Anxiety In MSN Programs: 4 Effective Ways To Combat It

It’s only natural to feel anxiety in MSN programs.

After all, going back to school to advance your nursing career is no joke.

Not only did you do a lot of thinking as to whether this was a good decision for you and your family, but you also thought of what it would take from you in terms of stress.

However, you made a good decision for your future and the future of your family. The only thing stopping you now are the doubts and challenges.

Not to worry though! Fighting anxiety in MSN programs is very possible. There are so many ways to solve this problem, even while you’re in the heat of your studies.

Many people just like you have taken this path and faced the same challenges and mental struggles as you. However, they got their degrees, and you need to believe that you can too.

Here are 4 great ways to manage anxiety in MSN programs!

1. Make A List Of Things To Do

Chances are you work as an RN right now.

In your work, you likely:

  • Use flowsheets to keep things organized
  • Make sure patients’ charts are up to date
  • Ensure the day’s activities are properly documented

You need the practice the same skillset in your MSN program.

This may be hard work, but it is actually a short cut. Making a list makes it so these tasks are not floating around in your mind causing you stress.

By writing all of it down, you relieve yourself mentally. You can also go back to your list with no worries of forgetting anything because you didn’t just keep these tasks in your mind.

Combat Anxiety in MSN Programs With The Checklist Manifesto

There is a helpful book called The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande. Gawande is a surgeon and Harvard Professor.

In the book he discusses the importance of having a checklist for even the most mundane tasks. This ensures nothing is left to chance when performing activities you want to get right.

We urge you to check out this book and learn how great your everyday life can be by making use of checklists.

2. Build A Support Network.

Nothing beats having friends to talk to about your issues, and it’s the same with anxiety in MSN programs.

While most programs are online, do not let that deter you from reaching out to colleagues in the same boat as you.

Combat Anxiety in MSN Programs Remotely

Use forums such as or subreddits for nurses on Reddit to make new friends and learn about the challenges other students in your position are facing.

Just reading and listening to others talk about their own struggles will make you feel like you are not alone in this battle.

You may even find that you build lifelong friends in the process.

You can connect with students who are not even in the same program as you. However, since you face the same struggles, you connect in a meaningful and emotional way.

You may even choose to add each other on Facebook or LinkedIn. This can open up doors for you, since they’re likely to have professional connections with others in the industry.

3. Think Of The Benefits And Your Motivations

Always keep the benefits of your MSN program and your motivations at the forefront of your mind.

When you go through anything difficult, you initially did it because there were benefits for you to gain.

At all times, keep that vision of a bright future right in front of you, and think of how much better off you and your family will be after finishing the program.

No matter what you’re going through, that vision of getting your degree and taking advantage of the opportunities an MSN brings you will wash away your anxieties. It will also keep you motivated to finish the long haul.

Combat Anxiety in MSN Programs With A Vision Statement

Companies have what they call a mission statement and a vision statement.

A mission is what the company does, but the vision is the image of the kind of future the company wants to bring about as a result of accomplishing their mission.

You must think of yourself as a one-person company with a mission and vision for yourself. This is how you will produce meaningful results that last a lifetime.

Getting your MSN degree is a monumental achievement that is truly life changing. Think how your life will change after getting the degree, and keep your vision focused on that.

4. Physical Exercise To Boost Mental Toughness

The fourth and last thing we recommend is exercise.

Keeping yourself physically fit goes a long way in fighting any type of anxiety.

This is proven biologically, as hormones in your body are released during physical activity. These hormones include endorphins, which are responsible for putting you in a great mood (even hours after exercising!).

Exercise also helps bring down levels of bad hormones contributing to stress and anxiety, like adrenalin and cortisol.

You would be putting your body at a serious disadvantage by not exercising. While exercise is always key, it’s especially important for fighting anxiety in MSN programs because you need to be in the best possible mental shape.

This will allow you to keep up with the fast pace of the program at all times.

Combat Anxiety In MSN Programs With Exercises You Enjoy

Some forms of exercise you may consider include:

  • Running
  • Weightlifting
  • Yoga
  • Biking

It’s important that the physical activity be something you enjoy. This will allow you to stick with it for the entire duration of the MSN program.

However, it’s also important not to exercise so much that it cuts in your study hours.

Conclusion: Anxiety In MSN Programs Is Normal

You need to believe in yourself.

You already went through the hard work of getting your BSN, and that was not an easy task. If you can get through your BSN, you can get through your MSN.

Always have this mindset, and you will find ways to combat anxiety while you are in your MSN program!

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