Why do students voluntarily drop out of nursing school?

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    Okay so I have been very curious about this lately mostly because I am starting an accelerated BSN program in January. I know it will be HARD and it will be even harder for me because I have 4 kids BUT I CAN and WILL do this. I am a bit disappointed in most of my friends/family for their reactions to this decision I have made. Most say "I cannot believe you are going to do that...it is going to be too hard" or "what about your kids? you have been at home with them for so long, what about how they will feel?" and finally.."so many people drop out of nursing school and they are doing a traditional program...your taking on an accelerated...are you nuts?! It is going to be too much"

    So I have been thinking about why students drop out.
    The stress? okay yeah that makes sense that there is stress but you go into it knowing that it will be stressful...why waste so much time and energy just to drop out because of stress? I have 4 kids and have been going to school I know what stress is and I know how to deal with it and be constructive.
    The classes/schedule? Well again, you go into it knowing what schedule you are going to have for the most part..most school's let you know how many hours you will spend in class and clinical's per week and then you can (or should be able to) determine how much time you need to dedicate to studying per week and fit it in, period.

    I guess the only thing I could figure out (and I hope I am not offending anyone) but it is because nursing was never a true passion for those that drop out. OR they have a tragedy/extenuating circumstances that are out of their control.
    I certainly know I will not drop out because of the passion part...I know what it is like to be passionate about something, and when you are you will stop at almost nothing to pursue the goal/thing you are passionate about. I know for me my life revolves around caring for others and making a positive impact in other's lives that it consumes me daily...with my kids, service projects, and church related activities that enrich the lives of others. So I guess I don't get why my family/friends would think to themselves that I am crazy...I know I can do it and I guess that is all I need. I know there will be sacrifices ..some that are not going to be easy for anyone involved but I am doing this for my family and myself (it is who I am). My husband is such a good support system for me (well the only one thus far). I think that they all are just concerned and I get it but please save the negativity for someone else because I don't need it in my life, thank you. I would love it if they would congratulate me and be happy for me but no such thing has happened. Oh well- I guess the proof will be in the deed so to speak- I think that is how you say it, lol ;-) Thanks for listening to my rant ladies & gentlemen.
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  3. 36 Comments so far...

  4. 3
    Some people drop out because the work is too hard. Some drop out because they realize nursing is not for them.Some drop out because they realize that real life nursing and TV nursing is much different. Some drop out because things change in their lives .
    alexis_xoxo, Chinook2, and PinkCupcake like this.
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    Knowing nursing school will be stressful is in no way the same as actually living with the stress for months and months on end. It's hard to REALLY see the impact on your life until you're in the middle of it. Family members say they'll be supportive - words do not always turn into actions. Kids react in different ways to a parent's sudden frequent absences and its hard to know how you'll react to hearing your child cry and beg you to stay home. People can tell you "nursing school is hard" but heat does that mean? You can't really know what it's like to stay up all night writing care plans until you're there. Until you've studied your butt off for weeks to get a C on a test because you picked the wrong right answer.

    Why do so many people bust their humps in nursing school just to leave the profession within five years? Because their ideas didn't match reality, but you can't really blame anyone for that.

    Yes, there are extenuating circumstances and there are people who realize they don't want to be nurses. We had a girl drop out of my cohort three weeks into the program (before we even had any grades, so it wasn't academic) because she realized she wasn't willing to take that time away from her kids and husband right now. She says she'll probably go back later in life when they're grown up.
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    I get what you all are saying, I in no way am trying to offend anyone. Understand that please. I just don't understand why people spend so much time and effort just to drop out. I have fought for this for so many years. I started out 11 years ago, fresh out of high school and got terrible grades and quit. I got married and then watched/helped my husband complete both his undergrad and grad degrees (6 years)...long nights and days. I have been completing my prerequisite courses for 4 years now for nursing, 4 long years of busting my butt for straight A's to make up for my past mistakes that brought my GPA down so low that no nursing school would look at me at first. After raising my GPA up and having 2 more children (one of which is special needs) I could not imagine dropping out. I am not saying that those individuals that do are wrong to do so nor am I saying that they are weak or anything of the sort but I know it is hard work to get into nursing school, at least it was for me. I know it will only get harder and I am not complaining. It is not impossible though, that I know. If there is a will, there is a way. I just wish my family and friends were more supportive that is all.
    gkash likes this.
  7. 2
    Most of the students in my class that have left haven't dropped out, they've been let go because of grades.
    PinkCupcake and MBARNBSN like this.
  8. 3
    My class has lost 8 out of 35, and barring a miracle we are about to lose about 5ish more after the next final. None of them just dropped out. All of them have been dropped due to grades. Like Steph said, you can study your butt off, lose sleep, sacrifice your life, and still not do well on exams. I have 3 kids, am in a regular program, and feel like I am barely hanging on most days. My house is trashed, my husband is unhappy, and we just ate McDonald's for dinner for the third time in a week. I hate it, but that's what I have to do to hang on for now. And I'm one of the fortunate ones who actually does well on tests.

    As for this: "you can (or should be able to) determine how much time you need to dedicate to studying per week and fit it in, period."

    What do you do when there just aren't enough hours in a week?

    I agree that the last thing you need is negativity. But if it causes you to readjust your expectations, that it can be a good thing. Hopefully your enthusiasm for what you believe nursing to be is enough. With all sincerity, good luck to you.
    flipflopgenna, RNam, and Red35 like this.
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    I think it also depends on the school and instructors as well. I am going to a school that has a 100% NCLEX pass rate on the first attempt and also has retained all 35 accepted students each class for the accelerated program. Maybe I am wrong but I will not know fully how it is until I am in the thick of it, no one would. However, I do believe everyone's experience is different. I may have just as hard of a time but maybe not.

    I guess I half expected to get some words of encouragement from some of you on here but I guess I should not have. Most of you are in the middle of your programs, stressed, and busy. I just am very excited about having the opportunity to do this after all the hard work I have put in and really needed some positive words from family and friends- that is all. Maybe I am on a high right now but I believe that I have the right to be happy and excited. I really wish the best to all of you, I hope that you all finish your programs and do very well!
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    I find it hard to believe any school has a 100%pass rate first try. There are too many factors involved. Not every person can quit work to do this either. I've gone two days this week without sleep for over 24 consecutive hours. That is just between work and lecture. Not counting homework and studying. Yesterday into today to was 19 hours without sleep. At some point the body refuses to let you continue and I've dealt with it. Add a husband who has taken over most household duties and he's pretty grumpy sometimes. This still hasn't factored in study time. To simply say you can determine how long you need to study is naive honestly. I know full well how much I NEED to study.finding the time to dedicate to that need is another story. Does this mean I will quit? No, but someone else in my shoes may just end up doing that. They are not any weaker than you and I if they do.
    learning as i go likes this.
  11. 0
    Well, you asked a question and got answers to the question...I'm a chronic skimmer so I probably didn't pick up on the basic premise that you're trying to stay above the negativity. Also, yes I'm very tired and stressed. I wasn't trying to add to the negativity like, just trying to be realistic.

    The reality is...people fail or voluntarily drop out of EVERY academic program out there, but most don't make a big hullabaloo out of it. None of us know the future...life can change our paths in an instant but that's not a reason to not forge ahead, think positivity, and kick some butt. The odds are in your favor, so why not? Worst thing that happens is you find out nursing isn't for you. I'd rather try and find out than never try at all!

    My other point really just comes down to resources. All the "want to" in the world doesn't create more "can." I worked my butt off to get in my program but I will not sacrifice my children, marriage, or health for it. I'm sacrificing my waistline, house cleanliness, finances, and social life and that's about all I'm willing to do. If it came down to any of my deal-breakers, I'd walk away and not think twice about it. I'm not saying YOU will struggle. I have no idea. I was just talking it "school drop out" generalities.

    Anyway, keep your passion and positivity!
  12. 1
    I agree with others. Anticipating the stress of nursing school is one thing and living it is another. Your entire life will change once you enter nursing school. I am about 6 weeks in and went through a mini mourning period of the life I left behind before nursing because you begin to live nursing and miss a calmer life. I think many people begin to question if it's all worth it. A lot of people in my class have expressed how they missed their kids and how they aren't sure if they can handle the stress, or if it was all worth it.

    So far in my class there has been a test(whether it be a theory exam or a mastery check off) every week. That is on top of clinicals where we have about 6 pieces of homework due each week from that along with new labs each week. Some of us(myself included) hold down a job on top of nursing school which makes personal time almost non-existent. It does things to your sanity if you're either always at work or always at school or when you are at home you're doing school work. That has been my biggest struggle. I actually had to make the decision to cut out some of my reading just so I can make time for me. I know this will effect my grade but if I want to be happy I have to do certain things.

    This of course is not to scare you or discourage you but to help you understand why some people drop out. My most rewarding days in the program so far are the days I'm at clincal. That's why I'm not willing to hang it up personally. It's the other stuff that will wear you down.
    reesedatdude likes this.


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