How Hard is Nursing School?

Making the decision to become a nurse can be one of the most rewarding moments of your life. Initially though, one of the most asked questions by those considering the profession is “How hard is nursing school?”

When we come into contact with nurses at physicians’ offices or hospitals, they seem to take care of patients with little effort and it makes one wonder if school will be as effortless?

Unfortunately, every nurse that you ask the question to at every level from a nurse aide through an LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse), an RN (Registered Nurse) or nursing supervisor will tell you a different story about how difficult it is going to school to become one. Women and men who have the desire to become nurses often have the heart to help people and a personality that matches, but this is not going to get you through nursing school. In fact, it is really a small part of what will get you through, as your determination and giving nature will keep you from dropping out of the program. Nursing school is not easy and there is simply no other way to explain that. Your chances for success increase substantially by being aware you will need to dedicate yourself to the process.

How to get into nursing school
While individuals have turned to nursing careers for the promise of job security and higher paychecks, getting into nursing school is no easy feat. With the rise in interest in nursing, there has also been an increase in nursing programs which don’t offer value or accreditation. Among the most difficult tasks in pursuing a career in nursing is gaining acceptance into a nursing school. It’s not an impossible feat, but will surely require more studying than one may anticipate.

How long is nursing school

Nursing school programs vary in length from one to four years depending on your previous education and experience. For example, students with a bachelors degree in another area of study who are seeking a nursing degree may take an accelerated bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. These accelerated BSN degrees take about 2 years to complete. Traditional BSN degrees take 4 years to complete.

How hard are nursing classes

Aspiring nursing students must first apply and be accepted into a college degree program. They subsequently work on completing nursing prerequisite courses in English, Social Studies, and Mathematics with a heavy emphasis on the sciences. These science courses likely include anatomy and physiology and . Many nursing students take these courses more than once.

One of the most stringent requirements for nursing programs has to do with the number of times students may repeat a given course. In courses like anatomy and physiology, the required material is particularly challenging when taking other nursing courses. It’s common that many students need to retake these courses at least twice to pass. Some nursing schools offer a limit on the amount of times that a student can take a given course. Usually the limit is two to three times total. In the event, the course is not passed with a satisfactory grade, the student may not be admitted to the program. Some schools however accept petitions allowing students to make a case for admission despite a failed course, particularly if it was sometime ago.

To avoid this mishap, students should take careful consideration in how they plan their courseload. Sometimes taking an extra semester or two to take a course is acceptable. In some nursing programs, mentors, whether upperclassmen or academic advisors are available to help students plan and succeed in their nursing program.

Once accepted into a program, you will spend most of your first-year learning every aspect of the human body. You may not be interested to know how many joints are in the body and the exact name of each but you will be required to know such details. Memorization is extremely important and good study habits must be developed immediately. The workload that will be given will be very heavy in order to prepare you for your future profession. It is not uncommon for a new nursing student to visit a school bookstore to pick up all of her required nursing textbooks and walk out of the store after having a change of heart and mind to decide that she does not want to be a nurse after all. This is because there can be almost 20 different textbooks for a beginning student in the nursing program. It is a shock to many to realize just how much information is required. During the first year of a program you can expect to spend many long hours – in addition to the time spent in school – at home studying the many textbooks that are supplied to you. High grade point averages are expected from students in the program in order to not be dropped from the program. It is not uncommon for many nursing students to drop out within the first two semesters. A student that normally gets high grades can enter a nursing program and find that it is much more difficult to achieve the same grade averages that may have come more easily in the past.

Remember how happy you were to be “done” with math classes in high school? Many new students also do not realize that strong math skills are required in nursing and you must be willing to learn this in order to succeed. There are dosages of prescriptions, weights and measurements that must be learned in order to help determine a patient’s health.

In nursing school, all of the skills needed are learned through study and very challenging practice. Before you even meet a patient, you will have spent countless hours learning, not only the academics required, but the laws regarding patient care, hospital safety and sanitation protocols. You will also learn to communicate in an effective manner with your fellow peers, instructors, and through practicing real-life scenarios. You will spend a few additional hours getting CPR certified. This is usually required as you will be dealing with patients and will need to know emergency, life-saving procedures.

Time management, good study habits, excellent communication and a healthy lifestyle will enable you to keep up with the high demands. Having advised on all of the above, it is extremely important to point out that if your dedication to becoming a nurse is there, you will be successful in your goals. Nurses are in very high demand, and you will leave a nursing program with a solid foundation on which to build a rewarding career.


The final task in becoming a nurse is passing the NCLEX-RN exam (or NCLEX-PN for licensed practical nursing career aspirants). Many schools post the pass rate of their students, while some specify a first-time pass rate. When considering nursing programs, select a course with a first-time pass rate over 90%, as these programs have better prepared students for the certification exam. Some students take time off in between graduation and finding a job to take the NCLEX-RN. However, waiting to long may result in a delay or inability to take the course.