Our support coaches are in place to help you succeed. Success in the nursing profession begins with success in nursing school. Accountability, punctuality, communication, attendance, respect and wellness all play a role, in addition to specific skills like organization, prioritization, time & stress management and proficiency in the Nursing Process - a problem-solving method used by nurses to care for patients. 

We offer

One-on-one meetings with an Academic Support Coach

  • Private consultations on Zoom or in-person
  • Check-ins - how are you doing? 
  • Address your concerns
  • Identify ways to modify your approach to studying, testing, organizing 
  • Exam reviews, practice/review questions


  • Test taking
  • Study skills
  • Organization

Academic Resources & Learning Strategies

Below are a series of articles, tools and links to help you maximize your academic potential. These include materials generated by the IHP, as well as external experts.

Create a routine

Use your syllabus

Lectures are recorded so you have the advantage of going back to fill in the blanks as you study.

  • Buy a good planner and use it (many students use both a physical planner and a digital one)
  • As soon as you have access to your schedule (iOnline) and your syllabi though the online course platform D2L, start mapping out the entire semester in monthly view with: Lectures (in-person or virtual), labs, clinicals
  • Pay attention to classes that are weekly, EOW, or meet only a few times
  • Then add in exam dates, other required workshop dates, and important due dates
  • As well as PRIOR commitments you have made outside of school/personal important dates 

An ABSN program should be treated as a full time job.

Use a planner or time management app

Watch a 4 minute video from Duke on scheduling and time management or view their Finals Scheduler.

My Homework App

KanbanFlow - Lean project management. Simplified.

Pomodoro Timer Apps:

Study habits may be different than during your previous degree(s). Study a little each day, and do not try to write everything down in lecture. 

Use Learning Objectives, offered in every course, to review the expectations regarding content in the course and prepare for class. Learning Objectives are the starting point for organizing information from multiple sources, and helps alleviate the fear of missing something. They can be used as a self-assessment tool for prioritizing and organizing study materials for exams.

Research shows that taking notes the old-fashioned way (paper and pen) works best.

After the Lecture - 

Take a short stretch/snack/fresh-air brake, then...

  1. Spend 15 to 30 minutes reviewing the lecture, ideally done with one or two others  
    • Things the faculty stressed
    • Things you do not understand 
    • Bold/underlined/highlight topics

Tips for Conquering Test Anxiety from Straight A Nursing

How to read a Book for Comprehension from Loma Linda University

How to Create a Basic Nursing Concept Map from SimpleNursing

Concept Map Template 1 (.docx)  |  Concept Map Template 2 (PDF)

The Study Cycle

How to Remember (almost) Anything

Overwhelm is very common in nursing school.

  • In your planner, schedule in self-care breaks and you may even want to schedule in your basic self-care needs (eating, bathing, hydrating, sleeping, etc)
  • The key to minimizing overwhelm with the amount of daily work is to create a balanced and structured routine. This should include a daily wake-up morning routine and a nightly bedtime routine. Consistency is key. 
  • Plan on studying daily
  • It should also include self-care interventions throughout the day, including while you are in class.
  • When you are blocking out your day, make sure to add in “Buffer time” on either side of each appointment (including virtual lectures or meetings)
    • allow for unforeseen circumstances such as traffic, parking, internet or computer problems  

Find your support system.

  • We do recommend having conversations with your friends and family prior to starting so that they are aware of how busy you will be. 
  • Sometimes it can be difficult for family to understand that you may not always be available for social events, but if they are on board from the beginning, they can often become an invaluable form of support and accountability for many students.

Moving healthcare forward as a community depends on the health and wellness of each individual member. The IHP offers Health & Wellness resources like mental health counseling, fitness memberships and referrals through the EAP for addiction care and community resources.

One of our coaches, Karen Flaherty, is a certified NCLEX prep coach.

Student Experiences

steph smiles in front of a banner that says MGH Institute she has dark brown shoulder length hair

Eliza and Karen were both great supports throughout my Spring Semester with the NS 661: Common Problems of Adult Health and Clinical Judgement course. After starting my meetings with Eliza and Karen, I began to feel more confident in the course, which was then reflected in my exam scores. My exam score increased by 14 points! My advice would be to ask for help. It can be difficult, but academic support is a warm and inviting place. Everyone wants you to succeed. I do not regret reaching out for help. I am so grateful for Eliza and Karen’s kindness, patience and willingness to help me be the best Nurse and Nurse Practitioner I could be.

Steph Inga
Nursing Student
keyona wears a peach shirt and has her black hair in braids

I use academic support to help me stay focused, organized, and not get overwhelmed throughout the semester, for studying and test-taking strategies and support. The support and help I receive really helps me to have a better semester and grades overall. I keep coming back! My advice is do a check in or ask for help early, even if you are only questioning if academic support is something you need, reach out and just say hi! First step is email, zoom meeting or visiting the office. 

Keyona Bell
Nursing Student

About Our Center

The Office of Academic Support within the School of Nursing at the IHP provides evidence-based services, supports, and interventions to students with a goal of student success; actualized in the form of students thinking like a nurse, including critical thinking, problem solving, clinical judgement, and safe nursing practice. The office follows a preventive care model offering primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions targeting cohorts, small groups, and individuals.

Primary interventions include workshops, seminars, and presentations that occur before orientation, during orientation, and the first weeks of the semester prior to the first exams. These events present students the expectations of the upcoming semester, address common pitfalls, and provide proven skills and techniques for students to incorporate and utilize in their studying and test taking. 

Secondary interventions address student performance issues and exam grade results following the first exams of the semester. A priority is to call awareness to academic habits that may be contributing to and limiting student success. This takes the form of individual meetings assessing student need, setting new goals, and giving students individualized recommendations which includes the provision of skills, tools, and techniques that address their unique situation. Interventions include exam reviews, consultations with Academic Coaches, mentorship by course faculty, support from a Faculty Advisor, and group study sessions led by course Teaching Assistants.

Tertiary interventions occur for students with persistent needs. The focus is to provide students with academic needs regular follow up meetings with Academic Coaches. These meetings support student learning and monitor the student’s growth and maturity as they incorporate the skills and techniques. Meetings also include a review and clarification of course content. 

The Office of Academic Support, in the School of Nursing, provides services and resources to Nursing Students that address the nursing curriculum and course specific challenges. In partnership with SON Faculty, the Office of Academic Support Staff uses assessments to identify and address challenges that students face and provides interventions to encourage student growth and success. 

The mission of the Office of Academic Support is to empower nursing students to face their academic and clinical challenges and overcome obstacles on their paths to successful completion of their programs by providing individualized, evidence-based support, instruction, and resources.

Provide students with critical touch points during their academic and clinical journey which is informed by strong understanding of faculty priorities and goals. 

Academic curiosity – a desire to learn, understand, and suspension of judgement when encountering new ideas 

Critical thinking – using problem solving techniques (Tanner’s Clinical Judgement Model) to address academic, clinical, and other challenges 

Advocacy for self and others – asking for assistance when a need for self or other is identified 

Communication – engaging in exchanging ideas and thoughts through various mediums, including workshops, one to one coaching sessions, and email exchange  


Academic Support Coaches

We offer resources like workshops and NCLEX prep, and commonly discuss topics like imposter syndrome, the culture of nursing, study habits, empowerment and more. We primarily assist ABSN and direct-entry nursing students but are available to all students in the School of Nursing.

Karen M. Flaherty, MSN, MEd, APRN-BC, CBCN

Academic Support Coach Term Lecturer Nursing

Steven M. Ciesielski

Assistant Dean for Student Success Nursing