Success Strategies for DNP Students

How to Manage Stressors & Maintain Motivation As a DNP Student

Nurses pursuing a doctoral degree have unique challenges because they are balancing school with an already established life and career as a nurse or advanced practice nurse. Today I’ll share 3 of the biggest challenges that DNP students face and how to overcome them.

Challenge #1: Time Management

Balancing a full-time job and coursework (not to mention the rest of life’s responsibilities) can be challenging for DNP students!

Tip for Time Management:

Prioritize: What is the most important thing that you can do TODAY to make progress toward your goal? Reduce the overwhelm with focusing on only 1-3 results or outcomes that you will accomplish today.

The DNP Project Organizer can help students have a clear idea of what is expected for the DNP project’s planning, implementation, and evaluation phases. Get access to the DNP Project Organizer HERE!

Challenge #2: Stress Management

Pursuing a DNP degree can be stressful. The expectations are high and deadlines are daunting due to so many moving parts, especially when it comes to implementing the final DNP capstone project.

Tip for Stress Management:

Movement is an antidote for anxiety, and strategies for stress management include practicing self-care (including small mental breaks!) and seeking support from classmates or a mentor as needed. It’s difficult to fully relax when you have deadlines looming and the pressure to finish so many tasks at once. Take a break from the computer and get outside, if even for 5 minutes. Improving the blood flow to your brain can help you be more efficient. It can also be helpful to connect with a mentor who can relieve stress by helping you get unstuck and moving forward with a clear plan of action.

Need a mentor for your DNP project? Email us at [email protected] with the subject line “Mentor Request.”

Challenge #3: Maintaining Motivation

The road to the DNP degree can be long and challenging, often with delays due to unclear expectations. The DNP journey is also pretty lonely, and staying motivated can be tough!

Tip for Maintaining Motivation: 

Celebrating successes can help maintain motivation. When you overcome an obstacle, take a moment to reflect and celebrate. Spending time reflecting on how far you’ve come at the end of each semester is a strategy for motivation as well. Finally, connecting with other DNP students and sharing wins along the way is a great way to stay motivated! You can connect with DNP students in our Facebook community today!

Categories: DNP School