How Hard is Nursing School?

July 31, 2020

Nursing is often associated with high levels of professional fulfillment, job security and generous average salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the profession is expected to grow 12 percent by the time we reach 2028.

Still, there are certain things to consider before deciding to pursue a nursing career. How long will it take to complete the education required, for instance?

How much will tuition fees total? Of course, one of the most common questions revolves around the difficulty the degrees present. How hard is nursing school? Keep reading to find out answers to this question and more!

Nursing School Prerequisites

Before we dive into the difficulties of completing nursing school, let’s discuss the work that should be done beforehand.

Nursing school applicants must have a certain level of education under their belts before they can qualify for more advanced educational opportunities. A high school diploma or GED equivalent is a must.

Even then, certain conditions may apply. Some nursing schools may demand coursework be completed in specific areas or certain grades maintained in order to be accepted. Most will look for evidence of a solid background in the biological sciences.

Relevant courses include microbiology, biology, anatomy and physiology. Other prereqs may or may not include developed math skills, an understanding of behavioral psychology, chemistry, sociology, algebra and/or statistics.

A nursing student must also be able to prove that they have taken and passed English.

In some cases, schools may require aspiring students to complete additional examinations before being accepted. The Test of Essential Academic Skills, or TEAS test, is a standardized test often used to assess a student’s readiness to enroll in health-care related college programs.

Every school has different criteria for admission when it comes to test scores, though most require pass rates of 60 to 70 percent.


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Nursing School Degree Programs

nursing degree programs

Another question aspiring nurses must ask themselves revolves around the type of degree they want to pursue. Different kinds of nursing programs will dictate how long nursing school takes.

Nursing students should give some serious thought to how long they are willing to spend in a given program before deciding on a nursing degree.

A career as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) provides the fastest placement into the field. In California and Texas, this position is known as a licensed vocational nurse, or LVN. To obtain this title, individuals must complete an accredited practical nursing program.

Typically, these programs are offered at a technical or community college. They take nursing students about one year to complete.

The next step is receiving a certification in practical nursing. Nursing students must also take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-PN) in order to obtain a license and be able to start working in hospitals as an LPN. This position comes with an average annual salary of $47,050.

Additional options revolve around pursuing either an associate degree program or bachelor degree program in nursing. An associate degree program (ADN) will take around two years to complete, while a bachelor degree program (BSN) takes four.

Each path presents the possibility of becoming a registered nurse, or RN. Each option also requires participants to complete the NCLEX-RN exam (the state board of nursing will also issue additional licensing requirements in your region).

If you are looking to enter the field as an RN in a short amount of time, an associate degree in nursing might be the right route for you. That said, spending extra time in school provides some unique perks.

Generally speaking, there are more job opportunities for individuals who have completed a bachelor’s degree of science in nursing, or a BSN program. Landing a nursing job on a specialty unit tends to be easier for BSNs, as they have more schooling and training under their belt.

BSNs are also in a better position to further their careers, as they can more easily go back to school for a master’s or doctoral degree to become nurse educators, nurse practitioners, nurse specialists in pediatrics and more.

Some may even decide to pursue a master in science of nursing or apply to medical school to become physicians with their existing credentials. Another difference between BSNs and RNs revolves around how much money they make.

Though the average annual income will vary region to region, a majority of nursing graduates can earn a paycheck upwards (or over) of $100,000 per year.

So How Hard is Nursing School, Really?

While it isn’t easy deciding what kind of nursing school you want to pursue, the real work hits once the program begins.

If you don’t believe us, just check out the article Nursing School Hell. Similar blogs detailing nursing schools culture exist across a number of other websites.

When it comes to nursing school, hard work is the standard. Students should prepare to spend a lot of time combing through nursing concepts and nursing research.

It’s not uncommon for the  program schedule to demand students become proficient in multiple areas within a short period of time. All-nighters are a pretty common way to deal with a full-time course load.

Still, it’s important to look on the bright side. Those sleepless nights in nursing school are a great way to prepare for success in the emergency department, across intensive care units (ICU) or in other high-stress, high-traffic facilities.

Try tailoring your study skills in ways that can minimize your nursing coursework.

Popular study hacks performed by those who study nursing in college involve writing down any and all questions that may pop up, taking advantage of available tools (Facebook Groups, DropBox, Google Drive, etc.), participating in practice quizzes and experimenting with different memorization methods for any root word associated with human bodies or other important concepts.

Try to connect to other people in your classes as well. Taking the time to exchange thoughts with classmates can carry tons of benefits for individuals struggling with nursing school. See how everyone else is managing their studies.

Think about forming a study group with your classmates to help compare notes from different lectures, complete homework assignments and papers, prepare for exams, learn more about their teacher or instructor of choice, memorize the necessary terminology, stay on top deadlines, get a sense of where other students are at in the program and tackle any other challenges you may be experiencing.

One of the side effects of attending a large university are large class sizes. You may feel a little lost walking into an enormous lecture room.

To help personalize your education experience, set up an appointment to meet with your nursing instructors. Knowing that these individuals are around to support you during your educational journey can provide a huge relief to struggling students.

If you happen to form a special bond with any one of your professors, think about asking them to step in as a mentor or guide.

Of course, intense workloads and chaotic class schedules are bound to have some impact on your mental health. These factors will inevitably lead to some level of burnout. Try to stay focused in spite of these struggles.

Think about the level of accomplishment your hard work and dedication will deliver. Former nursing students recommend taking some time in the day to meditate, exercise, go for walks or simply relax to help manage the workflow.

This can minimize distractions and help you avoid errors on tests and assignments. You should also reach out to family and friends for support. Make sure you strike some balance between work and play to maintain a level of satisfaction with the nursing schools experience.

Don’t let your nursing education mimic the horror stories out there. Instead, try to focus on what you need to do to maintain your energy and make it to the finish line.

Another thing to keep in mind is the impact hands-on nursing practice may have on students. Internship and certification hours require student nurses to participate in patient safety and treatment in a hospital setting.

They may also be responsible for putting together a customized nursing care plan. Their time in the hospital will expose them to a world of injury, illness, trauma and suffering. This initial exposure may become overwhelming to first time students.

As a result, lots of students will feel as though they have become desensitized to these scenarios and experiences. A number of nursing curriculums will emphasize empathy in these instances to prevent their students from becoming cynical.

One of the other problems associated with nursing school revolves around the price of tuition. For example, tuition fees for a bachelor of science in nursing from a private institute or large university can cost anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000.

Textbooks typically run anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000. In addition to the textbook costs, nursing students may also be expected to purchase their own equipment. That list may include stethoscopes, a blood pressure apparatus, watch, goggles, thermometer and more.

These items can easily cost $300 to $500. Living expenses and applications can also be tacked on. If you are not confident in your ability to afford everything nursing school requires, check out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The organization offers grants, scholarships, work-study jobs as well as loans to students. They also have representatives available to answer any questions you may have concerning financial aid.

Nursing Duties and Responsibilities

responsibilities of a nurse

Nurses are responsible for plenty of procedures. Check out the list below for more details on what kind of tasks nurses must perform on the job.

  • Maintain paperwork and records
  • Providing moral and emotional support for both patients and family members to help minimize the risk of depression
  • Advocate for health and wellbeing of patient
  • Monitor vitals including body temperature, pulse rate and respiration rate
  • Operate medical equipment
  • Perform diagnostic tests
  • Coordinate plans of care
  • Prep patients for surgery
  • Facilitate safe discharge
  • Educate patients about management of symptoms
  • Perform wound dressing
  • Monitor intake and output
  • Administer medication and monitor dosages
  • Communicate patient needs to other healthcare professionals
  • Reporting changes in patient condition to the doctor and healthcare team

Nursing School Programs at the New England Institute of Technology

The Associate Degree Program in Nursing at the New England Institute of Technology offers clinical and laboratory experiences as well as classroom learning to help you tend to diverse populations.

Students will acquire clinical skills and high developed judgement skills throughout the program and be prepared for employment in a hospital, healthcare clinic, nursing home or outpatient facility.


Earn your degree in Nursing from NEIT and begin your new career path today!




Students will also develop high-tech and decision-making skills required to provide high quality care. They will have the opportunity to train in our fully equipped labs, stocked with the latest nursing simulation technologies. The six-term program may be completed in as little as 18 months.

We also offer a Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program online to help working nurses further their positions. Recently, the program was ranked 25th in the U.S. in “Top 50 Best Value Online RN to BSN Programs 2017” by Value Colleges.

We should also mention that our tuition rates fall below those of most other bridge programs across the country.

All classes are taught by faculty who are experienced professionals and clinicians who make sure the syllabus remains up-to-date and relevant to today’s dynamic healthcare environment. Other opportunities the program presents include:

  • Synthesize theoretical and empirical nursing knowledge and related information from the arts, sciences, and technology
  • Participate in quality improvement processes to provide high-quality, safe nursing care in a variety of settings.
  • Engage in a systematic process of critical inquiry to make evidence-based practice decisions that improve the nursing treatment of individuals, families, groups, and communities.
  • Use information technology and patient data for ethical, clinical decision-making.
  • Advocate for clients and support their right to safe, compassionate, ethical, and holistic nursing care.
  • Communicate respectfully with patients, intra-, and inter-professional teams to deliver safe, patient-centered care that improves health outcomes.
  • Provide professional nursing care to individuals and populations that include health promotion and maintenance, illness care, end-of-life care, and rehabilitation.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to professionalism that embraces the core values of excellence, caring, ethical practice, civility, accountability, and life-long learning.
  • Employ current theories and principles of leadership to create a caring healthcare environment, deliver quality care, and improve healthcare outcomes.

Both nursing programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).

You can begin the application process for our associate and bachelor’s degree programs by filling out this form. You can also find out more information by calling us at 855-899-1497.

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