How to Stay Healthy While in Nursing School

staying healthy during nursing school

Nurses are genuine caregivers, and we always strive to help our patients to the best of our ability.  Our patient’s health is always a priority for us, which can cause us to put our own health needs on the back burner.  It is important to stay healthy and to take care of yourself physically and mentally, so that you can give your all to your patients.  Whether you are a nursing student or a seasoned registered nurse, we can all benefit from tips on how to stay healthy.

The Freshman 15

So, we’ve all been there – whether it’s the classic freshman 15 or one too many late night snacks, everyone has felt out of tune with their body.  This can happen for anyone, but especially for nursing students and nurses who are always studying and working around the clock.  This is common for nursing students because like myself, we tend to not get enough sleep.  When your body is sleep deprived, you are constantly lethargic and are more likely to make bad food choices which are generally quick and easy fixes, rather than take the time to make healthier food choices.  I have found that creating a schedule for nursing, leisure activities, exercising, and food prepping has helped me to stay healthy and focused with busy nursing school schedule, and it’s easier than you may think!

Tricks to Stay Fit!

If you’re like me, then you are carrying at least a 15 pound backpack filled with textbooks, care plans, power points, pens, highlighters, snacks, water bottles, lab kits, stethoscopes – you name it, I’ve probably got it.  Although this may seem like an awful idea, I have found that carrying my backpack has become my built-in cardio while on campus.  In addition to carrying my “weight,” I try to park in a far parking lot to ensure I am walking more.  I also avoid the elevator and opt for the stairs.  In between classes, clinical, and labs I try to walk the perimeter of the campus if time permits, or just take a short brisk walk from one building to the next.  Any kind of exercise you can do to break up a sedentary classroom lifestyle will help jumpstart your metabolism.  If you have a long study day, try to study hard for 30 minutes, then take a 20 minute exercise break and do yoga or hop on the treadmill.  This will not only break up your long study day, but it will help keep your body active as well.

Since we live in a technologically advanced world, there are dozens of applications you can install on your phone to help monitor and track your calorie intake, water consumption, count the number of steps you are taking, and provide quick workouts to do almost anywhere.  I would highly recommend taking advantage of these apps as they are a great reminder to help you stay healthy!

Timing is Everything!

Time is a very valuable item to a nursing school student – and there’s not much of it when it comes to all the studying and reading that needs to be covered!  To utilize your limited time and make smart food choices, grab a pack of protein bars (I particularly like Odwalla and Kind bars) and keep a box in your car or a few bars in your backpack for quick healthy snacks when you’re on the go.  In addition to healthy quick snacks, make sure you are constantly hydrating and consuming water.  This is a great way to keep you feeling full in between meals or until you can get home to make smarter food choices rather than stop and get fast food.

There are tons of ways to help stay on track and moving with a busy nursing schedule.  It’s up to you to try different things and see what fits in with your schedule! What healthy tips have worked for you?  Share your stories with the nursing community below!


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Jacqueline Molina
Jacqueline Molina is currently a junior in the nursing program at SUNY Morrisville. She has recently relocated from her native Long Island to Syracuse, New York, to embark on her nursing career. She attended SUNY Albany from 2004 to 2008, majoring in English with a double minor in Education and Spanish. From there, she attended CUNY Queens College and earned two master’s degrees—one in English and one in Education. She was a New York City high school English teacher for three years before making the decision to change careers and follow in the footsteps of her grandmother, a nurse manager in a leading Long Island hospital. Long term, Jacqueline hopes to become a successful oncology nurse and nurse educator. She enjoys rollerblading, bacon, traveling, and exploring the outdoors with her boyfriend and three dogs.