What Hardships Nursing School Students will Face

When high school students are planning their future career paths, at least a few of them will look into the medical field as a possible option. After all, healthcare is a growing field, growing by leaps and bounds as a matter of fact. The medical field offers pretty decent wages, good benefits and stable, steady work. Layoffs in the medical field do happen, but not nearly as often as they do in other fields.

The nursing field in particular can be an attractive choice for many. With a few prerequisite courses, a student can be done with a practical nursing program in about a year or a professional nursing program in about two years. Not bad, right?

Let’s take a closer look at the realities of nursing school first, to see if it could be a good fit for you. Let’s assume that you qualify to enter into a practical or professional nursing program. Your prerequisites are done and your application to the school has been submitted. Let’s even further assume that you have scored high enough on your entrance exam to be accepted into the nursing school of your choice and that they have accepted you as a student. Now what?

The first few days of class will be slightly uncomfortable, as you are getting to know your fellow students and the teachers as well. Your daily schedule will usually start around 7:30am or 8:00am and end around 4:00pm. During the first portion of your program, you will be attending lectures most of the time. This is to give you a firm foundation of nursing principles and theory. Your homework during this time will be extensive. You will not have much, if any time to finish up on homework during class. You will be given your testing schedule during class and you can expect to have an exam for each class at least weekly. Most programs require a 78-80% score to pass a test and an 80% overall score on homework to pass a class. A lot of schools will have a “zero exceptions to the rule” policy regarding test and homework scores. Attaining these scores will require a lot of studying every night, plus the homework that was mentioned earlier.

You will need to balance these school needs with the needs of your family during this time. Your family will probably be very supportive, but may not understand the pressures that are being put on you. Likewise, you may forget that they may be missing you more than you realize. When you are in nursing school, even when you are home and doing your homework, you may seem “checked out” or too exhausted to interact.

The second portion of your program will more than likely include a lot of clinical time. During this time, you will be going to different healthcare settings and environments to learn about how these different disciplines operate and interact with each other. For example, you may do clinical rotations in a med/surg unit at a hospital, an OB/GYN clinic, a psychiatric unit or a rotation in public health. Keep in mind that you will have assignments that are related to these rotations and you will be expected to “get your hands dirty” so to speak, as well. In other words, you will be helping out at these locations, but more importantly, you will be learning how to do your job when school is over. You will also still have classroom lectures and assignments during this time and exams, pop quizzes and finals.

The second half of school is by far the more intense portion of your nursing education. Both your family and social relations may suffer during this time. Another thing to consider is: what will your income or earnings look like during this time? Many students just figure that they will still hold onto their night shift job while they go to school. Many of those students do one of two things: they either let go of that job or they fail the nursing program. That is just a reality. My own experience in nursing school was similar, in that we started with 31 students and ended up with 17. It is not unusual for nursing schools to graduate half to less than half of their classes. It really can be that tough. When you combine the rigors of an intense program, like nursing, with students that are completely unprepared for these rigors, you have a recipe for unrealized dreams and low graduation rates. Do your research about sources of funding before you apply for school. Talk with your families to gauge how they might react to your absence from the home environment. Have an in-depth conversation with a former student of the school you are wanting to attend and talk with the program coordinator of the school about their expectations of you. These steps will help to ensure your journey of becoming a nurse will a successful one!

you as a student. Now what?

The first few days of class will be slightly uncomfortable, as you are getting to know your fellow students and the teachers as well. Your daily schedule will usually start around 7:30am or 8:00am and end around 4:00pm. During the first portion of your program, you will be attending lectures most of the time. This is to give you a firm foundation of nursing principles and theory. Your homework during this time will be extensive. You will not have much, if any time to finish up on homework during class. You will be given your testing schedule during class and you can expect to have an exam for each class at least weekly. Most programs require a 78-80% score to pass a test and an 80% overall score on homework to pass a class. A lot of schools will have a “zero exceptions to the rule” policy regarding test and homework scores. Attaining these scores will require a lot of studying every night, plus the homework that was mentioned earlier.

You will need to balance these school needs with the needs of your family during this time. Your family will probably be very supportive, but may not understand the pressures that are being put on you. Likewise, you may forget that they may be missing you more than you realize. When you are in nursing school, even when you are home and doing your homework, you may seem “checked out” or too exhausted to interact.

The second portion of your program will more than likely include a lot of clinical time. During this time, you will be going to different healthcare settings and environments to learn about how these different disciplines operate and interact with each other. For example, you may do clinical rotations in a med/surg unit at a hospital, an OB/GYN clinic, a psychiatric unit or a rotation in public health. Keep in mind that you will have assignments that are related to these rotations and you will be expected to “get your hands dirty” so to speak, as well. In other words, you will be helping out at these locations, but more importantly, you will be learning how to do your job when school is over. You will also still have classroom lectures and assignments during this time and exams, pop quizzes and finals.

The second half of school is by far the more intense portion of your nursing education. Both your family and social relations may suffer during this time. Another thing to consider is: what will your income or earnings look like during this time? Many students just figure that they will still hold onto their night shift job while they go to school. Many of those students do one of two things: they either let go of that job or they fail the nursing program. That is just a reality. My own experience in nursing school was similar, in that we started with 31 students and ended up with 17. It is not unusual for nursing schools to graduate half to less than half of their classes. It really can be that tough. When you combine the rigors of an intense program, like nursing, with students that are completely unprepared for these rigors, you have a recipe for unrealized dreams and low graduation rates. Do your research about sources of funding before you apply for school. Talk with your families to gauge how they might react to your absence from the home environment. Have an in-depth conversation with a former student of the school you are wanting to attend and talk with the program coordinator of the school about their expectations of you. These steps will help to ensure your journey of becoming a nurse will a successful one!