Surviving Nursing School: Possibly the most difficult endeavor of your life! - page 2

Whether you're now applying to nursing schools or are in your last semester of nursing school, you've probably had doubts about your ability to succeed. These doubts may be nagging, little twinges... Read More

  1. by   mom_coach_nurse
    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. I've bookmarked it. I start 9-18 & I'll take ANY advice I can get
  2. by   Cat-RN
    I graduated from Nursing School this past May and passed NCLEX the first time in June. I am a mother of 3 boys. One of which I was pregnant with the first year of nursing school and delivered the second year first semester. I was extremely stressed, exhausted, but determined. I did not work during nursing school, but was a full-time student and mother. The guilt of leaving my newborn to go to school all day was the worst, I just kept telling myself I am doing this for them and our family.
    I am a perfectionist. I strove to get good grades. I graduated at the top of my class and am proud to say so. Now it's August and finding a job has been more than difficult. I'm starting to question what was all my hard work for? Employers don't care about straight A's now. It's depressing. As far as surviving, having a good support system is key. Stay out of the drama! Women can be so cut throat. I kept a few close study buddies by me, but otherwise I focused on the work and not the childish drama that people seemed so consumed with.
    Remember why you wanted to become a nurse in the first place and leave all that drama aside. This is not for the typical partying college student. You barely have time to do anything, but eat, sleep and breathe nursing.
    It will be difficult. It will be challenging. It will test you to the core of your being. In the end it will be the most rewarding, fulfilling decision of your life. You will always have a job, and opportunites to expand your horizions.
    If a mother of 3 (pregnant and delivered) during school can graduate top of her class. Anyone with the will, strength and determination will succeed in Nursing School.
    Good Luck to everyone!
  3. by   Patti_RN
    My comment about study groups was my observation about those students who survived my nursing school program. With so many classes online it's sometimes impossible to meet up with others to study. Others simply prefer studying solo. Like all the other tips and suggestions in the article, my advice is just that: a list of suggestions. Most of these are tried and true, proven ways to survive a rigorous academic program. I'm sure there are plenty of RNs out there who studied at messy desks, who wrote all their papers the day before they were due, and who watched TV more than they studied. Some people have photographic memories and don't really need to study; others are super-bright and don't need to study much. Most of us, though need to spend our time effectively. What works for one may not work for another--or may not be needed by another.

    The 'smartest' students in my nursing class did not turn out to be the 'best' nurses. In fact, the guy who struggled most during nursing school, who failed the NCLEX on his first try (and barely passed on his second) was (and is) the most confident, skilled nurse from our class. If I were in the hospital, I'd want this guy taking care of me.

    As you struggle with this mountain of information and feel like a drowning victim who is fighting to keep your head above water, remember: you have to pass, you have to be competent and safe in clinicals, but you do not have to be an 4.0 student. The emphasis is on learning and practicing; this is not a competition between you and other students for the highest grades.

    Good luck to all. You CAN do it!

    (Cat-RN, I posted this moments after you posted your reply; after seeing your comments it may appear that this was directed at you--which it was not! You are absolutely right that the drama, back-stabbing and pettiness can seriously undermine students' best efforts. I also graduated at the top of my class, and felt a great sense of accomplishment for doing so. My point is that others can be great nurses, as well--you just have to get through the program!)
    Last edit by Patti_RN on Aug 6, '12 : Reason: additional comment
  4. by   Cat-RN
    No I totally didn't take it personally. I just find in general people who are extremley successful in nursing school are also judged. I think in order to be a competent nurse you have to have the whole package. Smarts, confidence, critical-thinking, and most importantly compassion for your patients. It definetly isn't and wasn't all about grades. I just had something to prove to myself. I took nursing school very seriously and felt at the time this was my so called job. I considered it my job for those two years and put 110% into my full time job as a nursing student. I am again somewhat of a perfectionist and can be very hard on myself. I stuggle with the confidence thing from time to time and that is something I need to work on. As a student nurse or new grad nurse your not expected to know nor are you going to know everything. But I found if your confident in what you are doing even if it's your first time doing it (foley catheter) it goes along way. Your patients will be at ease and you'll patients and/or families will take notice in your abilites.

    One more word of advice backing up Patti's post: BE CONFIDENT!! (I'd be so nervous sometimes on the inside just do your best not to show it to your patients)
  5. by   PrettyLady87
    I already planned on keeping to myself. I can identify with Cat-RN. I always feel like getting good grades defines myself as a competent individual. Because I have low self-esteem about my appearances, I feel that I need to offer myself something just as good to the table. I hate feeling inferior, and not being good enough. Doing well in school has always been the determinant for my confidence. I overkilled the 2 pre-reqs that I had to take during this summer with A's (as I worked full-time), just so I can reassure myself that I will be fine in nursing school. I want to make NS my priority, and I already forwarned my peers and family that I will be MIA most of the time, and cranky other times. I want to eat, breathe, and deficate nursing!
  6. by   jeanhenry
    Very timely and helpful. I started out organized, but by the end of the second semester I was jotting down stuff in the margin of my notebooks. I spent a lot of wasted time trying to remember where I jotted stuff down. Organization is so important! The last year is starting now, and you can bet that organization is a top priority. I am stressed, but having short goals really helps. Last year I made getting through second semester the only thing that I thought about regarding the program. That was a big milestone. Now it is past, and third, and fourth semester loom ahead, NCLEX, working as a new grad. It can get overwhelming. I am just going to focus on getting through third semester, and try not to think about the rest. Also, the tip of studying with your kids is a great one that I plan to implement. I found that the kids don't always need your undivided attention, but sometimes just being in the same room gives them comfort. So this can be done with the added benefit of doing the same activity and modeling the importance of studying. I really loved that suggestion.
    Last edit by jeanhenry on Aug 29, '12
  7. by   drea588
    This was a very motivating read. The last few words really put out there how sought after the programs are,a nd how lucky one is to attend and that the program believes in that student. Thank you so much for the helpful information.
  8. by   Patti_RN
    Thanks! Nursing school truly was the most difficult undertaking of my life. And, it's the accomplishment I'm proudest of. I can't count the number of times when talking to a stranger I say, "I'm a nurse...." It still give me a thrill to say those words! (You just have to get through nursing school and pass the NCLEX... then those words can be yours the rest of your life!)
  9. by   elegant.lil.lady
    Thank you for this article! It's incredibly motivational for me, and I start nursing school in January! I'm half excited and half nervous!
  10. by   Patti_RN
    Quote from elegant.lil.lady
    I start nursing school in January! I'm half excited and half nervous!
    It'll be quite a roller coaster ride, and there will be some great days along with some wicked ones! One of our instructors told us early in the program, "There will be days when you want to quit, when you feel like you can't do it another day... but don't quit! Tell yourself that you'll stick it out until tomorrow... then if you still feel like quitting the next day, tell yourself you'll put in one more day..." I got through some semesters with this advice; I endured one day at a time, and postponed quitting until 'tomorrow'. I finally 'quit' on graduation day! And, at that point I really didn't want nursing school to end!

    It's a wonderful education and an accomplishment you'll be proud of the rest of your life! Best of luck to you!
  11. by   tasha21
    Thank you for the great words I'll be starting in the fall and I'm just so excited and scared because I know after summer, I'll be like a zombie lol
  12. by   ilovemythreeguys
    Nice article!!!
  13. by   sisilia
    Thank you very much for this great article.I am starting NS in 3 weeks time for 3yrs Bsc programme(London,UK).Thanks for the tips!Looking forward to a rewarding and exciting journey of mylife.