Ready For Nursing School – Mindset

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Hi everyone. This is the nursing podcast from nursing.com. And today we are talking about getting ready for nursing school and specifically about mindset. My name is Sandy and I have been working at nursing.com and listening to stories of nursing students for five years now. And while I haven’t personally been through nursing school myself, it feels like I’ve been through this journey with all of you over the years, a common theme continues to pop up. So before we talk about anything else, like what stethoscope to buy or what shoes to wear, the most important thing that you will need while in nursing school is the right mindset. So our entire episode today is about mindset. Why? Because for every nurse out there that I’ve met that was told by a teacher that they didn’t have what it takes and that they will never become a nurse. There are a lot more out there that didn’t become a nurse after being told that.

And you know what? Nursing school has one of the highest degree attrition rates, students drop out of nursing school in higher percentages than most other career fields. So before you get to that point where you’re halfway through school, you’re struggling and thinking that you will never make it. Let me tell you a few things. First one day you may get to a section on ABGs or cardiac output, and think I do not understand this. I need you to stop, and I need you to say that sentence again, but with one important little word added to the end, change that sentence to, I do not understand this yet. My daughter loves the idea of a growth mindset. She has a big poster on her wall, and now anytime I use the word yet, she echoes my sentence with growth mindset. So with her fun sense of humor, she will apply this every time I say yet, honey, we’re not going to the store yet growth mindset, or it’s not time yet growth mindset, but really that’s small little change in the way that you talk.

It can start to change the way you think. I learned about growth mindset. About 10 years ago, there is a phenomenal book by Carol Dweck who discovered this idea. And this book literally blew my mind and changed the way that I think about things. However, even though I consciously really, really, truly believe in growth mindset, my habits, my self-limiting thoughts, they, they play in my head when I’m not paying attention. Even to this day, it took me years after reading that book. Before I finally started to realize that I was way less limited by genetics than I let myself believe. And that I was much more limited by the time and the effort that I was putting in. And by the mindset that I had when I was younger, I was told a lot that I should be a runner. I had long legs. I had a very lean frame.

However, when I joined cross country team, I got horrible side cramps and I was near the very pack of the team on all of our workouts. I did not perform well on any of our meats. And I thought, well, I guess they were wrong. I shouldn’t be a runner. And so after that season, I quit. 15 years later, I started running marathons and I was slow and old man, literally speed walked past me as I jogged in my first marathon. And I still thought I’m just a slow runner. It took years of proving myself wrong with running. Before I finally realized that, as I said before, I was way more limited by my mindset and my effort than I was by my genetics. This is the case with physical limitations, with emotional and with mental. So I’m going to tell you this today, and you may not believe me now, but even if you can’t do it, you can’t learn all the medications.

You can’t get down ABGs. You can’t learn all the medications yet. Don’t give up. We all learn at our own pace in our own way, but we all have so much more capacity than we give ourselves credit for. Let me give you a mental example. I used to get wrapped up in a good fiction novel and spend hours reading and be unable to put it down. In fact, one day in fifth grade, I got so wrapped up in a book on the school bus that I missed the very last stop, which was the school I didn’t get up. Even though the entire bus unloaded, everybody got off. I sat there and I continued to read my book. And as the bus driver made his way out of the parking lot, he happened to look back in his rear view mirror and seeing you sitting there on the bus still completely alone.

So he stopped and he let me out. And I had to run all the way back through the parking lot over to the school. And of course everybody saw, but when I tried to read non-fiction my attention span was about 10 minutes tops. This was physically reading books. This was listening to audio books. I’d read a page or I’d listen to a section and I’d realize halfway through that. I started to think about something else. And I literally had no idea what I’d either just read or heard. I just couldn’t stay focused. Well, I assumed that that was the best I could do. 10, 15 minutes a day. My fixed mindset was literally rearing its ugly head. I slowly pushed myself over time work to improve this. And now I read or listened to books and average of 70 minutes a day. I can’t get enough of great non-fiction books.

And honestly I would listen more, but well life work, food kids, et cetera. Believe it or not. A lot of the things that we say and hear can also affirm a fixed mindset. So for example, when we hear phrases like, oh, Sandy, you’re so smart, we are actually less likely to take or try hard things. Instead, we’re going to be constantly looking for easy tasks that are affirming. That we’re smart because we want to build more evidence that this is true when we believe that we are this or that we are, that we assume that certain things should be easy for us. So you may need to keep reminding yourself that you can do this and we’ll help you because we will keep reminding you as well. You can do this. I know it is hard. I know there is so much to learn, but you can do this.

I believe in you now go out and be your best self today and as always happy nursing. Thank you for listening to our podcast today. nursing.com is the trusted learning hub of all future nurses, your secret weapon for passing nursing school with your sanity intact. We want to invite all our listeners to visit us online and take advantage of a special promo offer. Just head over to nursing.com/free that’s nursing.com forward slash F R E E, and check out the free resources and other goodies that we have there just for our podcast listeners until next time, go out and be your best self today. And as always happy nursing.

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