Nursing School Nightmares


When I decided I wanted to be a nurse, I decided to apply to an ADN program first.  I was newly married, already had a baby, and I wanted to be in school for the shortest amount of time possible before I could start earning my own money.  I also wanted whatever hospital I started to work for to pay for me to go back to school for my BSN, because my husband was also a student (and in no hurry to graduate) and we didn’t have a lot of money.  Of course, before you even apply to nursing school you not only have to pass your prerequisite courses, you basically have to ace them.  I still remember going to the mailbox every day waiting for my acceptance/denial letter.  I still remember everything about the day that I went to that mailbox and found my acceptance letter.  I was so excited that I had did it.

Unfortunately, no one told me that at that point, I had done basically nothing.  Getting into nursing school was the easy part.  Staying in nursing school was going to be the challenge.  Applying to nursing school was like a hoard of cattle trying to run through one small gate.  Who would get through? Who would get trampled to death?  Who would live to see the other side?


The first semester had the most causalities.  It was a different way of thinking, a different way of studying, a different way of learning.  All of us started off bursting with energy and enthusiasm, and after our first exam everyone kind of deflated like a balloon.  So this is why everyone said nursing school was hard.  I was lucky, my mom and my sister were nurses, and they knew what it was like.  Every day I was at school by 7am and I wouldn’t leave until 7pm.  My family kind of picked up the pieces and gave me all the time possible to study.  The first semester was all about the nursing process. The fundamentals of nursing.  I learned really quick that I had to read every single chapter in advance, so that I would know what the professor was lecturing about once I got to class.  Every other semester was focused on one specific population or area…medsurge, pediatrics, geriatrics, OB, ICU.


I was one of the last people in the class to take the HESI (which we had to pass to actually graduate).  The day that I took it, all of my friends and a bunch of classmates were standing outside, waiting to see if I had passed.  When my professor came out and told me I had passed, we all cheered and cried.  It felt like all of our hard work, all of the endless nights studying, the 30 pounds of extra weight put on just sitting in front of books, it had all finally paid off.  With everyone all around me, I sobbed that we did it.  I looked around the room, full of so many women, and cried that we were now graduate nurses.  Our husbands could leave us, they could die, or we could leave them…and it would all be okay, we could now independently support ourselves and our children.  It was the greatest feeling ever.  I’ll never ever forget that.  Going from not know anything and not having a clue, to feeling like we could do anything.


My BSN program was all about evidence-based practice guiding care.  And now, in my Master’s program, it’s all about evidence-based practice, leadership, and working with others.  I feel like I’m trying to claw my way out of this program 🙂  Trying to work 60 hours a week while taking care of my family and taking care of a new baby is not easy, but I know I will eventually see the other side of the tunnel…until I decide what my next move will be 🙂

I think advancing our education is so important because we are the leaders. We can’t wait until we’re 50 to do something.  We have to do it now.  We have to set ourselves up for success. More nurses need to be doing great and amazing things at the beginning of their career.  So even though nursing school  totally sucked, and getting through it was no walk in the park, we made it.  We didn’t die, we didn’t get trampled to death, but we may have gained a little extra weight.  We clawed our way through nursing school, and by the end of it, we realized it’s all about the nursing process. Now we just have to keep going.  Now we need to see what amazing things we can do.  And I think a lot of us are going to do great things 🙂


Until my next delivery ❤

Categories: Nursing Students, Random

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4 replies

  1. I remember that day after the HESI and I remember you saying those words. I’m so glad and honored to be a nurse and glad I went to nursing school with some of the coolest people, including YOU!!


  2. I and six of my coworkers are in RN-BSN or MS programs! We are all struggling to keep our households running, raise our kids, and get our school work done. I feel your pain. I have a 5 month old who is breastfeeding and does not sleep through the night. We should have named our 4 yr old Dennis!!!! Next May I will be done!!!!!


  3. I’m such an old nurse that we didn’t have the HESI & we took out board exams over two days with pencil & paper. I am thrilled to see younger nurses with such enthusiasm & with realization that higher education is needed to mentor those just joining the field. My generation of nurses was know for “eating their young”; orientation periods were worse than school. But I was lucky. My preceptor was actually my cousin & took me deeply under her wing. At the time (early 80’s), a nurse had to have one year need surg experience to work in ICU & one year of ICU experience to work in the ER, my ultimate goal. I still think that’s a great idea. Nurses who work in one area their whole career cannot appreciate what is going on in another area & can cop horrible attitudes.

    Thank you, ladies, for being leaders & for truly caring.


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