Is the second year of an ADN program easier than the first?

Nursing Students General Students


Specializes in Geriatrics, dementia, hospice.


I'll be starting the second year of an ADN program this September. To those in similar programs who have already graduated or are near graduation, is the second year easier than the first? Just curious.


Mine sure as heck was! Our second year started with the instructors saying, "you got through first year, it's our job to make sure you graduate". But, each program is different. You'll be surprised how much you learned in first year that will help you in second year. The confidence that you made it there also makes a huge difference!

Specializes in Private Practice- wellness center.

Yes and no. I will say it was more intense, and there has been that much more clinical paperwork to do, along with class papers to write. I truly believe it depends on your program though. (Only four weeks until graduation for me. WOOHOO!)

I'm going to be starting my 3rd semester of my ADN program this fall too! I know that once I got the hang of nursing school second semester was easier than first! Maybe 3rd and 4th won't be too brutal! I think the content isn't any easier BUT I know now what to focus on and how much I have to study!!! Graduation May 2013 woohoo!!! :)

Specializes in L&D.

It's supposed to be easier for my class! We have done Fundamentals(quarter1), Med Surg1(quarter2), Med Surg2(quarter 3), Psych Nursing(quarter 4), and then this Fall will go with OB(quarter5), Winter-Peds(quarter 6), and then our preceptorship(quarter 7). I think all of that sounds pretty easy(but I've had kids and very familiar with OB), except the preceptorship.

Also, our paperwork decreases as we go on b/c we are workin towards doing this in our head vs on paper.

I start in the fall and DON at my College told me that if I did well the first semester, I would breeze through the last 3! do not know if thats true or not! lol

I wouldn't necessarily say it was easier, but definitely more familiar. I graduated this spring under a quarter system. First quarter was crazy hard because it was new and unfamiliar. The method of testing was new and the information was difficult and challenging to understand. Our 2nd quarter was very difficult because we had twice as many credits and expectations were higher. 3rd quarter was probably the most difficult because it was still a huge number of credits and our second pharm class was a doozy. 4th and th quarters felt like a vacation compared to 2 and 3. But, we still lost people because there was a lot of information. By then most of the people who would never make it through had been weeded out and in those later quarters losing people was hard. 6th quarter was rough for a lot of people and we lost almost 10% more of our class during the psych/neuro quarter. The last quarter was tough. So much going on getting ready for graduation, nclex, job hunting, etc. We only lost one or two our last quarter.

What I am trying to say is that each term has its own challenges. The further into the program you get, the more comfortable you will get with the method of learning and testing. But, each term you will have new instructors - some of whom are much better at writing test questions than others.

Specializes in Telemetry, OB, NICU.

I don't think so. My school got worse and worse as we went along. My last semester was hell.

It depends on program.

it depends. most programs with which i am familiar expect more from their students as they go along in the program. remember that you are supposed to graduate with the ability of a beginning-practice rn, which is not something that's going to happen in the first semester. synthesizing pieces of data into a useful and accurate whole, assessment skills, and knowledge of the nursing profession should increase semester by semester. some students who have a hard time retaining previous learning and integrating new information and attitudes into a higher level of practice find it more difficult as they go along for this reason.

My school was like Seas' school. It got harder and harder each semester. I'm glad my school was that way because I think it prepared me well. Every semester we learned increasingly more complex concepts and had increasingly more clinical time.

Specializes in CMSRN.

I would LOVE that but I most definitely don't expect that. LOL. Actually that's not 100% true. I am REALLY looking forward to the fall semester because it's my ob/peds and mental health rotation, which I have been looking forward to since I got into the nursing school. I have heard a LOT of people in my program say that the final semester, which is our complex med-surg class, is absolutely ridiculous. I'm hoping that this semester will be a breeze so that I can prepare like CRAZY for the fun that is to come.

I hope yours is an easy one! :)

I felt the whole thing was difficult, especially our last med-surg- we all felt like we hadn't learned a thing! We had to take up to six patients in clinical. The clinicals were twice a week. We had a change project to implement on the floor. We had a paper to write with research. And, we had to pass the ATI RN level with 97%. All this was in seven weeks.

Our last year included med surg #2, mental health, abnormal peds/ob, and leadership/management (our last med surg). When we had the specialities of mental health and abnormal peds/ob, we had projects to complete that were time consuming but our clinical days were only once a week.

In general, I think you get used to the pace and managing your time. But, never underestimate your program or your life- stuff happens! For example, I injured my eye and and had to take a test and final that way (my daughter had to read my text to me to study!) in the second med/surg.

If you keep on top of things, you'll get it done. People started to fail out for various reasons in the second year. The nine of us who started the program in my original clinical group- only four of us graduated two years later!

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