The Good, Bad and Ugly


For my fellow nurses,

What was it about nursing school that you absolutely loved? and what about it did you absolutely hate? And are you happy you went through with it? I want a heads up of what i should prepare myself for, when i start nursing school next year. Nursing school seems all big and scary like it is going to make or break me, but i am sure it isn't that bad. I want insight on what to expect, especially the enjoyable things and the non-enjoyable.

Also i want to consider a specialty after nursing school but, not exactly sure what . What about nursing school made you choose your specialty? Was it the money, or the age group of patients you work with, or just a general interest in such specialty?

Any insight would greatly be appreciated ! Thank You

NightNerd, MSN, RN

1,129 Posts

Specializes in CMSRN, hospice. Has 9 years experience.

I feel like nursing school is so different from the real world that I don't know how applicable it will really be to the decisions you're mentioning. It is very necessary stuff that you learn for sure, but I think it's hard to see how nursing school influences your entire cater choice or trajectory. It teaches you the basics of assessment, different pathologies, and clinical skills, which you can then take with you to different environments in practice and figure out what you like from there.

For me, I guess I got the most out of our labs and sims in nursing school - though I didn't realize it at the time. Go for it and be bold in sim! It is your chance to really try different interventions and see what works, with immediate feedback from your instructor and no risk of harming a patient. And the opportunity to practice skills in sim and skills lab is so great for your muscle memory and dexterity. Everything was really important, but not always necessarily enjoyable. ;) You're right, I didn't find nursing school to be this big terrifying thing. You are busy and tired, but anything worth doing takes this kind of hard work, and I did find it to be manageable with proper planning.

I'm still figuring out what I'm interested in specializing in, but I seem to be gravitating toward mental health and public health. That's the stuff I was interested in before school and what I still find compelling when caring for patients. I did have wonderful psych instructors, so I don't know if that maybe influenced this a little bit, but then most of my instructors were terrific. It certainly isn't the money that drives me (as long as I can eat and pay rent, I'm happy); more the opportunity to have mentally stimulating work and feel like I'm doing something important. Down the line, I imagine that family obligations, health, changing tolerance for night shift, pending retirement, and other things will influence the kinds of jobs I look for. There is a lot to consider, but there is pretty much something for everyone in nursing.

Just try on the different clinical experiences in school, take a job that appeals to you when you graduate, and try to start in an environment that fosters learning and teamwork. Where you start doesn't have to be where you end up, so just start somewhere and re-evaluate after a year. You can find what you like about any job and use that to determine your next career move when it's time to move on. Give yourself room to grow and change; if you get your first job in a specialty area that appeals to you, great! But don't stress about specializing; the learning is really what's important at first, in my opinion.


20,964 Posts

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 26 years experience.

Nothing about school made me choose my first specialty or the ones since. I had already made up my mind. School taught me only the barest of basics. The REAL learning happened--- (and continues to happen)--- as a licensed nurse. The learning as a nurse never ends.