What is harder- nursing school or first year working? - page 4

Hi! So I just finished my final final of first semester in nursing school, where I am also taking Anatomy and Physiology and a psych class, 13 credits total, and I'm wiped out. I was trying to give... Read More

  1. by   NurseNinja1990
    Oh man, for me nursing school was 100% harder. I owe it to the complete lack of support from professors, the number of hoops I had to jump through, and the general pervading feeling of anxiety that came with the "pass this on the first try or you're out of the program" mentality my school held.
    I was really lucky and had wonderful, supportive coworkers and administration at my first job out of school. Making money was great too.
  2. by   ~♪♫ in my ♥~
    Working is much harder, but in a different way.

    Working, while it comes with more responsibility and higher stakes, also offers some predictability regarding schedule and energy; it also provides compensation.

    I've been a full-time university student three times in my life. While each time presented unique stressors and challengers, each remains one of the most enjoyable chapters of my life.
  3. by   Cricket183
    I agree with JBMMom who said it's comparing apples and oranges. It's also going to depend largely on your life circumstances.

    Nursing school for me was difficult in that my first year I commuted 75 miles one way four days a week for school/clinicals, was married with two elementary aged boys, one of whom developed fever of unknown origin toward the end of my first semester (he ended up being diagnosed with CFS.) If that wasn't enough of a challenge, my husband changed jobs requiring us to move 300 miles at the end of my first year and I had to transfer campuses (same university). My commute then was 120 miles one way. I eventually ended up staying with a classmate 1 or 2 nights a week instead of driving back and forth 5 days a week. Still I loved school and managed to graduate cum laude. I could not have done it without the support and understanding of my husband and boys & my extended family.

    My first year of working was so much easier in some ways. My commute was less than 10 minutes in hardly any traffic. (My first year of nursing school was in the medical center in downtown Houston; my second year in various places throughout Dallas-Ft Worth.) That in itself cut my stress level tremendously! But the transition from nursing school to actual nursing practice is a huge learning curve, even if you go to a really good nursing school and have excellent instructors. You suddenly realize, or at least I did, you have an awesome responsibility and unlike when you were a student or in orientation, the buck now stops with you. Not to be overly dramatic but you have people's lives in your hands. There is no one looking over your shoulder making sure you're doing everything right. Your first year or so of practice you learn to practically apply everything you learned in nursing school. And truthfully, you really never stop learning. Nursing is an ever-changing field.
  4. by   kbrn2002
    For me nursing school was harder. But I had the advantage of working as a nurse tech after my first year, which where I worked meant I did everything the RN did. I learned way more working while in school than I learned during clinicals. I had the opportunity to perform procedures and be proficient in them before I encountered them in clinicals so I was much more comfortable than most of my classmates.

    The downfall of this was the lecture, papers and tests became harder. I had a hard time convincing myself to memorize normal lab values, I mean why? The range of normal is printed right on the darn lab report, why should I have to memorize these?? Writing those care plans that took hours was torture when I knew all I really had to do was print a care plan. It wasn't until much later that I realized the value of having this knowledge. Now I am the first one to encourage students to take that seemingly busy work seriously. It really does help in your career to have not just the skills but the knowledge to back up those skills.
  5. by   dudette10
    It's like asking what do you hate more: cutting your fingers off or your toes off. They are different kinds of "hard". Not comparable.
  6. by   oceangirl1234
    Nursing school was harder. I had no family support, did not have any savings, and struggled with studying/working two part-time jobs.

    While the first year of nursing is hard-having money to support myself really made the difference.
  7. by   AutumnApple
    I'd have to say first year working. I have my reasons for this though, it's not an arbitrary knee jerk response.

    I thrived in nursing school. My grades were where I wanted them, no major "unsafe" write ups or anything. Was always confident I'd pass state boards first try. Went through school as your typical student, no major issues.

    I thrived during my first year in nursing (first three years actually). I scored very well with patient surveys, perfect attendance, awards. But something was different. I tended to drag those around me down (well, it was more than a "tendency" but that's another story).

    During my first year in nursing, I felt as though I was in a video game and two things had occurred: 1. The difficulty went from novice to pro overnight and 2. I believed I had to outscore everyone else around me. My mindset was a recipe for disaster, and poor coping followed. Again, that's another story.

    It took me a long time to outgrow that feeling of having to outscore everyone else. Too long. I certainly didn't do it during my first year. I had that feeling during school too, but it never went to the degree that it did after school. That's why I say things were harder working.
  8. by   Tomascz
    It's kind of apples and oranges. Yeah, we're always learning, but Nursing school was one big long waiting for that other shoe to hit the deck. I was so glad to get to work and actually be able to do something. No more waiting to see if this latest exam was going to finally wreck my world.
    The other thing I like about the work world is constant access to the experience of the nurses around me. I know my co workers (for the most part) have my back and want to help me be the best nurse I can be.
    As long as I'm willing to put forth the effort, and it's obvious I'm paying attention and taking direction to heart (however it gets delivered), my coworkers are happy to help. Can't say that was the case in nursing school.
  9. by   Phenomenurse
    They're both really tough in their own ways but for me personally I started in the ED in the busiest ED actually on the east coast.....

    that compounded by new responsibilities of learning how to document and navigate the EMR, politics of the healthcare team, being accountable for multiple patients on your own, building stamina to work 12 hr shifts etc etc



    yea the first yr of work is harder, at least for me it was
  10. by   ThePrincessBride
    Nursing school was traumatic for me. Lack of support from the school and a couple of clinical instructors who made my life miserable. Plus, I was dealing with other stuff in my life that made it tough.

    Working was a walk in the park in comparison as I knew once I clocked out and went home that I was done. I know others will disagree but I think my senior preceptorship did a great job preparing me for real world nursing.
  11. by   ICU_UcMe
    Nursing school is like daycare, and being a new grad is like college. In nursing school, everyone watches out for you and makes sure you aren't messing anything up. People will answer your questions, and generally expect you not to really know anything. As a new grad, most others know you don't know a lot of things, but still expect you to learn most of it on your own. They may answer a question for you, but they're more likely to get annoyed by it. If you have to ask the same question more than once? Forget about it! Your patients are your problem once your orientation is over, and you better be ready to hit the ground running. You'll feel like a fish out of water for the majority of the first year, but you'll start to get the hang of it. Hopefully you have helpful coworkers like I did, and not the nightmares some of my friends had.
  12. by   peacockblue
    Nursing school was much harder. I did a diploma program in the 1980's and I felt they tortured you for 2 1/2 years and if you survived, you were a nurse. The instructors were demeaning, they tore my beds apart if they weren't just right, you got sent back if you didn't have on support hose, so many stupid things. Plus all the homework. I do feel, though, that I was well prepared to work on the floor. Oh, and getting paid made it easier!
  13. by   ayysolapsu09
    I am currently 6 months into my first nursing job, and I have to say that working is much more stressful than school. I worked EMS while going to nursing school, so school was relatively easy. It has been stated before, but as a student you really don't have the same perspective as a nurse in charge of executing the care plan of the patient. I joke that I lost 15 lbs. since starting my new job because I walk around 5 miles a day and constantly worry about losing my job, and even though that is slightly hyperbolic it holds a little bit of truth; I never had the same sort of responsibility I have now, and managing that is much more complicated than I anticipated. So, hands down, working is much more stressful than school.

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