Adjusting to life as a nursing student can be physically and mentally demanding. Between clinical rotations, coursework, lectures, and exams, it’s easy for nursing students to feel overwhelmed. Nursing programs cover a lot of in-depth material in a short amount of time. 

The first few months of any nursing program will be uncomfortable. Students may see classmates drop out or they may feel as if too much material is being presented at once. They may worry about exam scores and its impact on their future as a nurse. 

Students may find themselves questioning if they made the right choice or if they can complete nursing school. This article was written to let those students know you can do this. Nursing school is a challenge, but it is not impossible.

Let us provide an honest, less terrifying look at what you should expect before starting nursing school.  

Common Myths About Nursing School

If you’re interested in attending nursing school, there’s a good chance you have stumbled across a few myths. While we can’t tackle all of them in the span of one blog post, we can cover three common myths.

1. You can’t finish nursing school if you have kids

With the COVID-19 pandemic, educational institutes have pushed to create online and hybrid alternatives for their students. These options provide more flexibility for parents interested in attending nursing school. Flexible learning options give students more control over how and when they learn.

The learning mode students choose should help overcome any barriers which may prevent students from reaching their academic goals. 

2. Nursing school is hard

Answering this myth with a simple “yes” or “no” would do students a disservice. Terms such as “hard” and “easy” are a matter of experience. A carpenter would say building a chair is easy, but someone with no training would find this same task hard. 

Instead of looking at this concept through such a distorted lens, let’s change how you view it. The truth is there’s an adjustment period most students will find uncomfortable and stressful. Students are adjusting to the workload, concepts, and demands of this new pathway. 

Nursing school challenges students to evaluate pieces of a problem and find the best solution to resolve it. To do this, students must have a solid, theoretical foundation in human anatomy, physiology, and more. This foundation will be laid and expanded upon during lectures and coursework. 

This knowledge will be drilled, practiced, and refined during clinical rotations where students can gain hands-on experience and confidence. 

3. You can’t have a social life while in nursing school

While it’s true students will split their time between classes, coursework, and clinical rotations, self-care is also important. Time management, organizational skills, and prioritizing your mental and physical health will take you far in nursing school. Even though you’re training to take care of others, don’t forget to take care of yourself.

Burnout is common regardless of the field you choose to enter. Make sure you use your time efficiently, take breaks when necessary, and create a healthy work-life balance. Practicing this while in school will do wonders maintaining your mental and physical health throughout your career.

What Can You Expect as a Nursing Student?

We’re sure you can’t wait to begin your clinical rotations. Dreams of working alongside healthcare professionals and treating patients are likely what inspired you to apply for nursing school. Before starting your clinical rotation, you must build upon your theoretical knowledge. 


It May Feel Overwhelming

A lot of complex material will come your way in a short amount of time. You will have to balance lectures, coursework, labs, and adjusting your study habits. This is without factoring in additional responsibilities such as work or family. 

Our advice is to start with a deep breath. Track dates for upcoming assignments, projects, exams, etc. in the calendar application on your phone or in a physical planner. Next, keep a notepad (digital or physical) on hand to jot down any questions you have and ask your teacher for clarification. 

Next, form a study group. Because…

Study Habits Will Likely Change

Nursing school is a wild ride from start to finish. Why not make some friends along the way? Forming a study group may build a sense of community. 

They can also serve as a gentle reminder you’re not in this alone. 

Being part of a study group provides different viewpoints on the same material. Another classmate could clarify a concept you have trouble grasping and vice versa. Sometimes, students understand material better when it comes from a peer than an instructor. 

Another perk of joining a study group is having a specific amount of focused-study time. Instead of dedicating an entire night to studying alone, you could spend 3-4 hours reviewing material with classmates.

Although you take the same courses, you might have noted concepts another student may have missed. Again, a lot of material will come your way in a short amount of time. Which is why…

Attendance is Mandatory

Regular attendance will increase your exposure to concepts critical to your program. More than that, it increases your opportunities to ask questions, practice concepts in labs, and deepen your overall understanding. Lectures, coursework, and instructors are valuable resources students should utilize to make the most of their nursing school experience. 

Programs like Berry College’s Nursing program provide students with a well-rounded approach to nursing school. Students are trained to treat patients in work-simulated environments while remaining compassionate. Missing a day of class means missing a chance to hone these skills under the guidance of industry-experienced instructors. 

When clinical rotations start, students will need to clock a specific amount of clinic hours in a set timeframe. Attending clinical rotations helps students turn abstract concepts into concrete concepts as…  

Things Make Sense in Labs and Clinical Rotations

Some things only make sense when you do them. Labs and clinical rotations are excellent places to see this information in practice. Missing a day of labs or clinic means missing out on a chance to gain clarity through practice. 

To Recap…

While nursing school may feel overwhelming, it isn’t impossible. Nursing students will have an adjustment period much like any other student. While a lot of material will come your way quickly, time management, organization, and study groups make it less intimidating. 

Do your best to attend every lecture, lab, and clinical rotation to make the most of your experience. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or take a break when you need it.