If you are starting nursing school soon, you’ve probably heard a slew of horror stories. No one has ever said, “Oh, nursing school, it was super easy.” It seems like everywhere you look, every article you read, and everyone you talk to is warning you about the struggle of the journey to become a nurse.
There is a reason why this is the most common discussion on nursing school; it’s truthfully very difficult. But this profession requires an extensive learning track due to the giant pool of knowledge nurses need. We know nursing school is hard, that it’s not a walk in the park, and that the job once you’ve graduated is difficult as well, but there are some things about nursing school that you might not have been told.
Say Goodbye to the Little Things – At Least for a While
There are a few aspects of life that you might take for granted that you’re going to have to say goodbye to for now. Doing your hair, getting your nails done, staying away from caffeine, making a last minute decision to get a drink, making vacation plans out of town, making plans in general, etc. are all aspects of life that will be way more difficult now than ever. You won’t have time to curl your hair every day. Doing clinicals, and nursing in general, won’t allow you to have long or fake nails in order to combat infection. But, if you can manage a pedicure appointment, take it!
Being a Good Student Doesn’t Mean What it Used to
If you were a 4.0 student before nursing school, you need to come to terms with the fact that you might not be a 4.0 student anymore, and that you shouldn’t kill yourself trying to keep that status. What is required of you in nursing school is quite a bit more than what is required of you in other general education courses, so don’t beat yourself up over a few B’s. In nursing school, being a good student means that you’re doing all your required reading before classes, taking detailed notes, and finding a good buddy to help you study and remain accountable. Being a good student now means taking advantage of every option for extra help that is offered. Go to all study groups, overview sessions, test preps, and office hours to ask questions.
Be Prepared for the Mental Turmoil
There are going to be days where you screw up, when you get a bad grade, or your clinical supervisors are mean to you. You’re going to question your schooling, daydream about running away, and maybe even break down in tears due to lack of sleep and too much stress. It will happen, but it’s important to get it out for a little while then pick yourself up and recharge. It’s common to feel like you are falling behind or not performing like you should. It’s also common to feel guilty for ignoring friends and family. With this mixture, it can be difficult to find the positive side of two negative problems, but it’s all a part of schooling. It’s not forever and soon you’ll be able to have a social life again.
Organization and Scheduling Will Get You a Long Way
This doesn’t really seem like a great tip, but the workload you’ll experience will require strict organization and scheduling in order to make you more successful and productive. Organize study sessions a month in advance with your study group, and schedule out your assignment due dates. Even schedule in time to study at home. This will help you stick to a strict study schedule and will help your family understand. Procrastination is not going to fly in this environment and you will fall behind quickly if you don’t keep up with your reading, studying, and assignments. Get a calendar just for your schooling and write down your schedule so it will be harder for things to come up unexpectedly or fall through the cracks.
It Looks a Lot Different From the Inside
Going to nursing school, doing clinicals, and entering the nursing workforce will show you many things about the other side of healthcare. Nurses are on the front lines and experience it in a much more saturated way than many others do. You will work alongside doctors, learn from other nurses, and value the help that is required of the medical assistants that work alongside medical professionals. Healthcare professionals work tirelessly to provide patients with the best healthcare possible – which is the product of a lot of sacrifice. You’ll see tired nurses, long hours, tired feet, aching backs, mountains of charting, patient loss, missed birthdays, and cold dinners. But you’ll also see successful procedures, prayers answered, and people dedicated to helping every single patient.
Yes, nursing school is difficult; it’s extremely difficult. Nurses retain an unbelievable amount of knowledge in a very short amount of time, are taught many different areas of medicine, and hold the lives of their patients in their hands. But while it can be very difficult, it’s well worth it in the end to be one of those professionals dedicated to patient care.
This article was contributed by guest author Chelsy Ranard.