So I just started my second year of nursing school. My program is an Associate’s Degree of Nursing (ADN/RN) so I only need two years. I am also dual-enrolled with a BSN program to graduate with my BSN three months after getting my ADN. (I highly recommend doing this since many hospitals are requiring BSNs!)
Over the past year, there were many things that I learned about going through this program than I knew before hand. I wanted to share those with those looking for some advice before getting signed up for a crazy adventure!
My mom is a nurse who graduated from the same program I did about eight years ago so I already had some insight into what I was getting into. Here’s some things I didn’t know…
1. You are married to nursing school
It is a very difficult degree and you have to put it first in your life, even if that means sacrificing your social life in the process. Since knowing material could mean life or death in a hospital situation, it’s important to really know your stuff!
I study constantly – watching youtube videos on disease processes on my phone while at the gym, listening to nursing podcasts in the car, study groups one or two times a week. It adds up! Nursing school is only as hard as you make it and I chose studying over friends to allow myself ample time to really learn the material.
Friends can come see me when I walk across the stage at pinning ;P.
2. Nursing school students must be more dedicated to their work than traditional students.
I feel like this ties in well to the first point. Material you learn is what allows you to get good, patient-centered care and you can’t do that if you don’t know what you’re talking about. You can’t BS your way through this job – you could KILL someone!
So other than sacrificing time with family, you must be willing to give up the TV time or video games to really focus on that next test or clinical. It could save someone’s life one day.
3. So many hidden fees!
I figured “oh, I just have to pay this cheap-ish tuition and I’ll be set!”
There are so many things you will need that they don’t tell you about right off the bat. Things like – scrubs, stethoscope, binders, highlighters, shoes namebadges, books, paper!
Paper is crucial! Just go pick up some reams of copy paper from Costco and that should last you at least a year! It also wouldn’t hurt to invest in a good, double-sided printing printer. It will save you time, paper, and hassle to just do it all at once.
So if you really want to succeed in nursing school and not work full-time as well, I highly suggest working some extra shifts before starting school and during breaks to save up money for all the random necessities you will need.
4. The teachers are for you, not against you
My biggest piece of advice is to really get to know and love your clinical and lab instructors. They can show you so many great tools as well as be a support beam for you when you feel like you world is crashing around you.
When I had a large anxiety attack and depression kicked in last semester, I had a teacher that was there for me with hugs and Kleenex. She would calm me down and make sure that I knew this was the path I wanted to take. I also had other teachers give me hugs, talks and way too much candy, but it was always comforting to know that people are there for me.
5. No brain-dumping allowed!
Again, nursing school is full of information that could be used to save someone’s life! Don’t forget it!
It’s not like some classes where you can just study for the test and then your good. No. Not only are you also studying for your final, you are studying for the NCLEX (licensure exam) and then the clinical world.
You need to be able to retain that information for longer than the two week lecture period before the test. Save yourself the hassle of relearning and just remind yourself to stay fresh on the information throughout your practice.
Be sure to check out my YouTube video where I talk more in detail about this here!
Hope you the best in your nursing school adventures!