Nursing school is a full-time endeavor, unless you have found the option of a part-time program (a few exist, but are hard to find) the norm is full time.
The nursing courses will include classroom with a few exceptions of online programs. Your program may be a hybrid program which involves both online and classroom attendance. Most states & national accreditation boards dictate how many hours and general material that needs to be included.
The programs have a lot of freedom in what, how and the type of material to be taught but, still need to meet state and national guidelines. Nursing school also includes supervised clinical hands on experience in health care settings. These setting could include long term care centers (nursing homes), hospitals, clinics, birthing centers, schools and other community health outreach sites. Most likely the majority of your clinical time will be spent in the hospital on different units or floors.
Your courses will include lab-time. Lab will include learning hands on skills, practicing on each other and mannequins. You may be required to show proficiency of the skill in the lab before attending the clinical site and performing the skill on an actual patient. The good news… you will have a clinical instructor or experienced nurse who will be at your side for those “firsts”.
It will be difficult to work and attend nursing school. More discussion will occur later in this book, in the “Secrets” section ( part C) on how much work is too much, and the secrets to success.
Classes may be held anywhere from 2-5 days a week. Do not be surprised if clinical days are held on the weekends or evenings. Clinical facilities are overburdened with nursing schools asking for times the students can come to learn and work. Too many students working at the same time can create a burden for the working nurses and the patients and make for unsafe practice. Some facilities refuse to have students, possibly because of bad experiences or employees not wanting to help teach or assist students. Requests are usually taken by your school for certain clinical times that will work best for you. If you absolutely cannot work weekends for clinical experience days, you may want to ask if this is a possibility before applying to that particular school.
Class size will vary for classroom instruction. Most states have laws that govern how many students are allowed per instructor for clinical instruction in public health care setting. Our state sets the limit at 10. Your lab instruction group will usually include a smaller number of students as well. This allows for one on one help and assistance when caring for the patients.
Nursing school is a new adventure, you should enjoy the journey. It can be intense and stressful to many students. The work load is generally greater than your pre-requisites. Time management is a must. Learning to study more efficiently should be your goal. You may have to change how you have studied in the past. Nursing textbooks are thick with lots of reading. You may have to learn how to skim, highlight and study so you get the most “bang” for your time. Advisors, instructors, counselors and study centers are available at all campuses to help you with this process. It is important to get help sooner rather than later. Learn these skills during your pre-requisites so you will be ready to hit the door running.
Your fellow classmates will become lifelong friends. You will be on the journey together and bonding will occur. It is possible that you may be seeing more of them than some of your friends for a few years. This support group of your peer students will help you get through on days you want to quit. They will remind you of why you picked nursing. They will NOT let you quit….and you will do the same for them on bad days….keep your eye on the prize!
You will want to stay in contact with them for ongoing updates of job openings and information on the best place to work. They will be great resources for networking to further your career.
It will amaze you on how fast the time will pass. You will be through before you know it! Enjoy the journey……………………………….