Is nursing school challenging? To say that nursing school is one of the most challenging training programs is a massive understatement. From diving into the various biological, pharmacological and administrative tasks of this dynamic career, it’s no surprise many nursing students find themselves feeling overwhelmed and under prepared.
While these feelings are common for almost every medical training program, what makes nursing school seem so daunting in the eyes of prospective students? Let’s take a moment and investigate why nursing school is among the most difficult, but rewarding, educational challenges in the United States.
The Myriad of Training Modules and Requirements
In order to become an employable and celebrated nurse, you must have undergone a variety of training modules. Each type of training class helps to develop acute clinical expertise, immense knowledge and refined judgement making abilities. As you can imagine, these are paramount when working as a nurse in any medical environment. Unfortunately, these qualities take an immense amount of time to refine and cultivate.
One of the most interesting learning requirements of nursing school doesn’t come from a textbook. Rather, it’s developed by simply working and being exposed to the dynamic and unexpected realm of nursing. It’s impossible to tell you how to cultivate a solid clinical judgement. This is but one of the many essential skills that are refined through years of experience and dedication to your medical practice. In fact, this level of training doesn’t stop once you graduate. These skills are continuously cultivated throughout your career.
It’s this ethereal element that truly makes learning how to become a successful and capable nurse difficult.
Without a doubt, the essence of nursing is hands-on expertise. While you’ll be required to read countless pages of detailed instructions, there isn’t a textbook in the world capable of revealing all of your various tasks and requirements as a Registered Nurse.
Therefore, as a nurse-in-training, you’ll encounter a myriad of various training modules. Generally, for the first eight weeks or so of nursing school you’ll be sequestered to a classroom with your fellow students. Within these lecture halls, you’ll begin exploring the theoretical elements of nursing. Throughout this time, you’ll be learning about the complex organism that is the human body. Through pathophysiology coursework, chemistry classes and deep-level anatomy curriculum, you’ll investigate the complicated realm of human bodies.
While nurses who come from a medical background, such as working as a Certified Nursing Assistant, will find these courses familiar, most nurses are complete novices when it comes to healthcare. For these students, these classes will likely feel overwhelming and extremely challenging. However, it’s not impossible.
Throughout your degree program, you’ll bounce between classroom training and hands-on clinical practice. While this isn’t a surprise, most students are surprised at the level of attention and complexity switching between clinical studies and classroom lectures ends up being.
Perhaps one of the most important elements to remember throughout your time as a nursing student is to remember that while you may find unique approaches to successfully accomplishing a specific task, in order to pass the NCLEX examination, you must fully understand textbook-quality procedures.
Understanding Most Answers are Actually Correct
One of the most interesting elements about taking nursing school exams is the fact that almost every answer is technically correct. So, how can you be counted as providing an incorrect answer if your response was actually correct?
This is where nursing school becomes confusing.
Simply because an answer is technically correct doesn’t mean it’s the best way to answer the problem. The majority of nursing school exams are filled with potential responses that are right, but aren’t actually the best answer. This is done on purpose. Throughout your experience as a nurse, you’ll be faced with a myriad of situations where you must think quickly.
Not only must you provide a solution to treat a specific condition, but this solution must be the best one for the patient. This means being able to understand the difference between a right answer and a correct response. In essence, this forms the cornerstone of critical thinking that’s required of all nurses.
Your Life Becomes 100% About School and Training
While the majority of professional degree programs are intense, few require such immense time commitments as nursing school. Whether you’re in your first year or last year, you’ll literally live and breathe nursing techniques and training.
There’s a good reason why nursing school is all encompassing. Throughout the four years it takes to earn your BSN, you’re responsible for learning a variety of techniques and methodologies designed to actually save lives. Combine this with the other minor courses you’re required to pass, and it’s easy to understand why the majority of nursing students say that this time period was one filled with isolation, messy rooms and lackluster cooking.
Other Common Reasons Why Nursing School is Challenging
If we were to list all of the reasons why nursing school is so difficult, you’d end up reading a 1 million word essay. Who has time for that?
Instead of outlining every small detail that combines to make nursing school a complex, frustrating and rewarding experience, here’s a few of the most common reasons:
• You understand that your daily work actually makes an impact on not only the emotional safety of patients, but also their lives. Sometimes, the realization that your daily tasks can mean the difference between life and death is simply too much to bear. When your mind wanders into this very real, but not very productive, head space, remember that you’re capable, talented and passionate.
• Your fellow nurses can sometimes be just awful. Whether this is because they’re overworked, exhausted or jaded to the medical system, it’s not uncommon to face hateful and mean spirited nurses throughout your training. Use this as an opportunity to refine your ability to handle unsavory characters without diluting your talent and skills.
• Lastly, nursing school is so challenging because it’s so darn expensive! Trying to afford class, rent, food and other life necessities all while spending hours studying may seem impossible, but as thousands of newly graduated nurses can attest, it’s definitely possible as long as you keep your wits about you and prepare for some of the longest days of your life.