5 Tips For Navigating A Nursing Degree During COVID

How To Excel In A Nursing Degree Online And Offline
Daniel M Ernst/Shutterstock.com
Summary: Nursing students during the pandemic are encountering some of the most real-world work experience right now. Here are 5 tips to help nursing student navigate their hybrid degree.

How To Excel In A Nursing Degree Online And Offline

Those brave men and women already in nursing fields have been getting a lot of deserved praise for being the frontline fighters in the battle against COVID-19, but there are also many people on their way to becoming nurses who deserve some praise for continuing their pursuits after seeing nurses' levels of stress and how dangerous the job can be.

The healthcare field certainly wasn’t the only industry affected by the coronavirus (it would be difficult to find an industry that wasn’t), and the education sector was flipped on its head too. Students from elementary school to college were forced to switch to online classes, missing out on some valuable hands-on instruction. Nursing students were not spared, and in the medical field that hands-on instruction is even more important than it is in most other fields.

The show must go on, though, and for those aspiring nurses who are continuing their paths during the pandemic, here are a few tips.

1. Set Up Peer Groups

Though you may not be able to safely gather depending on your locale, setting up peer groups that you can at least Zoom with to discuss school issues, progress, etc., is a great way to get some extra learning, and it’s also a nice stress reliever knowing that other people are experiencing the same tribulations as you. When looking for members for your peer group, do yourself a favor and reach out to those who are at the top of the class. Learning from one another can help fill the gaps that are left by not being able to see a professor in person.

2. Self-Educate

In professions where certification is a literal must-have, simply checking the boxes in class and getting decent grades isn’t an option. This is, of course, the case for nurses, and most of society thanks them for studying harder than we do. As gaps in education are natural with classes moving to the digital world, self-educating beyond what is expected can help nurses stay ahead when it comes time to take certification exams like the NCLEX [1]. There are plenty of resources abound for students who want to take their education a bit beyond the (now digital) classroom.

3. Pay Extra Attention To The “How”

As there is no telling when COVID-19 will cease to exist, a silver lining to online classes is the experience with online interactions. Nursing via the internet was around before the coronavirus, but now telemedicine has become a necessity due to overcrowded hospitals with patients who can spread a very deadly disease. Paying extra attention to how your instructors convey their information on the teleconference can help you learn good habits for the likely scenario of you conducting consultations with patients through a computer screen.

4. Practice Stress Relief

No matter your path to a nursing career [2], stress is unavoidable, and generally pretty heavy. But any nurse will tell you it is worth it in the end. Some good ways to destress while stuck at home are with breathing exercises, yoga, and focusing on being present in the moment. A good ol’ Netflix binge doesn’t hurt either when you can find the time. If deadlines are cause for relaxation to not be an option, putting on calm, instrumental music can help you cope while still working on what needs to be done.

5. Stay Active

Just as certified nurses are extremely active during these times, stressed-out students should be too. Staying in front of a computer all day simply isn’t healthy, and fortunately, most stay-at-home orders have been lifted, at least enough to allow for a socially distanced stroll through the park. Getting outside can help with stress and is also important for the body.


Keeping a positive mind in a rather negative time is no easy task, but it’s certainly doable. The major takeaways from this should be that you will be losing some valuable education because of the coronavirus, but there are many ways to make up for it! You can also learn a lot from observing how the pandemic has sent shock waves in healthcare, public health, and politics. There's nothing better than real-world experience to prepare you for anything that might come up in your future as a nurse!


[1] Validating the NCLEX-RN Test Plan: Comparing Practice Analysis Data

[2] Types of Nursing Degrees: Which Nurse Path is Right For You?