Is Nursing School Worth It? 8 Questions to Help You Decide
Before stepping into a nursing career, it’s important to be sure of your decision. Nursing school is a major investment, not only in finances but also in time and energy. To be successful, especially in an accelerated program, you’ll need to put in the work every day.
Before you make the decision to enter nursing school, you want to know, is nursing school worth it? How can you be sure nursing is going to be a fulfilling career for you? Each person’s career aspirations are unique, so we’ll help you discover whether nursing is the right path for you.
At Felician University, we are committed to preparing future nurses to lead fulfilling careers. Our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program in New Jersey is a smart way to earn a BSN in as few as 16 months, allowing you to enter your career sooner. However, with an accelerated track, you’ll need to work harder, so it’s important to be sure of your decision.
We’ll discuss the eight questions you should ask yourself to help you decide if nursing school is worth it for you.
1. Are You Eligible for Accelerated Nursing School?
The first question to ask yourself is whether nursing school, and specifically an accelerated program, fits with your academic background.
Felician offers both a 16-month hybrid program and an 18-month on-ground program, and to be eligible for either program, you’ll need to meet a few requirements. Our accelerated program is created for students who have never been licensed as a nurse before.
You’ll need at least 60 transferable college credits or a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field of study, along with a cumulative GPA of 3.0. You’ll also need to take a series of prerequisite courses before beginning school. The more of these criteria you meet, the easier the transition to nursing school will be.
Now that you know if you have a background consistent with an accelerated nursing student, we’ll discuss more of the intrinsic factors that will help you decide whether nursing school is worth it for you.
2. Does Helping People Make You Happy?
As a nurse your career will be full of caring for people and helping them through challenging times. Relating well with others is not just a skill, but it is also many nurses’ passion. During an accelerated nursing program, you’ll be able to experience the satisfaction of caring for patients during clinical rotations.
Because of how much time and energy you’ll devote to your patients, it’s important to evaluate whether this work makes you happy. When you help a patient recover from a heart attack or help a child through surgery after a car accident, does that fill your cup? Do you get happiness from sitting at the bedside and talking with a patient about their life story?
If so, you will likely find that a career in nursing is worth it for you. You’ll be working at this job for many years, and passion for people is what will fuel you and keep you motivated. For many nurses, interaction with patients is the main thing that makes their nursing career meaningful for them.
3. Can You Handle the Stress of Nursing School?
As an ABSN student, you’ll have a lot on your plate, spending up to 60 hours a week on your education. You’ll probably go into the program feeling like you bit off more than you can chew, which is totally normal. But once you get into a groove, you’ll start to feel more confident about your decision.
You’ll face a whirlwind of coursework, nursing labs, clinical rotations, and proctored exams. Are you someone who can handle these stressful situations and look past them toward the goal? If so, you’ll likely see nursing school as a necessary part of your journey. The stress will go to the back burner, and you’ll be able to focus on the goal of learning as much as possible so you can be the best nurse for your future patients.
4. Do You Have Good Support?
Nursing school is hard, and you will need to devote a lot of time and energy into studying. Having the right people by your side makes the process much easier.
Support comes in many forms. It can be emotional, physical, or financial. The support of family or friends means you have people to talk with throughout school. They can help you stay focused on the light at the end of the tunnel. They’ll encourage and reassure you about your decision, making the journey easier for you.
It’s also important to have people who are supportive because throughout your nursing career, you’ll want to have your loved ones’ support if you have a challenging day at work. Ensure your spouse, partner, or close confidants are on the same page with your goals, and work toward a unified mission within your home. When you have their support, not only is nursing school worth it, but your entire nursing career will be worth it.
5. Does Nursing School Make Financial Sense?
Before deciding to go to nursing school, you may wonder if nursing school is worth it financially. No matter where you go to nursing school, there’s a good chance you’ll need a federal or private loan to finance your education.
Taking out student loans for nursing school is common for nursing students. Rest assured that it makes sense financially to invest in earning a BSN because you’ll be able to enter a well-paying career. The median annual salary for registered nurses in the U.S. is $75,330 as of May 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Furthermore, nurses with a bachelor’s degree have been shown to earn more compared to nurses with an associate degree, so it makes sense to go choose an accelerated BSN program.
Paying for nursing school tuition is a major commitment, so will it pay off in the long run? The answer is yes. Thankfully by making the investment in your education now, you’ll reap the benefits for decades in your career.
6. Can You Handle the Various Demands of Nurses?
There are several unique nursing demands to consider before deciding to become a nurse. These aspects of the job include a non-traditional work schedule, tough physical demands, challenging patient care needs, and human suffering.
Depending on where nurses work, they can have varying schedules. Clinic and outpatient care nurses tend to have daytime hours during the week. Hospital nurses typically work 12-hour shifts, but the hours can vary based on the facility. In the inpatient environment, nurses may be scheduled for day or night shifts during the week or weekend.
Nurses with high seniority also tend to have more say in terms of the shifts they wish to work. Therefore, if you want to care for patients in the hospital, it’s important that you can handle the possibility of non-traditional hours until you have more seniority on the nursing staff.
People often don’t realize the significant physical demands that come with the nursing profession. Nurses are required to lift patients and move heavy equipment. These caregivers also spend a lot of time on their feet, either standing, walking, or running.
Therefore, evaluate your physical capabilities and whether you’ll be able to succeed in a fast-paced, physically demanding job.
Patient Care Needs
Nurses often perform unglamorous duties, from drawing blood to managing infected wounds to cleaning up bodily fluids. They also must understand the risk of catching communicable diseases from the healthcare environment. Most healthcare facilities have protocols and protection equipment in place to help keep employees healthy.
Despite the not-so-pleasant aspects of the job, people still choose to become nurses because the profession offers a level of job satisfaction and reward that can’t be found in any other vocation.
Nurses see a lot of human suffering while on the job, whether it’s treating an accident victim in extreme pain or caring for a young mother battling cancer. In some roles, nurses even have to cope with patient deaths regularly.
Nurses often find that counseling and support can help them overcome these painful situations. Consider whether you have what it takes to cope with these heartbreaking on-the-job moments.
7. Does the Nursing Profession Play to Your Strengths?
The best nurses have certain traits and skills that make them good at what they do. By choosing a career that suits your strengths well, you’ll be happier and more fulfilled at work., making the career all the more worthwhile.
A few strengths common to nurses include:
- Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
- Ability to handle stress and high-intensity situations
- Adept at functioning within an interdisciplinary healthcare team
- Effective communication skills with patients and families
- High level of empathy for others
- Patience even on their worst days
- Flexibility and adaptability with an ever-changing environment
Looking honestly at your strengths will help you see whether nursing will be a career in which you’ll personally thrive. If you can relate to these nursing strengths, there’s a good chance nursing is a good fit for you. Going into nursing with compatible strengths means you’ll be happier and able to excel in your career, making the hard work pay off for you.
8. Does Nursing Suit Your Career Ambitions?
Another important consideration for whether nursing is right for you is your long-term career goals. Think about where you want to be in 10 or 20 years, and ask yourself whether a career in nursing will get you there.
If you strive to work an office job sitting behind a desk, nursing is likely not the best path to achieving that goal. However, if you aspire to be a nurse anesthetist or work in healthcare administration, then a BSN is a great steppingstone to achieving those goals.
Nursing allows for career growth both clinically and non-clinically. With a BSN, you are on the path to explore many advancement options, including:
- Nurse manager
- Healthcare recruiter
- Advanced practice nurse practitioner
- Nurse educator
- Case manager
Because of the many available options for senior roles, nursing is a great path for ambitious individuals with a passion for patient care.
Now, getting back to the million-dollar question: Is nursing school worth it? If you’ve read this post and still feel confident about making the transition into nursing, then you stand to have a fulfilling and secure future in the profession. Nursing is an ideal choice if you are called to make a difference in the lives of others and you’re looking for a rewarding career with plenty of opportunity.
Once you become a registered nurse, you’ll have the satisfaction of:
- Working in a fast-growing occupation
- Making a difference in the lives of others
- Pursuing any number of nursing specialties
- Earning a great salary
- Being highly trusted by patients and the community
- Developing meaningful bonds with patients and coworkers
Make the Move to Nursing
The accelerated BSN program at Felician allows you to graduate as a practice-ready nurse in as few as 16 months. Additionally, we offer three start dates each year for our 16-month hybrid program and one start date for our 18-month on-ground ABSN program. With these options, you can optimize your time and start nursing school sooner.
At Felician, our ABSN students learn through a combination of online or in-person didactic courses, hands-on skills and simulation labs, and real-world clinical experiences. After graduating from the accelerated BSN program, you’ll be eligible to sit for the NCLEX and begin practicing as a nurse.
Contact our admissions counselors to learn how you can accelerate into the nursing profession. Now is the time to get started on achieving your goals and building a life-changing career.