nursing classes

Is Nursing School Hard?

finish nursing schoolNursing school for some is extremely difficult (hard), while for others, they seem to breeze through it. Nursing school while very demanding, in the end is very rewarding, not only in terms of pay, but for the sole fact that you are able to help others in a way that many cannot.

Nursing School is split it to two overall curiculums. First there is the Associate of Science Nursing Degree which typically takes 2 to 3 years, and the 4 year course which earns you a Bachelor of Science Nursing Degree (BSN). In order to even apply for these classes you must have a High School Diploma or GED. High school students should take courses in anatomy, biology and chemistry to better help them prepare and gain that extra early knowledge in preparation for Nursing college.

If you have your HSD or GED, then the next step is the application process for your choice of nursing schools. The prerequisites for being accepted are high, but about the same for most schools. Also depending on the school, you may need to take courses in writing, human development, and college level mathematics. Some schools require special testing prior to applying for their ADN course. One of the common tests is the TEAS test, the test of essential academic skills which measures your overall knowledge and skills in math, science, English and reading.

First we’ll discuss the Associate Degree Nursing (ASN) or sometimes referred to as (ADN). ASNs are a tertiary education nursing degree. It is usually offered by community colleges and nursing schools. ASN graduates are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam for licensure as a Registered Nurse. ASN students will take a variety of courses in nursing such as anatomy, physiology, microbiology, psychology, chemistry, behavioral and social sciences, the liberal arts, and nutrition. The curriculum also requires supervised clinical experience.

If you are already an LPN, Licensed Practical Nurse, then there are accelerated programs available to help you get your ADN a lot quicker and usually takes less than two years and in some cases do it in less than a year. The ADN also focuses less on nursing theory and more on technical skills. Coursework varies between schools as well as specific requirements defined by the state you live in.

Common courses are nursing principles, health assessment, and clinical nursing. You will also work directly with patients during your supervised clinical classes. CPR certification is also a mandatory requirement. Most if not all states require a criminal back ground checks and drug screen. According to most national surveys the drop out rate for ADN students is anywhere from 20% to 35%. The drop out rates are a combination of factors which include, poor test scores, students deciding that nursing is for them, family issues, financial burdens, e.t.c.

The Four year BSN degree gets a little more involved than the ADN. Typically the first two years of BSN school are spent taking the prerequisite courses which include Anatomy, Psychology, Physiology, Chemistry, Algebra to name a few. After the Pre-nursing prerequisites are completed students then apply for the nursing school in which they move on to Pathophysiology, microbiology, health assessment and research along with clinical rotations. You must have 120 total credit hours to graduate from the BSN program.

Core elements of the nursing course focus on the history of nursing, theories and skills essential to the profession. Some of the major areas addressed are critical thinking and decision making, cultural variations, legal and ethical aspects of nursing, different healthcare systems, and economic factors that affect healthcare and the nursing field as a whole. Pathophysiology class covers the effects of an illness in an otherwise normally functioning body. Students learn about common illnesses and the specific patterns of disease in order to better understand the process of illness and healing.

Students also investigate various ways in which they may be able to affect change in an ill person. Strong emphasis is placed on understanding the commonalities of a variety of diseases, and are also taught to have an understanding between the various diseases and their symptoms to help them in diagnosing the problem.

Pharmacology class focuses on drug therapy. Nursing students learn about commonly used therapeutic drugs, how drugs affect bodily systems and the effects of commonly prescribed drugs. Ethical and legal aspects of prescription medications are also addressed in this class.

Health Assessment class teaches the student how to asses the entire body, including the physiological and psychosocial aspects. Basic health assessment skills taught are, assessment of the respiratory, musculoskeletal, cardiac, abdominal and lymphatic systems. Students will also learn how to obtain and gather data about the patient for the patients health history and also learn how to check the heath of the eyes, ears, nose and throat to name a few.

In the junior and senior years at nursing school, the curriculum focuses on the nursing sciences, and emphasis moves from the classroom to health facilities. This is where students are exposed to clinical skills, nursing theory, and the varied roles nurses play in the health-care system. Courses include nurse leadership, health promotion, family planning, mental health, environmental and occupational health, adult and pediatric care, medical and surgical care, psychiatric care, community health, management, and home health care.

In addition to all of the above, nursing students will be exposed to and taught to learn a variety of medical software that is used in hospitals around the world. Computers play a vital role in nursing that range from patient records, various drug and equipment inventories, communicating with various physicians about a patients health status, patient discharge instructions and after discharge care, to simple staff scheduling. But more importantly computers run such a vast majority of medical equipment that modern medicine would not be as good as or possible today. During your studies in both the Associate and Baccalaureate curriculums you will get hands on experience and learn how to run and maintain a wide variety of computer operated medical equipment. Some of this equipment ranges from the simple vital sign measuring equipment that takes patients vital signs to the CT scanner.

In summary, nursing school is usually considered to be hard. It takes two to four years of dedication and focus, a lot of money, and of course you have to be that special person that was always meant to be a nurse.

Are you a nursing school student? Please share your thought, questions or comments below. We would love to hear from you!

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George Tall

Author at Hug Your Nurse
George Tall works in the legal field, is a father of three, and a husband of a RN for 25 years. He enjoys writing about everything, especially nursing! He has been writing for a living, at least partially, since around 2000. As an author on dozens of websites, he enjoys being factual, while spinning a bit of humor where possible.
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