1. I never had to take the TEAS, so hopefully someone else can answer this question.
2. The math required is very basic math (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division) with VERY basic algebra. I'm pretty much math-illiterate and if I can do it, anyone can! If you're going to go into nursing research, statistics come into play.
3. The hardest class I took was probably Nursing Research. A lot of the information didn't make sense to me and I really didn't have any interest in nursing research, so that made it very difficult for me.
4. From a nursing school perspective, I would have to say trying to balance school, work & friends/family. From a nursing perspective, it really just depends and there can be so many factors. Some days the off-going nurse will get NOTHING done...getting multiple admissions at the start of the shift...being short-staffed...demanding family members....doing everything possible for a patient and not being able to get something under control (for example, pain)....etc.
5. Nursing does have good pay, but keep in mind that nurses aren't "rich" or anything. It's good money and it pays the bills. Pay depends on where you live, too. States with a higher cost of living (such as CT) will pay their nurses more (up to $40/hr starting) compared to other states with a lower cost of living. I live in Texas and the pay varies greatly on the area you are in because Texas is so large. Cost of living here is cheap and there is no state income tax. I started out at $23.50/hr + shift differentials because I work nights. With that, I'm making nearly $30/hr as a new grad.
6. Flashcards! Buy them in bulk. Also re-writing my notes really helped, as tedious as it can be sometimes! I am also a highlighting fiend and liked to color-code my notes by highlighting.
7. My program looked at your science GPA - they factored in biochemistry I & II (with labs) and microbiology (with lab) when I was admitted; later they changed it to biochemistry I & II (with labs) and A&P I & II (with labs). You pretty much had to get all A's to get into the program, maybe a B+ in a class. The admission criteria changed every year, though. They averaged out everyone's science GPA and then the school decided on a cut-off point. That cut-off point is what changed every year.
8. Busy! lol. I work night shift on a progressive care unit - we mainly have patients with cardiac problems such as chest pain, heart failure and heart arrhythmias but we receive patients with all sorts of diagnoses. Other common ones are respiratory distress, asthma exacerbation, COPD, pleural effusion, tamponade, renal failure, dehydration, DKA, electrolyte imbalances...the list goes on. Our nurse to patient ratio is 1:4, sometimes 1:5 if we are short-staffed. With that said, a typical day varies on the day and the area you work in. Some days I will admit are absolute chaos and other days are like smooth sailing. As an RN, I am in charge of my patients' health - I keep a watchful eye on them throughout the shift. I perform head-to-toe assessments, give them their medications and do A LOT of patient teaching. I am responsible for reporting any changes to the physician. I also help clients with their basic needs - toileting, grooming/hygiene, emotional/comforting needs, etc. There are A LOT of things that you do and can do as a nurse. It's amazing.
9. I never worked full-time as a student. Once I started nursing school, I immediately opted for a PRN position. I worked as a PCNA (patient care nursing assistant) and then got a job as a nurse tech a few months later. If nursing is the route you want to go, I highly recommend trying to get a job as either a CNA or PCT (patient care tech) or nurse tech. As a PCT/NT you will be able to do more, but CNA experience is also invaluable! As an NT, I was responsible for doing vital signs on patient, helping them with their basic needs (meal times/feeding, helping clients to the bathroom, helping to clean up incontinent clients, grooming/hygiene), intake & output, blood sugars and patient transfers. In addition, I was also allowed to draw labs (except from a central line, we weren't allowed to touch those), start IV's, do tracheostomy suctioning/care, insert foleys, administer enemas and do dressing changes.
10. I went to a 4-year BSN program at a university. I highly recommend going to the BSN route if feasible and able to financially. Many hospitals are pushing for BSN-prepared nurses now. Keep in mind though, just because someone has their BSN doesn't make them "better" than a nurse with an ADN (2 year degree). The pay is the same, too. What makes the BSN different is that you get your nursing theory and research.
11. I only had to take statistics as a prerequisite.
12. Being able to make a difference every day is truly amazing
I wanted to elaborate on tas026's comment on RNs & NAs. Yes it's true that NA's do more of the dirty work, but that still falls under the RN's job description. Some days I feel like I clean up more poop now than I did when I worked as an NT! CNAs do more than just "change diapers" - they're not just glorified butt wipers, you know! And neither are RNs or LPNs. I really appreciate all of the CNAs I work with - they can really make or break your shift. It pains me to see nurses out there who refuse to do "dirty work" because they think "I'm an RN, I'm above you so I don't have to do that anymore." That stuff is often delegated to the CNA because they cannot do things like administer medications, but I try to pitch in whenever I am available. Always treat your CNAs with respect!