How hard is nursing school?

  1. 0
    Hey everyone,

    I will be a full-time student in the BSN program at USC Upstate in January. This is a public, state university in South Carolina. I was wondering what the workload is like--during the first semester and semesters after that? I have a part-time job (working between 20-30 hours/week) and an 8 month old baby boy so I would just like to prepare myself for the workload ahead and make any necessary arrangements before school starts. I know that different nursing programs will vary in workload and difficulty, but I'd just like to gain a general idea of how hard the nursing programs are at state schools. I posted the same thread in 'SC Nursing Programs', but I doubt I'll get much response there so I figured I would try here too. How many hours a week do you need to study/review outside of class to make straight A's? I'm planning to go to grad school, and I need scholarships to finance any advanced education so I really, really need to make straight As.

    Just to give you a better idea of what our courseload is like...:

    Junior year, first semester:

    • Nutrition (2 credit hrs)
    • Intro to Professional Nursing (4)
    • Health Assessment (3)
    • Foundations of Nursing Practicum (3)
    • Integrated Nursing Practicum (3)
    • Total credit hrs: 15
    Junior year, Second semester:

    • Health Alteration I (3)
    • Health Alterations I Practicum (3)
    • Nursing of Childbearing Families (3)
    • Nursing of Childbearing Families Practicum (2)
    • Child Health Nursing (3)
    • Child Health Nursing Practicum (2)
    • Pharmacology (2)
    • Total credit hrs: 18
    Senior year, First semester:

    • Health Alterations II (3)
    • Health Alterations II Practicum (3)
    • Nursing Research (3)
    • Leadership in Nursing Practice (3)
    • Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing (3)
    • Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing Practicum (3)
    • Total credit hrs: 18
    Senior year, Second semester:

    • Health Alterations III (3)
    • Health Alterations III Practicum (2)
    • Community & Public Health Nursing (3)
    • Community & Public Health Nursing Practicum (3)
    • Issues in Professional Nursing (2)
    • Senior Practicum in Professional Nursing (3)
    • Total credit hrs: 16
    I would appreciate any feedback.

    Thanks for your time!
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  4. 18 Comments so far...

  5. 8
    Nursing school is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. I'm going into my last bit, entering role transition. Every school is different in terms of how they stagger their class load, but the content is essentially the same throughout accredited programs. How hard it is really comes down to what type of person you are, how the instructors lecture, etc. Basically in the first few semesters/quarters it's memorization classes : nutrition, A&P, etc. Basic memorization, the femur is here, these cells do this and that.

    Study however you learn best. About the midpoint of most programs that I have knowledge of is where you begin to switch gears. It's not memorization anymore is it application. All of the baseline knowledge you have learned thus far you begin applying that knowledge. Questions aren't black and white anymore, it requires critical thinking and application of knowledge you have accumulated.
    Nursing school definitely changes how you think. Your mind will be flooded with what seems to be an abundant amount of information, and much of it you might feel you aren't retaining. However, you'll be surprised as you go along how the pieces begin to fit together and you begin to understand WHY things are the way they are, and WHY things are done the way they are done.

    Nursing school requires alot of time. Truly, the amount of information you will be presented will most likely take you away from a social life, probably not much time for partying, etc.... The dedication you put in and the time you give yourself to study will show through in your progression. It ain't easy, or everyone would be doing it.

    I'm a career change person, had an established career but saw the light and decided I needed to make the switch to nursing. So I already had bills, etc....I was one of the crazy people that decided to take on a whole bunch of "life tasks" while in nursing school. I bought a house, I got married, and continued to work full time. I put in nearly 40 hours a week throughout nursing school, and to be honest when I sit here thinking about it, I have no idea how I did it. If it weren't for my current job, and my ability to do homework/study while sitting here at work I never would have made it. It demands extreme time management, dedication, and the ability to turn down alot of things you'd really like to do. But it pays off.

    I know people that have gotten married, three have had kids, some have families including small children, some had parent's pass away, and just about any other obstacle life can throw at you while we've gone through school. There have definitely been ups and downs, but the good thing about nursing school is you form a real bond with your fellow classmates. They will help you out, and definitely provide support when you need it.

    Nursing school truly comes down to you. You'll definitely have to have determination, you'll have to have a support group, and you'll have to have the ability to buckle down and study. The content can be rather intense, and when you stop to think that someones life could one day be in your heads, it becomes pretty important to learn the basics and show the ability to apply the knowledge. My instructors have always said plan to study about 3 hours per every hour you spend in class. I honestly can't tell you how many hours outside of class I have really spent studying on a weekly basis. I study until I feel like I have a grasp of the concept. For some classes/topics that has been an hour......other topics I've spent hours upon hours trying to piece it all together to understand it.

    Keep at it. And welcome to allnurses. Granted I'm a "newer" member here, I can tell you the wealth of knowledge and the information the people on this board possess is truly amazing. Congrats on your journey, and good luck. It looks like it will take forever, but blink and you'll be starring at graduation.
    Lolita34, TNT365, na-na, and 5 others like this.
  6. 2
    Quote from sgalvin07
    Nursing school is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. I'm going into my last bit, entering role transition. Every school is different in terms of how they stagger their class load, but the content is essentially the same throughout accredited programs. How hard it is really comes down to what type of person you are, how the instructors lecture, etc. Basically in the first few semesters/quarters it's memorization classes : nutrition, A&P, etc. Basic memorization, the femur is here, these cells do this and that.

    Study however you learn best. About the midpoint of most programs that I have knowledge of is where you begin to switch gears. It's not memorization anymore is it application. All of the baseline knowledge you have learned thus far you begin applying that knowledge. Questions aren't black and white anymore, it requires critical thinking and application of knowledge you have accumulated.
    Nursing school definitely changes how you think. Your mind will be flooded with what seems to be an abundant amount of information, and much of it you might feel you aren't retaining. However, you'll be surprised as you go along how the pieces begin to fit together and you begin to understand WHY things are the way they are, and WHY things are done the way they are done.

    Nursing school requires alot of time. Truly, the amount of information you will be presented will most likely take you away from a social life, probably not much time for partying, etc.... The dedication you put in and the time you give yourself to study will show through in your progression. It ain't easy, or everyone would be doing it.

    I'm a career change person, had an established career but saw the light and decided I needed to make the switch to nursing. So I already had bills, etc....I was one of the crazy people that decided to take on a whole bunch of "life tasks" while in nursing school. I bought a house, I got married, and continued to work full time. I put in nearly 40 hours a week throughout nursing school, and to be honest when I sit here thinking about it, I have no idea how I did it. If it weren't for my current job, and my ability to do homework/study while sitting here at work I never would have made it. It demands extreme time management, dedication, and the ability to turn down alot of things you'd really like to do. But it pays off.

    I know people that have gotten married, three have had kids, some have families including small children, some had parent's pass away, and just about any other obstacle life can throw at you while we've gone through school. There have definitely been ups and downs, but the good thing about nursing school is you form a real bond with your fellow classmates. They will help you out, and definitely provide support when you need it.

    Nursing school truly comes down to you. You'll definitely have to have determination, you'll have to have a support group, and you'll have to have the ability to buckle down and study. The content can be rather intense, and when you stop to think that someones life could one day be in your heads, it becomes pretty important to learn the basics and show the ability to apply the knowledge. My instructors have always said plan to study about 3 hours per every hour you spend in class. I honestly can't tell you how many hours outside of class I have really spent studying on a weekly basis. I study until I feel like I have a grasp of the concept. For some classes/topics that has been an hour......other topics I've spent hours upon hours trying to piece it all together to understand it.

    Keep at it. And welcome to allnurses. Granted I'm a "newer" member here, I can tell you the wealth of knowledge and the information the people on this board possess is truly amazing. Congrats on your journey, and good luck. It looks like it will take forever, but blink and you'll be starring at graduation.

    Now that's an excellent post. Couldn't have said it any better.
    na-na and Ayala like this.
  7. 1
    Nursing school is *never* easy. If you did not work hard during nursing school, you didn't do it right. That's what I say!
    sandi1743 likes this.
  8. 4
    nursing school isnt hard. However, it is time consuming, challenging, and very enriching.

    The material isnt difficult. I found A&P and Micro harder than some of the classes im in right now.

    use your brain and remember common sense and you'll do fine
  9. 4
    it is like learning a new language and culture. Your success depends on how much effort you apply.

    If being "hard" is a major concern, I do not recommend the nursing field. It is even harder once you have a license. Not academically perhaps, but there is plenty of stress and manual labor
    bigsick_littlesick, Ayala, GrnTea, and 1 other like this.
  10. 6
    I think health alterations is such a silly name for a course, however, it's very nursing school-esque. The name ought to tell you what school is like.

    Essentially, nursing school is an attempt to explain pathology by people who know next to nothing about basic biology let alone physiology. Then they throw in "ADPIE" and assorted "interventions" such as "therapeutic use of self" and "back rubs" that a homeless person off the street could come in, camp out, and provide, yet a nurse must be licensed to provide it. Philosophies, research alignment with the American Psychological Association, and attempts to make the student use "critical thinking" are thrown in, and what you end up getting is a college freshman level personal health course churned into a "professional education."

    I wholeheartedly believe all of it could be done through on the job training. Is the material easy? The answer is a resounding yes. Is the process of completing the assignments easy? Heck, no. The poor student becomes mired in doing things the nursing school way and loses sight of reality and pragmatism.

    If you need an example, I haven't opened a single book this semster for 15 credits of senior nursing courses, and I've got an A in every class. On the flip side of the token, there are people who are medicated for class-induced anxiety, study 18 hours of the day, and are still failing. I never saw this kind of behavior anywhere else in college.
  11. 0
    That is a mighty subjective question. It's different for everyone. Some of my classmates find nursing school to be "mind blowing" but for me, it really hasn't been too bad. So far anyway. Ask me again in May...
  12. 0
    In short nursing school is the hardest thing I have ever done. I have never been so stretched or stressed in my entire life. That being said I have never felt so strong or proud either. I loved every minute of the crazy, stressful two years. I was able to work part time and had many classmates that worked full time plus had children. It can be done you just have to be painfully motivated or maybe its that you have to be mildly crazy
  13. 0
    The material is not that difficult. What's hard is that it's a HUGE VOLUME of material that you have to learn in a short period of time. A lot of it is content that you are expected to teach yourself outside of class and contact the prof if you have questions. And the grading scale is different. At my school, 93 - 100 is an A and anything below a 76 is failing.

    Exams are purposefully worded to be tricky to "prepare you for NCLEX." A students become B students, B become C, and C are now failing.

    It is the hardest thing I've ever done, and I'm one of the "smart" kids. It's extremely time consuming and you will not have time for friends and family for the entire semester. But it's very rewarding, I love learning, and I feel more like a fish in water than I have at any other point in my life. I've made some pretty amazing friends and not a day goes by where my classmates don't make me smile or laugh.


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