The Anatomy of a Nursing Student’s Life

The Anatomy of a Nursing Student’s Life

Mar 21, 2015 | 11:00 am

You want to become a nurse, but first you must spend that critical time learning, training and gaining supervised clinical experience. The life of a nursing student can get intense, but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the reward is great: Nursing is one of the fastest growing fields in the nation, offering staff flexible schedules, educational benefits, childcare, bonuses—and more importantly, the ability to touch lives.

So what does the life of a nursing student look like? This roadmap provides an overview, starting from the time before nursing school starts.

Pre-Nursing Student Status

Even before applying to nursing school, students should think ahead, preparing for the journey in the following ways:

•Gain volunteer experience in a healthcare setting to show interest and involvement.
•Decide on the program you’re applying to—this will be different for undergrad nursing students, accelerated nursing program students and continuing education nurses.
•Research schools and start the application process early—transcripts, test scores, recommendation letters and personal statements will be requested.

Experts from Emory’s Nell Hodgson Woodruff’s School of Nursing note that timely and complete application packages, as well as thoughtful personal statements help draw attention to nursing applicants. The most impressive candidates, they say, have excellent academic backgrounds, consistent work or volunteer experience and supportive recommendations.

Nursing Student Life

Whether you choose a one-year LPN program or a four-year BSN, the life of a nursing student requires total commitment. Some describe it as a time filled with quizzes, lack of sleep, studying for exams and, well… no social life, but after graduating the general consensus is the same: it’s well worth it.

Depending on which degree level the nurse pursues, the length of time and level of rigor will vary. In the beginning, most all programs start with classroom learning—Intro to Nursing classes, medical terminology preparation, learning to read vital signs and other necessary, foundational tools of the trade. As courses kick into gear, so do the intensity levels for nursing students with more focus on medical specialties, labs and supervised clinical experience.

For students pursuing a degree program, once third semester arrives, the life of a nursing student becomes all about study, homework and preparation, which can be hard for family and friends to understand. Time at home is often spent writing care plans and preparing for clinical and exams. The student population may drop off at this stage, as students realize they can’t keep up with the program, but for those who can, the big reward is just around the corner. Youtube features countless video testimonials on the life of a nursing student, offering real-world advice from the ones doing it!

While the anatomy of a nursing student’s life will look different depending on the level of education being pursued, almost all nurses would agree it becomes the center focus of your life until graduation. If you’re about to embark on the nursing school journey, good luck! Enjoy the vigorous learning, and step into your career with purpose.