Why is NS so hard?

  1. I am just wondering to the current NS students in the forums what makes NS so hard. Is it the couse work that you are given or maybe it is the amount of work that is involved. Please explain to my why out of a full class in most school only about 2/3 actually finish the program. I check with my school and out of 79 students about 52 finished last year. I will be starting a BSN program in 2009. This information i very informative to me so that I do not make the mistake of drop or failing out of NS.
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    About mydee

    Joined: Mar '06; Posts: 124; Likes: 23

    31 Comments

  3. by   Lisa CCU RN
    Nursing school is not hard. It is a lot of information and it is different from other majors, like history for example.

    You cannot just go to class (or not) and just listen to the instructor and expect to pass. Also, you cannot cram. Well, you can cram, but you won't remember anything and you do need this stuff because people's lives are in your hands.

    Another thing is you cannot just spit memorized info back on a test; you have to KNOW the info and how to apply it.

    Yet another thing you have to do is stay up the night before and do paperwork for clinicals until 2:00 am and then be expected to know every med, diagnosis, and treatment you patient has at 6:00 am.

    Lastly, you don't have personality conflicts (not usually anyway) with clinical faculty that could pass or fail you. You are not under any of the pressure to do a return demonstration on a live person or dummy under the piercing eyes of a clinical instructor you swear doesn't like you.




    Nursing school is not hard. You just have to master all of the above.

    Good Luck.
  4. by   Maudy
    Nursing school is hard, but you just have to put your mind to it. A lot of people that drop/fail out is because they didn't give it their all and just didn't care. I wanted to drop out a few times, but I didn't.
  5. by   smk1
    NS is very time consuming and draining, so motivation can wane and your spirit can be beaten down if you don't have a good support network. The grading of a lot of the assignments and even clinical work can be very subjective. Test questions are not just rote memorization. You have to take it to the next level and apply it to scenarios and decipher what the best action is for the nurse to take in that situation. This is also at times subject to opinion in some ways. So getting the hang of testing and how to write adequate care plans can be a bear. NS is very political and the gossip mill runs wild. It is easy to be at the center of controversy or to be distracted by controversy around you. Family and friends can feel neglected (because they probably are) and can cause added drama. You can easily get hooked on caffeine and bad eating habits if you aren't careful because you are so busy. Financial difficulties make it hard to get through. One bad school week can sink you at least a whole letter grade if not fail you. One mistake in clinical "can" get you dropped from the program depending on what it was and other factors. You don't get a "clean" slate from semester to semester as you have a file that has info about your performance and problems that follows you from teacher to teacher. All in all it can be a very stressful time in your life.

    Now things you can do to relieve some of this stress and be prepared.
    1. Get and stay organized. Utilize a calender so you can keep track of your classes, tests and other responsiblities
    2. Paper plates, and plastic cups and COSTCO dinners are your friend. Dish washing and cooking take up time that could be better spent in many of our cases.
    3. Buy TONS of printer paper, ink cartridges, highlighters, BLACK pens (no other colors because you can't use them at clinical so why accidentally show up with blue). Notecards, pencils and other needed school supplies. I like to have an extra uniform top at least if you don't want a full extra uniform set.
    4. Buy extra underwear! this seems weird, but this way you have more time between laundry if you need it.
    5. Try your best to stay healthy, but have the dayquil, and other OTC remedies handy at home so you can function if need be.
    6. DO NOT GET INVOLVED IN A STUDY GROUP UNLESS YOU KNOW THE PEOPLE AND KNOW THEY WILL HELP YOU BE PRODUCTIVE! This can be a BIG time waster!
    7. Do not argue minutia with the teacher. If something is subject to debate, do it politely and at an appropriate time with references handy from your text books to back you up. If you still get shot down, move on. You need to build a good reputation in NS. Argueing rarely helps that aim.
    8. Have a battery backup alarm clock. This is particularly important as we head into the stormy fall and winter months. You cannot be late to clinical.
    9. Get involved at school in activities that will help build your reputation as a good student and will help you clinically. Examples are participating in flu shot clinics (good IM injection practice) or BP clinics. They key is moderation though. Learn to say "not this time".
    10. Keep your cell phone off during class and try not to be the student who has a personal anecdote for every disease process covered in class. Ask questions but if you are really struggling don't take too much class time up if you are struggling alone. This is what office hours are for. Seek help IMMEDIATELY if you are struggling or don't understand a concept. Everything builds upon previous knowledge so you need that solid foundation.
    11. Review your A&P when needed, but don't waste time re-learning the whole book. It usually isn't necessary and not realistic anyway.
    12. Read the boxes and review paragraphs at the end of each chapter.
    13. If you are scared to do something in clinical, practice it until your arms fall off and tell your teacher that you need to do ____ to get over the fear of it.
    14. Don't be afraid to ask for help. No one (who is sane) will expect you to know everything. On the same token, be responsible for your own learning. Look things up when possible instead of always asking the teacher or a clinical nurse.
    15. Take time out to have fun or you will burn out.
    16. The practice questions on CD's are very good practice to help you get used to the type of questions that will appear on the test.
    17. If you are going to buy extra books to supplement your learning, ask upper classmen what books were helpful and what were a waste of money.
    18. Amazon is cheap!
    19. Pack your backpack the night before so that you aren't in a rush and forget something.
    20. If you are unsure if you are allowed to do something, don't do it until you know for sure that you can. Don't nitpick licensed nurses over their non-textbook ways of doing things, but make sure you stick to the textbook way. Take advantage of clinical experiences as they come, as you near graduation you will really appreciate any experience that you have.

    Most of all remember how hard you worked to get to NS so savor your accomplishment, get plenty of rest and get ready for quite a ride!
  6. by   Jilaweez
    I agree with everyone else. It takes a LOT of work, and a lot of time. What makes it hard is the dedication you have to have and the fact that you are sooo tired it is hard to maintain that dedication. If you take it one day at a time and study your tush off you'll be fine...at least that is what i'm hoping for myself!!
  7. by   LadyEJ BSN, RN
    Nursing school is killing me
  8. by   shippoRN
    Quote from SMK1
    NS is very time consuming and draining, so motivation can wane and your spirit can be beaten down if you don't have a good support network. The grading of a lot of the assignments and even clinical work can be very subjective. Test questions are not just rote memorization. You have to take it to the next level and apply it to scenarios and decipher what the best action is for the nurse to take in that situation. This is also at times subject to opinion in some ways. So getting the hang of testing and how to write adequate care plans can be a bear. NS is very political and the gossip mill runs wild. It is easy to be at the center of controversy or to be distracted by controversy around you. Family and friends can feel neglected (because they probably are) and can cause added drama. You can easily get hooked on caffeine and bad eating habits if you aren't careful because you are so busy. Financial difficulties make it hard to get through. One bad school week can sink you at least a whole letter grade if not fail you. One mistake in clinical "can" get you dropped from the program depending on what it was and other factors. You don't get a "clean" slate from semester to semester as you have a file that has info about your performance and problems that follows you from teacher to teacher. All in all it can be a very stressful time in your life.

    Now things you can do to relieve some of this stress and be prepared.
    1. Get and stay organized. Utilize a calender so you can keep track of your classes, tests and other responsiblities
    2. Paper plates, and plastic cups and COSTCO dinners are your friend. Dish washing and cooking take up time that could be better spent in many of our cases.
    3. Buy TONS of printer paper, ink cartridges, highlighters, BLACK pens (no other colors because you can't use them at clinical so why accidentally show up with blue). Notecards, pencils and other needed school supplies. I like to have an extra uniform top at least if you don't want a full extra uniform set.
    4. Buy extra underwear! this seems weird, but this way you have more time between laundry if you need it.
    5. Try your best to stay healthy, but have the dayquil, and other OTC remedies handy at home so you can function if need be.
    6. DO NOT GET INVOLVED IN A STUDY GROUP UNLESS YOU KNOW THE PEOPLE AND KNOW THEY WILL HELP YOU BE PRODUCTIVE! This can be a BIG time waster!
    7. Do not argue minutia with the teacher. If something is subject to debate, do it politely and at an appropriate time with references handy from your text books to back you up. If you still get shot down, move on. You need to build a good reputation in NS. Argueing rarely helps that aim.
    8. Have a battery backup alarm clock. This is particularly important as we head into the stormy fall and winter months. You cannot be late to clinical.
    9. Get involved at school in activities that will help build your reputation as a good student and will help you clinically. Examples are participating in flu shot clinics (good IM injection practice) or BP clinics. They key is moderation though. Learn to say "not this time".
    10. Keep your cell phone off during class and try not to be the student who has a personal anecdote for every disease process covered in class. Ask questions but if you are really struggling don't take too much class time up if you are struggling alone. This is what office hours are for. Seek help IMMEDIATELY if you are struggling or don't understand a concept. Everything builds upon previous knowledge so you need that solid foundation.
    11. Review your A&P when needed, but don't waste time re-learning the whole book. It usually isn't necessary and not realistic anyway.
    12. Read the boxes and review paragraphs at the end of each chapter.
    13. If you are scared to do something in clinical, practice it until your arms fall off and tell your teacher that you need to do ____ to get over the fear of it.
    14. Don't be afraid to ask for help. No one (who is sane) will expect you to know everything. On the same token, be responsible for your own learning. Look things up when possible instead of always asking the teacher or a clinical nurse.
    15. Take time out to have fun or you will burn out.
    16. The practice questions on CD's are very good practice to help you get used to the type of questions that will appear on the test.
    17. If you are going to buy extra books to supplement your learning, ask upper classmen what books were helpful and what were a waste of money.
    18. Amazon is cheap!
    19. Pack your backpack the night before so that you aren't in a rush and forget something.
    20. If you are unsure if you are allowed to do something, don't do it until you know for sure that you can. Don't nitpick licensed nurses over their non-textbook ways of doing things, but make sure you stick to the textbook way. Take advantage of clinical experiences as they come, as you near graduation you will really appreciate any experience that you have.

    Most of all remember how hard you worked to get to NS so savor your accomplishment, get plenty of rest and get ready for quite a ride!
    this post is spot on!
  9. by   patrick1rn
    It is hard in that you have to meet the standards and the required readings and math and clinical rotation. So what, study, get over it and do it
  10. by   SarasotaRN2b
    Because unlike other majors, this is one where life and death are true realities. You can't expect to have the responsibility over other people's lives without having to really apply and learn what you need to.
  11. by   kmn360
    This was great - can it be a sticky?
  12. by   richardjboro1
    Very good info here. I'll add that it's not "hard" but just time consuming and LOTS of info thrown at you on a a daily basis. Get organized, and tell friends you'll call them in two years ( or 3 or 4). Get a PDA, and load it up with a great planner, a drug book and lab values. It will pay for itself in your first 3 clinicals.


    Richard
  13. by   allieshannon
    Our NS is very hard.. You have to study, study, study.. At my school we have been told that some of the prereq's are made difficult to weed out students who are thought to not be able to make it completely through. I have seen lot's of students change their major during nursing pre-req's. I agree with the other posters that talk about like of outside life. Between school and family I really have no time for nothing else. Weekends are spent reading chapters to be ready for lecture on Mondays! It is very difficult but if you keep a positive attitude and stick with other nursing students who are positive you can do it!
  14. by   nurturingkneads
    I agree with what everyone else has said. I am in my 3rd semester out of 5 and each semester gets more difficult. The one thing I would like to add is be sure to always have a GOOD ATTITUDE. You might be having the worst day of your life but when you show up to clinical, you need to have not a care in the world except what is sitting right in front of you, your patient. (and your CI). Attitude really is everything at being successful in nursing school. Everyone around you appreciates it and feeds off of it as well. Good luck.

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