Am I smart enough to be a Nurse!


I am a Certified Nursing Assistant but decided to go back to school to be an LPN. I am taking prerequisite classes now. My school requires high scores on the NLN Exam. I took the test yesterday and scored average. My classes are really hard as well and I'm struggling to stay on top of everything. I am also a brain tumor survivor and am fully aware the difference a good nurse makes. I know I would make a great nurse. My heart is in it. I guess I'm just feeling a bit overwhelmed. Any support/advice will be thankfully accepted! God bless!

I have known nurses with all kinds of learning disabilities, some very severe.

The one thing I have come to find out is that people fail out of nursing school due to a lack of motivation and priorities, not due to the intelligence.

The question you have to ask yourself is how bad you want to become a nurse and what you are willing to do to achieve that goal.

I think it's more about how hard you work. If you take the time to figure out your priorities when studying and dedicate yourself, you can do it! Also, study smart! Use your time efficiently. Good luck!

allnurses Guide

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

2 Articles; 6,837 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 12 years experience.

If you scored average then yes, you are smart enough to be a nurse. However, your challenges may mean that to achieve where you want to be you may have to work harder than others to get there. Fair? No, probably not. But that doesn't help you, so don't spend any time dwelling on it. Take scope of your challenges that are keeping you from getting the grades you actually need to get in and put plans into place to deal with them and then work those plans with your heart and soul if this is what you want. As mentioned above, most of the time it is a matter of motivation, follow through and grit.

I didn't think I was smart enough to be a nurse. I'm a nurse.

Best of luck.


962 Posts

Has 7 years experience.

As a previous poster stated, if you scored average, you're intellectually "smart" enough. If your nursing program requires a higher score than you obtained, study up and retake it if allowed. I did not know what the NLN exam was, but assumed it was an entrance exam. Quick google search led me to a few things. Here is one link I found for the exam. You know what the test is like, so you have the advantage of doing better with study/practice if your school requires it.

PAX: Don't Stress the Test! - Galen College

I want to note that they stated "Answer the hard questions first" but proceeded to describe not dwelling on a hard question and moving along and going back. That leads me to believe it was a typo.

You can easily google more tools.

If your study method isn't working for you, switch it up. Mix it up. Figure out how your teacher tests. Does he go by the book? By an outline? A power point? Strictly what is stated in class? I had an A&P teacher whose questions and answers were entirely based off an outline he followed while teaching. I recorded his lectures, listened to them the few days leading up to the exam, and rarely got less than a 100%

Meanwhile other students were struggling with the test when all you had to do was listen to him. HOWEVER, you obviously can't master the material without actually studying. Yes, I got those A's, but I knew to succeed I needed a study method that worked for me. I read the book and used supplements. Youtube, for example, as I learned about myself that I am a highly visual learner. Trouble with learning about enzymes and co-enzymes for example? Youtube video! Then I'd read it again in my text and make notes. "Make sure your supplement material is from a trusted source.

Study smart. You can't go hours and hours studying. Our brains do not learn that way. I remember learning about peaks and dips in learning during a period of time. For example, we tend to remember most the 1st thing we read and the last thing. Spend about 45 minutes, take a break. When you come back, review what you just studied. It helps it stick. I got this in high school from a lecture/program called, "Where There's a Will, There's asn A." Quite old, incredibly useful.

In nursing school, and this is just my experience as learnimg methods are highly individualized, I did not spend mych time on my school texts. There was so much fluff. There's no reason those books need to be mountain high. I used supplemental books that skipped the fluff and got dpwn to the nitty gritty. I would find the nitty gritty in the text, briefly read it, then used my supplemental materials.

Succeeding is about studying smart, finding what method works best for you, and dedication.

I was terrible at clinical skills, while it was many of my classmates favorite part. I had to spend way more time in the lab than my classmates, bc it did not come easily to me. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Pinloint yours asnd focus on what you need to do to improve on your weaknesses. Utilize your schools free tutors! I haf to in Chemistry, for sure. Sorry for the long post, but I hope it helps.

Sorry for all the typos. Typing quickly on my phone.

Lots of good advice here!!! You are smart enough & the test says so. Without YouTube I never, ever would have been able to set up the statistical analysis needed to get through my CAPSTONE for my DNP. I remember being in Community College working on my Associates Degree and thinking the same thing you are now. Keep working & trying and forging ahead. You can get there. Good Luck!!!

Has 15+ years experience.

I am going to go against the grain a little here. Yes, it sounds like you have the baseline intelligence to be an nurse. But I would take a hard look at what, if any, cognitive deficits you have due to your tumor. How is your short term memory? Response to stress? Need for sleep? These could make nursing very difficult, but are not the kind of things measured by a standardized test.


4 Posts

Has 1 years experience.

My grandma always said I should go into nursing. She said I was way smarter than her and that she was a C student in nursing school. When she retired, she had been head nurse of surgery for her city's main hospital for decades. Average ain't so bad. Average saved lots of lives and contributed to many positive patient outcomes. Average bought her own house and helped her family, provided for her retirement. Average didn't think she could do it in the beginning, but she did it, at a later age in life and amidst many other obstacles. She just never gave up.