The aging nursing workforce and aging baby-boomer population continues to add to the growing need for new nurses in the workforce. Today, many of the students enrolled in nursing schools have chosen the profession as a second career with the promise of better pay and job stability. Although the field is promising, the dedication to the busy workload can be intimidating for any newcomer. In this article, current nursing students discuss the challenges of nursing education today.
According to a second-year nursing student in Georgia, admission into a nursing program, requires maintaining a GPA of at least 3.8 to 4.0, to compete with the hundreds of students seeking admission into limited number of colleges. Since many hospitals now require BSN prepared nurses, gaining acceptance into a four-year program has become even more challenging. A requirement for admission includes passing the Test of Essential Academic Skills, better known as the TEAS. The standardized test is used as an entrance exam to determine the skills of potential nursing students in the area of math, science, reading and English language usage.
The second-year nursing student explained that although nursing education may be challenging, she believes it is an important preparation for the responsibility of caring for patients.
According to a new graduate nurse, some of the challenges she faced in her nursing program included three to four- hour classes, strict grading scales and passing scores, rigorous curriculums, nonstop studying, and maintaining clinical preceptorships. In her view, “Nursing is a caring profession and a calling to care for the sick and the aging.” She chose nursing in order to make a difference by helping the sick get better, and to advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves.
An aspiring nursing student and mother of two children under the age-ten chose to pursue nursing as a second career due to job stability, her passion for caring for the sick, and flexibility of working three days a week. As she balances her current part-time job and caring for a family, she stated her greatest challenge is maintaining her 4.0 GPA, as she prepares for the TEAS.
While balancing work and social life, the challenges of nursing education can become extremely difficult for students, but their passion for the profession helps them withstand the journey through nursing school.
By Faith Ighile DNP, FNP-C
Family Nurse Practitioner and Associate Faculty at University of Phoenix