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How Hard Is Nursing School? Challenges of Becoming a Nurse

Posted by Marc Costanzo, revised by Sara Giboney Friday, Mar. 3, 2023

Have you been thinking about going to nursing school but are unsure if you’ll be can handle the academic rigor?

Nursing is an in-demand field with many job opportunities, and getting your Bachelor of Science in Nursing will allow you to make a real difference in people’s lives. 

We won’t lie to you and say that nursing school will be easy. Attending a nursing college takes dedication, time management and a real passion for helping people.

If you’re truly set on a career helping others and have the drive to make a difference, then graduating nursing school is possible and might be one of the most rewarding experiences ever.

But before you can evaluate how hard nursing school will be for you, it’s important to understand what to expect from nursing school.

GPA Requirements for Nursing School

Before thinking about what your college experience will be like, you need to know the requirements for getting into nursing school.

To be eligible for admission into the traditional four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Nebraska Methodist College (NMC), you must have a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.5. 

If you already have an associate or bachelor’s degree and are considering the accelerated 12-month BSN program, you must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75.

Types of Nursing Programs

Earning a BSN allows you to gain the foundation you need for a career as a registered nurse. A BSN program will give you experience working with diverse patients in various settings to prepare you for a healthcare career.

You can choose which track to a BSN fits you best, whether that’s a traditional four-year program, an RN to BSN program, an LPN to BSN program or an accelerated program.

Traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing highlights:

  • Four-year, on-campus program.
  • Clinical experiences begin in the first year.
  • Senior-year students complete a nursing preceptorship, working with an experienced registered nurse. 
  • 95.27% of BSN graduates passed the NCLEX on their first attempt in 2021.

Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ACE) highlights:

  • Can be completed in 12 months.
  • The cohort creates community and support as students complete the fast-paced, rigorous program.
  • NMC’s accelerated nursing program has had a 97% average NCLEX-RN pass rate over the last five years.

Both programs allow students to use the Nursing Arts Center, a high-tech simulation lab. The lab gives students the practice and confidence needed to provide patient care in the clinical setting.

The nursing program’s curriculum centers on population-based education, which gives students the opportunity to learn in various healthcare settings, including hospitals, physician's clinics, hospice and more.

NMC supplements nursing coursework and clinical experiences with the Educated Citizen core curriculum. These classes allow students to better understand themselves and the world at large.

The Educated Citizen curriculum aims to help students better articulate and demonstrate growth as reflective individuals, effective communicators and change agents.

The curriculum fosters the communication that can make a difference in a patient’s life.

Once you’ve completed your bachelor’s degree, you can earn your  Master of Science in Nursing Degree or Doctor of Nursing Practice.

Read more: Is a Nursing Degree Right For You?

What is the Hardest Part of Nursing School?

Maybe you’ve heard stories of sleepless nights filled with studying or students who spent every waking moment doing coursework.

That might be the case occasionally, but the skills you’re learning and putting into practice will be the skills you spend decades honing to perfection.

While you will spend time learning in classrooms and studying from textbooks, you’ll also learn skills through practice.

Learning on the job is a critical part of nursing school. 

It’s one thing to memorize facts from a textbook and know that you’ll need it for a multiple choice question on an exam. It’s more meaningful when you learn that fact and see it applied to a patient during clinicals. The information sticks with you and enhances your ability to pass a test and be a skilled nurse.

At NMC, you’ll have clinical experiences starting in your first year and complete a preceptorship during your senior year. 

The preceptorship allows you to choose an area of interest and work with an experienced registered nurse to learn on-the-job skills. 

Ninety-four percent of nursing students were placed within their top three choices for preceptorships in 2022. Gaining practical experience in students’ areas of interest allows them to network and have the necessary skills for their careers.

Read more: What to Know Before Becoming a Nurse?

Do I Need To Take Entrance Exams?

NMC does not require entrance exams for nursing programs. To be considered for admission, you will need to fill out an online application, write an admissions essay and have your transcripts sent. 

Read more: Should I be a Nurse? Four Things to Consider

How Hard Is Nursing School?

So, is nursing school hard? There will be times when you feel challenged academically and personally. 

But nursing school will allow you to grow in ways you never imagined and start a meaningful career helping others. 

The key to success in college is asking for support when you need it.

We pride ourselves on being a community at NMC. Your classmates will become the people you grow with. They’ll have your back when times get tough. That’s why we encourage everyone to participate in study groups, test prep and peer-to-peer tutoring.

NMC also offers academic coaching, counseling, spiritual advising and other services all designed to help you become a better student and an empowered individual. 

Students receive one-on-one job coaching that allows them to get personalized advice based on their career goals. Students can get help with resume writing and interview preparation.

Interested in a career as a nurse? Download our nursing career guide, which looks at trends in the nursing field and provides insights into the types of degrees and jobs that are in demand.

Topics: nurse education, student life, nursing, nursing degree