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Is it just me or is nursing school not as difficult as everyone makes it sound?

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by Nicolecn Nicolecn (New Member) New Member

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I am about to finish my second term of nursing school and have completed difficult classes such as pathophysiology, pharmacology, chronic illness, etc.. and I honestly haven’t found it that hard. Idk if I was just expecting it to be a lot worse because everyone talked so negatively about it or what.. I’m in the program with people who are talking about having constant meltdowns and crying and I haven’t had one mental breakdown while in school.. am I missing something? Don’t get me wrong, it’s stressful at times and you have to put in the work, but people make it sound nearly impossible and like they’re losing their minds over it.. Whenever other students talk to me about how difficult it is I feel like I have to go along with it or they’re going to be annoyed by me not thinking it’s that hard.. 

Edited by raycn

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105 Posts; 1,089 Profile Views

I am in a similar boat. I think nursing school is as hard as you make it. Do I think the material we are working on is difficult? Not at all. BUT have I gotten As on every exam? No. However, I have not allowed nursing school to consume my life and therefore I know I don't study nearly as much as my classmates, but I tend to make similar grades, even if I miss an A on one exam (which I do still have my hissy fits about, but at the same time, had I studied 15+ hours like everyone else, I likely would have eked out that one more right answer to get my A). 

I am a single parent; I work full time; I go to school full time. Simply put- I do not have time to dedicate everything to nursing school. I think the exams take some getting used to, and I think skills check offs are incredibly nerve wracking, but I wouldn't call it devastating and I can't say I've had any sort of "meltdown." Admittedly, after my very first exam I had a bit of fit just because I was super thrown off by the questions, but I got out of my head real quick and haven't had that issue since.

In my opinion, nursing school is "hard" because it requires a lot of organization and prioritization and planning- people may not be used to having to coordinate so much information at any given time. I put forth effort, and I take in everything I possibly can during clinicals- but I wouldn't say the material is "hard." You definitely aren't alone, but I, too, have found myself agreeing with classmates when they talk about difficulties they're having because I really don't want to come off as a know-it-all.

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For some people, nursing school *IS* hard.

It seems that some get annoyed when other people say it's so hard when they don't perceive it  as such. Okay. But sometimes these "it's not hard" folks only seem to see things out of THEIR own lens as well.

Some people just don't possess as much raw intelligence as others. They are not dense, just not as smart as some. Due to that, they might perceive nursing school as "really hard."

Or they don't think as quickly, or don't read as fast, so the hours required to get all the reading done while keeping up with all of the other program requirements can be very "hard." Maybe they came from a place where the education provided for them was sub-par, so they weren't adequately prepared for the rigor.

Or they have three kids and one of them is autistic and really needs extra attention. In this situation, the time and commitment required of school at the same time their family obligations are so tough might make nursing school seem really "hard" in comparison to someone whose kids can survive with a little less attention. Many nursing students have no children at all. That's a huge advantage in terms of the difficulty of the program.

Or maybe their spouse is angry they are in school-they feel neglected, so the nursing student feels obligated to hold studying off until it's less of a relationship stressor. Putting off studying or doing homework until late in the evening may cause even more stress, making nursing school seem really "hard."

Or maybe they have health issues that make it difficult to get up early for clinicals, stay up late doing care plans, and attend to the other things life is throwing at them. They may lack the physical energy/stamina required to get through the program as easily as others who have vigorous health. Maybe they are healthy, but their spouse or a parent or sibling is fighting a deadly disease, requiring their time and attention in addition to their other obligations. This situation may exact a huge price in terms of emotional health and ability to focus.

See, there are many reasons why your classmates might view nursing school as really hard that can't just be pinned to their negative attitudes. Maybe you're just a lot smarter than they are. Maybe you aren't privy to some of the difficulties they are facing while both of you are going through the program that might make it more understandable why they consider nursing school hard.

And maybe the further into the program you get, you might find yourself struggling with something that changes your perception of the difficulties of the program.

If you don't think nursing school is hard, consider yourself lucky. Try to be patient with others for whom it may be legitimately difficult given the circumstances of their lives, much of which they might not be sharing with you. If they are overly negative, keep your distance from them. You're not there to make friends, you're there to learn and survive the program. It's okay if you don't agree with everyone else about any particular issue, not just this one. You're all likely going to go in separate directions after school anyway, and most of them will no longer be part of your daily existence.

And again, consider yourself lucky...

Edited by Horseshoe

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NICU Guy has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in NICU.

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I attempted an ASN program in the mid-90s and failed out. I struggled throughout the entire program. I spent the next 20 years working other jobs in healthcare. In 2013, I decided to go back to school and got accepted into an ABSN program at the same school I failed out of 20 yrs prior. This time around was different. ABSN program was fast paced, but I felt that it was not very difficult to maintain an A/B average. I was never in jeopardy of failing a class. I am the same person. Only thing that changed was maturity and experience.

Your ability to comprehend and apply the material is unique to you. Other students may struggle while you sail through the courses. They are not lazy or unintelligent. The material and concepts are more difficult for them to comprehend.

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JackChase1212 has 15 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Surgery.

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I did my BSN in an accelerated program so I can’t speak to a regular paced program. I went straight through, no breaks, clinicals all over... I remember falling asleep in my car in between a clinical and class on more than one occasion. The sheer pressure of it over time was very difficult for everyone in my program. It’s all in how you approach it though I think. If you’re not organized it will become harder than if you stay on top of things. There were definitely some students who were clearly more intelligent than others, however, other factors play a part in one’s success. Ability to navigate clinical environments came naturally to me, whereas some of the top student struggled there. Everyone is different, but there’s more than one way to get to the end of the tunnel. I was successful in my program...top of the class, but no doubt about it, I worked my tail off for it. 🙂

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I am just doing my nursing pre-reqs right now, but I am really glad you posted this. It gives another spin on the negativity associated with the whole thing.

The only meltdown I've had in life was when my daughter was an infant, she NEVER ever slept, and literally screamed all day. The experience scarred me so bad I swore to never have any more children, and I didn't. If I can survive that, I can survive nursing school. ha.

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I highly recommend you keep this particular thought to yourself around your fellow students. Verbalizing it is guaranteed to make you extremely unpopular. If the subject comes up just nod and smile solicitously. 

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Nurse Magnolia is a RN and specializes in NICU.

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I was just about to echo what Wuzzie said.  I'd really shush about this out in the world.  I can't speak for everyone, but I'll speak for me.  I have two bachelor's degrees, and this nursing program I am in right now is HARD.  It's harder than EITHER of my bachelor's degrees.  I am in an accelerated 16 month DIPLOMA program (lots of them in my area - I will get my BSN online immediately after) and it's brutal.  Am I just not intelligent?  Nope - I got a 4.0 in one of my BS degrees and I have one of the highest GPA's now in my program (3.9).  Do I cry, lose it, have emotional breakdowns...yes.   I am 46 years old mom of 4 going back as a second career.  The accelerated program had the most clinical hours of any of the local BSN schools so that's why I went with that vs an accelerated BSN program.  I don't know what kind of program you are in, but if it's a BSN - you are very early in the program and you have zero idea what you are in for.  If you are in an ADN, you are less than half way through and have zero idea what you are in for.  If you are a student and mom and dad are taking care of your every need - you REALLY need to be quiet.  

We lost A LOT Of people after second semester who skated through first semester thinking it was easy and didn't develop good study skills and they are not here right now for my 8 week critical care class in my final semester.  A class, by the way, that has over 15 hours of lecture a week for just that class (and it's not our only class), plus 16 hours of clinical per week -  and we have exams every week, with the exam day being the day after one of the lecture days...meaning, we have an 8 hour lecture, get out of class at 5pm and take an exam ON THAT MATERIAL at 8 am the next morning.  I don't know...I find that difficult.  If you don't, more power to you - but I wouldn't broadcast that.  I'm one hell of a smart cookie but if you stood by me bragging how easy this all was to you, you wouldn't be someone I'd choose to talk to.  

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Yeah that’s why I said I tend to go along with what they’re saying even though I don’t agree with it because I know it would most likely irritate them. And according to my professors, the first two terms are the hardest as far as the course load and that’s where they lost the most students in the past. They said if we can make it through the first couples terms we will most likely make it through the entire program. I do not have kids though and I know a lot of people do and I honestly cannot imagine how much more difficult that would make it. I do work 30 hours a week though, aside from weeks that I am studying for midterms/finals and I have a great support system. This post isn’t mean to brag at all, but I kinda wish I would’ve heard more positivity when I first started out because all of the comments I heard were so negative and I came into it with a TON of anxiety.. but this post isn’t meant to put anyone down that is struggling. I just wanted a different perspective and to see if anyone else felt the same way as me and to perhaps offer a more positive perspective to others considering nursing. However, I don’t really appreciate you assuming “mom and dad” take care of everything and that no matter what, I must have zero idea what I’m in for. 😂 my parents don’t help me at all. I’ve been emancipated since 17(I’m 23 now) and pay for all of my own schooling and cost of living. Thanks though 😊

Edited by raycn

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I agree with Wuzzie and Horseshoe. It's all about what your going through in life. If you aren't working, no kids, purely just in school, and have time for everything while being organized and able devote your time to school...then yes I believe it would be easier for you then others. I can see how saying that out loud to others that are struggling could make them not like you or make them feel down on themselves.

 

buuuuut with that being said YAY for you girlie and I hope it is that easy for me when I start!! 😂 

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Okay, I agree that everyone's experience is going to be different. However, I don't agree with anyone that's telling you to shut up about how you perceive nursing school. Sure, don't go bragging to everyone in your class about how easy it is, but that doesn't mean that you should ever feel like you have to "shut up" about it. Honestly, most people are probably just jealous that it's not that easy for them. 

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People are more likely to complain about negative experiences than they are to brag about great experiences.

Nursing school seems so hard because the people struggling through it are more likely to reach out and vent than someone who's breezing through.  It's not that it's hard or easy, you're just seeing a natural bias on how the information is reaching you.  For every person who thinks it's the hardest thing they've ever done, there's someone who thinks it was easy.

Nursing school is just college.  There's nothing profoundly unique about it.  The test style, the learning style, that's just a science major.  You think this is hard?  Try physics, where they have to look at a white dot in the sky and tell you what it's made of and how big it is.

But there is also some level of people doing it to themselves.  The more you stress, the more you're going to force yourself to study, or overcomplicate notetaking.  Nursing school is exactly as hard as you make it.  If you have to spend your entire free life studying, is it because nursing school is really that hard, or is it just that nobody ever taught you how to study efficiently?

Edited by tonyl1234

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