You’re considering a new career in nursing and want to know: Is nursing school hard? Is it worth the effort?
The answer to both questions is yes.
Nursing school is hard, but graduates of our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program often tell us it’s worth it. That’s because the program provides the academic foundation and clinical skills required to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and pursue a rewarding nursing career.
However, it also requires a lot of studying and interacting with patients in sometimes-intense clinical rotations. Both can seem intimidating, especially if you’ve never worked in a healthcare setting before. Here, we reveal other common nursing school stressors and offer ways to persevere through them.
Challenging course material
Many nursing students who come from non-science backgrounds say some of the science-based courses they’re required to take, such as pharmacology and pathophysiology, are challenging. But it’s important to remember they set the foundation for the rest of your accelerated nursing education — and career. You’ll draw from this base of knowledge every day while on the job; knowing it could help save a patient’s life.
To overcome your anxieties about difficult course material, develop an action plan to make it seem more manageable. For example, you can start by identifying your learning style and scheduling a designated time to study every day.
– Lacey Goedde, ABSN Class of December 2019
Preparing for labs
Another key part of your BSN education, skills and simulation labs are where you practice basic nursing skills and experience mock clinical scenarios in front of your instructors and peers. While you’ll “treat” medical manikins and apply skills in a controlled, risk-free environment, those moments can sometimes make you feel eager and anxious.
Having those feelings is 100% normal. In fact, we developed these virtual scenarios for nursing students to hone their problem-solving and decision-making skills before starting their clinical rotations.
Getting those initial butterflies or nerves out of your system in simulation helps you feel more confident in walking into the patient’s room for the first time.
– Kristen Walker, ABSN Class of May 2019
Fast pace of program
All the above reasons for why nursing school is hard are stressful enough. Combine the fact that with an ABSN program you’re condensing 36 months’ worth of material into 16 months and you add in a whole new level of difficulty.
Remember while online accelerated nursing coursework grants you some flexibility to learn at your own pace, you still must adhere to your instructors’ due dates. Because you learn so many new facts, terminology, concepts, and practical skills in such a condensed timeframe, many Marian University ABSN students say remaining focused and self-disciplined is vital to staying on track.
“With the amount of classes you have first semester you have to hunker down,” Kristen says. “Make sure you’re meeting all the course requirements, turning in assignments, preparing well for clinical, and feeling like you’re on top of the game as much as possible.”
As a student enrolled in our ABSN program, you’ll complete more than 700 hours of clinical practice at either St. Vincent (for those enrolled in the Indianapolis program) or Saint Thomas Health (for those enrolled in the Nashville, Tennessee, program). Your first clinical focuses on the fundamentals of nursing and begins halfway through the first semester.
Diving into the ‘real world’
Clinicals are vital to your understanding of what nursing is like in the real world. They’re also your chance to apply what you learned in your nursing theory courses and skills and simulation labs.
Many students in our ABSN program say one of the biggest stressors of clinicals is delineating between what you learned in these other parts of your nursing education and how things happen in the “real world.”
It’s intimidating the first time you step on the floor and have a patient looking back at you. You want to ask the right questions and make sure you do everything to help the patient.
– Dan Francis, ABSN Class of December 2017
The good news if you’re stressed about clinicals? Your clinical instructor will be with you and available to help you identify the best course of action for each patient.
Interacting with patients
Aside from the jitters of stepping into a patient’s room for the first time (How do I introduce myself? What if I make a mistake? and so on), your ABSN education will expose you to mature subjects. After all, a nurse’s role is to help care for the sick, injured, or dying, making the emotional side of the job sometimes tough to bear emotionally.
To help you navigate these situations, we instill in our students a holistic approach to patient care — that is, treat patients’ minds, bodies, and spirits. That involves instructing the importance of faith and the University’s commitment to Franciscan values, which are:
- Dignity of the individual
- Peace and justice
- Responsible stewardship
Your clinical instructors will also impart upon you other components of the true spirit of caregiving, such as how to:
- Exhibit genuine caring behavior
- Engage in appropriate communication
- Perform safe therapeutic interventions
- Use ethical perspectives
Passing the NCLEX
You may think you’re out of the woods come graduation from accelerated nursing school. But before you receive licensure to practice as a registered nurse you must pass the National Council Licensure Examination, better known as the NCLEX.
Administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc., this exam helps ensure nursing school graduates have the basic skills and knowledge to provide safe, effective nursing care at the entry level.
In addition to determining whether you can practice as an RN, what else makes this exam stressful? Like the exams you take throughout accelerated nursing school, the questions on the test aren’t straightforward. In fact, they’re designed to teach you how to think critically. You could consider every possible answer correct; it’s up to you to decide the “most correct.”
To help prepare you for this exam, the Marian University ABSN program offers Kaplan learning assessments throughout the program as well as a prep course after graduation to build on everything you’ve learned since Day 1 of nursing school.
Accelerated Nursing School: You’ve Got This!
Accelerated nursing school is hard and will consume a major part of your life for about 16 months, but it offers an immense payoff. After successfully completing all the studying, exam-taking, and clinical rotations, you’ll be more than prepared to become a BSN-educated nurse!
Are you ready to face the challenge of nursing school? Contact one of our admissions advisors to see if you’re a good fit for our program today.