Is Nursing School Hard? Things To Know In 2024 (Tips Included)

So, you’re contemplating a journey into the fascinating world of nursing, a noble profession indeed. One question that probably keeps crossing your mind is – Is nursing school hard? 

Nursing school is known for being one of the most challenging programs out there. It’s a blend of rigorous academic studies, emotional resilience, practical skills, and a pinch (well, maybe a handful) of sleepless nights.

So, it’s a definitely legitimate question, and we’re here to help you navigate the twists and turns of this exciting yet challenging path. 

In this article, we’ll dive deep into the question of whether nursing school is hard or not. We’ll provide you with an insightful and descriptive account to give you a clear picture of what to expect. So, let’s get started and uncover the truth about nursing school!

What Makes Nursing School Hard?

Nursing school can be a tough row to hoe, but understanding the hurdles can prepare you for what’s ahead.

1. Time Management

Nursing school, you’ll quickly find, is a veritable whirlwind of lectures, assignments, lab work, and the all-consuming clinical practice. It may seem like a juggling act where the balls just keep adding up. You might find yourself wishing for more hours in the day, but remember, time is a constant. The key is effective management to use it wisely.

Time management of nursing school hard

2. The Nursing Study Has No Limits

Nursing is a universe in itself. There’s anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, medical-surgical nursing, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, mental health nursing, and the list goes on. At times, you might feel overwhelmed by the depth and breadth of subjects. But remember, every new concept you grasp and every skill you master brings you one step closer to being an exceptional nurse.

3. Lack of Sleep

Lack of Sleep

With early morning classes, late-night study sessions, and occasional overnight clinical rotations, sleep might seem like a long-lost friend. However, it’s part of the process, and resilience is the key. Adequate rest is essential, so try to maintain a schedule that allows you to get some shuteye.

4. A Little Social Life

Nursing school might seem like a hermit’s life. The study schedules are demanding, and maintaining a vibrant social life might feel like a distant dream. But remember, all work and no play can lead to burnout. It’s crucial to find a balance and allocate time to relax and connect with friends and family.

5. Balancing Nursing Classes and Your Life

Balancing Nursing Classes and Your Life

Nursing school can consume your life, leaving you with the challenge of striking a balance between classes, personal life, and perhaps a part-time job. But with perseverance, adaptability, and a knack for time management, you can create a balanced schedule.

Nursing School Admission

This bumpy-road journey begins with the admission process, a rigorous vetting stage that ensures only the most determined make it through. Here are some key considerations:

Nursing School Admission

GPA Requirements

Nursing schools generally expect a high GPA, indicating your academic readiness and potential to succeed in a rigorous curriculum. It’s not just about getting good grades but about demonstrating your commitment and capacity for hard work.

Nursing programs usually require a 3.0 GPA or higher, but a 3.7 to 4.0 GPA is preferred due to competition.

TEAS Scores

The Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) is a standard evaluation tool that nursing schools use. This exam tests basic academic knowledge areas like reading, math, science, and English and language usage. This exam typically has 170 questions, and you will get three and a half hours to complete the exam. 

However, this is not a pass-or-fail test, but a total score of 58.7 or higher is considered good for admission. A good score not only increases your chances of admission but also demonstrates your readiness for the challenging coursework.

Prerequisite Courses

Most nursing schools require completion of certain prerequisite courses before admission. These often include biology, chemistry, anatomy, and physiology, which lay the foundation for more advanced concepts in nursing.

Application and Personal Essay

The application process often includes a personal essay or statement of purpose. This is your opportunity to showcase your passion for nursing and explain why you’d make a fantastic nurse. A compelling essay can be your ticket to getting noticed amid a pool of applicants.

Nursing School Curriculum

The curriculum in nursing school is designed to fully prepare you for your role as a healthcare professional. It’s rigorous and comprehensive, often including the following:


The coursework in nursing school covers a broad range of subjects, from anatomy, physiology, and microbiology to nursing ethics, patient care technologies, and nursing research. These courses equip you with the knowledge you need to excel in the nursing field.

Critical Thinking Skills

One of the core elements of nursing school is the development of critical thinking skills. These are the abilities to assess situations quickly, analyze facts and conditions, and make swift and sound decisions – all crucial skills for any nurse.


Labs serve as the bridge between theoretical knowledge and practical application. In these sessions, you’ll learn various medical procedures and how to use different pieces of medical equipment.

In nursing labs, you’ll also dive into realistic patient care simulations in a controlled setting. Tasks will range from drawing blood and giving injections to catheterization and full-body assessments.

Clinical Rotations

These hands-on experiences in actual healthcare settings provide invaluable exposure to various aspects of nursing. They help you put your skills into practice and deepen your understanding of patient care.

Nursing School Preparation and Passing Exam

Studying consistently is important in nursing school. You can use mnemonic devices to help you remember complex information. Practice questions are also helpful. The NCLEX is a big exam that tests everything you’ve learned in nursing school. You need to prepare a lot for it. Plan your study schedule well because there’s a lot of content to cover.

Here are some tips to help you prepare and pass the nursing school exam:

  • Create a study schedule: Start studying early and regularly. This means creating a schedule that allows you to study for a set amount of time each day or week. Be sure to include breaks and time for other activities to avoid burnout.
  • Practice with practice exams: It’s important to practice taking practice exams to get a feel for the types of questions you will encounter on the actual exam. This will also help you identify areas where you need to improve.
  • Seek help from professors or tutors: You can also seek help from tutors and professors if you need it. They can provide guidance and additional resources to help you succeed.

Remember, preparing for and passing the nursing school exam requires a combination of studying, time management, and test-taking skills. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of success and feel more confident on exam day.

Factors that Impact Your Nursing School Life

Here are some factors that can impact your nursing school and personal life in various ways:

Nursing Program Type

The type of nursing program you choose can significantly impact your nursing school experience. Options range from diploma and ADN programs to BSN and accelerated programs. Each has its own unique set of demands and advantages.

The Length of the Program

Program lengths vary, which influences the pace and intensity of the program. Shorter, accelerated programs can be more intense, while longer programs may offer a bit more flexibility.

Your Learning Style

Understanding and leveraging your learning style can significantly influence your success in nursing school. Whether you’re a visual, auditory, reading/writing, or kinesthetic learner, using study strategies that align with your style can enhance comprehension and retention.

Your Work, Life, and Family

Juggling the demands of nursing school with work, personal life, and family responsibilities can be daunting. Striking a balance is crucial to maintaining your mental health and overall well-being.

Nursing School Programs: Online vs Offline

With the rise of online programs, nursing students have more flexibility in their learning. Online learning allows students to learn virtually anywhere, with the added benefit of not needing to attend in-person classes. 

On the other hand, in-person classes offer more direct interaction with instructors and classmates, which can lead to a more immersive learning experience. Both formats have their benefits and challenges, and choosing between them ultimately depends on your personal preferences and circumstances.

Can You Work While Studying in Nursing School?

Many nursing students wonder if they can balance work and studies. The answer is yes, but it can be challenging. Balancing coursework, clinical hours, and work requires dedication, organization, and excellent time management skills. 

However, many nursing programs offer flexible schedules, making it easier for students to work while studying. Additionally, working while studying can provide valuable real-world experience that can complement your studies and help you stand out in the job market after graduation.

Tips for Success in Nursing School

While nursing school can be challenging, there are several strategies and techniques that can contribute to success. Consider the following tips:

  1. Utilizing effective time management techniques: Explore different time management methods and find one that works best for you. This could involve creating a study schedule, breaking tasks into manageable chunks, and setting realistic goals.
  2. Prioritizing tasks and using a calendar system: Determine which tasks are the most important and allocate sufficient time for them. Utilize a calendar or planner to stay organized and track deadlines effectively.
  3. Batch tasks and prioritize important ones: Group similar tasks together to enhance efficiency. This technique, known as task batching, allows you to focus on specific activities and minimize distractions.
  4. Planning meals and rest schedule for overall wellness: Proper nutrition and sufficient rest are vital for maintaining energy levels and focus. Plan your meals in advance and ensure you incorporate regular breaks and sleep into your schedule.

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Conclusion: Nursing school hard

Yes, nursing school is indeed hard. However, it’s also an enriching, empowering journey that equips you with a career dedicated to serving others. The road might be rocky, but with grit, determination, and a positive mindset, you can not only survive nursing school but truly thrive. And remember, every challenge you overcome is shaping you into an exceptional nurse.

FAQs: Nursing school hard

Is nursing school harder than other professional programs?

The nursing school presents its own unique set of challenges, just like any other professional program. The difficulty level can vary depending on individual circumstances and personal aptitude.

How long does it take to complete nursing school?

The duration of nursing programs can vary. CNA programs can be completed in a few months, while higher-level programs like MSN or DNP can take several years.

Can I work while attending nursing school?

It is possible to work while attending nursing school, but it can be demanding. Balancing work and academic responsibilities requires effective time management and prioritization.

What are the career prospects for nursing graduates?

Nursing offers a wide range of career opportunities in various healthcare settings. With the growing demand for healthcare professionals, nursing graduates can find employment in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and more.

How can I maintain my mental and physical well-being during nursing school?

It’s crucial to prioritize self-care during nursing school. This includes getting sufficient rest, eating well, staying physically active, and seeking support from friends, family, or professional counselors when needed.

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