Do you undergo training during nursing school or after you graduate and before you start working in a hospital? If it's the latter, are you expected to cover the class yourself or will the hospital provide for you?
If I recall correctly, I had to be CPR certified before starting my clinical rotations in nursing school and had to pay for it myself. I don't think they are going to let you near patients without it - not even as a student.
We were required to have our CPR certification before our first day of class 1st semester of nursing school. I think it is a requirement for clinical rotations. I had to pay out of pocket for mine, but if you look around online, you can usually find a decent deal.
You will be required to have CPR/Basic Life Support before you begin your clinical rounds in nursing school. You will be required to obtain this on your own - but some colleges have classes and your instructors may be certified instructors or know people who are that can assist in the process.
Before clinicals and, depending on the organization that you obtain certification through, annually or every other year thereafter. When I worked in the hospital, classes were done on the premises and the cost was covered. It used to be that it was part of an annual education day where you were given an 8 hour day to complete CPR and all annual education online courses. That was slowly taken away and it became an expectation that you complete CPR "on your own time". I, unlike most of my colleagues, refused to come in to the hospital on my day off so I did the online course and then went to do the skills during a shift. Currently, my job will accept online CPR re-certification so that's what I did. I had to pay for it myself but will write it off on my taxes as a work-related expense.
My school required it before we even began the program--I had to pay for it. I also had to pay for renewing it while in school and after graduation but before finding that first job, since it was due to expire in the summer and the local employers wouldn't even consider an applicant without it.
The program I'm in required that we be BLS certified prior to the first day of the first semester class. We are then required to maintain it for the duration of the program at our own expense. I'm due for a recert this Summer, actually. I must be current in CPR as of the first moment I walk back into the classroom this Fall. I will also be taking ACLS this Summer as well, but even though I'm "just" a Nursing Student, I'm also a Paramedic, so I actually could use the ACLS certificate, and it will count toward my CE hours for maintaining that license.
Actually doing CPR isn't that bad. Tiring, yes, but not that bad. Running a code single-handed? It'd be about as hard as running a 3-ring circus while deaf and blind. I wouldn't recommend it if at all possible...