It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint. How to Handle Failure in Nursing School

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint. How to Handle Failure in Nursing School

Nursing school is a long process. Whether you are in a two-year or a four-year program…there are bound to be failures or areas where you fall short of your expectations. Coming into nursing school, I was used to failure. It was all I knew because I failed out of college two times before beginning again in 2018. I had to meet with advisors, appeal my academic suspension, provide letters of recommendation, and re-take the classes I failed. Being back from that and getting accepted to nursing school, and maintaining a 3.90 GPA has been one of my most significant accomplishments. Not only am I in a position that I never thought would happen, but I am doing it, and I am doing it well. So, how do you handle failures while in nursing school and come back stronger?

While I have been doing well in nursing school, I have failed. Quizzes, medication calculation exams, skills check-offs, it happens. More important is how you handle it and what you do to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. The first thing that I do is allow myself to feel my emotions. It is okay to feel disappointed if you prepared for something and do not get the results you expected to see. However, the important thing is that you must not stay in those feelings. Nursing school is a marathon, not a sprint. There will be more quizzes, exams, projects, and other opportunities to redeem yourself. Try not to let one misstep define your entire experience.

Next, figure out where you went wrong. Did you truly study enough and study effectively? Did you understand the material? Did you have trouble with the question style? Once you identify where things went wrong, you can better take steps to fix the issue. Meeting with your professor and remediating the exam is a great start. Professors typically aren’t able to discuss the specifics of the exam. However, they can cover concepts that allow you to gauge where you feel about the content and if you just had issues with a specific question. You can also switch up your study habits, meet with a tutor, or form a study group. Sometimes, changing up the method of studying can assist you with making necessary changes for better results.

Finally, be kind to yourself and proceed with confidence. Attitude is everything, and realizing that you can’t be perfect in everything is essential. It is not the adversity you face, but how you react and come back, that defines your character. In nursing, much like in school, you will be faced with learning opportunities and obstacles that you will have to overcome. Being able to assess the situation and turn a failure into a learning opportunity will make you a fantastic nurse.


Written by: Kym Wisniewski

Instagram: kymstagram_bsntobe


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