How to Calm Nerves Before Starting a Health Care Program

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Making a life changing decision like enrolling in a health care program can be stressful, one that leaves the decision-maker with many uncertainties and more questions than answers. Sometimes, you need to go with your first instinct and gut feeling, take the leap and hope for the best. That is a mind-set many have when entering a health care program and aspiring to build a career. There are many factors associated with making that decision. Many life variables can get in the way. Establishing a strong support system is critical. “Most big decisions like going to school are not made overnight,” said Bill Lacey, Director of Student Affairs at Concorde’s San Diego campus. “Some deep thought and considerations go into it. Having a strong sense of support by others extends into the campus environment and culture.” Lacey said Concorde has services on board to assist with many life issues. “The school’s mission is to help a student maximize the educational resources to enter a career well-educated and prepared,” he said. “It behooves the student to navigate through their campus and become familiar with the services.”

Getting off to a good start

Dawn Knapp, Director of Student Affairs at Concorde’s campus in San Bernardino, Calif., said the best place to start when it comes to calming nerves is to attend the school’s orientation. “This helps you meet your classmates before class,” Knapp said. “It allows you to walk campus to find where your classes are so you do not get lost on your first day. It will really lighten your stress for the day.” Also, it’s a good idea to work on a study plan so you can transition easily back into school mode. “It’s always better to stay on campus to do your homework,” she said. “It goes much faster, and when you are home, it is your time.” The most important thing, Knapp said, is to keep everything in perspective. Remember that all of your classmates are in the exact same position as you; you are not alone. “Just breathe,” Knapp said. “Tomorrow, you will no longer be a new student.”

Tried and true steps when entering a health care program

Loni Simon, Director of Student Affairs at Concorde – North Hollywood, Calif., references the writing of author Stephen Covey.
  • Begin with the end in mind – create a clear and positive picture of the desired outcome
  • Become motivated by your WHY – think about why you want what you want
  • Acknowledge your feelings – activate the logic centers of the brain and extinguish the anxiety
  • Reframe your feelings – reframe anxious as excitement
  • Take calming breaths – slow and controlled
  • Build social support systems – at both home and school

Embracing the stress

Concorde – Garden Grove, Calif. Director of Student Affairs Lori Liebman has a different take on how to deal with the nerves of starting something new and unknown. Embrace, embrace, embrace. “Too often, people believe they have no control over their feelings while, in fact, most people can choose how they react to events,” Liebman said. “Many times, we choose to react to things in the same way over and over again; it’s the easiest, and we’re most comfortable with it. “However, if we decide that we own our feelings and we can imagine the worst, we can also choose to imagine the best. Instead of envisioning an unknown future in a negative way, flip it and imagine a future where you are successful in your chosen profession. Instead of trying to calm your nerves, choose to look at those nerves as the push you need to be successful.”  
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