Nursing has been a popular profession since the mid 19th-century and is often thought of as being started by British nurse Florence Nightingale.
Ever since her pioneering work, nursing has afforded many people the opportunity to make a difference and provide life-saving care to those in need. In order to become a registered nurse and work in a healthcare setting, essential training must be completed.
This training usually comes in the form of a university degree and provides the student with all the necessary skills and knowledge to help people. In this article, we are going to evaluate what is expected of nursing students, how to become a qualified nurse and how difficult the whole process is.
What Does Nursing School Consist of?
There are many different routes student nurses can take, but these are the two most common educational programs.
Table of Content
1. Associate Degree In Nursing
To become a registered nurse, one must complete an Associate Degree in Nursing which is a two year course. This is the basic level of training to become a registered nurse and provides the student with all the necessary credentials for nursing jobs that require critical patient care and assistance of physicians.
2. Bachelor of Science in Nursing
A step-up from the ADN is a four year college course which provides more comprehensive education for students that want higher-paying nursing jobs and are aiming for supervisory roles in their field. The course will combine a mixture of classroom learning and on-site clinical training which involves subjects such as anatomy, biology, and chemistry.
Although this is usually a general course, some schools offer more specialized programs for those who know they want to go down a specific route such as pediatrics or psychiatry.
How to Get into Nursing School
As with any university or college program, there are prerequisites that will impact one’s chances of getting into nursing school. All applicants must have graduated from high school or earnt their GED as a basic requirement. They must also have one year of high school biology and chemistry with a C grade or higher.
A further two years of college-preparatory math with a C or higher is also required, as well as specific GPA scores. Other processes for getting into nursing school include working out a payment plan, choosing the right program for you, completing the application process, and passing the admissions interviews.
As you can see, it’s not a quick and easy process. Note that each school will have its own admissions process and may require different GPA scores or volunteer experience, so researching the specific entry requirements for your top choice is essential.
How Difficult is Nursing School?
1. Studying is a Priority
Any college degree requires its students to study a lot, nursing is different. Between classes and other commitments, nursing students can expect to spend the majority of their time studying as they have a lot of material to cover over the course of their degree. Staying organized and staying on schedule is essential to make the most out of the course.
2. There Will Be Challenges
Nursing school is intensive and a lot is expected of students, many will be pushed out of their comfort zone which can be a challenge. For example, a lot more independent learning is required at college level education, you’ll also be exposed to new styles of teaching and more hands-on approaches that you may find difficult.
3. Tough Grade Requirements
Nursing school has some tough grade requirements that mean students have to work as hard as possible to stay in school. Each school is different, but here’s an example: at Yale Nursing School a ‘fail’ is considered at 73% and below. Therefore students must score 74% or more in their assignments and tests to stay on the program.
Many people think of college and dream about the big parties and all the new friends they will make. Although you will make friends and go to some parties, those that are truly committed to gaining their nursing degree will have super limited free-time to spend socializing.
5. It’s Expensive
College is expensive, that’s a given. From tuition fees, living costs, books, and everything else that comes with higher education. The average student studying a four-year course will have to pay around $21,370 per year for tuition, room, and board. If you’re studying out of date this will cost more.
Due to the high costs, it’s important to spend your money wisely and cut back whenever possible. Living on a budget or even getting the money to pay for college in the first place is really difficult for many students. There are a number of loans, grants, and scholarships available to students from the government and different schools. Always check what you’re eligible for before applying to your top school.
Misconceptions About Nursing School
a. It’s An Easy Course
People may tell you that a nursing course is ‘easy’, especially compared to a medical degree. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Nursing is a tough degree to undertake with challenging exams, tight schedules, and plenty of assignments. The National League for Nursing found there to be a 20% dropout rate in nursing programs in the United States.
b. Nurses Have a Low Salary
The average salary for a nurse in the U.S. is around $82,750 however some nurses can make as much as $124,000 a year in high-paying states. There are many different routes to explore with nursing, the more specialized a role the more the nurse will earn.
The Bottom Line
Nursing is a tough profession, from the time you start as a student to the moment you are working in a healthcare setting with patients. Those considering a career in nursing must be sure they are up to the challenge. Although it is a really hard degree to earn, the rewards and benefits will be completely worth it when you’re out there saving lives and helping others every day!