Is nursing school REALLY that hard?

Nursing Students General Students Nursing Q/A

I just started the 2 year ADN program at my community college about a week ago. I am actually the youngest in my program at 18, and I have no nursing experience. Before I started, I obsessed over blogs and spent a lot of nights wondering if I could even make it through nursing school. I graduated high school in the top 5% of my class with a good ACT score, and I'm generally a hard worker. I am just wondering, was nursing school as hard as you thought it would be and if so, why?

102 Answers

Specializes in Transitional Nursing.

As hard as I thought? About 100 times harder, actually.

Nothing about the curriculum is exceedingly difficult, but you have to have a good handle on Anatomy and Physiology and you have to be able to learn to think critically.

It's not about "what is the definition of xyx" It's about "Here's your patient, they are exhibiting xyz symptoms, what do you do"

You not only have to learn the material, you have to understand it, completely. Then, you have to retain it and use it in the future.

Everything you learn is fair game on all future tests, and several answers on each question will be "correct", you need to pick which is the "most correct".

Get a good handle on medical terminology and kiss your social life goodbye. If you do those two things and study your face off, you'll be OK.

Students say nursing school is THAT hard because its a whole different ballgame. Classes are longer, heavier courseload, different stying habits (you can't just memorize things anymore, you have to apply it).

It's time consuming. Its also hard to accept you might not be an A student anymore. C is normal in nursing school. NCLEX style tests take some getting used to.

Its not all bad. Just takes some getting used to. Clinicals and practicing skills can be fun. Its awesome what they can make mannequins do these days.

Specializes in Med-Tele; ED; ICU.
courtneymann said:
What I'm hearing is, it is hard, but the difficulty truly depends on each individual and how you learn.

Surely you already knew that, right?

I'm getting to be an old geezer (I'm a guy... we become geezers... the gals become bats... that makes me a COG, i guess) and I will share with you that your conclusion is universally applicable...

Whether to quantum physics or golf, archery or chemistry, SEAL training or water color painting...

You are likely to find some topics or aspects of nursing school to be challenging while others are quite simple.

Don't prejudge classes, topics, instructors, specialties, or patients by the experiences of others; go in with a good attitude and a great work ethic and you will be fine in whatever you choose.

Specializes in Pediatrics.

It was hard at times, but not impossible. If you're in an accelerated program, there are not many breaks. I was lucky enough to not have to work during school, but I have kids so I felt like I missed out on some things.

I didn't have to study like some people did, though, so I had a lot of free time and still made great grades and learned.

If you aren't the type that has to hit the books hard, you should make it through relatively unscathed.

Great question! Wondering the same thing often. Everyone says it's so hard, etc etc... I wondered if I'd be able to handle it and I have a Masters Degree. I don't know if I just let people's opinions get too much into my head or what but I have been stressed about it for sure. I start the accelerated program in May and I have come to this conclusion: There are many nurses in the world -- all of whom have survived nursing school and the NCLEX, so therefore, I will too. I'm thinking of it along the lines of having a baby... Yes, it may be hard and painful and sometimes you might not feel like your best self, but you make it through it and have an amazing gift at the end of all of it making every step of the journey worth it.

Specializes in Emergency Department.

Is nursing school really THAT hard? The answer is yes, it is. The real question is if you're able to handle the load. Going into nursing school, I had already been through a Bachelors program that was extremely rigorous and had primed me for learning lots of "stuff" in a relatively short period of time along with writing papers of a not-insignificant length within a very short period of time as well. For me, nursing school was relatively easy. Had I entered a BSN program, it still would have been relatively easy. I managed to earn just over a 3.0 GPA in my core courses while working full time, and no class was less than a solid B. Had I not had to worry about working, I might have earned closer to a 4.0 without breaking too much of a sweat.

Each student is different and their experience and ability to handle a significant academic load varies. If your only experience is relatively easy or light loads and you've never been pushed to your limit, you'll likely encounter problems early on. The other thing that gives students huge fits is that testing in nursing is designed to mimic NCLEX type questions: application-level questions. Usually nobody is tested this way until nursing school, so few people excel at this at first. It was not exactly easy for me to transition to NCLEX questions either.

So, is it really THAT hard? Oh yeah. Will it be THAT hard for you? That's ultimately up to you.

Honestly, I don't think it's that hard.

ETA: Those select all that apply questions are the only things that I struggle with.

Specializes in NICU, Trauma, Oncology.

Not hard. Just very different than any of my previous academic degrees.

If you don't have to work it will help with large homework assignments and studying. My school used Prep U and that took a awhile

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych.

There are 'harder' college majors than nursing.

Think about it...3.5 million people in the U.S. are RNs. The vast majority of these nurses made it through nursing school with average intelligence levels, good study skills, and diligence.

Nursing school is filled with enough work to consume a considerable chunk of one's time, but it is not as 'hard' as people make it out to be.

Specializes in ICU.

Actually, I heard its in the Guiness Book of World Records that the BSN is the hardest degree. I need to confirm that myself though.

It is what you make it. You are learning to think differently. If you do the work, it's not that hard. If you are one that slacks off, it is going to be harder. Just come to class prepared, take good notes, ask questions.

I'm also terrible at the SATA questions. I always get all the math right. What makes it hard is you are going to take a multiple choice test and each question will have 4 right answers. Your job is to pick the "most right" answer. It can get tricky. And you will be sitting there saying to yourself, but my answer is right too!! And it probably is, it's just not the most right answer.

Welcome to nursing school where everything is gray, not black and white, like your prereqs were.

It's not easy. I have to take a year off after taking level 1(1st semester). I am thankful that I was able to finished the course and graduate last year. There's always a light at the end of the tunnel. :saint:

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