Why is nursing school so strict?

  1. Hello! I am a level 3 nursing student, I'm half way done and still have 2 more semesters left. I chose nursing because I was raised in my family that taught me I had to be in the medical field if I want to be successful in life. I also have the mentality of wanting to help others and I love the feeling of knowing you just help change someone's life and be there for them in their most vulnerable time.
    Anyways, I really thought nursing was for me but I've been in nursing school for over a year now and I still haven't really found that "ah hah!" moment that's going to motivate me to finish. What REALLY bothers me is that people at my school take the nursing profession TOO seriously! You always have to be professional and watch out for what you say, how you present yourself, your facial expression, and always be on top of everything and if you accidentally make a mistake, there's harsh consequences that could result in you being expelled and not getting your license/job (which has happened to a few of my classmates). Unfortunately I didn't do much research on my school when I was applying, I just heard good reviews about it and applied to it because they gave me a really good scholarship. I now realize that I chose a school that had VERY high expectations for their students. That the curriculum is WAY more challenging than other nursing schools out there when I ask other nursing students about theirs. Let's just say my nursing school is very "EXTRA", and even nurses who wants to go back to get their BSN tell me that they don't want to go to my school because they make it too "unnecessarily" difficult.
    Everyday that I go to school, I always feel like I have to put on a mask and pretend to be someone I'm not. I always have to watch out for what I say or how I present myself. I'm the type of person who's responsible and follow directions but there's a limit to how strict someone can be before I can't handle it. Just recently I got in trouble for something very little that the school took very seriously. Thank God they let me off with a warning, but it's really making me think about my career choice. I also realized that once I graduate and work as a nurse, it's very much still going to be the same. I'll have to deal with people who do not appreciate me. I'll always be exhausted and worn out, and my job will always be on the line and every little mistake that I make can easily get me fired and lose my license. I just think that nursing profession is taken a little too seriously.
    Dropping out is not an option for me at the moment. I want to finish and get my masters at least, but I'm having trouble finding the motivation to finish nursing school.
    What I'm really interested in is aesthetician and plastic surgery, so do you know any field that I can go into with my nursing degree?
    And how did you find the motivation to get through nursing school? I would really appreciate your feedback.
    Thank you!
    •  
  2. Visit lifeisgood00 profile page

    About lifeisgood00

    Joined: Feb '18; Posts: 1
    Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience

    22 Comments

  3. by   ItsThatJenGirl
    Nursing has struggled for a long time to be seen as a profession, rather than a job. Part of being a profession is holding yourself and your peers to a higher standard.

    I don't know what your school is like, but in my program, there have been pretty harsh consequences on what would appear to be "no big deal" to most of us. That's all part of the learning process, IMO. I don't think in the real world that you'll be expected to be perfect, but you will be expected to maintain some level of professionalism.

    Try not to think of it as a "mask". A big part of being an adult (again, IMO) is learning how to adapt yourself (and your personality) for different situations. I can be funny/crass/inappropriate with some of my instructors and peers. In other situations, it's best I just don't talk unless absolutely necessary. It's all about learning how to read a room/situation.

    I can't speak to the nursing world at large, because I'm not a nurse yet. I do feel like the hospital I do my clinicals at is way more relaxed than what I expected (not in a dangerous way) based on what we're taught.

    All that said, if you don't think you want to be a nurse, then you shouldn't feel forced to complete your education. But do remember, nursing is never just one thing, one environment, one experience. There's a lot on offer.
  4. by   FutureNurseInfo
    You can do pretty much any "nursing" with your RN degree. With that said, based on your dislike of it as it is, do you really want to even consider doing Master's?

    Now, I am being very honest: your post sounds rather immature and naive in its nature. If you want a career that does not take itself seriously, you can become a clown, or a stand-up comedian. Nursing is the profession that gives you license to care for people, and any slightest misjudgment on your part may put a patient at a huge risk. Similarly, you have to present yourself as a professional, no matter the profession you have. You want to make sure that patients treat you right, your co-workers treat you right, admin treats you right and patient's family treats you right. For that to happen, you have to present yourself as a professional.
    If I worked alongside with you at a hospital and saw you behave "less than professional" in a foolish or childish ways, my blood would boil and hair rise at the back of my neck - I cannot tolerate such people. But this is not about me, it is about you. Like I said, professionalism is a hallmark of any profession. This is what separates adults from the kids.
  5. by   OcMurse93
    I'm curious, did you choose nursing because you thought it would be an easier profession than being a doctor? I should hope people at your school take nursing seriously. You can literally kill someone if you are careless. I would not want some immature non-professional nurse taking care of my loved ones.

    I agree with FutureNurseInfo, professionalism is the hallmark of any profession, especially those in the medical field. And in terms of having to watch what you say and how you present yourself, welcome to adulthood.
  6. by   imhorsemackerel
    I'm guessing your school probably faced a situation in the past that warranted the creation of a rule you deemed "extra." In my LPN program, they banned smart watches because apparently someone was caught cheating using it during a test. Most of my clinical instructors didn't allow cell phones and even threatened to send us home. Apparently there was a time a girl took a selfie of a clinical site for the mental health rotation, posted on Facebook that she was scared, and word got around to administration. So I'm sure there are reasons.

    You were vague about what got you in trouble. You don't need to tell us, but try and understand why it got you in trouble in the first place. Were you just being careless? If so, imagine the client was a family member or someone you care about. Would you treat them the same? Would you want a nurse or healthcare professional to do the same action you performed?

    You assume a lot of responsibility as a nurse. I work in dialysis. A patient's treatment can last from 3 to 4 hours. I was talking to one of my patients and informed them there was half an hour left. The vitals were fine. Blood pressure was good compared to pre-dialysis. I needed to do my med pass. I turned my back to get the meds. And as I looked back at my patients, the one who had 30 minutes left passed out. This was literally seconds from when I just spoke to them. I called for the RN to come, and I immediately performed all the interventions I could one after the other (Trendelenburg, gave fluids, O2 nasal cannula, stopped pulling fluids). The patient was fine, but this required quick action.

    No matter where you work, you will be forced to think on your feet while operating within your scope of practice (and hopefully maintaining your composure if something goes wrong). And perception is everything from your mannerisms and your appearance to how you perform your work. Your boss, coworkers and patients will judge you (negatively or even positively). But we do it regardless in every situation (when you're waiting in line to purchase something, when someone accidentally bumps in to you). Don't let this deter you from performing confidently within the program. It may seem like your school is too strict, but at the end of the day, you're taking on a big responsibility. They're training you to be a professional, and perhaps "extra" ain't too bad if it gets you hired over Joe schmoe.
  7. by   flowerpowerntx
    Welcome to the wonderful world of nursing. Yes, nursing school is torture. It seems like it's always been that way. Nursing students have been feeling the way you feel for a LONG time. Just look at all of those nursing school memes out there. It's for a reason though. Nursing is a profession where people's lives are in your hands. Your patients are vulnerable to harm. It's the nursing school's responsibility to "vet out" each student to make sure they are able to do the job. I felt the same way as you. Our every move was being examined. I feel the school is also trying to recreate the stressful environment of the hospital and to get you prepared. If nursing school was way easier than the actual hospital environment, that would be a disservice to you.

    I got thru my program by keeping my eyes on the prize. I just envisioned myself wearing those RN scrubs with my RN badge and knew that eventually if I worked hard each and every day it would get here. And it did.

    About your program being harder than the average program, so was mine. Just feel lucky that you will be extremely prepared not only for the NCLEX but your job. Good Luck!!!
  8. by   ruby_jane
    Quote from lifeisgood00
    And how did you find the motivation to get through nursing school? I would really appreciate your feedback.
    Thank you!
    One halfway in, I realized it was easier to listen to what the staff and preceptors were telling me to do as opposed to deciding that requirements were frivolous, or just knowing that I would do something different in a particular situation. When you're a registered nurse you can do as you think best. But the consequences in the real world are every bit as serious as those "extra" nurses tell you they are.
  9. by   Mavrick
    Quote from lifeisgood00
    Hello! I am a level 3 nursing student, I'm half way done and still have 2 more semesters left. I chose nursing because I was raised in my family that taught me I had to be in the medical field if I want to be successful in life. I also have the mentality of wanting to help others and I love the feeling of knowing you just help change someone's life and be there for them in their most vulnerable time.
    Anyways, I really thought nursing was for me but I've been in nursing school for over a year now and I still haven't really found that "ah hah!" moment that's going to motivate me to finish. What REALLY bothers me is that people at my school take the nursing profession TOO seriously! You always have to be professional and watch out for what you say, how you present yourself, your facial expression, and always be on top of everything and if you accidentally make a mistake, there's harsh consequences that could result in you being expelled and not getting your license/job (which has happened to a few of my classmates). Unfortunately I didn't do much research on my school when I was applying, I just heard good reviews about it and applied to it because they gave me a really good scholarship. I now realize that I chose a school that had VERY high expectations for their students. That the curriculum is WAY more challenging than other nursing schools out there when I ask other nursing students about theirs. Let's just say my nursing school is very "EXTRA", and even nurses who wants to go back to get their BSN tell me that they don't want to go to my school because they make it too "unnecessarily" difficult.
    Everyday that I go to school, I always feel like I have to put on a mask and pretend to be someone I'm not. I always have to watch out for what I say or how I present myself. I'm the type of person who's responsible and follow directions but there's a limit to how strict someone can be before I can't handle it. Just recently I got in trouble for something very little that the school took very seriously. Thank God they let me off with a warning, but it's really making me think about my career choice. I also realized that once I graduate and work as a nurse, it's very much still going to be the same. I'll have to deal with people who do not appreciate me. I'll always be exhausted and worn out, and my job will always be on the line and every little mistake that I make can easily get me fired and lose my license. I just think that nursing profession is taken a little too seriously.
    Dropping out is not an option for me at the moment. I want to finish and get my masters at least, but I'm having trouble finding the motivation to finish nursing school.
    What I'm really interested in is aesthetician and plastic surgery, so do you know any field that I can go into with my nursing degree?
    And how did you find the motivation to get through nursing school? I would really appreciate your feedback.
    Thank you!
    And what kind of "extra" do you think these people are going to expect? They may not "appreciate" you when things don't turn out like they anticipated.


    This is pure high school girl's diary prose.>>>>>I'll have to deal with people who do not appreciate me. I'll always be exhausted and worn out, and my job will always be on the line and every little mistake that I make can easily get me fired and lose my license.
  10. by   Oldmahubbard
    Are there people who take nursing too seriously? Yes, I think so, and I have met a few of them over the years.

    A few become rather haughty, and to hear them tell it, they are the main players, and doctors are way back in the foreground. They are usually the only college graduates in their family.

    They think they run the show, but they can do almost nothing without an order.

    A few others become very preoccupied with all the different ways a nurse can get in trouble, and they try harder and harder. They become more and more anxious. In a small number of cases, it ends up backfiring, because they overthink everything.

    A small number do something obvious and egregious. They steal narcotics, or some other easily identifiable crime. Most seem to justify it to themselves.

    It is quite true, that a little thing can get you fired.

    In most states, we are employed at will. No reason need be given. I have had this experience on 2 occasions.

    To rescind the license is much, much more difficult.

    Overall, bedside nursing takes itself way too seriously, when nothing is in your control, to include the gross lack of staff.

    My opinion only, and I have not been in it for many years.
  11. by   KrCmommy522
    When people's lives are in your hands, it is serious. Of course, when in nursing school, it seems so strict and over-the-top, but again - you have pts lives in your hands. If you make a mistake you could cost someone their life or make them seriously ill. "Every little mistake" can put you at risk of "losing your job or license" because the mistake that you make is on a pt - it could harm an actual human being! It isn't like you're working in a restaurant and give someone the wrong order or working in a department store and bring someone the wrong size. You are caring for human beings and that should be taken seriously. When you are at clinicals, you are representing your school. Of course they want you to behave professionally, watch what you say, how you act, how you present yourself, etc. But, you need to remember, you are not only representing the school, you are representing YOURSELF. Do you want to be taken seriously as a professional, upstanding, respectable adult? Adults are always mindful of what they are doing, saying, how they are acting, how they present themselves, etc. IMO when you're an adult, part of growing up is learning to be mindful of how you are representing yourself and being respectful and professional. This may sound harsh, and I really don't mean to be harsh or mean, but caring for patients should be taken seriously. I don't know about you, but whenever I have a nurse, I definitely want him/her to be mindful of all his/her actions and how he/she is presenting himself, so I know that I can trust him/her to care for me properly!

    Also, as ItsThatJenGirl said, it took a long time for nursing to be seen as a profession, and part of that is holding yourself and your peers to a higher standard
  12. by   AceOfHearts<3
    Quote from Oldmahubbard
    Overall, bedside nursing takes itself way too seriously, when nothing is in your control, to include the gross lack of staff.
    I really don't agree. Yes, nurses need orders to do pretty much anything, but a fair amount of those orders are because of our observations or requests.

    Bedside nursing isn't the only type of nursing or the most important (they all are important), but it IS a serious job. A person can die if I make a medication error or miss an important change. Plus, not everyone can make it at the bedside (and that's ok) because it is a hard job with more and more piled onto the nurse's workload all the time.
  13. by   OcMurse93
    Quote from AceOfHearts<3
    I really don't agree. Yes, nurses need orders to do pretty much anything, but a fair amount of those orders are because of our observations or requests.

    Bedside nursing isn't the only type of nursing or the most important (they all are important), but it IS a serious job. A person can die if I make a medication error or miss an important change. Plus, not everyone can make it at the bedside (and that's ok) because it is a hard job with more and more piled onto the nurse's workload all the time.
    I agree. One of my clinicals the cardiac floor runs their own codes until the code team turns up, which depending on the day can be quite a long time. You literally have nurses, and only nurses, running ACLS protocol. I should hope they take themselves seriously.
  14. by   Ruixi13
    You are being trained in a profession and are expected to act like it from the get go. You need to be professional in any profession TBH, not restricted to nursing. Academics being challenging at your school may be true but that doesn't excuse. I don't think you'd face consequences for saying something incorrect or making mistakes, but rather for being unprofessional and inappropriate as is the case anywhere. Nurses and other health care professionals are held to a certain standard when they practice and you need to get used to it as a student nurse otherwise you'll face graver consequences once you are licensed. It sounds you want to be a nurse, so try and adjust your behavior now so you can succeed. If you're offending your colleagues and teachers now, there's a good chance your future patients may have a few problems with you too. Your description of your nursing school as "extra" is a big turn off as well, and I'm happy for you that your identity on here is private as otherwise you'd have a dark cloud hanging over your future.

close