How Not To Feel Overwhelmed In Nursing School

Overwhelmed In Nursing School

The most fascinating conundrum of Nursing School is the innate feeling of being overwhelmed.

Anyone who has been in nursing school will agree whole heartedly that they were indeed overwhelmed.

The main reason that everyone is so overwhelmed is because it feels impossible to accomplish the vast amount of work in the amount of time given. It only seems fitting to ask how NOT to feel this way.

So, how do you get it all done sans a mental break-down?

Plan Ahead: Use a Planner!

This is vital.

  • When you get your 90 plus page syllabi, go to the calendar and marry all of the assignments that are due to their prospective due dates.
  • Write the assignment name down on your planner on the due date.
  • Put a tab on the directions for the assignment and label it with a date.
  • Write down on your planner when the tests are and what chapters they cover.
  • Write what chapters are covered for each lecture so you can read the chapters before going to lecture.

At this point you are probably hypertensive and about to throw a stroke when you look and see that you have three tests and a paper due in the same week.  This is why I did this in nursing school, it allowed me to step back and put my own personal due dates on things.

That paper? It needs to be done the week before.

Your multitude of tests? Assign priority to finishing the study material for each test (I usually based the priority on which test comes first, but you can also assign priority based on harder material or whatever you choose).

This doesn’t mean you study for your test and then don’t review before the test, it just means that you have learned all the material, understand concepts and have made flash cards. Always review before a test.

Re-think the concept of study time.

This is by far the most revolutionizing concept needed to help with time. It can feel like you don’t have any time to accomplish anything now that you are in nursing school. However, studying can happen in short intervals anywhere and give you a little more time for a relaxing bath or going to a movie, basically doing something that isn’t nursing school related.

  • Have a Doctor’s appointment?
    • While you wait for your appointment do the electronic flash cards that you loaded on your phone. What am I talking about? Check out this post to learn how to use google drive and gFlash+.
  • Driving to school?
    • Put the lectures you record on your iPod and plug it into your radio to re-listen while you drive.
  • Eating breakfast?
    • Read a chapter in your text book.
  • Need to work out?
    • Get on the spin bike and peddle along while you read your text book or do flash cards.
    • Take laps around the track with flash cards that you printed out. For every lap switch to a new flash card and memorize that flash card while you take that lap.
    • Do plank trivia and every time you get a question wrong do a 30 second plank.

Use Your Professors Office Hours

Do not spend time pouring over concepts you do not understand. It will make you feel angry and overwhelmed. Instead visit your professors during their office hours. This gives you two advantages, the first advantage is that you will likely get an explanation that will help you understand the test question, and the seconds is you will get to know your professor on a more personal level, showing your professor that you are willing to do the work.

  • Write down on a separate piece of paper the question and concept that you are trying to understandalong withpage numbers.
  • Study in the same building as your professors’ office preferably during their office hours.
  • After a test, go to the professors’ office and discuss any missed questions.
  • Check in periodically on the status of your grades.


They key to not becoming overwhelmed is to use your time efficiently, plan ahead with the information you do know, and not to waste your time agonizing over information you don’t understand. Do you have any other advice on managing your time?

Where are You in your nursing journey?

prenursing logo

A supplemental learning platform to help you crush the HESI®-A2 or TEAS® exam.

nursing student academy logo

For The 99% Of Nursing Students Who Hate Reading Textbooks. Improve grades, pass tests.

nclex prep academy logo

Pass the NCLEX® or we pay you back 200%. Comprehensive NCLEX® prep review.

new grad academy logo

Are you ready to make a life or death decision? We understand the fears.

looking for test prep Help?

nclex prep academy logo

Pass the NCLEX® or we pay you back 200%. Comprehensive review.

NPQ - nursing practice questions LOGO - COLOR

Custom NCLEX quiz builder with visual rationales.

simclex logo

The worlds' most accurate patented NCLEX® simulator.

With Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio RN, PhD and

Share this post:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Over 360,000 Nursing Students Use