How to Stay Motivated in Nursing School (and on the Job) Tips for the New Nurse

Staying Motivated as a Nurse

Staying Motivated as a Nurse

Midterms are over. Maybe you graduated from nursing school in the spring, passed your NCLEX test, got a job and you’ve finished your orientation. If you’re a student you might be thinking that the semester will never end. If you’re a new nurse you may be asking why did I ever choose this profession. Today’s newsletter will try to motivate you.

So a big question for you that are reading our newsletter. What would you like for us to cover. I would much rather write something that you could use in your studies than something I think would help. Just send us a note – if this is an email you can just reply to it and send us a note. You can also send a note to

Today we’re also going to talk some about Staying Motivated, and some New Nurse Tips.


Staying Motivated

When I started as a nurse, many years ago, my first floor was Peds. If you’ve ever worked Peds, then you know many times it is either feast or famine. I had been our to orientation a month or so. I enjoyed working on the floor, the thing about kids they may get sick fast, but they also get better fast. I loved the kids, the parents I was learning to tolerate. An LPN and I were working on the floor, I worked the B shift (3-11) at our hospital. I assessed my patient, then sat down at the nursing desk, we were trying to figure out what we were going to eat for supper when the first admit came in. That night we admitted 12 patients. I went home that night (much later than 11pm since I had to chart on all of them), sat down in my easy chair and cried like a baby. The only thing we had been able to do was start an IV, give them their first dose of antibiotics. I barely got to assess each patient before the next one would come into the treatment room (the patients first stop on our floor). I thought I had failed. I asked myself why I had wanted to do this in the first place.

Maybe you’re experiencing some of the same things. You don’t know how you can study for one more test, or how you can take one more night. Here are some ways I stayed motivated and I hope they’ll help you as well.

  1. Keep the end in mind. Think about where you want to be in five or ten years. What do you want to be doing? What job do you want to be doing. Where do you want to work? What kind of life do you want to have for you and your family? Daydream for a bit and then write it down. When I started we (my wife and I) lived in a 10 by 30 feet long trailor. To say that it was tiny was an understatement. My motivation was to provide for my family. Write a page about where you want to be, then put it in…
  2. Write a Journal – all days won’t suck. Some days you will save a patient’s life, or help someone get better that you didn’t think was possible. Those are victories. Write them in a journal and keep them with the dreams you wrote about in (1). When you have a bad day, take out the journal, read the note you wrote about your future self. If you’re in classes, you can write bits about things you did during your clinicals. Patients that impacted you. Remind yourself of why you want to be a nurse.
  3. Involve your Family – your family is an important part of your dreams. They need to know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Why you are studying 24 hours a day. My wife was my rock. She knew my long range plans, she reminded me when I was down.
  4. Remind yourself of your Goals – Keep a picture in your notebook if you’re in school. When I started my job I kept a picture of my family on the inside of my locker door. That reminded me of why I was doing.

If you have any tips, please don’t hesitate to post a comment.

 Five New nurse tips


  1. Learn everything you can. You will learn more in the first month than you did in all of nursing school. Be a sponge and soak it up. I volunteered for the code team, pretty soon my supervisor didn’t even ask me but put me on it. Ask nurses to let you start I.V.’s etc.
  2. Make a friend. We had a great group of folks working in ICU. We would help each other when one of us needed it and we had the bath brigade. We would have all of our patients bathed in an hour or two. In order to make a friend you have to be a friend.
  3. Find a mentor. Someone where you work has been a nurse for a long time. Learn from them, buy their lunch.
  4. Document everything. If you don’t write it down, you didn’t do it.
  5. Hit the books. If you have a patient and you don’t remember from nursing school exactly what was going on, then read up on it when you get home. I carried a drug book with me. If I didn’t know the medicine I was giving I would look it up. It took me longer to give out my meds, but pretty soon I knew what I was giving, why, and more importantly what to watch for in my patient.
  6. DON’T take shortcuts. As you start working, you’ll see other people that may be taking shortcuts, don’t do it.

Drug Review
Here are some links to NCLEX drug questions.

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