Why is nursing school "hard?"

  1. 0
    Hello all

    I start nursing school next Tuesday, January 21st, and I am super excited. I just quit my job as an accountant and will be going to school full time for the next two years to get a BSN.

    I have read many posts on this website about how difficult nursing school is and how many have cried their way through or didn't have a life. I don't doubt that nursing school is difficult and my hat goes off to all who have succeeded in nursing. But I can't help but wonder what makes it so difficult.

    So for all of us who have yet to embark on this journey, my question is why is nursing school so difficult? Is it the material itself? Is it the amount of material? What is it that makes people cry?

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  2. 33 Comments...

  3. 6
    Because you are responsible for people's lives. Nurses are often the first to notice when a patient becomes unstable and may need intervention. You have to have a good understanding of how the body works, and how illness affects it. To be brutally honest, it's designed to weed out those who may not be qualified, or those who may decide through the program that it's not the profession for them. That being said, if you want it, you will achieve it, best of luck in your career change!
  4. 9
    It is several things really. It is the sheer amount of material in a small time frame. This semester and last semester (for me at least) we had weekly tests with multiple classes. It is learning something that is not black and white but a whole bunch of "that answer is right but it is not the most correct" and "it depends" can answer any question given. It is time consuming and reality shaking depending on your background (think of actual dead bodies, some of them children/babies, think abuse up close and personal). Think about the laws that must be followed or you can be sued, think about all the liability that goes into this. Nursing school is not just meds and assessment but it encompasses a whole person and their family at possibly their worst time when they need help and they are scared/helpless/whatever. It is also understanding disease processes and WHY something happens so that you can critical think (that is a learned skill in my opinion). And sometimes school is hard just due to an individual's learning style/test anxiety/whatever. On the other hand (for me), I have fallen in love with school but I have always liked school. I have also been a paramedic and I love the ability to literally reach out and just hold someone's hand for a moment in time. That one little touch can do so much when you really need help. Take your studies one day at a time, one week at a time. Get a calendar and get organized. Good luck and congrats on acceptance!
  5. 0
    Thanks, I appreciate the input. I guess looking at it from the standpoint of having been a student, while working full time, with a husband and two young children, I'm hoping that me not working would help to alleviate some of the stress. But when I read these types of comments I can't help but feel a way about it, as if i'm in for the ride of my life. I welcome it though. I'm up for the challenge because its something that's been in my heart for a long time, through undergrad, grad school, and about many of my years as an accountant.
  6. 7
    There are a few things that make it hard. You can no longer just memorize material long enough to pass a test and then mostly forget what you learned. You have to fully understand the material because you will need it all the way through. There are a ton of complex concepts to learn in a short amount of time. You are not only learning theory, but how to apply it through skills lab and clinical. The list of why it is hard goes on and on, but that said, it really isn't as terrible as some people make it out to be. It is a lot of very hard work, but if you keep on top of things it is doable. I personally have not found the whole you-will-have-no-life thing to be true. It takes some balancing and organization to be sure, but I still make all of my kids events and make time to have a date night with my husband every couple of weeks or so. In fact, I think you need to make sure you take some time for yourself away from school work now and then or you are likely to burn yourself out.

    Try not to stress too much before you start. Best of luck!!!
    #RN2B, upstateRNhopeful, LadyFree28, and 4 others like this.
  7. 3
    I'm a 2nd semester student in a 4 semester program. I started my classes last week. So far, we have had the following 3 hour lectures: Upper respiratory problems, lower respiratory problems, problems with tissue perfusion, and physical assessment of the cardiopulmonary system. We have a 70~ish question exam over these lectures (which each cover multiple chapters) on Thursday. My point is a LOT of material is covered in a short amount of time, and you are expected to remember it all, and quickly. Tests are not black and white such as "What are the signs and symptoms of tonsilitis?" rather "An 73-year old female patient presents in the ER with a history of multiple myocardial infarctions. She has a pacemaker set at 73 beats per minute, and her chief complaint is chest pain. Her blood pressure is blah/blah. As the nurse, your priority action for this patient is what?" - The trick is that all 4 possible answers are correct; you have to choose which answer is the MOST correct given the situation. Students are usually used to fact-based questions since most majors work that way, but in nursing, if you simply memorize then forget basic information, there is no way you can build upon it later as nursing programs do. It is similar to math in that if you don't get basic arithmetic, you will not be able to do algebra.
    lorirn2b, loriangel14, and jaykalkyn like this.
  8. 0
    Hmmm, and I'm used to the black and white of things like math as an accountant. It will be interesting to see how I adjust to those gray areas. Thanks for your input.
  9. 0
    One of my nursing professors told me today that nursing school was harder than medical school today. Mostly because we have to know all those theories and the nclex style tests.
  10. 1
    You should be good on dosage calculations then, which is my primary anxiety issue! Other than that, what everyone said here is right on. Sheer volume of material is stressful, critical thinking for exams is stressful, and the grading scale is intense. Anything less than an 80 is failing in my program.
    saraCOS likes this.
  11. 7
    Quote from VAgirl247
    One of my nursing professors told me today that nursing school was harder than medical school today. Mostly because we have to know all those theories and the nclex style tests.
    No offense to you, but I think your professor is full of baloney.
    saraCOS, dudette10, schnookimz, and 4 others like this.

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