nursing school

What Is The First Year Of Nursing School Like?

nursing schoolIf you’re like most people, you’re probably wondering what the first year of nursing school is like. You’ve registered for nursing school. You’ve been chosen and selected. Now you’re trying to figure out just exactly what you’ve gotten into, correct? Most importantly, you’re trying to figure out what’s coming up in the first year of nursing school, right? You should already know that nursing school is hard work, but just how much work is actually involved? In the next few minutes we’re going to do the best we can to explain to you just exactly what you can expect in the first year of nursing school.

What’s going to happen in the first year of nursing school depends on exactly what type of degree you’re going after. If you are going after a four-year degree, also known as a Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree (BSN), you have certain courses to take. If you’re going after a two-year degree, also known as Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN), you will have different classes to take during your first year at school. But regardless of what type o nursing degree you’re going after, all of them require certain prerequisite courses.

The prerequisite courses that both degrees require varies from school to school but virtually all of them include certain classes such as English, math, and some basic life sciences. Some schools require a lot more pre-work on prerequisite courses that could end up taking you a whole year!. Even though these prerequisites aren’t directly related to a nursing career, they are practical and generally useful in your future endeavors.

If you’re going after an Associates Degree in Nursing, also known as a two-year program, the classes that you will generally take in your first semester of the first year includes anatomy and physiology, human development across the lifespan, fundamentals of nursing, and perhaps some others. During the second semester of the first year on a two-year program the classes that you will be taking include a fitness elective, mental health nursing, contemporary issues in nursing, microbiology, medical nursing, and perhaps others.

With a ADN you will also learn many skills during the first year but most of the practical skills come in during the second semester. During the second semester some of the fundamental skills that you may learn include inserting catheters into patients, making hospital beds, starting IVs, and more.

All of the courses that you will take in the first year of a two-year program are an introduction. The goal of the introduction is to prepare you for the second year of nursing school. In the second year of nursing school things heat up quickly. During the first year most of your education is in the textbooks. During the second year of nursing school for a two-year program you will learn practical skills.

If you’re going after a four-year nursing degree program, also known as a Bachelors of Science in Nursing, you will have many courses that are not required in a two-year degree program. After you complete your prerequisite courses during your first semester, during the first year, it will include many classes such as alterations in health, professional nursing, technology and therapeutic interventions, nursing practice number one, health assessment across the lifespan, and others.

And with a BSN during the second semester some of the classes that you may take includes statistics and biostatistics, behavioral statistics, healthcare or cultural diversity, nursing practice number three, and nursing practice number two. These two nursing practice courses include taking care of an adult, along with taking care of childbearing families.

Regardless of which program you’re seeking, life as a nursing student can be truly difficult, especially in the first year of nursing school. Not only will you spend 12 hours in the class per week, but it’s much tougher than that. On average most students can expect to spend anywhere from 2 to 3 hours studying outside of the classroom for each hour that they have in the classroom. So during your first year, even if you only have 12 to 15 hours in class, you can expect to spend anywhere from 20 to 40 hours per week outside of the class studying. It equates to a full-time job.

Even though nursing school is very difficult and stressful you still have a great opportunity and you should keep the goal in mind, the goal of becoming a nurse. If it was easy everyone would be doing it. Remember to stay on task, to study as much as you can, to make sure that your family and friends are there to support you, and eat right and exercise. Remember that you’re not the first person to go through nursing school, and that you will make it.

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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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3 thoughts on “What Is The First Year Of Nursing School Like?

  1. Lila Wasserman

    Well my first year at school was hell! I had to feed a family of 5, mom got sick, I had to work at night and go to classes in the day. No idea how I made it!

  2. Bordy Roberson

    Yeah it was hard for me too. My best advice for new nursing school students is to save enough money before starting so that they don’t work at all. Just focus on going to every class, studying like crazy and just be a sponge and soak everything in.


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