ADHD can be your super power as a nurse. Learn how to succeed in nursing school and unlock your superpower.
ADHD is not a death sentence to your dream of becoming a nurse. So let's just clear that up right away.
And you are NOT alone. In fact, 25% of NURSING.com users have ADHD - with countless success stories.
"Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by inattention, or excessive activity and impulsivity . . .Some individuals with ADHD also display difficulty regulating emotion."
It is clear why nursing school (and school in general) is so difficult for those with ADHD. Traditional education is kinda set up in contrast to all the symptoms of ADHD.
Schools love to measure how well students can read and write . . . but they also tend to reward those who can "sit still" and "pay attention", in fact, students who can easily do those things are labeled "good students" while those who struggle sitting still are labeled "difficult".
Nursing school is overflowing with long lectures and excessive reading. There is so much to learn and traditional education LOVES a 4 hour lecture.
Sadly 😔 . . .
This is the EXACT opposite thing a student with ADHD needs to succeed.
Even though in school you might have been labeled as troubled and you struggle to keep your head above water, let me tell you that the world NEEDS MORE ADHD nurses.
As a nurse, you will have 1,256,098 things to do . . . and they all need to be done NOW!
And when shit hits the fan, you will have 1,000 data points running through your head.
For the non-ADHD nurse this can be tremendously overwhelming. In these moments:
It is in these moments that I've seen "A" students collapse under the pressure and the nurses who struggled through school, who were told "you're not cut out to be a nurse" raise up!
The practice of nursing is not sitting in a lecture, it's not writing long papers, and it sure as hell isn't sitting still . . . it is on your feet, with attention and focus needing to change every couple minutes.
This is YOUR SUPERPOWER 🦸♀️ 🦸♂️
Okay . . . we've got the bad news out of the way!
So let's talk about how to actually do nursing school with ADHD.
Nightingale College put out a good cheatsheet on how to study in nursing school with attention deficit disorder. You can view it here: https://nightingale.edu/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Studying-with-ADHD.pdf
Here are some of their tips (and ours) summarized:
While these tips are simple - even a couple minor changes can go a long way in helping you get through nursing school.
The world changes once you get through school. I really believe that ADHD is such an asset on the hospital floor - especially in trauma areas - so the goal is just to get through school.
Many students with learning differences have come before you and successfully graduated, passed the NCLEX®, and are now practicing nurses.
I want to share one story in particular of Elle who is a member of the NURSING Family here at NURSING.com. She has struggled with ADHD and dyslexia since being diagnosed in the third grade - she recently passed the NCLEX® and is now a practicing RN.
Tips Elle shares that helped her pass nursing school with ADHD & dyslexia:
Your learning difference is simply that . . . a difference in HOW you learn. At NURSING.com, we believe strongly in learner equity. Because of that, we've designed our platform to enable all nursing students to achieve success - and we understand that for some - that might mean adjustments for ADHD.
Specifically, our videos are clear and concise - most videos are under 10 minutes and get right to the point so you can get the "meat and potatoes" without sitting there for hours. Lessons are also highly visual with world-class practicing nurses drawing the entire time.
This visual platform carries over into beautiful images and cheatsheets that call out the critical details. Even the practice questions have videos and image rationales.
Here is how Elle used NURSING.com to study for Med-Surg:
You CAN do this!