What is harder- nursing school or first year working?

  1. Hi! So I just finished my final final of first semester in nursing school, where I am also taking Anatomy and Physiology and a psych class, 13 credits total, and I'm wiped out. I was trying to give myself a pep talk, like only 3 more semesters and you will be done and life will be easier since you won't have to work part time while going to school and taking care of your family- just working and family! But then I thought, first year is supposed to be terrible as well! Which did you think was harder- nursing school or your first year on the job? I know there's still a ton to learn...
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    About BookishBelle

    Joined: Feb '17; Posts: 124; Likes: 140
    from NY , US

    80 Comments

  3. by   AJJKRN
    First year of working hands down.

    Perspective...right now it's your life on the line and in your hands but when you graduate to a practicing nurse it will be many lives on the line and in your hands.
  4. by   FNP>RN
    If you are just starting out, what you will find is like with everything else, each aspect of your education or work experience you encounter will come with its own hardships and set of challenges. Meaning... when I finally finished RN then BSN schooling I felt like I was on top of the world. Then I started working at a very busy ER just to find out that I had to start from scratch at the very beginning again (it is humbling). Once you have been on the job for awhile, you will find your confidence builds and it does get much easier. I think that is what gave me the boost to go back to school and get my FNP. And yes, you will always continue to learn and grow as a nurse no matter what area of nursing you are in.

    What you need to figure out now (along your journey) is what works best for you, what makes you happy, and what you are comfortable enough enduring, regardless if it is a new RN job or your nursing education. When it is all said and done, the journey from the very beginning (RN school) to the very end (your RN job/career) will all have their own hardships, challenges, and ups and downs. Along the way you will just have to find the right balance with school, family, and career to make it all work. And always remember to be true to yourself and do what you love and makes you happy and it will feel like less of a struggle. Good luck in your nursing career!
  5. by   JKL33
    Working.

    Nursing school was a pain but not difficult.
  6. by   NuGuyNurse2b
    I fondly remember an instructor telling us we'll be wishing we were back in nursing school. I of course didn't believe it at the time. but there are days when I do prefer being in a lecture/lab simulation than at work.
  7. by   dogmombyday
    Working, absolutely. I'm halfway through my first year and it is nothing like nursing school. It feels like my brain is whirring a million miles a minute most of the time. No number of lectures can make you realize the sheer amount of responsibility you have on your shoulders. That's not to say it's all bad, because it's not. It can be pretty amazing getting to see your work during nursing school pay off. And you learn so much. Honestly there are a lot of shifts where I'm more mentally exhausted than physically, because there's so much to absorb.
  8. by   wheresthecharge
    I agree with everyone who has posted that working for the first time was harder to cope with in comparison to first semester nursing school.

    However, I find that the first semester was challenging in its own right. I remember thinking and still thinking, am I really smart enough to do this? Why does everyone seem like they are just breezing through this? I think what made me stress the most was constantly comparing myself to others. Though I am a hypocrite when I state this, focus on yourself. You need support and to practice self-care as well. You deserve it for getting into nursing school and choosing to balance all your responsibilities. Even at least 15-30 minutes of doing whatever activity YOU want - sleep, music, food gorge, exercise, reading - each day goes a long way. Take care always. Remember, you are no good to anyone if you don't feel well. So take care of yourself first.
  9. by   HelloWish
    I am 18 months into working as a nurse. I wish I was a student!!! :-)
  10. by   missmollie
    Why do you think school would be more difficult than the job? School is a taste, and by taste I mean a small, minute bite taken by an anorexic fearful of gaining weight, of a huge cake called nursing. It may seem that statement is tasteless, I now call it like I see it and I have no filter. Know why?

    Nursing.

    First year is tough, but you'll get through it. Then you'll gain the no filter that I have, and let things go. Small things like grades and test questions will be small compared to the bigger, realistic challenges of providing good nursing care. What you're doing right now is the hardest, but that first year is even harder. Know what? You'll be okay.
    Last edit by missmollie on Dec 20, '17
  11. by   Libby1987
    One glaring difference is that you can control the pace in school, to a point anyway. Your first year working, the pace will be its own monster in multi simultaneous layers under difficult, sometimes dysfunctional, cirmcumstances and you'll be trying to keep up without giving up.

    That doesn't make it impossible but the degree of difficulty and energy requirement haven't yet leveled out.
  12. by   LibraSunCNM
    Working, hands down, particularly if you're working the night shift (unless you're one of those lucky people who thrive on nights).
  13. by   Davey Do
    Working as an RN the first year was a breeze compared to the RN program.

    However, my story is a little different: I started out in 1977 taking a First Aid course. In 1978, I got certified in CPR and in 1979 I became a certified EMT-B. In 1981 I passed the certification to be Nationally Registered as an EMT-A. In 1983 I went through the LPN Program, worked as a CNA and then as an LPN, and got my RN in 1990.

    While going through the RN program, I had some major life crises occur and that's probably the reason why the RN program was more difficult for me than my first year working as an RN.

    I transitioned into working as an RN more easily than most.
  14. by   not.done.yet
    Working that first year is MUCH more difficult. There is liability. There is the end of the honeymoon and the transition from idealism to reality. In school, you always have your goal to fall back on, the dream that you were chasing. Once you start working, you start to learn allllllllllll the holes your dream glossed over because you just didn't know yet.

    Don't worry. Tons of us survived it and you will too. But yeah. First year? Rough stuff.

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