Tips for Going Back to Nursing School after a Hiatus

Written by Brandon L.
August 17, 202319 min read

Nursing school is not for the weak; it is rough and challenging from the first day until graduation. No matter how tough you are, it will break you. The endless clinicals, lab practicals, assignments, tests, lectures, and exams in nursing school frequently push many students to burnout or exhaustion. Yet it is worthwhile to try to complete it once you begin; the rewards outweigh the pain. This is why many nursing students often take a break to recharge and rejuvenate.

If you are from a nursing school break due to burnout or any other reason (financial hardship, family, or childbirth) and are looking to resume your studies, you are in the right place.

Our expert nursing writer will share practical tips to help you resume your nursing studies. If you take these tips to heart and apply them entirely, the nursing school will quickly feel like you have never left.

12 Tips to Help You Resume Nursing Studies after a Break

Most nursing schools allow working professionals to advance their careers to the next level by pursuing advanced nursing degrees. However, sometimes it is never easy as one would imagine or plan. Taking short or long breaks is necessary to reorganize, recoup, and conquer your studies. Here are some tips for resuming nursing school after a long hiatus.

1. Prepare Adequately For Your Return to School

Resuming nursing studies, especially after a long break, can feel intimidating. However, if you prepare adequately for your return to school, you will find that much of the fear quickly dissipates or turns into excitement. This is because adequate preparation makes the transition back to student life seamless. There are several ways you can prepare for your return to nursing school.

Getting all the required supplies early is the number one way to prepare for your return to nursing school. Nursing school students need multiple supplies for school. These often include a stethoscope, a hemostat, a clipboard, a clinical bag, and so on. Getting all the required supplies early will minimize the fear you feel about resuming school. You will also trigger your mind to start transitioning into the student mindset.

The second best way to prepare for your return to nursing school is to get accommodation early. If you left your previous accommodation on or close to campus when you took a break from your studies, you must find new accommodation close to school. By doing this early and settling in weeks to resumption your studies, you will quickly start to feel like a student again.

The third best way to prepare for your return to school is to get yourself in a student routine. The best way to do this is to create a timetable and start reading course textbooks and other reading materials as soon as you get them. If you do this, plus getting your supplies and accommodation early, your mind will automatically switch to student mode. Your transition back to nursing school is virtually guaranteed to be a success.

2. Recognize That Time Management Will Be Key to Success

When you resume nursing school after an extended break (one year or two years), you will most likely find it more challenging to manage time compared to the first time (before the break). This is because you will be older and have more responsibilities (e.g., work and family). The fact that you are a bit older will make you a bit slower, and the fact that you have more responsibilities will mean you won’t have a lot of time to waste. Thus, it is essential to recognize that time management will be critical to your success in school.

Once you recognize how important time management is to your success in nursing school, you should create a weekly schedule. This schedule should detail how you should spend every hour of the day from early morning until late night. The objective of creating it is to enable you to do your school work, work part-time (if you are employed), and have some fun/rest. Therefore, make sure you create it to enable you to do all these things perfectly. And once you create it, stick to it for success. A good schedule is one that you follow religiously.

3. Leave the Past in The Past

Many nursing students take a break from nursing school because of burnout, depression, or mental health issues. If this is you, you are probably worried that you will get burned out or depressed again. Do not be.

Leave the past in the past. Recognize that this is a new beginning and that you have the ball in your court. You decide your fate, not the unrelenting nursing school schedule or any other challenge you face.

If you were forced to take a break from nursing school due to burnout, depression, or deteriorating mental health, seek professional help when you return (if you haven’t already done so).

Talk to the school counselor. Tell them what you feel and what you expect. They will help you devise a plan to overcome the mental drain associated with nursing school. You can also find help from support groups within the school.


4. Make Time for Fun

Nursing school is very challenging. There is so much academic work to do every single semester. This is why many nursing students turn to hard work to try and stay on top of things. Unfortunately, this sometimes doesn’t lead to success because their hard work can cause mental and physical exhaustion.  

As you resume nursing school, this should make you see that hard work is not the truth. It will get you far but not over the finish line. Rather than work hard, you should work smart.

Working smart means creating a weekly schedule that allows you to balance between school and fun. An excellent weekly schedule that balances school and fun will allow you to keep on top of your schoolwork and relax and recharge your brain.

The fun does not necessarily mean going out to drink and make merry. If this is what rocks your boat, go ahead and do it. However, you will benefit more from using your fun time to visit a local park/beach, massage, watch a movie, nap, or drink wine and do nothing. These things are more beneficial to your mind as they promote the recharging and relaxing of the mind much better than drinking.

Related Read: Reasons to get a DNP.

5. Get Good Sleep Every Day

When resuming nursing school, you might be tempted to sleep less (and maybe even pull a few overnighters) to read more and get better grades on your tests and exams. While this is admirable, it will not help you as much as you think it will.

Grueling lectures, endless lab practicals, and clinicals are mentally and physically exhausting. You will need at least 7 hours of sleep to give your body and mind sufficient time to heal and recharge from all your daily work.

Sleeping less or pulling overnighters to read or to do anything else when your body is already exhausted (even if you don’t know it) will be disastrous for you. It will negatively affect your mental health, weight, eating habits, blood pressure, and heart. In general, lack of sufficient sleep will wreck your well-being.

In contrast, getting good sleep every day (at least 7 hours of sleep), will have the opposite effect on your body. It will allow your body and your brain to rest. This will enhance your health and your well-being. It will also improve your mental state and reduce the possibility of experiencing depression. So as you resume nursing studies, make it a priority to sleep well every day for better physical and mental health.

6. Engage Fully

When young people resume nursing studies after an extended break, they tend not to be fully engaged. This often leads to another break or a dropout. You need to be fully engaged to get back on track.

This is because engaging fully will quickly get you back into the network of students and teaching staff in your school. It will also help you to make new friends and acquaintances who will make you feel at home when you meet them on or off campus.

Attending every class is the best way to engage fully in your nursing school. Of course, this may seem like a shallow bar to meet, but you will be surprised by how difficult it will be to drag yourself to class every weekday after a long break.

Attending every class will help you make new friends, learn something, and get into the student mindset. All these things will make you less likely to drop out and more likely to persevere to the end of nursing school and graduate.

In addition to attending every class every time, you must participate fully in class. This is what will help you make friends and learn things. Participating fully in class includes listening to lectures and following visually, taking notes in an organized manner, and asking all the questions you have to understand new concepts fully.

7. Take Notes

Students who resume class after a long break tend to be disconnected. It usually takes most students a long time to reconnect with the student mindset; for some, it never happens. One of the ways you can make yourself reconnect with the student mindset is to take notes in class.

Note-taking is a great way to learn because it forces you to repeat what you are writing in your head. Note-taking is also a great way to learn because good notes summarize important points shared during lectures. You can skim through them to revise new concepts and understand them better.

Taking notes in class is a skill. Just simply writing down notes is not enough. If you do not know how to write down notes, Google note-taking and learn a few note-taking skills.

Good note-taking skills will help you to capture a lot of information in an organized way. Information that you can revise to re-learn or explore new concepts taught in class.

Also Read: How to overcome nursing school challenges.

8. Hang Out With Friends

After some time away from school, you will naturally feel disconnected from your friends. You will feel like hanging out with them is torture, and it usually is. However, you must try to hang out with your friends as hard as possible.

Go for drinks with them, go partying with them, and tell them to hit you up when they go anywhere as a group. At first, it might seem like you are forcing yourself on them, but that’s how things are.

You will feel like you are an integral part of the group in good times. In addition to hanging out with old friends, make new friends and hang out with them too. Join two or three clubs and teams to make friends quickly.

The most significant benefit of hanging out with friends is that socializing reduces stress and gives you multiple breaks from the taxing schoolwork typical in American nursing school. In other words, hanging out with friends will make you less likely to feel stressed and overwhelmed with nursing school.

9. Plan Your Finances Ahead Of Time

College is expensive. Nursing college is even more expensive. You must ensure your finances are to go back to class seamlessly.

You don’t want to run around like a headless chicken trying to find scholarships, financial aid, or part-time employment one week before resuming your studies. This will affect your head and make you come back to look too hectic or difficult.

You might even give up resuming your studies if you don’t plan your finances ahead of time, and you end up getting frustrated when you try to do it last minute.

You should apply for scholarships if you don’t have enough money to sustain yourself on campus. There are many scholarship databases that you can check to see if you qualify for anything. You should also talk to your nursing school about your financial situation.

Many nursing schools offer financial aid or reduced fees, especially for underrepresented groups such as LGBTQ and minorities.

You can also look for part-time employment early before classes begin. Give yourself two or three weeks to find a good place where you can work and still get paid. Remember, many companies will hire you remotely. So don’t restrict yourself to finding work in the offices near your campus; go online and search for remote work there.

10. Work out Often

Nursing schoolwork is physically demanding work, especially the clinical part. You need to work out to have the energy and the physical strength to thrive in nursing school. Therefore, before you resume classes, you should find and pay for a gym.

Commit to working out two to three times per week. Alternatively, run in the morning and do calisthenics or something similar for cardio and strength.

Working out regularly will help you to get in shape and to have the cardio and physical strength to handle nursing schoolwork and nursing clinical.

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Final Comments on going back to Nursing School

Returning to nursing school to resume studies after a long break can sound like a vast mountain. However, with our shared tips, it should be easy to resume and navigate your studies.

Another thing, there is a solution to tiring yourself at work, doing house chores, running personal errands, and still worrying about nursing school homework and assignments.

You can use nursing writing services, like NurseMyGrade, to catch up with the rest of the class. Learning things like formatting your essays and papers, writing and responding to discussion posts, writing nursing research papers, and doing other homework assignments on the go can be challenging. However, when you pay someone to handle your class or assignments, you get a hold of the concepts because you have bespoke samples to guide your other assignments. We assist non-traditional students resuming college to get their nursing degrees faster. Every paper written on our website is unique and 100% original. The writers use credible/ scholarly sources published within the last 5 years.

Whether you are getting back after a scheduled semester break or returning after a few months, a year, or years away, these tips and our writing services can come in handy. We can help you swing things back into place and excel better. Based on the tips above, we hope resuming your nursing school will be a seamless transition.

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