Is Nursing School Hard?

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If you have questions like "is nursing school worth it?" or is nursing school hard?" we at Notre Dame ABSN want to help. While nursing school is difficult, these challenges will help prepare you and there are many ways to help you succeed during the program.

Are you looking into nursing school, but nervous about the workload? If you are wondering, “is nursing school hard?”, the answer is that nursing school will certainly be difficult. However, it is important to remember that through the challenges, it will be well worth the hard work.

But why is nursing school so hard? The level of difficulty for nursing school is with good reason. In order to be a capable and confident nurse, you must acquire a lot of background knowledge and expertise. In fact, according to a Gallup poll, nursing has been ranked as the most trusted profession for 21 years in a row.

That’s why the Notre Dame of Maryland University Accelerated 2nd Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) offers an intensive curriculum combining online coursework with hands-on learning. While our ABSN program may be rigorous, if you work hard and stay committed you can graduate ready to take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) and start your career as a nurse in as few as 15 months.

From your coursework to skills and simulations labs, you’ll gain the skills you need to become an exceptional nurse. Now let’s review some of the factors that can make nursing school challenging, and how you can succeed as a student.

Nursing Coursework on an Accelerated Timeline

No matter the program, mastering nursing school coursework can be challenging. Especially in an accelerated nursing program, there’s a lot of material to cover in a short amount of time.

In order to be successful, you’ll need to make dedicated study time and immerse yourself in the material.

We understand that no two students learn the same way. Our Accelerated BSN courses are available in two formats: online and on-campus. If you love to learn in a classroom, the on-campus program may be best for you. If you like to take the material at your own pace and prefer online discussion boards, the online program may be a better fit. Either way, you’re getting a quality nursing education with attentive instructors who are available to help.

While nursing school is hard, we do our best to provide convenient and engaging courses to help you be the best student you can be. Additionally, you can always turn to our knowledgeable faculty for support.

2 nursing students in classroom working on classwork

What to Expect

If you have questions like, “is nursing school worth it?” or “how hard is nursing school?” we are here to help. Let’s explore what makes the Notre Dame ABSN program difficult and how it will help to prepare you.

To graduate from the ABSN program, you’ll need to complete in-person skills and simulation labs. These labs allow you to put your nursing coursework into action during clinical rotations without the risk of harming an actual patient.

Skills Labs

One of the best ways to learn how to become a nurse is to jump in and perform nursing duties. You’ll have the opportunity to do just that using advanced equipment, medical supplies, and realistic manikins during skills labs. While skills labs can seem challenging, making mistakes during this portion of your nursing education is encouraged. They are intentionally challenging to help you learn.

To do this, you’ll also meet with classmates and instructors at regularly scheduled times to learn how to safely and effectively apply foundational nursing.

Simulation Labs

Nursing simulation labs offer a realistic yet safe opportunity to apply what you’re learning to a medical situation you may experience as a nurse in the real world. They’re similar to skills labs, except you’ll apply the skills you’ve mastered to various patient care scenarios.

During simulation labs, you’ll work with your cohort to treat medical manikins that simulate life-like medical scenarios. Your goal here will be to develop and implement a care plan to your “patient.”

Simulation labs can sound intimidating, but keep in mind that once the simulation is over, you’ll sit down to discuss the experience in an open, honest debriefing session. Your instructor and peers will offer constructive feedback on your approach. You’ll all be learning and growing together and have one another for support.

NDMU student in blue scrubs working on manikin

Balancing Clinical Placements

No other component of the NDMU ABSN program gets you closer to the day-to-day experiences of a nurse working in the real world than clinical placements. Some consider clinicals to be difficult because you have to complete them in concurrence with your normal ABSN course load, but it’s all doable with good time-management skills and dedication.

For your clinical placement, you’ll work with patients and their families under the supervision of a highly qualified clinical instructor in a variety of clinical settings and areas of nursing practice including:

  • Medical Surgical Nursing
  • Advanced Medical Surgical Nursing
  • Pediatrics
  • Obstetrics
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nursing
  • Community Health

While this time in the Notre Dame ABSN program may be challenging, you’ll gain valuable skills and have many networking opportunities. You’ll also begin to get a feel for what kind of specialization you may be interested in and develop a rhythm for your future career as a nurse.

Things to Know

Now that you have an idea of some of the challenges you will face during nursing school and how these will help you to become a great nurse, there are a few more things that you should know. These tips will help you be resilient and better prepared for what is to come.

Plan Ahead

Since the ABSN program is so fast-paced, there will be some checkpoints to be aware of before you get started such as preparing for the NCLEX-RN and scheduling your clinical rotations. The more aware you are of what the whole journey will look like, the better you will be at overcoming challenges.

Find a Routine

Since there will be quite a bit to do on the regular, it is important that you find a routine that works for you. It should incorporate class, labs, clinicals, studying, homework, and any other personal needs that you have to fulfill in the day-to-day. This will help make sure nothing slips through the cracks and that you don’t overwork yourself, resulting in burn out.

Care for Yourself

Nursing student smiling while at locker

This leads into the larger idea of self-care. Nursing is a fulfilling profession, but it can be taxing. We encourage you to start forming healthy patterns of care in your life not only so that you will be successful in nursing school, but in your career as well. Incorporating self-care will help you to combat challenges and become a better nurse.

Start Your Nursing Journey Today

So, is nursing school hard? Because of the accelerated timeline, in-person labs, and clinical placements, yes it is hard. But, with hard work and determination, you can do it. A career in nursing is well within your reach and worth the time commitment and sacrifices it may take to graduate from an ABSN program.

We know it’s not easy, but we also believe the best things are worth working for. At Notre Dame of Maryland University, we want to help you achieve your dream of becoming a nurse and we are always here to help.

If you’re ready to work toward a fulfilling career as a nurse and have a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, our ABSN program can prepare you in as few as 15 months. After earning your BSN from our School of Nursing, you’ll be equipped with the skills and knowledge to sit for the NCLEX with confidence and enter the profession as a practice-ready nurse.

Reach out to our team of dedicated admissions counselors today to learn more about why enrolling in our 15-month ABSN program in Maryland is worth it for your future nursing career.