How hard are nursing classes?

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    I hear everywhere that nursing courses are hard and require lots of time to study. In what sense are they hard? Are there hard things to understand, do they require lot of memorizing? Does it take a lot of reading? How hard are the clinicals or the labs?
    Which semester is the hardest and which one is the easiest (refering to ADN)?
  2. 16 Comments so far...

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    I can't speak to an ADN program but I think so much of it depends on your school and/or your instructor. If I read everything that is assigned, I'd be reading 200-300 pages a week (or more). But my instructors base tests off of their lecture and the book is supplemental in the event you need further clarification on a topic.

    Do you mean the actual nursing classes and not the other courses included in a program like pharm or patho or a&p? If so, what I find difficult about the actual nursing classes (we call them care management classes) is the tests. The info is pretty straightforward but the questions often have more than one "right" answer. You might be asked for the FIRST thing you'd do as a nurse or the BEST answer to the question or the MOST CRITICAL assessment in each situation.

    So, no -- in my case, there is not a lot of reading and not a LOT of memorizing -- it's all about teaching you HOW to think like a nurse.

    What about the rest of the board? What's it like for you?

    As for clinicals...again, depends on the instructor. I don't think the actual clinical is "hard". I'm usually nervous and feel unorganized during my first few days of a clinical but then you get the feel for it. The paperwork is what is time-consuming. I might have 3 or 4 assignments related to my clinical to turn in the next morning (i.e. care map, journal, assessment tool, etc.).

    I guess it is hard to explain...I don't think anyone could have explained it to me before nursing school started. Yes, you will feel lost and frazzled and frustrated at times -- but hey, what doesn't kill ya' makes you stronger.
    tara38 likes this.
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    I am starting the 5th of a six quarter ADN program in the fall. 4th quarter was damn hard (and notorious). 4th quarter is the start of the second year of our program and I think they really want to step up what they expect out of us to see if we are up to it. I am expecting the next two quarters to be a little (but not much:0) easier. Nursing school is hard in the respect that you must use your brain constantly in clinical to incorporate what you read (and trust me, it's ALOT) out of (multiple) texbooks, some of which have different perspectives (lets just say that "gray area" is a term you will become very familiar with in nursing school:0). Nursing school is incredibly challenging, but fun in the same. It is not rote memorization like A and P was, but critical thinking 24-7. Our school has this critical thinking philosophy, and boy, does our nursing program stand by it.

    Good luck to you :0)

    Court
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    My school is definitely about the critical thinking too! Everyone kind of intimidated me by telling me that I'd just *have* to do the reading but I haven't yet ( I mean at all) and I'm doing just fine.

    I find the homework for clinicals completely tedious and marginally useful so I devised a way to get out of it. I just work my instructor by coming on strong early in the clinical and showing her that I know my stuff by handing in one of each assignment required (patho flow sheet, nursing care plan, etc) that is excellent and then shmoozing my way into not doing the rest based on my previous record. This strategy has worked for three clinicals now but I know my luck is going to run out soon and I will encounter a strict person who won't be so generous!

    One important thing to mention is not to listen too much to your fellow students when you enter the program because many of them will be scared and confused and may psych you out!

    Another thing I've learned the hard way is that unlike other professions that I've studied in, nursing instructors and professors really really really DO NOT like being challenged by students. Keep that in mind for an easy ride.

    Best of Luck

    Lexie
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    Yeah nursing classes are hard. There is absolutely NO WAY you can memorize the material. It isn't the kind of stuff you memorize. anyway. Like PJMommy said, it is all about teaching you how to think like a nurse. About the only things that you can put to memorization are the equivalents and lab values. The rest is you just have to understand it and apply it to situations. Critical thinkng is the key. I have learned that nursing school is not for the faint of heart It really is hard to explain. It is one of those you have to be there kind of thing. You have to learn how to study in a whole new way. Good luck!
    Last edit by leslieRN2B on Aug 7, '03
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    I've read a lot of people say how hard nursing school is. I think it depends on your previous experience with school and how smart you study. I think nursing school (ADN) is easy. On a scale of 1-10 I'd give it a 2 with 1 being the easiest and 10 being the hardest. I am going into my pharmacology final with a 101%. What I do is re-read my notes/powerpoints over and over again. I don't have a lot of book reading to do, but when I do I make sure I read it.

    Another thing is that I don't have kids or a job so that may have a huge impact on me saying nursing school isn't hard. But one of my friends also doesn't have kids or a job and she failed.

    My biggest recommendation to new nursing students is to purchase a good NCLEX review book with questions and answers. I used this book http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...stomer-reviews In fact, I read this whole book before nursing school even started. It helped me tremendously and got me "critically thinking".

    Don't be scared because so many people say it is hard. Just take one day at a time and tell yourself you can do it! There are 2.2 million RNs in the USA.
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    While I have had "hard" courses and "easy" courses, nursing school is an animal in it's own category. It is very time consuming and much of it is "self paced". That is that the instructors expect you to know things that haven't be gone over in lecture and are not in the syllabus.

    My best suggestion would be to ask questions, and ask more, and ask more. If the question doesn't have anything to do with lecture, wait until after class so you don't disrupt the "flow".

    Whoever said to never challenge an instructor is absolutely correct. They DO NOT like being challenged. If they say that the sky is green....then for the purposes of that class the sky is green.
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    Thanks, Mithrah
    I'm going to take your advice about the NCLEX review book. I had always thought it was something you started reading near end of program just to prepare for boards, but it does make since to use this tool all along. I'll post to let you know if this helps me.

    Judy("I'm new")
    RN(ADN) 2005
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    C_R_I_T_I_C_A_L + T_H_I_N_K_I_N_G!!!!! That is what it is all about! Nurses are required to use it every single day! Learn how to use it, and you will be fine!!!
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    Hard or easy is totally in the mind of the beholder. My first nursing class was easy for me, although our class lost 9 students. The next semester was hard for me and we lost another 6 or 7 students. We are dropping like flies here. We have a 100% pass rate on the Nclex for the past 3 years. It is a tough school but a good school. When you leave this school people know you worked your butt off and you get respect. Hard or easy? Who knows.I know I am working hard and I wouldn't want it any other way!


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