Have you heard frightening stories about nursing school?
The nursing curriculum’s difficulty is a tune nearly everyone hums!
However, how accurate are these telltales? Is nursing school as challenging as everyone claims?
This in-depth piece sheds light on the truth, clarifying what nursing school is and isn’t, what you can expect, and practical recommendations to become a more productive nursing undergrad.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
Nursing school introduces students to all healthcare fields to make them capable deputies to medical doctors. Consequently, the curriculum covers human sciences thoroughly, including anatomy, chemistry, psychology, and biochemistry.
In addition, subset courses cover crucial administrative concepts, such as ethics, healthcare laws, philosophy, and sociology.
Determining what the most challenging courses are in a nursing program is subjective. What is difficult for one nursing student may not be difficult for another.
Not to mention that no course has to be “most challenging.”
Pathophysiology, pharmacology, and medical-surgical courses may pose a challenge. But we’re convinced intense concentration will help.
Your study schedule depends on your course requirements and brain ability. Some students may require a few hours for thorough understanding, while others may need the entire night for the same purpose.
Defining the easiest nursing classes is a subjective activity due to preferences. However, common mentions include humanities, intro to speech, English composition, history, social sciences, and information technology.
Simulation labs are facilities designed for immersive, simulated learning experiences. These labs mimic numerous healthcare settings, including operating theaters, emergency wards, labor centers, and neonatal intensive care units, for a hands-on understanding of classroom teachings.
Undergrads can develop their core clinical skills through this setup. Simulation labs are typically the first place to try out catheterization, nasogastric tube insertions, and intramuscular injections.
Therefore, nursing simulations are necessary because they train nursing students to provide holistic care (enabling better patient interactions) and revisit critical skills and concepts learned during nursing school. It also allows you to make mistakes and take in instructor feedback to level up on your next attempt.
Today, there have been many advancements in nursing simulations. For example, some schools employ lifelike simulation mannequins, which will go so far as to replicate facial expressions and follow you around the room, forcing you to interact with them.
Consider clinical hours the real-world version of nursing simulations. These rotations require students to work under a supervisor’s watch in actual healthcare settings for skill improvement.
Clinical hours tend to start with a pre-conference, where the instructor specifies the expectations for the day regarding assignments and caseloads.
Initially, these hours focus on real-life demonstration of knowledge picked up in the classroom and the skills developed in simulation labs for the week. However, students are soon introduced to incidents that require skills they picked up a while back.
Most nursing schools expect you to complete 1,000 clinical hours to graduate.
Your clinical hour shifts may require you to discharge one or more of these duties:
Nursing school seems easy on paper, but it may be straightforward in practice. It depends on the student’s involvement in the curriculum, labs, and hours. Now, let’s see the prerequisites for getting into a nursing school.
Securing admission into your ideal nursing institution demands completing specific educational laps beforehand.
Below is a list of prerequisites for admission into the University of Florida’s College of Nursing Accelerated BSN program:
Applicants must score at least a C on all prerequisite courses taken anytime within the past seven years.
Candidates who took the nursing classes in high school can apply to any nursing school, provided they meet other requirements.
However, applicants without nursing backgrounds can enroll in the Fast Track program in their respective choice institutions. This program typically offers prerequisite courses within four to twelve weeks and is available online.
For perspective, the University of Rochester’s School of Nursing fast track program offers the following courses:
The coursework is self-paced, so working nurses can afford a healthy work-life balance.
Specific exams are a part of your admission requirements. These tests assess your reading, calculative, and science knowledge. They include:
Nursing school offers three significant pathways to becoming a nurse. They include:
A Bachelor of Science in Nursing is a program for non-nursing applicants and existing nurses with lower authorization to secure a degree usable for higher nursing roles. This program typically takes four years, although there are accelerated options that last 16–24 months only.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), BSN nurses positively affect the mortality rate in a hospital. Therefore, employers prefer their expertise in any healthcare setting. Not to forget, they’re qualified for advanced nursing positions and leadership roles.
However, BSN schooling is more expensive than other entry-level nursing programs. It also takes more time, and even though there are accelerated alternatives, they cost even more.
An Associate Degree in Nursing is an entryway program that introduces students to fundamental knowledge and skills. This program lasts for two to three years and is typically offered in community colleges and other similarly ranked institutions.
Acquiring an ADN education may qualify you for specific nursing roles, but the degree falls short ultimately. ADN-RNs must upgrade to BSN-RNs to advance their careers.
Regardless, ADN nurses earn good pay, averaging over $55,000 annually. This figure may even increase according to location and experience.
A nursing diploma is a degree you acquire after one to three years in nursing school. This certificate prepares a nurse for entry-level nursing roles. The prerequisite coursework for admission and other exams is similar to the BSN and ADN norms.
However, DN-RNs are ranked low in the nursing chain. They make less salary and have fewer job opportunities. Therefore, they eventually secure their BSN degree.
Productivity in nursing school trickles down to your time management skills, as you must make sufficient time for classroom sessions, simulation rounds, and clinical hours. The following are helpful recommendations to consider.
Log all academic deadlines in a planner or calendar for reminder purposes. Alternatively, you may use the calendar to plan a studying session. Whichever works for you is excellent! Consider Microsoft Outlook for a start.
Set upfront expectations with the essential people in your life to ensure your education takes the front seat always. You’ll miss some functions, but it’ll be for a good cause, such as a classroom lesson, clinical hour session, or simulation lab visit.
Your curriculum is extensive; therefore, it’s best to study consistently. Procrastinating until the exam is near may hurt your chances of thorough understanding.
Task batching means completing smaller tasks in a specific time block. These tasks may range from submitting papers to responding to your email notifications. This technique improves concentration since you no longer worry about unread emails and links.
Devote a day to a specific task theme that may take the entire day to complete. For example, applying for scholarships and internships could consume a whole day. The same if you’re studying for a particular test on a second day. Compartmentalizing and “day theming” could keep all of your tasks in check.
Hourly and weekly study hours leave little to no room for on-the-spot cooking; therefore, plan meals. Design a shopping list for the week and tick all boxes on Sunday. This day may cover grocery shopping, extensive cooking, and labeling and storing Tupperware containers for quick heating throughout the week.
Include breaks in your study schedule to refresh your brain. The Pomodoro technique is an excellent option, which allows for 5-minute intervals after each 25-minute chunk of work.
This tactic allows you to track downtime more effectively and improve productivity.
Completing a degree program in nursing school doesn’t earn you a practice license, as you can only become a registered nurse after passing the NCLEX.
The National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) is a final test nursing school students must pass to gain their license. Students who fail can apply for a resit at most eight times per year.
There are two NCLEX formats: NCLEX-PN for aspiring licensed practical nurses and NCLEX-RN for registered nursing applicants.
The NCLEX covers the following eight nursing subfields.
The NCLEX adjusts its difficulty level according to the taker’s performance. Therefore, an excellent performance reduces the number of questions and vice versa. Note the minimum and the maximum number of questions an NCLEX can pose are 75 and 265, respectively.
The nursing line leaves its professionals in charge of human lives. As such, it’s understandable that the required education may be challenging.
However, nursing schools produce thousands of qualified nurses yearly. Many students make the cut, so what’s holding you back?
Nursing school may be a welcome challenge for a passionate undergrad. Not to forget the exclusive rewards that accompany its completion.
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