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What is nursing school like?

Hi. I'm considering going into nurse-midwifery. I will be going to nursing school next year after graduating from university, but I am having second thoughts about nursing school. I had a very hard time in college with my math and sciences, and even in high school. I've just never been good at it. I'm quite worried my science and math loads will be even greater in nursing school and I won't be able to keep up. So, what is nursing school like? Is It really heavy on these course? Is it more clinical work or coursework? Not sure if nursing is really for me, or if I should just take the direct-entry midwife route, where they're not as focused on course work like that. Please help me decide. Thanks.

SillyStudent, ASN, RN

Specializes in ER/ICU, CCL, EP.

Nursing school is a lot different for different kinds of people.

The classes can be somewhat tough for a lot of people. You do not have to be a math or science wizard, but you will have to understand some algebra, basic biology, chemistry and microbiology. You will also have to take more advanced classes in Anatomy and Physiology. Math for nurses in the end game (after graduation) includes med calculations, (sometimes based on mg or mcg per kg of weight) Intake and output of fluids, and several other specialized things depending on what field you wind up in.

The part of the classes that seems to be the most difficult for the most people is the actual 'nursing' portion of the curriculum. Nursing is its own discipline, and you have to learn how to think like a nurse. The Nursing Process is pretty straightforward, and the texts and prof's give you fairly good background material, but you have to develop the thought process on your own. It only takes practice and the ability to think critically, which you will have to develop as a nurse midwife..in a BIG way. :)

As for what educational path you take, I am not a nurse midwife...so I cannot advise you on that.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

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

Each individual experiences nursing school differently. We have all undergone an individually unique experience regarding our schooling. If you think about it, there are multiple entry points into the field of nursing that take place in drastically different settings (some people were trained in trade schools, others at community colleges, still others at universities, and some at hospital-based programs).

Also, intellectual ability plays a crucial role. Some people have found nursing school relatively easy, while others describe it as the hardest thing they have ever had to endure.

TeresaB930, BSN, RN

Specializes in SNF.

Nursing school, to me, was the most difficult, most stressful and most rewarding accomplishment I've done so far (I just graduated 2 weeks ago!). I was terrible in math and sciences....by far my worst subjects! However, in looking at the whole picture and keeping my eye on the overall goal, it wasn't a problem getting through it. I became fascinated with the processes and was a decent student.

This was my experience, hope it helps

I liken nursing school to a cross-country trip. Some days are really easy, some days are hard.

I found any day with patient contact much better than days without. It kept me going.

TheCommuter is right about intellectual ability - that was well put.

Investigate as many different programs as you can and try to find one that fits with your skills and personality. Going for a second degree, you might consider an accelerated program. Or you might want a slower paced regular program.

thank you all for the advice. If anyone has any more, please keep it coming. But i'm just curious, do you feel like you really KNOW the math and science concepts you've learned? I feel like i've gotten by in those courses without coming away with actually knowing it. I worry i'll srew up if I have to apply my course work to real situations with a patients. This is a huge concern for me...

Natkat, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in dialysis.

I think nursing school is difficult but very rewarding.

I have always been a good student so I didn't have a problem keeping up with my studies. To me the biggest challenge was staying organized. Nursing school has three areas that you are working on - fundamentals, which is the academic stuff; clinicals - which is dealing with patients; and lab which is learning how to do procedures on a patient. Each area has it's own syllabus, homework assignments, paperwork and reading assignments. Each one meets at a different location so it's a challenge making sure you can get to everywhere you need to be on time. Eventually they all blend together but at first it was a struggle keeping things balanced.

Another challenge is the time committment. If your loved ones are devoted and understanding it helps you get through. If they are demanding of your time and attention and can't understand why you don't spend time with them, it can be miserable. Just about all my classmates had relationship issues at one time or another and it was sad. In the beginning our loved ones said they would do whatever it takes for us to get through, but in reality many people found that they couldn't deal with it.

Happily everyone I started classes with is finishing. We didn't lose any students at all in 2 years. We all managed to work out our issues and get through it. Anything is possible when you put your mind to it and stay focused on the goal.


Specializes in Medicine.

I believe you can only go so far from learning through a textbook. The hands on experience will help you a lot and to develop your skills. I haven't started school yet but when I was going for my Biochemistry degree working in the lab really help reinforce the concepts taught to me in the textbook.

If you find time I would just do some reading on your own if you still have trouble understanding somethings. Talking about it also helps a lot, maybe you can find someone to tutor. Being able to explain something means you really understand it.

Nursing school is like basic training in the military. Whatever preconceptions you may have, you will be torn down, and built back up as a nurse.


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