Is it hard to become a nurse? Nursing school is notoriously difficult and it’s not for everyone. So, read on for a list of things you should know about this degree. Undergraduate degree programs, regardless of topic of study, can be difficult. It is natural to be concerned about returning to school to seek a nursing degree, and you may question, “Is nursing school hard?”
While completing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing is difficult, Mercer University’s Second Degree Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program allows you to complete your degree in as little as 12 months with the correct level of devotion and assistance.
It’s natural to be nervous about going to school if you’re thinking about getting an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing, or if you’re a working registered nurse thinking about getting your graduate degree.
Nursing demands more dedication than many other professions. However, it is one of the most rewarding jobs available.
How Hard is Nursing School? Tips to Know for Success
There is no simple answer to this question. Every nursing program has different admissions requirements, and your particular situation and background may make you more attractive to some schools than others.
The good news is that there are several levels of nursing and hundreds of nursing schools and graduate nursing programs across the country, so if you don’t get accepted by one, try researching others.
Ultimately, your ability to get into nursing school or grad school will come down to these factors:
1. Nursing School GPA Requirements
Many colleges look at your grade point average (GPA) as one of their initial assessments. Although each program and school sets its own GPA requirements, it’s important to remember that the typical minimum GPAs are as follows, based on statistics from Nurse.org:
- Programs for associate’s degrees: 2.0–2.8
- Programs for bachelor’s degrees: 3.0 on average
- Programs for early entry might have stricter GPA requirements (3.8 or above).
2. Nursing School Topics are Hard
To begin with, nursing school is challenging. On-ground accelerated BSN program includes a four-semester curriculum that includes demanding coursework, in-person labs, and clinical rotations. Students in nursing school must understand:
- Evaluation and treatment of patients
- Health ethics in nursing research
- Along with public health
These ideas are not at all simple. The fact that mastering these difficult subjects takes time and effort is one of the main reasons nursing school is so difficult.
Given their extensive responsibilities, nurses should possess a solid background in healthcare.
3. Nursing School TEAS Scores
Similar to the SATs, the Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) is a standardized exam designed specifically for applicants to nursing schools.
It’s used by a lot of nursing schools to attempt and forecast your performance there.
You have three hours and twenty-nine minutes to finish the 170 multiple-choice questions on the test. The exam assesses your knowledge of science, reading, math, English, and language usage.
4. Quick Timetable
The length of an accelerated program is both its beauty and its challenge. You can obtain your BSN much more quickly with accelerated nursing programs than with standard programs.
Students can complete their BSN faster than in a typical four-year bachelor’s degree program by enrolling in a University’s 16-month hybrid and 18-month on-ground accelerated nursing programs.
Students enrolled in traditional nursing schools complete two years of intensive nursing coursework.
One of the best things about accelerated BSN programs is that they allow students to finish their BSN faster by using their previous bachelor’s degree or 60 college credits.
But the shorter period also means a quicker pace. This implies that accelerated programs proceed swiftly.
5. Nursing School Application and Essay
Unlike other colleges and universities, nursing schools need you to complete an application form and include other documents, including your essay and others.
This is an opportunity to set yourself apart from other candidates and demonstrate why the admissions team should select you.
So, writing about experiences that have shaped you, your goals, and your ultimate “why” for attending can help get you started.
Use the essay to highlight the qualities that make you unique and your commitment to nursing. Other details to consider adding to your essay include:
- Reasons you chose that program or school
- Examples that illustrate why you’re interested in going into nursing
- Previous medically related experiences, including volunteering
- Personal accomplishments
6. It Takes a Lot of Dedication
One thing that makes nursing school so hard is the mental fortitude it takes to remain committed and disciplined.
When you embark on nursing school, you’re beginning a rewarding path full of potential, but you’ll need to put in work to achieve your goals.
While it’s challenging to remain focused and dedicated to a study plan every day, the great thing about accelerated nursing programs.
This means the time demands are short-lived, and before you know it, you’ll be ready to jump into a meaningful nursing career.
7. Nursing School Labs
Although you’ll be in a controlled environment in nursing labs, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed at first.
To provide you with a realistic experience in patient care simulations, labs will assign you tasks such as drawing blood, administering injections, performing catheterization, and performing full-body exams on mannequins that are designed to resemble real patients.
The objective is to enable you to put what you’ve been learning into practice and to get you ready for practical nursing.
8. Nursing School Clinical rotations
Clinicals are regarded by many nursing school students as the most stressful aspect of their education. You’ll be using the abilities you’ve developed in the labs and in the classroom while dealing with actual patients during clinical.
To obtain practical learning experience, you will work under the supervision of a nursing educator during this stage of your education.
You will assist with little chores and observe a nurse. You might be able to work more on your own as you go.
9. You’ll Have to Balance Your Academic Duties
The fact that nursing students have to manage several academic tasks at once is one of the challenges of nursing school.
In addition to performing well on tests, developing practical skills, communication skills, and bedside nursing abilities are all important for nursing students.
Your calendar will be packed with clinical, nursing skills and simulation laboratories, and online or on-campus courses.
In the end, each course type builds on the others to give you the confidence you need to start clinical rotations.
While juggling all of these different school obligations can be difficult at first, it will get simpler when you establish a routine for yourself.
10. Nursing School Exams and Preparation to Pass
Not only should you be ready for the difficulty of getting into nursing school, but you should also be ready to pass your program.
The nursing school you select will determine the standards you must meet to graduate with your degree.
You can negotiate the new workload you’ll confront by entering nursing school with a strong desire to study, initiative, and knowing that it will be difficult.
Throughout your nursing school experience, preparation is essential. You must dedicate some time to studying each day. To aid with memory retention, think about using mnemonic devices.
How Hard is Nursing School?
Admission to and completion of nursing school are highly competitive. Nursing students may have to take several challenging courses in a single semester due to program requirements that call for a high credit hour total.
Consider spending late hours not only on clinicals where you will obtain practical nursing experience, but also on exam preparation.
But if you want to be a nurse, the rigorous training is worthwhile. The coursework equips you with a lucrative and satisfying profession. You’ll have the drive to complete your nursing education.
Nursing school should be hard. Good programs take a rigorous, immersive approach to preparing you for patient care. There are pressing deadlines to meet, lab skills to master, and challenging exams to take.
You may have moments of feeling exhausted, burned out, or defeated. You must be smart with the way you manage your time.
If you are thinking of going to grad school to earn your Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), expect to put in the work.
Graduate coursework can be very challenging because you are learning more advanced material.
However, the level of difficulty will depend on the school and how well your prior education and work experience have prepared you.
It also depends on the BSN program’s flexibility. Some programs have self-paced options that allow you to accelerate your time to degree completion by proving your competency in areas of knowledge.
Or, you may be able to take a lighter course load to more comfortably balance your work and life responsibilities.
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What to do to be Accepted into Nursing School
Alongside having a high GPA and completing prerequisite courses, there are a few other steps you can take to boost your chances of being enrolled in nursing school.
1. Obtain Relevant Certifications
Depending on the school, having some relevant certifications may be mandatory or at least highly recommended.
For instance, obtaining a Basic Life Support (BLS) certification or a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification shows commitment to learning and a genuine interest in helping others.
It will also make you more competitive among other candidates.
Volunteering, especially in a healthcare setting, not only looks good on the application form, but it’s also a great opportunity for you to gain some experience and take a glimpse at the nursing profession.
It’s not unusual for hospitals to have open volunteer opportunities, so, with a little bit of research, you can find a volunteering gig in lots of medical settings, from working in the ER department to assisting with childcare.
Volunteering shows commitment, and it proves to schools that your interest in nursing is a thought-through plan, a passion that you nurtured and in which you’ve invested time and energy.
There is no specific requirement for the amount of time you should volunteer, but generally, anywhere from one hundred hours to multiple hundreds will give you an edge over other applicants.
3. Become a CNA
Becoming a Certified Nurse Assistant not only looks good on a resume, but it also serves as a great entry point into the nursing field.
This certificate program typically takes a few months to complete, but it provides valuable insight into the life and responsibilities of a nurse.
Working alongside Registered Nurses and other healthcare professionals as a Certified Nurse Assistant is a great way to get you excited about a career in nursing.
As a result, if you decide to pursue a degree program, such as an ADN or BSN, it will be because you have demonstrated the necessary experience in the field.
You’ll have a much better chance of getting in as a result of this. Another advantage is that your experience as a CNA can count as transferable credit for further education (depending on the school).
Finally, everyone’s journey through nursing school is unique: some find it easier, while others find it excruciatingly difficult.
It is not for the faint of heart, but if you are passionate and driven, you will not only survive but thrive in nursing school.
Nursing school is designed to prepare you to be the best nurse you can be. Is it difficult? Without a doubt, how difficult is it? That is ultimately up to you.
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