7) Not everyone gets in. This means you have to be better than other people. Yes this includes better grades. There are numerous pre-requisite classes and the more you have completed the better chance you will have of getting accepted into school. It is much harder to get into school and eventually receive a license with any kind of criminal record. If you have problems in this area then it is best to speak to a counselor or advisor to find out if you will be able to proceed with school before getting too far. Our first day of class our instructors warned us that even having been convicted of driving while intoxicated could prevent us from obtaining a nursing license.
6) Everything else in life becomes less important. Your family, loved ones, yes even the boyfriend/husband (or for you guys, the girlfriend/wife, though we are typically more understanding in general). They will all need to understand that nursing school is a full time commitment that has to take precedence over everything else in life in order for you to succeed at it. You will need a lot of support and assistance so that you can put all your effort into the program. This is a full-time commitment.
5) Be positive nursing is something you TRULY want to and can do. Nursing is not for everyone. Do not waste your time if it is not something you can do. In my first year of school we lost a student because the first time she held a needle to someone’s skin she passed out…..she had worked very hard to get to that point and realized it wasn’t for her. I’m not saying you should go around sticking people with needles to see if you pass out or not, just think about it and maybe volunteer at a hospital or nursing home to see if you are prepared for that kind of environment.
4) It is unlike any other classroom experience you have ever had. Nursing school is not like your biology class or English class of the past. This is serious stuff. I am not just talking about the clinical aspect. Nursing education is not in the black/white format of a math class. 2+2 is not always 4, sometimes it is 5 or 10, just depending on the situation. You have to learn a new thought process. You may have several “right” answers in front of you, but must choose the “best” right answer depending on any number of variables. Sure, any of the answers may get you where you need to go, but will the patient make it through your trial and error?
3) Clinicals are meant to scare the crap out of you. You will be forced to actually walk into a stranger’s hospital room and examine them from head to toe; this includes ALL parts by the way. And while doing this you must appear that you are totally at ease looking at strange naked people and behave as if you know exactly what you are doing. This is even more difficult to accomplish with the ever present instructor standing behind your back watching everything you do. But if you make it to your final semester, they essentially leave you to your own devices because at that point even the instructors are fooled into thinking you might actually know what you are doing.
2) There will be nursing students who are not married, do not work, do not have kids, and can totally devote their whole being to succeeding at school. You will hate these people. They will go above and beyond and impress the instructors with their knowledge because they can study 14 hours a day and knit all 6 instructors personalized stethoscope covers in their spare time. Again, you will hate these people. Don’t try to talk to them or get them to downplay their abilities because they will not listen and will only work harder to show you up!
1) It is extremely rewarding! Once you finish, and yes you can finish and graduate and pass boards, you will have joined a professional organization that you can grow and change with. There are so many possibilities for nurses to gain autonomy and become a valuable asset to any community. Nursing is not just a job; it is a career in which we change people’s lives. A very intelligent nurse once told me that if he (the patient) can lay there and go through it then I can certainly stand beside him and comfort him during it. Nurses are comfort to a patient; always remember why you are there and what you mean to the one you are caring for.