of summer break to your advantage. Academic advantage, that is. Hold up; I didn’t just doom the rest of your summer to stuffy libraries and textbooks. You can still wile your time away at the pool, the beach, your favorite pizzeria etc. In fact, please DO; in moderation, though. While summer is certainly about recharging your batteries so that you can enter fall semester with newfound energy, it’s also a chance to put yourself ahead of the game. Here’s how:

1. Crack Open A Book

Yup, I know I promised no stuffy libraries and textbooks, but hear me out. Nursing books are expensive, heavy, and did I mention, expensive?? Right; which is precisely why you bought the mandatory books, and simply left the optional ones in your virtual shopping cart. The thing is, those optional ones are more often than not super practical. Buy one or two of them for your personal library, and here’s the key- READ them. I’m talking “The Student Nurse Handbook: A Survival Guide.” It covers everything from assignments, to portfolios, to placements. The “Made Incredibly Easy” series are phenomenal as well. Wound care? Check. Critical care? Check. I could go on, but I’ll spare you. Buy one or two of them now, and you’ll slowly accumulate the series.

2. Community Service

Experience is the greatest form of education. And that’s a fact. Which is why I humbly suggest you scrub in and get a summer job in a local hospital or clinic. Or if you’re a camper at heart, why not opt for a job as assistant camp nurse? Another option would be to get out and do some volunteer work. Whatever you choose to do could certainly be part time, which allows you to do the whole summer thing, whilst gaining invaluable knowledge and broadening your nursing skills. Not to mention, it’ll look great on a resume!

3. Go Abroad

This may not be the most practical idea, but it’s certainly a good one. Traveling screams ‘summer,’ and seeing how other parts of the world operate medically offers great nursing exposure. There are even certain programs to help students like yourself gain language, clinical, and volunteer experience abroad, such as the Global Medical Brigades and the Red Cross. It’s important to note, though, that whenever you do volunteer work, it must come across as selfless, as opposed to just another item to check off that never ending list of ‘How To Impress Your Future Employer.’

4. Do a Little Research

If any of your professors are looking for lab or research assistants, DO volunteer! Yes, you’ll gain knowledge, yes, it’ll look fantastic on your resume, but do you know what a relationship with a professor is worth?? This is your chance to truly make a mark on someone who can help you in the future. If a respected professor can vouch for you, you’re golden. So go for it!

If I just put a slight damper on the rest of your summer plans-(which I did not, because I did give you permission to wile your time away; somewhat)-just think about how jealous you’re classmates will be when you show up to fall semester like a boss! You’re welcome:)

Give it a Shot!
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