Nursing Inspiration

Is Nursing School Hard? 9 Things You Should Know

Nine key reasons why nursing school is hard include needing to learn complex topics at a fast pace, requiring dedication and thorough understanding. Nursing students need to multitask, work with little personal time, adjust to clinicals, and prepare for the NCLEX. The COVID-19 pandemic has added additional challenges, as well.

Nursing student working on laptop and taking notes

Why is nursing school hard? For starters, nurses save lives. If your loved one required the care of a nurse, it’s likely you would want an adequately prepared professional taking care of them. So, while earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is difficult, it’s an attainable goal — and it can be done in as few as 16 months.

At Felician University, we are well-versed in helping students overcome a rigorous nursing curriculum and graduate as practice-ready nurses. The Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program at Felician offers four start dates a year — three for the 16-month hybrid option and one for the 18-month on-ground option. The ABSN program is the ideal choice for those with a prior non-nursing bachelor’s degree or at least 60 college credits who want to make a career change to nursing.

In an accelerated nursing program, the challenging nature of nursing school only intensifies. However, with dedication and hard work, our students can and do succeed. We’re going to explore the rigors of nursing school, from beginning to end, so you know exactly what to expect as you begin the worthwhile path to becoming a nurse.

1. Nursing School Topics are Hard

First of all, nursing education is hard. The curriculum in a hybrid accelerated BSN program like Felician’s consists of four semesters of education through rigorous online courses and in-person labs and clinical rotations. Nursing school requires students to learn:

  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Patient assessment and care
  • Nursing research
  • Health ethics
  • Public health and more

These concepts are far from easy. One of the primary reasons why nursing school is so hard is simply because it requires time and effort to master these challenging topics. Nurses have a lot of responsibility, so it’s important that they have a strong foundation of healthcare knowledge.

Felician ABSN students working on skills

Want to learn more about the advantages of a BSN in nursing? Discover the value in earning a BSN for your future as a nurse.

2. Fast-Paced Schedule

The beauty and the challenge of an accelerated program is the length. Accelerated nursing programs allow you to earn your BSN significantly faster than you would in a traditional program. In the 16-month hybrid accelerated nursing program at Felician University, students can earn their BSN in less time than a traditional four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Traditional nursing school has students spend two years taking nursing-intensive courses. The great thing about accelerated BSN programs is students can leverage their prior bachelor’s degree or 60 college credits to complete a BSN in less time.

Supplying education. Meeting demand - Three nurses walking down a hall

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However, with the shorter time comes a faster pace. That means accelerated program moves quickly. You’ll need to learn how to optimize your time and study efficiently so you can stay ahead on the material.

It’s normal for students to feel overwhelmed at first as they get used to the rigor and demands of learning so quickly. Just remember to stick to your study schedule and ask questions early. Nursing school is cumulative, so it’s important to stay ahead.

3. It Takes a Lot of Dedication

One aspect of what makes nursing school so hard is the mental fortitude it takes to remain committed and disciplined. When you embark on nursing school, you’re beginning a rewarding path full of potential, but you’ll need to put in work to achieve your goals.

While it’s challenging to remain focused and dedicated to a study plan every day, the great thing about accelerated nursing programs like ours at Felician is you can finish in as few as 16 months. This means the time demands are short-lived, and before you know it, you’ll be ready to jump into a meaningful nursing career.

4. COVID-19 Poses New Challenges for Nursing Students

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, nursing students have had to deal with additional challenges compared to pre-pandemic times.

Nursing students face the uncertainty of not knowing what the future of healthcare holds, and this can cause anxiety. It’s a challenge to enter a field that’s so dynamic, especially with all the recent healthcare changes. However, also as a result of the pandemic, nursing has risen as one of the vital roles within our communities. That means you’ll have job security, and you’ll be in a high-demand career.

nursing student studying at desk with textbooks and laptop

Another challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic is how it has altered nursing education. Many nursing students have had a hard time receiving adequate clinical and hands-on education, which is a vital piece of nursing preparation. Thankfully, at Felician University’s ABSN programs, we have placed high importance on ensuring our students receive all the clinical and lab hours they need to graduate as a successful nurse. Therefore, you can count on us to put our students first and provide you with top-notch clinical experiences while also respecting the current pandemic climate.

5. You’ll Need to Juggle Academic Responsibilities

One of the reasons why nursing school is so hard is that nursing students need to manage multiple academic responsibilities at the same time. As a nursing student, you’ll not only need to do well on exams, but you’ll also need to develop hands-on skills, communication skills, and bedside nursing skills. You’ll have a busy schedule consisting of online courses, labs, and clinicals. Managing these varied school commitments can be a challenge, but once you settle into a routine, it will become easier.

ABSN Program? - Notepad with stethoscope on a table

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The three areas of the ABSN curriculum that nursing students at Felician need to manage include:

Fundamental Coursework

Whether completed online or in the classroom, our ABSN courses teach the fundamentals and theories of nursing practice. Covering everything from human health to public health and disaster management, these courses establish the foundation for your education and the applied skills you’ll develop during labs and clinicals.

Hands-On Labs

Nursing skills and simulation labs are the bridge between your coursework and clinical rotations. You might say they are a safe haven for practicing your applied skills and clinical judgment without consequence.

During skills lab exercises, you’ll learn the safe, effective application of core clinical skills, such as catheterization, nasogastric tube insertions, intramuscular injections, and wound care. Then simulation labs take your skills to the next level of clinical competency by requiring you to integrate theory with practice while making decisions in real-time.

Felician ABSN students working in skills lab

Clinical Rotations

Clinical rotations provide real-world experience across the healthcare continuum. Your rotations start in the second semester of the program, focusing on the areas of medical-surgical care and behavioral health. As you progress in the ABSN program, other areas of clinical practicum will include maternity care, pediatrics, and public health.

During your fourth semester in the program, you’ll also participate in what we call clinical immersion. It’s where you work one-on-one with a preceptor (an experienced registered nurse) in a concentrated area of practice. By the time you graduate from the program, you’ll have more than 860 hours of clinical experience under your belt.

6. You’ll Have Limited Personal Time

The personal sacrifices involved in nursing school are a big part of why nursing school is so hard. During an ABSN program, you can expect to commit more than 40 hours a week to classes and studying, which likely will require evening and weekend study sessions. This means you’ll likely have little time for personal activities.

While it’s important to maintain a balance between the time you spend studying and your personal life, nursing school needs to be number one. You’ll need to put nursing school before social activities, which can be challenging for nursing students. However, by making school a priority, you’ll be investing in your future career.

7. It Requires You to Understand, Not Memorize

What makes nursing school hard to study for? Students often find nursing school poses new challenges compared to their prior college courses. A big reason for this is the depth of understanding required for nursing students.

Nursing school is less about memorizing facts and more about synthesizing concepts. For example, instead of memorizing the term “renal failure,” you’ll need to understand how the kidneys work and how they influence the rest of the body. Understanding how the human body functions is an involved process that takes significant time and effort. Some of the more complicated topics may require you to study them in many ways, such as by watching a lecture plus supplemental videos, drawing flowcharts, answering practice questions, writing an outline, and making flashcards.

Understanding the content in nursing is hard but necessary work. That’s because nurses need to understand why they’re giving a patient a certain medication, what warning symptoms to look for, and how to best care for the health needs of the patient.

Put your knowledge into action - woman studying with book and highlighter

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8. Clinicals Stretch You Outside Your Comfort Zone

Clinical rotations pose a new type of challenge for nursing students. As you adjust to the fast-paced clinical environment, you may feel overwhelmed at how much you still have to learn. As you enter a new clinical setting, it’s normal to feel uncomfortable until you become familiar with your surroundings. Just remember, you’re not alone. You will learn alongside other students under the careful guidance of a professional nurse.

Also remember that in order to learn, you’ll need to stretch and get outside your comfort zone. That’s how you’ll become prepared for challenging nursing scenarios. Get used to being in the learning zone. Though clinical rotations may feel challenging at first, students often come to enjoy their clinicals more than any other part of nursing school.

9. You’ll Need to Prepare for the NCLEX

After graduating from the ABSN program, you’ll need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). This exam is challenging because it takes a significant amount of dedicated study time.

The NCLEX is unlike any test you’ve taken before, and it’s not something you can start studying for a few weeks ahead of test day. That’s why Felician reinforces NCLEX-type content throughout the ABSN curriculum.

The NCLEX isn’t about recognizing facts. Rather, it focuses on thinking through a problem or situation. Much of the exam comprises complex multiple-choice questions. You’ll encounter questions where several of the answer choices are correct, and you have to choose the one that’s the most correct based on the scenario at hand.

Nursing student on the computer

Because the NCLEX involves so much preparation, students often begin studying during their last semester of nursing school, and then after graduation, they invest a month or two into full-time studying before taking the exam. Studying for the NCLEX adds another level of challenge on top of an already rigorous nursing accelerated curriculum.

However, once students pass the NLCEX, they can get licensed to practice as a nurse, so all the hard work pays off with a rewarding nursing career in the end.

Ready to Get Through Nursing School Successfully?

Is nursing school hard? Yes. Is it worth it? Definitely yes. If you’re ready to take steps toward your future, the full-time ABSN program at Felician University builds on your non-nursing college education, making it possible to accelerate your path into the nursing profession.

Is an Accelerated Nursing Program Worth It - Felician University ABSN

Is an accelerated nursing program worth it? Discover the key reasons why earning a BSN is a great investment in your professional future.

Our 16-month Hybrid ABSN program in Parsippany, New Jersey, spans four 16-weeks semesters. It offers three start dates a year in January, May, and August. The program comprises online fundamental coursework, hands-on nursing labs, and in-person clinical rotations in diverse practice settings.

Felician also offers an 18-month On-Ground ABSN program in Rutherford, New Jersey, which has one start date a year in May. The on-ground program offers face-to-face fundamental coursework rather than online courses.

If you have at least 60 non-nursing college credits and a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, you may be eligible for admission at Felician. While nursing school is a challenge, our faculty and staff will be there to help guide you from day one through graduation.

Set your accelerated nursing education in motion at Felician University. Reach out to our admissions team today to get started on your future in nursing.

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