What is Nursing School Like?

Each blog post is dated and contains accurate information as of that date. Certain information may have changed since the blog post publication date. If you would like to confirm the current accuracy of blog information, please visit our ABSN overview page or contact admissions at (866) 664-9033.

2 NDMU nursing students with text that reads "What is nursing school like?"

If you’re thinking of getting started on your nursing degree, chances are one of the first questions you have is: “What is nursing school like?” Depending on who you ask, you’ll get a wide variety of answers. Current nursing school students will likely tell you it’s challenging — maybe even hard to pass. Ask a working nurse and they’ll probably have a similar answer, but chances are they’ll tell you the challenge was well worth it.

Nursing school requires you to work hard and commit fully to your coursework. Sometimes, this leaves you little time for anything else. How hard is nursing school? Well, let’s put it this way: you may have to be willing to put your social life on hold for 15 months and miss out on certain events in favor of studying or preparing for tests and quizzes.

While it can be rigorous, your nursing education can seem much more manageable if you know what to expect during your time in nursing school. The Notre Dame of Maryland University ABSN program compresses the traditional nursing school experience into 15 months using a hybrid curriculum model.

To accelerate into nursing through our program, you’ll complete coursework that builds your understanding of key nursing concepts online, apply that knowledge to hands-on skills and simulation labs at our ABSN program site in Baltimore, and then begin your clinical rotations at top hospitals in the metro area.

Nursing student in lab practicing on a manikin

That probably sounds like a lot to complete in a short timeframe. While our program does throw a lot at you to prepare you for a career in nursing sooner, we don’t comprise quality for speed.

Because our program compresses a high-quality education into 15 months, it does take a lot of dedication to be successful. One thing that helps is that you’ll know you’re not alone. Our faculty and staff are always here to help you and guide you through your ABSN program.

What Nursing School is Like at Notre Dame of Maryland University

Before committing to any nursing program, it’s important to have an idea of how it works, as well as what nursing school is like in general and how challenging you may find nursing school to be.

When researching which program is the best fit for you, we understand that time is a big factor, especially if you’ve already completed some higher education previously.

While duration fluctuates from program to program, our ABSN program takes place over 15 months. As mentioned above, it’s made up of three main parts: online coursework, hands-on labs, and clinical rotations. You can also complete your ABSN coursework through our on-campus option, where you would commute to Baltimore and attend class with our expert faculty. Each plays an important role in your nursing education, so let’s take a deeper look at each.

ABSN Coursework

In both the online and on-campus coursework portion of the Notre Dame ABSN program, you will learn basic nursing theory concepts via our intuitive online learning platform. You’ll experience interactive case studies, audio-visual lessons and participate in discussion forums with other students and your instructors.

NDMU nursing student with textbook

Hands-on Labs

Our skills and simulation labs take place at either our Notre Dame ABSN program site in Elkridge for online students, or the Center for Caring with Technology lab at our main campus in Baltimore for on-campus students. During this piece of your nursing education, you’ll work alongside lab instructors to practice key nursing skills and expand upon what you learned in your coursework. In skills labs, you’ll learn how to conduct nursing assessments as well as best practices for sanitation. For practicing nursing skills like catheter insertion and injections, you’ll use life-like medical manikins.

Simulation labs will challenge your critical-thinking skills and allow you to learn in a realistic hospital-like setting without putting anyone at risk. In simulation labs, you will “treat” and diagnose medical manikins that can display different behaviors and symptoms.

Clinical Rotations

2 nursing students practicing skills

Finally, clinical rotations allow you to apply nursing theory in a real-world setting. You will be able to observe real patient care in a variety of healthcare settings and interact with actual patients under the guidance of experienced clinical instructors.

Now that you have a high-level idea of what the program is comprised of, let’s talk about why people may think nursing school is hard, and how you can complete it successfully.

Why Nursing School is Hard

If you’ve read anything online about nursing school, you have probably heard that nursing school is not easy. But, that’s a good thing. Nurses need to be able to adapt quickly in high-pressure situations and have razor-sharp critical thinking skills. Just as you wouldn’t want to fly in a plane with a pilot who went through an “easy” program to get their license, similarly, it’s important that nurses complete a well-rounded program that challenges and prepares them before they find themselves in life-saving situations.

NDMU student in scrubs and stethoscope

So, what makes nursing school so difficult? Some students say that participating in the program is like having a full-time job. Between coursework, tests, labs and the studying you’ll need to do to be successful, there’s not a lot of time for other commitments.

Nursing school will also challenge the way you are used to retaining and applying information. While you’ll need to know the textbook course material, you’ll also be asked to think analytically and with urgency. Since you may be in a position to treat patients diagnostically, you’ll also need to use process of elimination, hands-on observation and critical thinking.

While many will tell you that nursing school is hard, success is possible when you’re passionate about becoming a nurse. Although you’ll need to really dedicate your time and energy to the ABSN program for 15 months, you’ll come out of it ready to sit for the NCLEX exam and join the workforce as a confident nurse ready to change lives.  

Start Your Nursing Journey Today

A career in nursing is well within your reach. 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 program, 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.