Do not underestimate the difficulty level of nursing school... - page 6

by tenjuna

45,022 Views | 77 Comments

As I am almost done with my first year of my ADN nursing program, I decided to write this article with some thoughts about where I was a year ago. I know I am being overly dramatic here, but hey what the hell may as well put... Read More


  1. 0
    Great post...well done.
  2. 1
    I was just telling some of my old classmates (I am a May '12 grad) about a girl in my Ethics class (getting ready for an RN-BSN program) who tells me she won't have any trouble in Nursing school, things come easy for her and she's a slacker. I told her that she has NO idea what she is in for (if she gets in!). I had a 3.5 for my undergraduate degree in Biology and a 4.0 fro my Masters degree. I barely passed Nursing school. We needed an 80 to pass all courses and that was trouble. I think I got one A. I did manage to work part time and I have 2 kids (and a wonderful supportive husband who put up with me for 2 years in school).

    You cannot explain to people what it is like. It is something you have to go through to understand. My class of 59 ended up as a class of 32. And we are all nurses now We have a really strong bond.

    GREAT article.
    tenjuna likes this.
  3. 1
    Quote from LadyFree28
    ^Critical Thinking and Clinical Judgement...Best Book Ever. Search for it on Google or Amazon. One of my nursing professors gave it to me to assist in my test anxiety many moons ago...made me a better nurse!
    I bought this book.

    Please, if you do not know what critical thinking is, or know that you are not good at it, PLEASE do you yourself a favor and buy it. I got it for $3.86 shipped at Amazon.

    Since I wrote this article I bought that book on LadyFree28's advice, read it, and the exam I just took I got a far better score than I have in the past year. I totally credit the book, I found the exam to be a LOT less stressful than all the previous ones.

    If you are unsure what critical thinking actually means...take any truly vexing problem you have ever had, and think about all of the various things you thought of to try and figure it out. You may have considered things that might have contributed to the problem. Maybe you had to solve another problem before you could come back to this one in order to find a solution. Maybe you had to be creative and think outside the box. Maybe you had to go through the problem step by step and check every little thing twice and three times over before you found the solution. There, you have somewhat of an idea of what critical thinking is (though my description is admittedly simplistic, actually doing it as a nurse is MUCH more difficult than I am making it sound) and those are the kinds of the things I have seen/done during clinicals.
    Last edit by tenjuna on Apr 6, '13
    Mmclark1979 likes this.
  4. 1
    Quote from tenjuna

    I bought this book.

    Please, if you do not know what critical thinking is, or know that you are not good at it, PLEASE do you yourself a favor and buy it. I got it for $3.86 shipped at Amazon.

    Since I wrote this article I bought that book on LadyFree28's advice, read it, and the exam I just took I got a far better score than I have in the past year. I totally credit the book, I found the exam to be a LOT less stressful than all the previous ones.

    If you are unsure what critical thinking actually means...take any truly vexing problem you have ever had, and think about all of the various things you thought of to try and figure it out. You may have considered things that might have contributed to the problem. Maybe you had to solve another problem before you could come back to this one in order to find a solution. Maybe you had to be creative and think outside the box. Maybe you had to go through the problem step by step and check every little thing twice and three times over before you found the solution. There, you have somewhat of an idea of what critical thinking is (though my description is admittedly simplistic, actually doing it as a nurse is MUCH more difficult than I am making it sound) and those are the kinds of the things I have seen/done during clinicals.
    ^Glad you were able to improve tenjuna!!!

    That book is sooo WORTH it...still use it myself!!
    tenjuna likes this.
  5. 1
    This was an amazing article. I loved it.
    tenjuna likes this.
  6. 1
    Great article. And so true. It sounds very similar to my experiences. I'm just finishing up my first of two years of ASN at the university. I was always a great student that didn't have to spend a lot of time studying. So needless to say its been a shock. I cannot say how much I underestimated nursing school.

    I went to the orientation and listened as the department told us how nursing school was not like any other degree. We were also told things like "go out to eat with friends....no, I have to study. Go to a move on Friday night....no, I have to study". We were told point blank "if you have a job, you'll probably fail....if you have a family, you'll probably fail....if you're married, there's a good change you won't be by graduation". We were then informed that an average of 130 students (of the 260 that start each year) make it to graduation each year. I was so upset after that I cried and thought about dropping out before I started.

    I tried working in the beginning. I had to pretty much cut back to nothing this semester in order just to get sleep. Even with that, there are still lots of sleepless nights or nights of only getting 4-5 hours. Several other students have done the same. With the amount of reading, classes, clinical rotations, clinical paperwork, community service projects, papers, etc, I can see why they saying nursing school is a full time job plus more. We started out with 260 people in my class last July. We are down to 135, and most of the people that we have lost are people that worked full time, had families, or were fresh out of high school and didn't take it seriously. At Christmas, the class that's getting ready to graduate in May was down to 93. It really scares me how few people make it to the end. The one really good thing is of those that graduated last year, 97% passed the NCLEX the first time. So I know we will be prepared and make great nurses.

    I feel like I barely see my kids and husband. I hate that we seem to be living on frozen dinners this past year. But I keep going by having my husband and friends I only "see" anymore through texts remind me of the prize that awaits me next year when I graduate.
    tenjuna likes this.
  7. 0
    ^^^^ This +1

    I didn't mention it in my article, but my school's nursing program has a 32% graduation rate. It's only the 4th module and we have easily lost half of our cohort already, and we still have 6 modules to go.

    They teach in an NCLEX'ish manner, which I think will be a huge boon at the end, unfortunately it was a shock to the system having to basically think in that way pretty much at day 1. Sooooo not easy, seriously I just got a B on anything for the first time last week, and I felt like I won the lottery.

    It also occurred to me this past week that I don't even remember the last time I spent any time with my kids, and that I haven't even seen at home for a while now (they are teenagers, so likely wouldn't be here anyway lol.) I miss them, but after 2 years they totally understand and back me up. So hard giving that up even though it's temporary, but honestly hey I'm 42, when do I get to start having my own life again? 5 years? 10? Not to mention by then there will probably be grandkids and all that so yeah now is the time.

    The whole point of changing careers was for me to feel like I actually did something with my life, and I just couldn't wait anymore.
    Last edit by tenjuna on Apr 11, '13
  8. 2
    I really needed to read this. Thank you for posting. I am only in my first semester and praying that I am going to get the 79.5 I need to advance at the end of this month. I know I am going into the right field without a doubt, and want this more than anything in the world. As I like to say, "Nursing is my calling". Lol. But you are sooooo right. It is not easy. Straight "A" student your whole life?.....Don't be upset if that is no longer the case. It is a whole new way of thinking, and once I can master that, then I feel like I can be on my way. Social life?? What in the heck is that? That is tucked away until December 2014. A good piece of advice I was given was this (after a couple very low test grades), "You don't have to be perfect, just be good enough." It was funny how those simple words actually made me feel better, and smile. If an 80 is what you need on that test to be considered passing, don't put that added pressure on yourself to aim for that "A". Because in the end, the student with the 94 and the student with the 80 are both nursing students, passing the course, and continuing on together. Good luck to ALL students. Throw a little luck my way too, I am needing it right now.
    mmc51264 and tenjuna like this.
  9. 1
    During my final year of my ADN program I studied wildly and for hours at a time. I made note cards, read over and over, referenced other books, and emailed questions to instructors when totally at my wits end! My closest friend studied occasionally. She would still go on with her life, and seemingly never altered her regular pre-nursing school routines. Once she studied only the night before an exam and I scored higher than her by only 2 percentage points after I studied relentlessly for days! What a slap in the face that was!
    tenjuna likes this.
  10. 2
    Love your post I have printed this to share with my niece who needs the inspiration and motivation you are so right obtaining a nursing degree is stressful and hard but oh so rewarding. Good luck to you it is worth it in the end.
    amberella123 and tenjuna like this.


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