Before I get my classmates ticked off at me for saying that, let me clarify by saying that it is not hard, just challenging- and no they are not the same! I made this disclaimer to a group of pre-nursing students who had come to campus for a pre-nursing workshop last term, and there was a simultaneous sigh of relief and look of confusion on their faces at the same time. “Hard” to me means to not understand anything you’re taught and leaving the lecture feeling so confused that you check the sign on the door to make sure you were in the right class! While the workload certainly has been immense, I wouldn’t say that it falls under my definition of hard. “Challenging” on the other hand, is more about having more responsibilities than you are used to and figuring out how to get a lot of work done in a relatively short amount of time.
Before entering school, I had this pre-conceived notion that nursing school was going to be what my crazy busy life in prereqs was like, except times ten. Namely, no sleep, uncomprehensible coursework and a life that revolved around my lecture notes (admittedly, my lecture notes have been my steady boyfriend since school began;). One of my classmates even joked that during nursing school interviews, the majority of the applicants were dressed in black because they were going to their own funeral in a sense! Sad, but very true.
The reality of it is that life in nursing school is very much like what life was life in prereqs, just bumped up a notch. For one thing, the coursework is not incomprehensible, because our professors and clinical instructors practically bend over backward to help us to understand what we need to know. As for sleep, well that one is still a debatable point. Some of us get a full 8 hours, most of us are happy if we can at least get a full 6 because it rarely happens. I think it is safe to say that the majority of us are battling sleep deprivation in some way and are still learning how to work with what we can get. To give you an idea of what we look like on any given study night, take a look at Thelma, one of our sims lab “patients” (the other one is Louise by the way 🙂
Yep, I feel your pain girl! As for social life, I’ve learned that spending time with friends and family is definitely doable, but it takes some well-planned time-management skills to make it work so that you don’t fall behind. This term is going to be especially hectic since we are learning to juggle Acute 1 theory, our second round of path and pharm and our first hospital rotation, yet with all of our coursework, it is still the best decision I have ever made. Nothing compares to the feeling you get when even after you’ve stayed up all night studying long and hard, you can still get up the next morning and put on your scrubs with pride and purpose because you know you are a part of something much bigger and more important than you.
It is definitely challenging at times because it almost feels that you are consistently increasing your potential. If you are used to setting the bar for yourself at a perfect 10, you quickly learn to raise that to a 20, but raising the bar for yourself is never a bad thing. Without it, how could we ever reach our fullest potential? Believe me when I say that you get out of this program what you put into it. To all of my fellow worn out, stressed out, sleep deprived and caffeine-loving nursing students out there, please never lose sight of who you are and why you chose to be here in the first place. Don’t see your assignments as a crushing boulder that becomes your tombstone, but rather as a helpful stepping stone that pushes you further on to bigger and better things. You are definitely not alone in this, and together, we can use these experiences as tools to help us to grow and positively impact our patients lives in ways we never thought possible.