Three tools for building resilience

by Cathy Parkes April 04, 2022 Updated: August 09, 2023 2 min read 4 Comments

Resilience matters before, during, and after nursing school. Resilience is key to getting through, and showing up successfully, when times are hard. In this excerpt, Cathy gives you three key tools for building resilience in nursing school.

  1. Stay physically strong with exercise (and take flashcards with you)!
  2. Surround yourself with supportive and honest people.
  3. Lift up those around you.

Full Transcript

CATHY: So before I wrap up and take questions, I want to give you three tools for building resiliency. 

The first tool is to stay physically strong with exercise. 

Exercise not only keeps your body strong and helps to keep you safe at the hospital when you're lifting patients and doing these physical things, it also keeps your brain strong. It helps you think more clearly. It helps you retain information better. It's really a win-win situation.

One thing I really love to do while I was in nursing school was to take flashcards-- You know, guys, I'm all about the flashcards-- But I take my flashcards on walks and so I'm getting two things done at one time, I'm getting my exercise in and I'm getting my studying in.

And I will tell you that the information I studied on my walk, that stuff stuck with me a lot better than the information I just reviewed while sitting down at my desk or on my bed.

So really, combining exercise with studying is a really good thing to do. 

Number two, surround yourself with supportive and honest people. 

In nursing school, there's definitely people or students and there's nurses afterwards who act like they have it all together, right? They act like nothing fazes them, everything's perfect, they have it all together. And that's really never really the case with anybody, right? So I would urge you to connect with people who share your struggles, right, who are honest and kind and supportive. 

I had a mentor on night shift, her name was Sarah Miles, and she was amazing. She was so nice and so supportive. And when I got so excited, when I got an idea or did something else, she would celebrate with me and she was just really nice. So find those nurses, find those students, and surround yourself with those supportive people.

And then number three is to lift up those around you. 

And this in turn-- if you lift up those around you, this in turn will give you strength. 

When I was in nursing school, I spent many, many hours in coffee shops tutoring my classmates to help them pass the exit exam. And the good news is they all passed it, and we all graduated together which was awesome.

And on top of that though, by teaching them the materials for those many, many hours, I actually developed a much deeper understanding of the material.

And that led to me tutoring other cohorts at my nursing program which led me to making videos on YouTube, which led to Level Up RN becoming a thing. 

The key point is this, helping others and kindness, it always leads to good stuff.

Part of how I stay resilient is that I draw strength from you all, right?

All the reviews, all the comments, all of the success stories, they help reinforce my commitment to nursing and nursing education.

I so appreciate the invitation to come and speak with you all today, and I am happy to answer any questions that you guys have now.

KAITLIN: Thank you, Cathy.

4 Responses


March 24, 2023

You are the best. Love that you said to surround oneself with honest people!!!!

Sonia Van Laar
Sonia Van Laar

January 12, 2023

Well said Cathy. Nursing school is hard & being in the field can be even harder bc it’s real life & not a classroom. Taking care of yourself in all aspects will keep you physically & mentally strong, as you said. I would also add learn from your (& others’ mistakes) & keep learning. This is an ever changing field The!
The support from others will boost you up during hard times.
Thanks for your videos!


September 30, 2022

Thank you so much , i needed to hear that . I appreciate your videos so much.


April 07, 2022

Amen! Well said!

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