Nursing can be a great career. According to research, Americans view the vocation of nurse to be the most ethical and honest job. Nursing is also a lucrative career with nurse practitioners earning a median salary of over $110,000. As attractive as this life appears to be, nothing worth having comes easily. A rewarding career comes with some significant challenges and sacrifices. Before you commit to a nursing school program, it’s important to understand the amount of work and commitment that the education entails. Here are some things you should know about your journey ahead when entering a nursing school program.
You will have less time to socialize
Unlike most undergraduate college programs, if you’re looking forward to spending most of your time partying, a nursing school program will not live up to those expectations. In fact, you will probably be studying more than most of your friends who are pursuing other types of degree programs. You will still have time for a social life with friends and club activities, but this will come with a lot of school work as a central focus.
On the upside, your social life will benefit because you will meet some great people with whom you have a lot in common. Nurses are caring and kind who are good listeners. They will also be studying for long hours like you are, so they will become close studying buddies. You are likely to eat and study together, and they will understand all of the struggles that go with the journey. When you occasionally miss a party or a fun outing because you need to study, remember that your newly-acquired knowledge will save people’s lives.
You might get discouraged
Nursing school is hard and stressful. In fact, many students quit early on when they realize how challenging the subject matter is and how demanding the curriculum is. After all, the program is designed to rapidly transform you into a professional who can solve people’s health crises. When you feel like crying, just take a day to console yourself with your favorite activities and have a break.
Nursing school could be a financial burden
It’s nearly impossible to earn much money while going to nursing school. It might be hard to make ends meet, and you’re not likely to be able to buy the nicest clothes at the mall on weekend shopping trips. Not only is the tuition expensive for most reputable nursing schools, but the books are expensive as well. Bear in mind that there are sometimes books on the syllabus that you might not need to buy. It’s not always best to purchase all the books before the class starts. If you buy a book, keep the plastic wrap on it until it’s absolutely necessary in case you decide to return it for a full refund. Books can also be found at reduced prices online.
Classes will not be enough to land you a good job
The medical profession is competitive and filled with highly skilled people. In order to ensure that you can land the nursing position that you want, you will need more experience than what can be acquired in classrooms and the related clinical education internships. You will need to look for some initial experience before you graduate through hospital fellowships and assistant jobs. Join clubs and volunteer programs that provide experience giving care to patients.
Nursing is not for the timid
If you’re only in this for the money, you will find it’s not worth it. Working in a hospital entails a lot of sights, sounds and smells that nothing can prepare you for until you are there. There will be blood, guts and every revolting thing that you can imagine. Before entering this noble profession, you must ask yourself if you have the stomach for this aspect of the job.
Students often pass out when they watch surgical procedures and other experiences that could induce nausea. You might find that you will have to walk out of the room at some times when you’re in training. There’s no shame in this because everyone struggles to adjust in the beginning.
Give yourself time.
It will be hard at first, and there is nothing that can really prepare you for this part of the job. The only way to develop a thicker skin is to expose yourself to it repetitively until you develop a tolerance for it. The truth is that some people are not cut out for it, and you should try to recognize for yourself if this job is right for you before you invest years of education and go into student loan debt for a career that you end up turning away from.
It’s worth the effort
If you find that you have what it takes to work in a health care facility and you have the work ethic to earn a nursing credential, you won’t regret it. After learning more in a short time than you ever thought possible, you will walk with pride across the stage to accept your diploma. The journey is fraught with ups and downs of emotion. Some days you will feel elation, and some days you will cry in frustration or dismay. At the end of the ordeal, you will have a life filled with satisfaction from helping to save lives while earning a very respectable income for you and your family.