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What you Should Know Before Pursuing Nursing School

*Original post released on 1/13/2021

For today’s article, I wanted to have a little heart to heart with some of you who are pursuing or are on the fence about pursuing nursing school. It can be so easy to glamorize the nursing profession, especially in recent times, even as we talk about the most difficult parts of the job. While you all know I will encourage and uplift you anytime its needed, I also want to be real and upfront with you about the realities of nursing and the program you have to endure to get to graduation.

Nursing is NOT always the glamourous job that the media and some nurses portray it to be. We deal with death, dying, diseases, bowel movements, gastric contents, urine, infections, open wounds, surgical recovery and complications, etc. Depending on the area of nursing you pursue, your exposure to these things may be more or less. So, if any of those aforementioned aspects make yo nervous, definitely rethink if nursing is for you. Also keep in mind that your plans may change. Be open to the nursing experience, to different assignments, and placements for clinical. You may find that you enter school dead set on ICU nursing but fall in love with pediatric nursing. Don’t dismiss any opportunities!

Nursing school is ridiculously hard, long, and tedious work. The schooling process, working, and studying often takes up 12 or more hours of your day and can leave you functioning on 6 hours or less of sleep daily. You’ll be expected to learn and perform in multiple modalities: didactic, clinical, lab, skills, etc. Expect to go through test off experiences to validate your competency. With all these demands, it can be hard to find school-life balance and maintain relationships. Your family and non-nursing friends likely won’t understand the demands placed on you or how stressful the experience of what you’re going through truly is. Give them some slack and strive to establish a balance. If you have to, schedule in time for yourself and for them and stick to it.

Another aspect of nursing school people don’t often disclose is that the grading scale is typically adjusted to favor those who perform better under pressure. This means school can be more demanding than you’re used to experiencing, even while taking your pre-requisites. A grade of a B for a pre-requisite may be equivalent to a C in nursing school, so keep that in mind and now your grading scales from the get go. In addition to this tid bit of info, keep in mind that many programs may hold you back or remove you from their program altogether for poor grades or failed skills test offs.

Although they’d like you to believe this, the competition doesn’t really end after you’ve been accepted. Acceptance into nursing school can be highly competitive depending on where you live and/or apply. To give yourself the best chance, you’ll want to know exactly how the school goes about their interview process and what they look for/value in a competitive applicant. Lastly, internships and scholarship opportunities may depend largely on your grades as well. This means you definitely shouldn’t let off the gas after you officially get admitted!

On a brighter note, nursing school is incredibly worth the struggle for 4-5 semesters. The friendships you make while enrolled in your program will likely last a very long time, if not for the rest of your career. Seeing and experiencing the nursing profession first hand, when you’re truly passionate, is extremely rewarding. Internships and clinicals can lead to job opportunities that you may not have otherwise experienced. The ups and downs will be worth it in the end, trust me on that. Short term sacrifice leads to long term reward. Create a vision board for yourself and your goals and never lose sight of that; let it be what gets you through. You can do this! I believe in you wholeheartedly and admire you for even considering the nursing profession.

Until next week,

XOXO Andra

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