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Seems like nursing school isn't for people with other responsibilities!

marij marij (New) New

I am enjoying school, however I am tired of getting the lecture about "nurses are needed!!" and "more people should go to nursing school!" when it honestly seems like most nursing programs are only good for people who have no responsibilities outside of school.

I have had several classmates have to drop out because the clincal times changed and they aren't able to swing it with their work schedule. Also, the requirements for the program that go way beyond GPA! In my program, the students MUST have a car. Not "reliable transportation" but they must own a vehicle. Usually every week, professors will tell us something that has changed on short notice and we all have to scramble to make plans to cover our jobs, and family responsibilities. I go to community college, and it is still expensive. We had a book that cost $1000 this semester. I can't afford these things without a JOB. Not sure how I'm supposed to stay in good standing at my job, if every week I'm calling out or trying to switch shifts.

Honestly, I'm lucky because I don't have kids which would make all this even harder. There are some students in class who don't work, and parents that pay their tuition and give them spending money allowances. Seems like they are the perfect candidates for nursing school because they have nothing to lose. Our professors regularly keep us past class time and tell us that "study group" is mandatory. I usually leave because I have to go to work after class.

Ugh im just getting burnt out and ranting!

meanmaryjean, DNP, RN

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 40 years experience.

A thousand dollar textbook?

color me skeptical.

AnnieNP, MSN, NP

Specializes in Adult Primary Care. Has 20 years experience.

What text book costs $1000???????

verene, MSN

Specializes in mental health / psychiatic nursing.

1) There isn't as big of a shortage in nursing as is frequently advertised. There are shortages in some specialties (in my area OR and psych among others) and in some locations (e.g. rural). If you are in an area with many programs or which is saturated with RNs the schools are under no obligation to really cater to students as those who can make it work will and if they can't they are a few hundred more applicants ready to jump in.

2) The requirements to own a vehicle is not unusual for nursing programs. Due to the nature of shift work public transit is NOT a reliable option. Plus you will in all likelihood be required to own a vehicle as a nurse. I've only seen a couple of programs which don't mandate a vehicle and those are in dense urban environments with multiple hospitals within the city and the population to support a 24-7 transit system.

3) It does sound unfortunate that your program changes things last minute frequently. Did the program warn you about this going in? Some programs are more designed to cater to working students or those with outside obligations than others.

4) I'm skeptical about a 1K text book... I think I paid ~1500 for ALL texts and supplies over the course of my whole program. Is this a custom text you use for the entirety of the program?

I get that you are feeling burnt out and ranting. Hopefully you will have some time for self-care and mitigate some of your stress load. Everything feels more daunting and frustrating when you have had the time to take care of yourself.

Double-Helix, BSN, RN

Specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU. Has 9 years experience.

Nursing school is meant to prepare you to pass the NCLEX exam and enter the workforce with the required basic skills to practice safely. It is rigorous, and rightly so. So, no, nursing school doesn't cater to the 50+ unique needs and schedules of every student. It's not possible. If you are committed to getting the education, you make it work. It is not your school's job to rearrange classes on your behalf (which, by the way, would negatively impact many of your classmates who have different working hours and family obligations).

NICUmiiki, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU/PICU Flight Nursing. Has 5 years experience.

We had to buy a pretty pricey book package. It cost about $1500 over 2 semesters, but we didn't have to buy any at all after that. One book for $1k is crazy, and I'd be tempted to just get the old version. I ended up taking loans even with my (low paying) full-time job. Cause you gotta do what you gotta do when you're in school full-time.

We weren't mandated to own a car, but transportation issues were not valid excuses for anything.

Clinical times were usually announced at the beginning of the semester and could be any time that isn't class. We also had weekend clinical some semesters. Preceptorship could have been any time including nights. They have to take what they can get.

I'd be skeptical that anyone ever told you that you'd easily manage full-time nursing school and a full-time (or any) job that isn't super flexible. Full-time nursing school IS a full-time commitment just like any other full-time program.

I'm sorry you didn't have anyone to talk to about what the program would be like realistically.

Meriwhen, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych ICU, addictions.

My nursing program did not require that we own a vehicle. However, we WERE responsible for making it to class and clinical. How we got there, they didn't care. But if it took us moving heaven and earth to get there, then they expected us to do just that.

We were also told at the start of the program that it would be difficult if not impossible to work full-time while in school, as we would have classes Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 0800-1400. We were also told to keep Tuesdays and Thursdays open for clinicals. We generally could pick whether we wanted morning or evening clinicals; however, there was no guarantee that we would get what we put in for. And they were upfront about the coursework being time-consuming. Some classmates who were CNAs/LVNs were able to swing working because they adjusted their schedule around school, but it wasn't easy for them. Most cut down to part-time.

A $1000 textbook? I also find that questionable. A $1000 software program/course, perhaps. A $1000 for a semester's worth of books, that could be possible (handy tip: Amazon can be your friend--you can buy or rent for much less than the campus bookstore). $1000 for ONE textbook doesn't seem realistic.

And there is...and isn't...a nursing shortage. There is often a shortage of experienced nurses for jobs. And some specialities have shortages more than others. But at the same time, there's no shortage of new grad jobs, and even the jobs for experienced nurses often have a lot of competition.

All I can say is that MANY of us on AN were not kids just out of high school with parents to pick up the tab and no other responsibilities, and yet we still managed to graduate from tough programs. Tons of us had kids, and gave birth to more kids while in the program, AND while working on top of that. No, it's not easy, but it can be done, and is being done every day.


Has 1 years experience.

My first semester I paid 1,000 dollars for books alone. This semester more like 800.... and I still have another year! 1,000 dollar book does seem a little extreme though!


Has 1 years experience.

1,000 dollars for a book seems skeptical no offense. I can see 1,000 dollars for supplies for a semester, but not for just a book.

However, most people in nursing school have these struggles. In my program, majority of us have jobs and/ or kids. Planning ahead helps (like saving up money/ having a budget). At the top of my head I can only think of 2 people out of a class of 54 that have their parents pay for their education and living expenses. The rest of us have bills to pay and mouths to feed.

You really need to prioritize and multi-task. I will bring easy stuff to memorize for any down time at work. I will pick up shifts on nights that I don't have much going on especially if I know I won't be working for 2 weeks.

I'll be honest. I had an awful exam grade 3 weeks ago. I had a death in the family, work over scheduled me, my mother was having major health issues, and there was stupid family drama going on. I went and talked to my professor to help treat the situation. We came up with a plan to help improve my grades and keep up with everything.

try to take a night for yourself and relax! Remember, everyone has their own struggles with school. Just focus on what YOU can do!

Rionoir, ADN, RN

Specializes in Neuro ICU.

You're going to college for a degree, obviously they aren't going to plan around your schedule. Most people I know that are working a lot and going to nursing school are working in healthcare and are able to work their schedule around their classes.


Has 13 years experience.

Many people can and do manage school with other responsibilities. But you need to put school first. They aren't going to arrange school around your life.


Has 7 years experience.

Waiting on that $1,000 book answer.

I wouldn't be a nurse today if our program required us to OWN a car. I lived 2 miles from the school. Walked many times, even in rain and snow. My first year of clinicals was a 10 minute walk down the street at the hospital I worked at.

I was extremely lucky though, bc my MIL let me use her car quite a bit. I took taxi's to and from school a few times with bad weather. I bought a car my last year of school.


Has 7 years experience.

Many people can and do manage school with other responsibilities. But you need to put school first. They aren't going to arrange school around your life.

My friend even gave her 3 kids to their dad for a year while in nursing school.

Either nursing school means enough to you to make the sacrifices, or it doesn't. And if it doesn't, that's ok.

subaquatique, ADN, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 1 years experience.

I have an issue with this post.

Our ATI package was probably $1000 broken up into 4 semester payments, plus about $500-1000 TOTAL worth of other books (Med Surg, Maternal Child, Psych, drug guides, IV fluids, etc etc), but everything besides the ATI was on your own terms- so lots of people in my program rented or borrowed the books from the school library and paid exponentially less! Plus there are always programs that are available for low-income students that help with textbooks and uniforms (WIOA, CalOpps, etc). I am interested to hear which book you paid so much for and why you didn't get it used or as a rental.

I saved up $100 a paycheck (and more whenever possible) over two years to be able to pay for nursing school. I lived on an extremely tight budget, worked part-time, and had a two year-old child when I began. I drove a 16-year old car and made friends with whom I could carpool, which saved on gas (and wear-and-tear). I had two unexpected deaths in my family during the course of the program, a major surgery, and one wedding. Three girls in my class gave birth during the program, all in different semesters. One with twins during the second semester, and she never even missed a day of class (she missed the last week of the semester, but she completed the work and took her final before she left to go have her babies). Multiple people in my class had a spouse that was deployed during the program, all of whom had small children and no family in the area. And one girl, who is my hero, has three kids and worked a full-time NOC shift during the entire program. She would literally work a 12-hour shift and then come straight to class. She was exhausted, but she did it.

These are just a handful of examples in my class of people who decided that no obstacle would come between them and their dream. We did lose a few people who complained about the lack of accommodation, that had "too many things going on" with their jobs, or just had too much drama in their life to pull their sh*t together. Yes, you have to be responsible for your transportation- it's not a job where you can show up late, and as someone mentioned, you can't always take public transportation at 6am to your shift. You need to manage your time effectively. Trust me, we all know how hard this is, but I can attest that it is 100% possible. It's a big BIG part of what we do as nurses. The other part is sucking it up and being accountable.

I know that you're just venting, and I get that, but nursing is a HARD job. Nursing school is also very hard, but I promise you that it's possible to work part time (or full-time), have a small child (and a spouse who is never home to help), budget appropriately and work your ass off during holidays, drive a ****** old car and carpool with classmates, and have terrible things happen in your personal life .... and get straight A's. I did it. It took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, but it's worth it, if this is what you really want to do!

Good luck, and stop looking for excuses! Look for solutions!


Has 6 years experience.

I was a divorced, single mom, working part time while going to nursing school. I was late for school one time because my son had kindergarten orientation that morning. It wasn't easy and I couldn't have done it without my parents, but I did manage it.

Have Nurse

Specializes in Med/Surg/Infection Control/Geriatrics. Has 25 years experience.

What book is $1,000?

Yes. I wondered about that too.