Why Is Nursing School So Hard?

  1. 0
    What makes nursing school so hard? Would like to hear from those who are currently going to or who have been through nursing school - what made it the most challenging for you? Please be specific.
    Last edit by jphume on Mar 24, '06

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  2. 50 Comments...

  3. 0
    Ok, specific:

    Lots of pressure to make a certain grade to stay in the program (ie 75%, 76, 77, 78, 80, etc).

    Learning to think like a nurse is hard--its called critical thinking and its a skill that has to be developed through taking MILLIONS of NCLEX-like test questions amoung other things...

    Clinicals are not hard, but are stressful in different ways...(well, some people think they are hard--I guess it depends which one you are in. I have heard Peds is the most challenging.)

    Clinical paperwork--time consuming and very thorough.

    The time factor--there is never enough time to do everything that needs to be done--always feel behind.

    The amount of reading is Hurculean.

    Medical math, pharmacology, etc is VERY challenging.

    My thing is that I dont find school "hard" I find it extremely "challenging." It is a sink or swim kind of thing. You either keep up or you flunk out...:0

    I dont know how much more specific you want--really, you just have to experience it yourself--people seem to handle it differently and struggle with different things (excel in areas too--like me--I was told my paperwork was excellent, but I struggled with memorizing medical terminology of all things--lol).

    I dont think I can explain it any better. You should do a search tho cuz this question is asked on a weekly basis around here!
  4. 0
    Good thread. Personally, nursing school has been very challenging. Little old me. No kids, no crazy responsibilities. I work a part time job at nights. I have no idea how mothers do this. Determination I guess. For myself, nursing is like learning a new language. I came into this program very green. There are so many different things to learn and observe. It can sometimes be overwhemling. The first semester was the hardest so far. Time managment was key. Pharm on-line sucked!!! But things are slowing down a little.

    Survival of the fittest holds true. We started with 37 and we are down to 30. Kinda scary. Just take one day at a time. Medicine is an ongoing learning process. Good Luck.
  5. 1
    I agree with allthingsbright. It really is a matter of learning how to juggle everything - which can be difficult if there are other things in your life that demand your time and attention. Get used to always feeling like you are behind, because really you are. You will just finish a test and it seems like the next one is there. Stay on top of your reading as much as you can (It is ALOT of material)!!!! learn to let the little things go - before nursing school you could eat off my floors, now I am lucky if my floors get mopped once a month. You have to really keep things in perspective - it honestly doesn't matter if your floor doesn't get mopped, or your kids eat cereal for dinner occassionally. Best of luck to you! And don't let us scare you - nursing school really is great. I have made some of the best friends I have ever had in school and we do have alot of fun. Be sure to let us know how things are going for you.

    48 days to pinning!!!!!!!!!
    Jessy_RN likes this.
  6. 0
    48 days to pinning!!!!!!!!![/quote]


    Congrats!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  7. 2
    Well, first of all I think I have to clarify what I mean by hard. For me it was hard because just about everything I was learning in nursing school was new to me and I had never studied anything like it before. Also, at first we were given subjects to learn and for some time I kept wondering what the importance of learning all the things were because there were so many nursing subjects and none of them seemed to fit together or make much sense lined up side by side. That meant I had to do a lot of memorizing which doesn't mean a whole lot when you are desperately trying to understand a subject that is very new to you. The understanding, however, doesn't come until the coursework is nearly over and you start to realize that the sciences that you had to take, the clinicals you went to and the nursing you were memorizing and learning for the past two years really does fit together into one big picture. So, that was the hardest.

    I suppose the other hard thing about nursing school, and perhaps using the word hard is just a matter of using the wrong word, is that the training is just different from traditional school. You actually have to stand up and physically perform tasks and go to hospitals and work with real people doing these tasks. This comes with big emotional feelings and that is very different from just going to a classroom and hearing a lecture every day. When you do a procedure on a patient you are very likely to get an immediate and emotional response from them that effects you emotionally on the spot as well. However, you realize there are consequences to your actions at those times and this is very different from looking at a grade at the top of a test paper and thinking about how you hate the teacher and the terrible test you just did poorly on. What I am trying to say is that one of the things you learn about in nursing school is yourself. Whether you want to know about you or not, your responses to life situations are going to be thrown at you via the patients you work with and that is not always the most pleasant thing for most people's psyche. You will have to face and think about your feelings on death, disability, disfigurement, being homeless, getting beaten up by someone you love--the list goes on and on. Most of us don't live under those circumstances and we don't want to even think about them. You will examine them in nursing school, however, and for many people this is hard to do.

    So, if you are expecting that nursing school is going to be attending a class, taking notes and taking tests, getting grades and then graduating you are only partly correct. You will find that it is going to be a formal education the likes you never heard of before. It is a real experience and one that no one has ever had a background to prepare for. Hard? Maybe. I would say that rather than hard, it should be termed different, very, very different than what you have been accustomed to. You will come away from nursing school with an opened mind and some attitude changes in yourself that you might not have been expecting. Change is never easy. These changes may be enough to put you in conflict with the values you were taught at home growing up.
    SherriSim and ahnniem like this.
  8. 0
    Quote from HHW2006
    I agree with allthingsbright. It really is a matter of learning how to juggle everything - which can be difficult if there are other things in your life that demand your time and attention. Get used to always feeling like you are behind, because really you are. You will just finish a test and it seems like the next one is there. Stay on top of your reading as much as you can (It is ALOT of material)!!!! learn to let the little things go - before nursing school you could eat off my floors, now I am lucky if my floors get mopped once a month. You have to really keep things in perspective - it honestly doesn't matter if your floor doesn't get mopped, or your kids eat cereal for dinner occassionally. Best of luck to you! And don't let us scare you - nursing school really is great. I have made some of the best friends I have ever had in school and we do have alot of fun. Be sure to let us know how things are going for you.

    48 days to pinning!!!!!!!!!


    Congrats! Job well done!

    I would "Ditto" those above me. It's hard because you feel like you are always behind. I have spring break this week and many people are going away. I'm using the time to finish my taxes, catch up on papers coming due and study, study study for A&P and Chemistry! I'm hoping to rest a little, but at this point I feel as if I will never catch up and I'm drowning in due dates for papers!

    I find that many of my professors aren't as clear as they should be when explaining what they want on papers. Many of my classes I'm e-mailing classmates to ask them what they think of my papers and if I'm on the right track. That's my biggest frustration in school right now.

    I also have noticed that many needed classes are simply not available every semester and/or they have very little "sections" available. Many classes are quickly filled and getting into a full class is very difficult even though many of the pre-req's classes are seem to "lose" students!

    It is difficult to juggle studying with a family and absorbing such new matieral. As the semester moves on I find myself more and more panicked feeling like I won't be able to keep up with the work. I know I only have 5-6 weeks left and that doesn't comfort me. Instead I see dead-lines approaching and I wonder If I'll make it.

    I find the biggest comfort is my classmates. We all work hard and support each other. I know if any of my classmates have problems then we will spend time in our study group helping that student to understand that concept.

    I hope this info helps you.
  9. 0
    I just finished nursing school in December. You are right nursing school is very hard. I'm an older student, and the last semester found out I was expecting. Made working on the floor even more difficult because I start out my days tired. But the reason for it, is that after you are done it is expected that you will be able to care for and be responsible for another human life. Not like you are with your own child. This is another human life unrelated to you. You must be able to show you are compitent enough to do so. When you graduate those instructors are saying "We believe this person is able to care for another human being within a nursing realm." Plus when you are on the floor it is not the fluff you see on TV. It is hard rigorous work. Are those the things you are wanting addressed?
  10. 0
    I graduated in 2000 at age 44. I already had a previous degree.

    Nursing school was difficult, but more because I had so many other responsibilities in addition to school (I worked fulltime and was divorced with two preteen kids). I felt crazed by stress by the time I was done, actually.

    I studied far less for nursing school than I did for my previous degree in French. French was more difficult academically for me than nursing school was, partly because by the time I got to nursing school, I'd dealt with my children's illnesses (so had a start on Peds), my parents' illnesses (had a start on geriatrics), had given birth twice plus had some gyn problems (had a start on ob/gyn), had worked as a psych interviewer & researcher (was almost to the finish line on psych), had taught a year of school (was already good at educating), and my first degree was all about communication so I had that covered as well. French I had to learn from the bottom up, so had to memorize an entire new language, pronunciation, spelling, words, meanings, without many English cognates to tie French words to.

    If you are very young and haven't been exposed to a lot of the medical stuff that goes along with modern life, then you have a smaller knowledge base to build on, so you have to study more and it's academically harder (like French was for me). Nursing school tends to be more stressful for many people because of the way classes and clinicals are set up (in many schools, it's long blocks of time, and then you must produce what you learned when you're in clinical). Plus there's the fact that while you are in clinical, some of your patients are very ill or scared (or both).
  11. 0
    For some people, nursing school is hard because it requires them to change the way the think and/or behave. While you don't have to change "who you are" completely, sometimes it feels as if you do in order to succeed. Simply knowing the answers on a test is not enough -- your instructors have to approve of your performance in the clinical area in order for you to graduate and it is difficult for many students to cope with that reality. You have to learn to modify your behavior so that you can be accepted by the senior members of the profession -- sometimes in ways that do not come naturally for the student.

    llg


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