I graduated in 1993 from a BSN program, while attending school full time and working nights full time at the local university hospital/trauma center as a "nurse tech" This was during the Humana/Galen/Columbia days, and I basically got my first RN job in another state in the ICU only because i happened to work for the "company."
It was a full-blown trial by fire experience. This hospital decided not to have a critical-care training class due to "unexpected operating expenses." (Note: they've since gone out of business!) So I basically was thrown into the mix--really into a den of wolves of scheming, bitter nurses, and even nastier scheming, bitter doctors! I'll never forget the time I pushed IV Dilantin into a patient's line. I went innocently up to the charge nurse wondering why his blood pressure was so low ("huh, you're supposed to dilute it first? But i did a really SLOW IV push, i swear...")
Needless to say, I was literally having palpitations even on my days off while at the Barnes and Noble! I only survived that one because I was determined to tough it out with the help of some great older nurses who took me under their respective wings. I wouldn't wish that on anyone, and hopefully you won't be in that situation.
I tell this mainly to illustrate that it CAN be done. If some recommend Med/Surg for a year, why not just go to Medical ICU? or Surgical ICU? My heart lies more toward Medical though, because you get a much greater variety of stuff coming through. But if you're set on Neuro, I suggest getting a feel for a couple of experienced yet cynical nurses on the unit. In return for listening to them ***** and moan about everyone else, you're bound to get some invaluable tips, build close bonds, and have some fun in the process.
It helps having either a)supreme confidence, or lacking that, b)sheer bull-headed stubbornness. At times I had to bite my lip when dealing with some people, but I kept on repeating to myself, "It's all for one purpose." You can take away a "pearl of wisdom" with every interaction with another medical professional or any average idiot.
If you think that's bad enough, after two years of ICU experience (no floor work at all), I let some fool talking me into "traveling nursing." Perhaps I was a full-blown masochist by that time, i dunno. I enjoyed that too. Besides it got me my job in the Bay Area, which is where I wanted to be all along.
When it comes right down to it, I think it all depends on your personality and how you react to "curve balls" that life throws at you. Certain people thrive on this type of thing. I'm not talking about that "adrenaline" rush that "code junkies" adore, but a sense of pushing yourself and pursuing goals. Common sense and a little "sweet talk" never hurts either!
Good luck, don't let anyone play mind games with you, and always try to clean your room before the next shift. Because even if they swear they don't, they really WILL talk bad about you!