Tips for Reducing School-related Stress for Online Nursing Students

American Sentinel University’s healthcare blog, ‘The Sentinel Watch,’ launched a new eight-part nursing blog series: ‘Back to U – Karen’s Corner’ available at and guest blogger, Dr. Karen Whitham, assistant dean, undergraduate nursing programs shares her personal experiences about what it’s like going back to school mid-career and offers valuable insight about balancing work, life, and school to earn an advanced degree for career advancement.

This is part seven of an eight-part series.

Don’t Stress. Don’t Struggle. Just Ask!

Here’s a news flash for students of all ages: stress and struggle are not part of the learning process.

In fact, stress creates a chemical cocktail of hormones and neural transmitters that inhibit the brain’s ability to learn and store memory. The only thing your brain can learn when stressed is how to strengthen the neural pathways that lead to more stress.

So here are a few tips to reduce school-related stress.

Ask the Question

If you are struggling to understand a concept, chances are very good you’re not alone. So just ask your question. No question is too small or too big. You’d be surprised to know how often I give this advice to our students.

Just because you can’t see your teacher and classmates doesn’t mean they aren’t there. If it helps, imagine the faculty poised by their phones and computers to answer your questions. You’ll find they are extremely responsive and thorough.

Manage your Time
Most school related stress comes from poor time management. Simply knowing that you have set aside the appropriate 10-15 hours a week for your classwork can dissipate the lion’s share of your stress. 

Be vigilant about protecting your study time by keeping a calendar and saying no to anything that will take time from your studies. How stressful is it when you spend more money than you have in your bank account? The same rules apply to how you spend your time.

Practice self-awareness
Learn to recognize the physical symptoms of stress and anxiety, then ask yourself if you are worried about something in the past that you cannot change? Or, are you anxious about something that might happen in the future? Neither one of those are a good use of your time and energy.

So ask yourself what you can do in the present moment that will help you achieve your goals. Maybe you need a good night’s sleep. Maybe you need to spend some time with your calendar to map out a solution. Or, maybe you need to take 10 minutes to breathe deeply and envision your success. The only productive thing you can do with stress is to alleviate it, ask for help and manage your time.

Stay tuned to ‘Karen’s Corner’ as Dr. Whitham shares more helpful tips about the RN to BSN program.

The ‘Back to U – Karen’s Corner’ blog series will run through September 7 and covers such topics as:

-So You’re Going Back to School…At Your Age?

-Is This the Right Time to Get Your BSN?

-How to Get Your BSN and Still Have a Life

-The Virtues of a Virtual Classroom

-Study Tips for the Online Student

-Balancing Homework with Family

-No Stress, No Struggle: Ask the Question
-Making Time for You

If you’ve ever dreamed of earning your BSN learn how American Sentinel can help make that dream a reality and earn your BSN in under one year and for less than $12,000.

American Sentinel University offers market-relevant, high-quality nursing degree programs, including a CCNE-accredited RN to BSN program that is ideal for nurses who want to expand their knowledge base, become more marketable and enjoy greater career stability and mobility. The RN to BSN can be earned in less than one year and for less than $12,000. Learn more about American Sentinel University’s RN to BSN degree program at or call 866.922.5690.

About American Sentinel University 
American Sentinel University delivers accredited online degree programs in nursing (BSN, MSN, and DNP) and healthcare management (MBA Healthcare, MS in information systems management, and MS in business intelligence and analytics). Its affordable, flexible bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), of One Dupont Circle, NW Suite 530, Washington, D.C., 20036. The DNP program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) of 3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, Ga., 30326. The University is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission, DEAC, 1101 17th Street NW, Suite 808, Washington, D.C. 20036, (202) 234-5100,

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