It is a rewarding and amazing profession. Nursing is a rewarding profession that often has a personal touch. Patients remember their nurses fondly for many years.
Nursing is not a glamorous, dream-like, or easy job. Nurses are dedicated, hardworking professionals who care deeply about their patients. This is no accident. The training and education required to become a nurse reflect your level of professionalism.
A potential nurse should not be afraid of the prospect of attending nursing school. You might have heard horror stories about nursing school, which can be difficult and often involve long clinical shifts, all-nighters, and tough tests. You might be asking, “How Hard is Nursing School?”
We asked Rasmussen University nursing students to share their experiences. Consider whether these are the challenges you would face if you were to go to nursing school. You probably already possess many of these strengths.
How Hard is Nursing School? 7 Things to Expect
It’s the best way to learn from people who have been there before. To answer the question, “How difficult is nursing school?” We went straight to the source. This is the direct insight of nursing students.
1. You will learn a lot.
This should not come as a surprise, but it is crucial. Nursing school is a demanding program that requires extensive memorization and hard work.
Megan L., a Rasmussen University BSN student in the second-degree entry option, says she always prioritizes her study time.
Megan L. claims that she manages her study time around her work-study schedule and classes while trying to minimize distractions. She claims that she has deleted all her streaming accounts in order to focus on quality study time. Although you don’t necessarily need to focus that hard, any nursing program requires intense concentration.
Megan L. states, “It’s a lot of information you need to retain in a brief time.”
“Nursing school does not have to be black and white. It is just like real life.”
Samantha S., another Accelerated BSN student from Rasmussen University, says she plans out her entire week on Sundays. This helps her organize her study and homework around lectures, labs, clinical, and other commitments. She can plan and see when she will have the time to complete the work. This helps her stay on track and prepares her for her clinical, exams, and classes.
There are many options for managing your study time. However, there are no one-size fits all solution. Will H., a mentor and student at Rasmussen University, suggests that students use Microsoft Outlook(TM), task lists, and a Microsoft Outlook(TM) calendar to create an “action plan” for each week.
Read More: How Much Does Nursing School Cost?
2. A New Perspective will open up for you.
New challenges come with new knowledge. Nursing school will change how you view the doctor, look at medical shows and think about what to do when you see a prescription label.
All information in nursing classes will have a nursing bent. This will always make you ask, “How does it relate to my nursing career?”
Megan L. and Samantha S. both have science education. Still, they noticed that their nursing classes prepared them for nursing work. Samantha S. believes that having confidence in your ability to understand anatomy and physiology is crucial to a career as a nurse. She says this because she knows how vital it is for patient safety and health.
Megan L. said Pharmacology was a challenging course. She could stay motivated because she knew how important prescription information was for patient safety.
She says, “If you make a mistake with a medication, it could lead to the death of a patient.” Even if a doctor prescribes medication and a pharmacist fills it, the nurse often acts as the last line of defense for the patient. She ensures that the right medicine is administered and the proper dosage is taken.
3. Your Critical Thinking sSills will be Boosted.
It would help if you had the brains to pass the TEAS exam and become a nurse student. The academic challenge does not end there.
Megan L. states that there are many correct answers to our tests but only one is correct. “You must always know the best answer.”
These difficult questions can be frustrating for nurses, but are there good reasons for them to know the correct answer? It is the life of their patients at risk! Megan L. describes the question she received on her last exam. It asked about four very sick patients.
The nurse was asked to decide which patient she should first treat. Although there are likely many nurses at the hospital, she was forced to ask the tough question: “Which patient is going to die fastest if I do nothing?” This question can be lifesaving for nurses in emergencies.
More than one answer can be correct in this example. Natalia D. is a Rasmussen University BSN student. She advises students to resist the temptation of picking the first correct answer. Before selecting an answer, she reminds students to have all the information and prioritize their research.
Samantha S. says, “Nursing school does not have to be black and white.”
Will H. agrees that it is difficult to read the question carefully, but putting yourself in the situation and trusting your instincts are both the hardest and the most important. As you improve your critical thinking skills, you will become more confident.
Read More: What Is Pre-Nursing? | 2023 Guide
4. You will be supported.
It’s not easy to become a nurse. It’s not easy to learn a new language or medical terminology while caring for patients and their families who are exhausted, sick, or both. It would help if you took care of yourself while taking care of others.
You can ask your partner, family members, or professors for help with chores, children, or finding a quiet spot to study. Samantha S. stresses that your mental health is as important as the health of your patients.
“All your time, energy, blood, sweat, and tears will make you a better nurse.”
Nursing school is a collaborative experience. You’ll be surrounded by fellow students who share your experiences and work towards the same goal: becoming a nurse. Samantha S. says students come from diverse backgrounds and are at different life stages, making it easier to find a nursing program.
Because everyone has a different perspective on the challenges you will face, you can trust your peers to support and inspire you.
Will H. said that he relies on his immediate family. He has relied on his family for support during his career transition. You can depend on your family to support you during any changes in your life and the challenges you will face while at nursing school. You should be open with your family about any logistical and emotional support you might need.
5. You will be challenged.
Nursing school will be difficult. You will be required to leave your comfort zone and adjust to a new way of living and a new workload. Nursing school can be challenging even for those with a strong educational background.
Although Natalia D. has had experience at the collegiate level of learning, she found that nursing school required more initiative and willingness to learn independently than she had ever experienced.
You can be sure there will be much more than just nursing school. There will always be something, whether it is work, family obligations, or other unexpected life events. Although managing all of this can be quite challenging, Natalia D. believes there are some positives to be found in the ups.
She says, “You’ll discover that you can overcome anything and that it makes you stronger.”
Will H. believes that despite the difficulties, he never loses sight of his ultimate goal. He wants to be a nurse and have a fulfilling career. He says that working towards a degree to the benefit of others is rewarding in a way that no other program can offer.
6. A New Balance will be Found.
Even though you will likely be very busy during nursing school, there are ways you can avoid burnout while still enjoying your daily pleasures. The other half of the battle is about creating the right schedule and adapting to new rhythms.
You must study and finish your assignments. But it’s equally important to have fun, relax, and enjoy your life.
Learn when discussion posts are due and how to estimate the time it will take. You’ll also learn to begin studying for exams at least a week before the schedule.
And how to stick to your plans. Samantha S. takes one day off each week to help her balance studying, and Samantha D. does the same. Natalia D. is a student who tries to learn a little every day. Although it’s not always possible, this habit helps her realize that nursing school is only a small part of her life.
Self-care is a great way to avoid burnout. Megan L., for example, says she likes to take walks and cook healthy meals. Natalia D. believes that remembering why you chose to study nursing is the key to getting through difficult times.
She says, “It’s important that you study and finish your assignments. But it’s also important for you to have fun, relax, and enjoy your life.”
7. It’s Well Worth it
Samantha S. states, “at the end of the day, you’re working towards something bigger than yourself.” Natalia D. believes that a career as a nurse can provide security for her family and that this motivates her. Will H. loves the practicality of nursing and the joy he gets from caring for others. Whatever your motivation, it doesn’t matter. Could you keep it in your head?
Samantha S. states, “All the energy, time, blood, sweat, and tears will make you a better nurse.”
Confidence is Key to Success in Nursing School.
Being a little uncertain about yourself is normal before you take on a new challenge. Is nursing school hard? It won’t be easy. It is possible to succeed in nursing school if you are hardworking, organized, and willing to sacrifice some time for the long term. You could soon be on your way toward a fulfilling career.
- American Association of College of Nursing. “Nursing Faculty Shortage.” Last updated September 2020. https://www.aacnnursing.org/News-Information/Fact-Sheets/Nursing-Faculty-Shortage. Accessed: January 26, 2022
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners.” Last modified December 7, 2021. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/nurse-anesthetists-nurse-midwives-and-nurse-practitioners.htm. Accessed: January 26, 2022
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Registered Nurses.” Last modified September 8, 2021. https://www.bls.gov/OOH/healthcare/registered-nurses.htm. Accessed: January 26, 2022
- National League for Nursing. “Nursing Education Statistics.” http://www.nln.org/newsroom/nursing-education-statistics. Accessed: January 26, 2022