So, how hard is it--Really?

  1. Hi everyone!

    I'm starting NS school in the fall and I'm getting a little nervous here. I have all my prereqs done so I'll just be taking the nursing courses. I've heard from many people that nursing school is like boot camp.....People have said it was the hardest thing they've ever done. Most I've heard have struggled their way through it.

    Today I met a woman at my daughter's school who graduated 3 years ago from the progam I am going to. I asked her for some words of wisdom and she said "There will come a time when you want to quit. Everyone goes through it. Just stick it out, it's all worth it in the end." She also said "If you're an A student, be prepared to be a 'B' student."

    That kind of freaked me out.

    I'm not worried about working hard. In fact, I get my greatest satisfaction by receiving an A from a class that I worked my a$$ off in. I just wonder what I'm in for. I'm dedicated. I'm ready. Am I in for it?
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    About GottaGetIn

    Joined: Feb '07; Posts: 440; Likes: 14

    21 Comments

  3. by   hikernurse
    Your friend actually has some pretty good advice. Personally, I have found there are definitely times I want to quit, but I just keep slogging through. My grades are lower than my pre-reqs, but mostly A's, still. I work and have a family and that's the best I can do right now without sacrificing time away from those I love and who love me

    You can get all A's if you want and are willing to put in the time, people do.

    It sounds like you're prepared and will do well. just be prepared for it to be a different experience than you're used to.
  4. by   Bicycleboy
    I have found that the work is a bit easy, but it's the amount that is piled on you, which makes it hard.

    My secret is to start out really hard and get ahead, get the good marks while you can, then at the end of the semester when you are sick of all the work you do not have to worry as much.

    If you make it so you don't need that high of a mark to pass a few courses, you can then put the limited amount of effort that you are willing to muster up towards the courses that you are not doing so good in.

    If you put in a really good consitent effort you can have A's all the way through, no problem, just be prepared to not have any spare time. The most important thing is to ignore the whiners in your class if you happen to have any. Don't join them in the pity party, the more effort you spend whining the more effort you take away from your studies, because whining is not going to teach anything.

    Like you said in your post you "are not afraid of working hard" so if this is true you have nothing to be afraid of; but remember, when it comes to pratical, working hard may not mean anything if you don't work smart.
  5. by   sandys
    I just finished my 3rd quarter. This last one was by far the hardest. The classes were difficult and we spent 2 full days at the hospital and one evening getting our patient information and learning meds, etc., for the next day. I mostly felt I didn't have enough time and energy to do everything that needed to be done. Being winter term, most of us were dealing with being sick at one point or another as well, which made it especially difficult.

    If you got through the pre-req's, you can get through nursing school. It will take the same kind of prioritizing and commitment as it did before. I do agree there will be some point when you are certain that somewhere there is a perfectly acceptable degree that would have been a hell of a lot easier to earn! But you can get through it!
  6. by   arciedee
    I think it depends on you how hard it is. Some people find it easy, some find it difficult. I think all of us probably go through swings of "I love this!/I hate this!" There have been times when I've thought, you know, corporate life was pretty cush... I could go back to that! But honestly those are just flitting thoughts when I have a bunch of stuff due and don't feel like doing it. Then I get through it (or I go to clinical and walk away reminded of why I'm doing this).

    Try not to stress out about it now. Enjoy the spring and summer. Don't worry about studying... but DO get yourself organized before school starts or the first day of school. If you have an organization system (binders, calendars, etc.) set up for your classes that will make things go so much more smoothly.

    It's a lot of work but it's also a lot of fun. Try to keep your eye on the prize and enjoy the journey as much as possible. Stop and smell the roses once in a while and pinch yourself to remind you that you did it! You got into nursing school, you're a nursing student! Good luck!
  7. by   GottaGetIn
    Arciedee, I am from NH, too!!

    Thank you SO much for your responses. I really appreciate the honesty.

    I love seeing everyone's perspective on this. I'm so excited.

    Congrats to you all for getting so far! Becoming an RN is so close for you all!
  8. by   WDWpixieRN
    I think NS is a lot of what you make of it, and a lot of what you put in to it....great advice above about staying away from the people who will drag you down...stay out of the politics...make friends with as many people as you can, keeping in mind you are STUCK with this group through to graduation...between group projects, changing clinical groups, etc., you don't want to make any enemies as you never know when you will need each other...

    I am in the middle of my second semester and am beat....tired of textbooks and trying to cram so much information in my poor pea-brain!! But I have hung on to strong "B"s without killing myself, and I'm satisfied with that....it's just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other and then showing up....there are some not even willing to put that much effort in to it...this is SO much tougher than my Bachelor's in Business was, but the eventual job duties and responsibilities will be, too!!
  9. by   lisabeth
    This is a great thread. Thanks for the words of wisdom from those who are going through it.
  10. by   shoegalRN
    My advice would be to have good time management skills. By that, I mean have a strict study schedule and at all costs, STICK TO IT! If you are a crammer, plan on changing your study habits before you enter nursing school because I guarantee you, you won't be able to just "cram" the information 2 or 3 days before the test; there is just too much information. Take it from a "crammer currently in rehab" because this is how I passed all my pre-req's with flying colors and was in for a rude awakening entering nursing school. Most of the nursing courses are application based, not memorization. Believe you me, you will need to memorize some information, but you best need to know HOW to apply the information you learned. Unlike pre-reqs, nursing courses just compile on top of each other. So what you learned in Patho will be applied again in Med-Surg and so on.

    Also, I was a A-B student (pre-req's) and now I'm lucky if I get a B. However, I did finish my first nursing course with a strong B. Another thing to get used to is the grading scale used in nursing school. If you are used to getting A's, be ready to work twice as hard to get what you are used to getting.

    Another thing, get used to the tests in nursing school. They simply are not like any other tests you have probably taken before. They are based on alot of critical thinking and if you don't learn anything else from nursing school, you will learn how to become a good test taker. In my school, the tests are worded like the questions on the NCLEX, so if you do good on the tests, you should pass the NCLEX on the first try.

    My last piece of advice is to stay positive. Don't get caught up in gossip and clique-y groups, stay under the radar, and remember you are there to achieve your dream. It's nice to make friends while in school, but please keep in mind, surround yourself with positive people.
  11. by   katgal
    These are great recommendations for being successful in NS. I fully agree that consistency is the way to go. Stick next to the positive people, stay away from the negative. Enlist the help from loved ones to help with the household "stuff" like making dinner, picking up the house etc. I could not do without my husband's help and support! One thing I had to change my thinking about was grades, as mentioned in some of the other replies. I was quite used to getting "A"s until now. It is very had to not beat yourself up when you get less than that but then the grading scale is a lot different now. Most of us who have gotten into NS hold ourselves to such high standards because we've had to just to get here! Don't get down on yourself if you get lower grades than you used to. Congratulations for getting in!!
  12. by   ExCorporateRN
    I did not find it intellectually challenging. What I found difficult is the time management and trying to develop the "nurse intuition". Most of your test questions are not technical but rather an application of what a nurse would do.

    Without being a nurse, you will find that you can eliminate the test questions down to two answers with one being more correct. Since I did not work as as nurse, tech, etc... I had no idea and could argue both points. That is the tough part.

    The instructors tell you not to over-analyze when answering, but it is hard to do when you have no experience.

    Get the Straight A's in Nursing guides and review the nursing interventions and questions at the end of each chapter. Often I have seen these questions on our exams.
  13. by   shoegalRN
    Quote from CorporateToRN
    I did not find it intellectually challenging. What I found difficult is the time management and trying to develop the "nurse intuition". Most of your test questions are not technical but rather an application of what a nurse would do.

    Without being a nurse, you will find that you can eliminate the test questions down to two answers with one being more correct. Since I did not work as as nurse, tech, etc... I had no idea and could argue both points. That is the tough part.

    The instructors tell you not to over-analyze when answering, but it is hard to do when you have no experience.

    Get the Straight A's in Nursing guides and review the nursing interventions and questions at the end of each chapter. Often I have seen these questions on our exams.

    I couldnt have agreed with you more. As stated in my previous post, I found time management to be one of my biggest challenges. Also, I do agree about the answering the test questions as if you were already a nurse because that's exactly how they are worded. They are based on more application than memorization. If you are answering a question, you had better know WHY you are picking that answer.

    I know off the bat, I can eliminate 2 questions that are automatically wrong and I'm learning that the other 2 questions will have a clue in it that matches the question that is being asked. It's a really hard thing to no over-analyze, so I try not to read too much into the question.

    Can you tell me where to pick up Straight A's in Nursing Guide?
  14. by   momathoner09
    I think it all depends on your school and the curriculum and grading system. At my school you need a 93 or better for an "A" and let me tell you how hard it is to get that grade. An 80 or better is passing so that leaves little room for error either. I guess the thing I had to get used to is the fact that for the next (however long your program is) 2 years I was going to eat, sleep and breathe nursing. I think it does get better (not necessarily easier, but better) b/c you develop a system for studying and care plans. The first semester I was completely confused on "how" to study.

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