by JULIA OLIVAS
Supporting someone in nursing school can be difficult because all their free time goes to studying or taking care of themselves. Students in nursing school are dedicated because they have to be; becoming a nurse is difficult. Nevertheless, these individuals have a noble and admirable pursuit that requires them to work hard for long hours.
As a loved one of someone in nursing school, it can be difficult to find time to spend together because your friend is dedicated to their future career. However, just because your friend is busy studying doesn’t mean they don’t need your support; they just can’t spend time with their loved ones because of their schedule. Here are tips to help you support someone in nursing school.
Your nursing school friend hasn’t abandoned you. They’re picking up nursing shifts at hospitals or studying for exams constantly. Eventually, they will resurface after a major exam or for summer break and ask to see you. It’s not that your friend doesn’t care about you anymore; they’re just too busy to hang out, which is normal. As you and your friends get older, you’ll have additional responsibilities, including work and family, that will require you to spend more time apart. Students in nursing school are already experiencing additional responsibilities and need time to adjust.
Students in nursing school get overwhelmed by a lack of sleep, workload, exams, and all the other things they have to do to take care of themselves as well as their education. If you’re able to have a more flexible schedule, your nursing school friend will appreciate it because they want to spend time with you, but their schedule is dictated by many other things than yours might be.
If possible, try to plan ahead and schedule time together in advance. Scheduling ahead will allow your friend to check their work rotations and exam schedule to figure out what times work best. However, you shouldn’t expect your friend to come out on a weeknight because that’s usually when they’re studying or working.
Don’t be surprised if your friend cancels on you occasionally. Sometimes nursing students get burnt out from late-night studying and next-day exams, so they may need to cancel plans to take care of their mental and physical health. If possible, you can try to fit yourself into their schedule. For example, if you know your friend walks to class after lunch, you can join your friend for lunch and go for a walk together until their next class begins.
Friends of nursing students need to adjust their expectations because nursing school is a high-stress environment. For example, your friend may change from texting you back immediately to only texting you back when they get a free minute; it doesn’t mean they care about you any less. Instead, your friend doesn’t have time to constantly check their phone. Rather than complaining, you can try to be more understanding and supportive. Many nursing students feel like they’re constantly pushing themselves too hard, but getting where they want to be is necessary for their careers. As a friend, you should never add pressure; instead, remain supportive and listen to them when they need to vent.
Accept their invitation when your nursing school friend asks to hang out because you never know when it will happen again. While it may not be convenient for you, you’ll have to make exceptions for your friend and try to understand how stressed out they are.
Help Them Study
Sometimes the only way you’ll be able to see your friend is if you can help them study. These individuals are constantly studying in their free time, so if you want to sneak in some plans, the best way is to offer them some help. You can make their flashcards and find ways that you can help even though you’re not studying their course material.
Keep Them Active
Busy people have a difficult time taking care of themselves, but nursing students must take care of their bodies and minds. Try to get your friend to take an hour break every day to get active instead of sitting at their desk and studying. If possible, try to see if they’d like to take a walk with you or go to the gym. Physical activity is good for the brain and memory, and it can help boost your friend’s mental health, which is incredibly important when they’re going through a stressful period.
Cook For Them
Again, individuals in nursing school may have a difficult time taking care of themselves. They may eat tons of junk food because it’s quick and easy, or they may skip meals altogether. You can support your friend in nursing school by cooking for them every once in a while, helping them fuel their bodies and minds for late-night study sessions and exams. Everyone needs to eat, so cooking for your friend and eating with them is a great way to spend time together without putting additional pressure on them to hang out.
Help Reduce Stress
As we’ve already mentioned numerous times, nursing school is stressful and stressed people might have a difficult time taking care of their mental health. Additionally, stress can lead to fatigue, making it difficult for them to study or remember the information they’re studying, which can impact their test scores and work. You can help your friend reduce their stress by finding ways to spend time together that can benefit them. Sometimes, just being around friends and family can reduce stress. However, you should never force your friend to stop their school work just to hang out because it can lead to more stress.
If you notice your friend is folding under the pressure of nursing school, try talking to them to see how you can help. While you may not understand everything they’re going through, you can still help them develop healthy habits that improve their performance in school.
Julia Olivas graduated from San Francisco State University with her B.A. in Communication Studies. She is a freelance writer where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing and content creation. Outside of writing, she loves cooking, reading, painting, and her pup Ruby.