Top 10 Ways to Stand Out as a Nursing Student

Nursing students have a lot to prove. They need to show that they’re resilient, smart, flexible, and hard-working. It’s not easy, especially as a student who wants to go the extra mile and stand out from the crowd. For those nursing students who are determined, though, the benefits of standing out are more than worth it. 

Whether you are starting nursing school or pursuing an advanced degree, here are the top ten ways to stand out as a nursing student. 

  1. Choose the Right Course for You 

Before anything else, you must choose the course that’ll help you show off your skills in the best way. After all, if you are not interested in the subject matter, your mentor and professor will quickly catch on, and you’ll end up in a career that you don’t enjoy. Have a look around for online nursing programs and nursing schools to figure out where your path lies. 

It’s not just the material that you need to consider, though – you must also think about the course location and how much time it takes. If you’re a full-time nurse already, for example, you might want to think about pursuing an online degree. That way, you can study from home and save time on transport. You could even study on your lunch breaks!


  1. Always Show Up on Time 

If you sometimes struggle with arriving late, then you need to work on your time management skills. Some tips for doing so include:

Set Your Alarm Thirty Minutes Early

If you usually get up at 7am, but you’ve found you hit snooze until 7.30am, then you should put your alarm back half an hour. That way, you can click snooze without feeling guilty, and you’ll be more likely to rise at the proper time. 

Cut Down Your Morning Routine 

As a nurse (or an aspiring one), your time is precious, and the more time you can save, the better. By cutting down your morning routine, you lessen the chances of being late. An easy way to do this is to wash your hair the night before rather than in the morning. 

Have a Bed Time 

Another essential for nurses – getting enough sleep means you are less likely to oversleep, so don’t just set the alarm for the morning; set one for the night, too. 

Aim to Get There Fifteen Minutes Early 

If you always aim to get there on time but often get there five minutes late, set yourself a new goal of getting there fifteen minutes earlier. That way, even if something slows you down, you’ll still be there at the right time. 

Check Traffic in the Morning 

Rather than expecting traffic to be fine, make sure you check the roads online before setting off. That way, you can choose to take a different route if necessary. 

Showing up all time is a must, so for those that struggle due to other obligations, online nursing programs might be the way forward. It’s still important to show up to any online meetings on time, though, and if you have any video calls, make sure you put the same amount of effort into your presentation as you would if you were meeting in real life. 

  1. Make Lots of Friends and Connections 

Standing out as a nursing student doesn’t mean avoiding the other students. In fact, making lots of friends will work in your favor. Having a group of nursing students who are just as motivated as you are surrounding you will ensure you don’t fall behind. Plus, making connections at this stage is essential for better opportunities in the future. 

To make nursing friends, interact with your classmates as early as possible, and if there are any study groups, join them and make yourself known. Don’t forget to make a good impression on your professor and mentor, too, as they will be the ones to guide you through your education and eventually write your recommendations. 

  1. Always Do the Extra Reading 

Doing the set reading is obvious if you want to get through online nursing programs. To achieve more than pass, though, you’ll need to put in a little more effort, which means always doing the extra reading. If your professor assigns several essential books and then adds on a few more in case you have time, take the initiative and make the time. Not only will it give you more knowledge, but it’ll show your professor that you are serious about your studies. 

If you’ve got through all the essential reading and there is no additional reading assigned, have a chat with your professor for some advice on what to read next. They will have plenty to recommend, and they’ll be impressed by your enthusiasm. 

  1. Let Your Goals be Known 

Do you want to become a nurse anesthetist? Has your dream always been to become a midwife? Do you plan on attaining a leadership role within your first five years as a nurse? Instead of keeping these goals to yourself, let them be known. After all, how will people see you as ambitious if you don’t tell them? Once your teachers and classmates know that you have big goals as a nurse, they’ll start associating you with those roles, increasing your chances of being recommended for a high-level career in the future. 


  1. Look After Yourself 

You might think pushing yourself even when you’re exhausted is a great way of proving yourself as a student nurse, but this is where you would be wrong. By taking enough breaks and looking after your mental and physical health, you ensure you are always prepared to take on the day. If you are struggling, here are some ways to look after yourself as a student nurse:

Take Plenty of Study Breaks 

Whether you are studying for your nursing degree or online nursing programs, it’s important to take enough study breaks. After all, it’s difficult to absorb information when your brain is overwhelmed with information! 

Prioritize Sleep

Being a student doesn’t excuse a lack of sleep, especially when you’re studying nursing. However, get a solid eight hours a night, and you will feel better prepared for your classes and work experience. 

Spend Time with Non-Nursing Friends

You can’t surround yourself with nursing all the time. On the other hand, it is refreshing to spend time with people who have no clue what your online nursing programs mean or when your next deadline is, so give your non-nursing friends a call and have some time away when you need it. 

Start an Enjoyable Workout Routine 

As a nurse, you will understand the importance of exercise, but you’ll also have little time to spare. So to ensure you get enough cardio in, choose an exercise you genuinely enjoy, like tennis, swimming, or even simply walking. 

Get Enough Sunlight and Fresh Air 

The last thing you want to do to your body is deprive it of fresh oxygen and much-needed daylight. If you find you’re spending every waking moment inside studying, it’s time to open the front door and step outside. After all, the burst of fresh air could give you the motivation you need to perform better. 

Indulge Yourself from Time to Time

It’s not healthy to have constant expectations for yourself. By allowing yourself to indulge now and again, whether that’s eating an entire cake or taking a trip to the bar, you’ll feel much more relaxed when working. 

  1. Stay on Top of Every Assignment

The amount of work you have to do as a nursing student might feel overwhelming, but it’ll feel even worse if you fall behind any of the work. If you are struggling with an assignment, rather than pushing it from your mind until it is too late, talk to your professor and see if they can help in any way. By staying on top of everything and being open when you need an extra hand, you will stand out as reliable and motivated.

  1. Help Others Out When They Need it 

In nursing school, you don’t get ahead by knocking other people down. In fact, it shows both maturity and the ability to help others out when they need it. 

Of course, to be in a position where your help is needed, you must keep up with the work yourself. So, put in as much effort as possible, and on the days where you’re ahead, look out for your classmates who may need a helping hand. You might just make a new friend out of it! 

  1. Learn to Communicate Effectively 

Communication is a skill that benefits most students. It’s particularly crucial for nurses to nail, though, as words directly link to the care of patients. 

The first thing you need to do is speak with clarity. For example, if you are doing work experience, you need to communicate with the doctors and nurses as clearly as possible, so they know what you mean. Talking too fast or speaking too quietly could interrupt a medical process. 

Next, you should consider your writing skills. If you’re studying to become a registered nurse, the chances are most of your communications will be done verbally, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need to write from time to time. Plus, you’ll need excellent writing skills to ace your written assignments. 

Finally, you need to master the art of listening. As a student, your job is to absorb as much information as possible, so make sure you listen to everything your tutors, professors, and mentors say. By being attentive and taking in each word, you’ll have a better chance of performing well and standing out. 

  1. Have Confidence in Your Abilities 

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval”. – Mark Twain

If you don’t have confidence in yourself, why would your tutors have confidence in you? Whether you’re studying online nursing programs or starting your first week of nursing school, you must believe that you can achieve your goals, as that will come through in your performance. Those who are confident are the ones who tend to stand out, so work on building yourself up, and if you’re struggling, you can always try faking it until you make it. 

What Are the Benefits of Standing Out in Nursing School? 

Standing out in nursing school is on the minds of all student nurses, but is there any worth to this? The answer is – yes. Here are just some of the benefits you can enjoy if you manage to impress your superiors as a student nurse:

Better Recommendations 

A great recommendation can help you attain the nursing role of your dreams. In addition, by standing out, you stand a better chance of receiving a glowing recommendation from your tutors. 

More Connections 

One of your classmates could hear about an opening at the hospital they work at in the future and consider recommending someone. They are far more likely to remember the person who was their friend, who always put in maximum effort, and who stood out among the crowd. 

Excellent Grades 

Grades are important. By focusing on achieving so much you stand out, you’re likely to attain better grades. 

A Better Overall Experience 

You will have a much better learning experience if you jump into the work and make plenty of friends. Even if you’re doing online nursing programs, by always being present online and forming web-based study groups, you’ll make the most out of your home education experience. 

A Learned Work Ethic 

Putting in maximum effort during your online nursing programs or throughout nursing school means you’ll develop a strong work ethic that will carry over to your nursing career. When the days become longer, and the work becomes harder, it’ll be the practice of pushing yourself in the early days that’ll get you through. 

Remember, though, that’s being a great nurse isn’t just about doing well during education. Once you have completed your nursing degree or online nursing programs, you must then put as much effort, if not more, into your nursing career.

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