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Is Nursing School more difficult than working?


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Specializes in ED.

I can see the point of view that it is more stressful as you have more responsibility, but I also would like examples of why overall people think it is harder. I find that school has taken over my life sometimes, and don't forsee work doing that. Plus, I will be doing something I have always wanted to do, and getting paid for it. The nurses I know that have been doing it a while, love their jobs. I have not met a nurse ( I live in MN) that does not like their job. Not that i know too many but to me it seems everyone I know in the field is very happy.

What leads you to believe that school is over when you start working??? There are still CE requirements and to be truely good nurse, you must continue to learn new and challenging skills.

I must say tho', I would not trade my job to go back to school.


Specializes in ED.

I think we all know being a nurse is will be a continuous learning process. I have never assumed that getting an RN would be the end of my schooling. I plan to get my bachelors and someday a masters. I already have one degree and have been in school for almost 7 years when I total it up! Obviously I don't mind being a student but I also look forward to not having so much school work to do. I know there will always be more learning to do, but I think that I still look forward to working!!


Specializes in Med-Surg. Has 3 years experience.

I think we have to remember that the first 1-2 years of practice are really an extention of school... where the "real" learning begins if you will. I mean think about other specialties that go out and have an externship for a year (ie radiology techs) before they officially graduate.

I'm in my first year and I would say that on some levels it is harder than nursing school... it's the responsibility hanging on your shoulders when you often feel unsure of your clinical judgment and you're still learning/practicing new skills that you haven't done enough to get down completely. All of those situations require that you stop and think or look something up or ask a question... that takes time and it's anxiety provoking as well... On top of all this you have that fear within you that you may not be able to get it all down or get it all together or just flat be good at what you're doing...

That being said... with each day things do get a little bit better, you remember previous situations and how they were handled and you respond more quickly accordingly. You've done a certain skill twice now and you may still be slower at it, but you don't need anyone standing by now... progress.

Nursing school is about round the clock mind-numbing work and ulcer-inducing anxiety for two LOOONNNNNNGGGG years... and we PAY a lot of money for that hell. So I can honestly say that as challenging and sometimes overwhelming as things are right now being a new grad, I wouldn't go back to that world for anything.

Here is probably the bottom line: you're in nursing school and you're miserable and you're wondering if you're still going to be miserable when you graduate and begin to work. That answer varies according to individual circumstances but I would say on average the answer will be YES for a certain period of time... until you've got some experience under your belt and then the answer will be NO...


Specializes in ER.

While school was more time consuming, my job is harder....at least here at the beginning. When I come home I am fried physically and mentally. But talk about LEARNING....can't believe how much!

Also, someone mentioned that, once out of school, at least the studying is done....well...not really. When I started I got handed a nice thick binder full of case studies to work on, an ekg class to study for... I've been to 6 continuing ed. classes/inservices in the 3.5 months I've been at work....nurses are always learning, even if the pace of "study" is not as bad as school...tomorrow is a mandatory competecncy day (on my day off of course).

Even so, I would definitely rather be working than in school,, and with some experience under my belt I believe it will be much easier than school was.

teeituptom, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER, ICU, L&D, OR.

Nursing school is a picnic compared with real life.


Specializes in ED.

you mean compared to real life in general or real life as a nurse??? I am a 30 something that has worked as an engineer. I have had a job with a lot of responsibility and stress. I also have 2 kids and lots of responsibility with that, so I wouldn't say going to nursing school is a picnic and not "real life". I find it hard to believe so many are staying in the profession if it is so horrible and so much more difficult than nursing school. I just have had such different opinions from nurses I know that maybe it is a regional thing that so many think working is so difficult. I can see where the first few years may be an extension of school but if I have to look forward to it being so difficult I guess it is kind of a bummer. And for the new students and grads visiting this site, these type of comments with no examples or explanation are kind of depressing!!! i still am holding out hope that I will love my job!

I found work to be much more challenging and stressful than school, but I had not worked as a tech or anything.

You'll see why there is a nursing shortage when you start work, if you didn't know already- its hard.

But you are getting paid and learning real skills (unlike school learning), which is great. It can be really stressful but also exciting and interesting. You get to do cool stuff like start IV's, restrain confused patients, help people who really need it, get yelled at by psycho docs, etc. And no more careplans and nursing theory!


Specializes in Corrections, Cardiac, Hospice. Has 18 years experience.

OH MY GOSH!!! I have been out of nursing school for over 8 years and CANNOT imagine going back to the stress. I love being a nurse. I love the autonomy and the hussle/bussle of the units. There are so many options open to you once you have the title "RN" or "LPN." YES, YES, YES working is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo much easier than school.


Specializes in ER.

I think the important thing to remember is that this is all RELATIVE. School was not all that HARD for me.

Also, it's important to understand that just because people say the job is HARD, that doesn't mean they are not happy with it. Hard does NOT equal unhappy. I am very happy with my career choice, love (most:wink2:) of the patients, and my co-workers. But working in the ED is just plain hard work....I run my tail off for 12 hours, and have many challenges. But it's COOL:D

Don't be discouraged because people say its hard.

ceecel.dee, MSN, RN

Specializes in Med/Surg, ER, L&D, ICU, OR, Educator.

No. It is not easier to work as a nurse...but it can be more rewarding.

The key to enjoying your job is to leave it at the door when leaving it and to have a rich personal life too!

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