Daily Profile of a Student Nurse

At 1 o'clock in the morning, I found her wide awake reading a 9-lb Medical Surgical Nursing Book on her study table. An orange highlighter was held firmly by her right hand, highlighting the important words as she goes along. She religiously reads it page by page without minding the late hours. The next day, she was in front of the computer typing some reviewer. The following day she was writing another set of notes on the index cards that she would ask me to quiz her. Nurses Announcements Archive Article

Daily Profile of a Student Nurse

She wakes up almost everyday at 5 am to prepare our breakfast and her snacks while getting ready for hospital duty at 7 am. It is such a wonder how she looks so refreshing with less than an 8 hour of sleep. She wears now her ironed white uniform, then her stretchy white full support anti-varicose vein pantyhose, and her newly shined white shoes. She does it in a fashionably, fast, and careful manner not to crease the uniform or run the pantyhose.

The food served on the table was cooling down as she ties her hair in a tight bun. Then she starts eating by chewing the food, at times chunking it down while watching the morning news. She looked at the clock, it was 6 o'clock; she swiftly grabbed her things and closed the door. I heard the clicking sound of a key. She was gone before I would even wake up.

By 5 pm, she was at home, lying on the bed with several pillows under her legs which served as an elevation to facilitate blood flow, she explained scientifically to me. She started with how her day went, the patients she handled, and some news with her colleagues. She would add that it was not permitted to disclose information about patients.

The stories of her patients were kept between us. It is not easy without an outlet of our emotions especially with nursing that allows one to absorb all emotions. For her, it was me that served as her outlet, like an online blog for others.

I spend my time with her when I can. She also has an online forum which she visits often, allnurses.com. I can see her posting any questions from complex drug computations to rants of nursing life. It had become one of her nursing tool.

In some other days, there was no time to chat when she goes home late at night or too tired to talk. She would rather sleep. She tries very hard to balance her time, by doing the laundry, all the cooking and some other school activities. One thing I have observed, she stopped cleaning around the house and doing the dishes when she started nursing school which is alright with me.

As the night crept in, she was back at her usual study table reading another large book. If she's not reading, I can see her writing the dreaded nursing care plans, researching, or preparing for a case study. I tried not to disturb her.

From time to time, she would take her so called 'mini break'. She would sing, or dance or go out for a walk. I would be sleeping by the time she comes back. It was just an ordinary yet extraordinary day for a nursing student.

Occasionally, she'd go out for a friendly dinner or attend a birthday party. I thought she has no more social life for these events seldom happen. As I can recall, she never went out for a date. I tried to remind her that but expectedly prioritized other things.

One day, I told her how I appreciate her hard work in studying and time management. She simply smiled. I knew that nursing was something special for her.

Wishing all the best to all future nurses! Nurses' rock!

2 year(s) of experience in Oncology, Medical

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Boy, did this letter hit it on the head!! Future rewards for today's sacrifices.....

Specializes in Oncology, Medical.

Thanks! It was intended to have that effect. hehehe Not really. Good luck to everyone!

I am a nursing student and you really hit the nail on the head. All the long hours of studying, etc. Your home life gets put on the back burner sometimes. I feel fortunate that I have a supportive family (husband and teen age daughters) that help out alot around the house so I can spend the time I need studying and working. And yes sleeping once in a while. :w00t:

Wow!!! It is tough being a nursing student... That lets others know that if you want something badly to be dedicated and focus on it and you will make it. Especailly being a nursing student. :up:

Wow! I am really scared. I have heard how hard nursing school is, but this has really hit me as a wake-up call. I am about to apply for the nursing program at my school. I am a married- mother of two: 6 and 7 years old, and wonder if I will be able to handle this kind of stress. I guess anything's possible with hard work. Anybody who has been in my shoes? Please give me some realistic advice.

Specializes in PEDS.

Hi Zarinah,

I am 4 weeks into my first term of nursing school in Florida. I work full time, have a 4year old son and go to school at nights and on the weekends. I also have a very supportive husband. Nursing school IS alot of work. I had to get over my house being a wreck and the dishes piling up, but it is doable and it will be soooooo worth it in the end!! Good Luck!

i just took my boards today; and i thought to myself, that if i go past 75 i am gonna freak out. it shut off at 75 and i completely freaked out.:crash: i will keep you posted. this article fondly reminded me of all the days and nights that i spent studying. i am an asn but i want to go for my bsn and i think that if i don't jump into it now, i will loose momentum. great article.

Specializes in Oncology, Medical.

Thanks for all of your positive comments. Once you get along with nursing school, you will not immediately notice what you have been doing lately until you have a time to reflect on it for the past few weeks, months or years. For those starting out, take it as a challenge. It can be tiring and frustrating at first, eventually you'll get used to it and you will hone your studying skills and increase the speed of multi-tasking. Yes, multi-tasking is a skill to master when doing household chores. Make sure to have a strong support system, they will be always be there for you at the end of the day. Keep those comments coming! :D


I am in my 1st semester of a very good local R.N. program. It is very stressful-most days I find it difficult to remember what day of the week it is and which class schedule we are on...because it changes frequently! And I am normally on top of these things so it is disconcerting to say the least. I have 3 kids and am going thru a divorce-- I am not working but I honestly don't see how people have the time especially the first semester when trying to prepare for clinical rotations. Cramming and learning so much in preparation for them. But! It is a very worthwhile endeavor and all the hard work and stress WILL pay off. Just cope and take it day by day!!!

:D hang in there!!!

Zarinah, hang in there! If I can do it, you can do it. Let me explain.

Last March, I interviewed for my nursing program. About an hour after I interviewed I was excited and pumped up with adrenaline. I took a pregnancy test just to make sure that everything was fine and to prove to myself that my life was back on track. After all, I was on my way to nursing school (at 31)! Nothing could stop me.

Well, nothing stopped me, but something did slow me down. I learned I was pregnant with my third child. There was no way my husband was going to let me back out of this one. I decided that I would proceed with the nursing program anyway.

The letter came informing me that I was accepted into the accelerated nursing program. This is a 13 month program for those who already have bachelor's degrees that now wish to get a BSN. I accepted.

The first semester was not bad, relatively speaking. On two occasions I almost passed out at clinicals. I got winded easier than the others and ate more, but overall it was okay. My life consisted of caring for my daughters/being a wife/attending prenatal appts./studying. I was on autopilot. I even had the TV disconnected so I would devote all free time to studying.

The second semester, now that was a different story. I'll be honest. Those were the hardest four months of my LIFE! And to top it all off, my baby was due on Halloween, a month and two week before the semester ended. I was taking 18 credit hours and doing several 12 hour clinicals a week. I swelled up so much because I was always on my feet. My legs looked like tree trunks! My daughter and husband had to shove my shoes on my feet while I sat there and cried from the pain plus the prospect of facing another 12 hour day at the hospital. As bad as that was, though, I wanted to keep the baby in there as long as possible to finish as many assignments as I could before the baby was born. This way, I would have less to do later. In addition, my husband only got two weeks off from his job, and even with the upcoming Thanksgiving break, I still had three weeks left to cover (to find someone I trusted to care for my baby) and finals to study for and take. I remember giving myself permission to finally "let go" after my last patho/pharm test (almost a week after my due date passed) and relax. That night, after I received my grade, my water broke.

A clinical group of my peers happened to be at clinicals at the hospital when I was in labor. About 13 of them stopped by to say hi. That cheered me up a lot! I turned in a 40 page paper to my instructor at that time. (I just needed to be done with it!) On Nov. 07, 2007, my 9 lb., 4 oz., 22 inch baby boy was born. It is hard to believe I lugged him around clinicals with me! Interestingly enough, another girl had her fourth son five days before me. If we could do it, you can too.

I am now in my last full semester. It is still busy (trying to cram two years of curriculum into about one year), but it is a breeze compared to last semester. As I type this, I look down at my beautiful sleeping son in my lap in his light blue "sweet pea" gown and I would not change a thing. Really. I am proud of what I have done. We lost four people out of our program so far, and I (knock on wood) am here to stay. If all goes well, in about six months, I will be a second career Registered Nurse).

You can do it. Believe in yourself.:stdnrsrck:

Specializes in Med/surg.

well isn't that the truth. thank you for enlightening us of the hard work it takes to be a successful nursing student. the perservearence to start the same routine day-in and day-out is truely short of a miracle in light of the few hours of sleep, lack of good nutrition, and lack of a social life that a nursing student must endure.

i loved this article so much that i am sharing it with my collegues.


since i'm an older student, the pain and suffering is multiplied by two. :yelclap: