What I Wish I Knew Before I Became A Nursing Student

It is well known that nursing is considered a hard major. There is no doubt that nursing school is hard. Between classes, clinical, simulation lab, open labs and lab debriefs (so you pass your sim lab), and what seems like exams every other day, you are constantly being pushed. There is a good reason for that, though. Once you graduate, it is expected that you can walk into a hospital, nursing home, clinic, etc.and save lives.

I remember what it was like when I got my acceptance letter to the nursing program. Of course, I was thrilled but another part of me was asking myself, “Do I really want to do this?” I didn’t know anyone that was a nurse. The only glimpse that I had before starting the nursing program was seeing nursing students walking out of the library at ridiculous hours of the night or walking around like they haven't slept in weeks. I thought I was signing myself up for was the failure. I was wrong. With almost completing my first semester of nursing school, I want to share my experience with students who aspire to become a nurse. 

It isn’t easy.

I was wrong when I thought I was signing myself up for failure, but I wasn’t wrong about it being difficult. I can honestly say that I have never worked so hard in school as I have in the past year. I have become a pro at time management and learned that procrastination won’t ever cut it. You will get used to the feeling of winging an exam even though you’ve studied for days. I also learned the hard way that professors don’t give you second chances. You missed a deadline? Too bad and recieving half credit does not exist. 

 

There Is No Competition

At some point, I heard that nursing students are cutthroat with each other. This is the furthest thing from the truth. I wish I knew of this because I would have been more confident walking into my first day of nursing classes. An example: All the nursing students at UNH have their own Facebook page organized by graduating class. If you post a question, you are most likely to get a reply within the next hour. Everyone here wants to help each other out. 

Buy The Book

Yes, you are going to use it. Or at least the resources that come with it. I don’t know of anyone who has passed nursing classes without using the book or the online quizzes.

Buy Your Own Everything

Not only is nursing school hard, but it's EXPENSIVE. $400 textbooks anyone? Also for clinical, it's more convenient to have your own supplies. $80 stethoscope, $40 blood pressure cuff, $10 bandage scissors, $100 for 2 sets of uniform scrubs (I recommend getting more because you’re probably going to be too tired or busy to do laundry), $60 shoes for clinical, and hundreds of dollars in lab fees. The list goes on, so prepare yourself.

You Are More Than A Number

Freshman year, I wasn’t in the nursing major.  A huge difference from last year to this year is how much the professors care. Last year, most of my professors barely even bothered to know my name when I went to office hours. This year, I was shocked when one of my professors recognized me outside of class and said hi. They know who you are and they want you to succeed. If you can’t make it to their office hours it’s no problem and they will make time to meet with you. Or if you’re on your fourth try of trying to set up an IV pump and still can’t get it, they will be patient with you.  

It Is All Worth It

All the stress, the exams, the criticism are all worth it. When you connect with a patient at clinical or you finally get to administer the medication that you’ve been learning about. The work is hard,  but the reward is even better.