Is Nursing School Hard?

Is nursing school hard? - ABSN students studying at table

Are you looking into nursing school, but nervous about the workload? While it’s no secret nursing is a challenging degree path, it’s well worth the hard work.

Why is nursing school hard? We’ll delve into a few of the reasons below, but one of the most notable is simply that nurses save lives.

In order to be a capable and confident nurse, you must acquire a lot of background knowledge and expertise. Think about it: Would you want a nervous and ill-prepared nurse taking care of you or a loved one? Probably not.

That’s why the Notre Dame of Maryland University Accelerated 2nd Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) offers an intensive curriculum that combines online coursework with hands-on learning. While the ABSN program may be rigorous, with the right level of commitment 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.

Before we move on to other reasons why nursing school is hard, it’s important to highlight that nursing is a well-respected and trusted field. By enrolling in an ABSN program, you’re stepping into a rewarding career of connecting to and helping people.

In fact, nursing has been ranked as the most honest and ethical profession according to a Gallup poll for 19 years in a row.

Indeed, the field of nursing sets a high bar — one that is reachable with the right amount of determination and commitment. As a caretaker, caring and compassion will be vital, but you’ll also need a solid educational foundation and be able to creatively solve problems in stressful situations.

That’s exactly what the Notre Dame ABSN program aims to prepare you for. From your coursework to skills and simulations labs, you’ll gain the skills you need to become an exceptional nurse.

NDMU nursing student studying with nursing textbook

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’re someone who loves 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.

Hands-on Learning with Skills and Nursing Simulation Labs

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

three NDMU nursing students with lab coats working with a simulation manikin

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. In fact, labs are all about seeing which skills you need to improve upon and learning what it is like to work as a nurse.

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 skills such as:

  • Nasogastric tube placement
  • Head-to-toe patient assessment
  • Wound care
  • Catheterization
  • Simulation labs

Those skills may seem overwhelming now, but you’ll learn them alongside your peers with the help of an experienced faculty member.

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.”

And, just like in real-life patient care situations, the simulation could change on a dime — that’s because your instructor controls the manikin’s reaction. You’ll have to think on your feet and adapt to those reactions to provide the right care. Example scenarios could include caring for a patient who suddenly has a seizure or goes into cardiac arrest.

Notre Dame of Maryland University nursing student working in sim lab

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.

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 do 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.

Start Your Nursing Journey Today

Because of the accelerated timeline, in-person labs, and clinical placements, nursing school 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.

absn student smiling in hallway

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.