Is Nursing School Hard? Discover the Truth and Tips for Success!


As readers land on this post, they may be asking themselves a question that has been on their minds for some time: “Is nursing school hard?” They may be feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work that goes into becoming a nurse. As a study adviser, I understand the challenges that come with pursuing a career in nursing, but I also know that a rewarding and fulfilling profession awaits those who are willing to put in the effort. In this post, I will explore the rigors of nursing school and offer tips for success. Additionally, I will discuss alternative education paths for those who may need more flexibility. By the end of this post, readers will have a clear idea of what to expect from nursing school and how to succeed in this challenging but rewarding field.

Is Nursing School Hard?

Nursing school is undeniably challenging. The program is rigorous and demanding. The coursework is extensive and requires significant memorization and critical thinking skills. Moreover, nursing students must gain practical experience through clinical rotations, which can be both physically and emotionally grueling. Nursing students must learn to deal with life-and-death scenarios, working long hours, and managing a heavy workload. However, nursing students also find their chosen field very rewarding. They often cite their desire to help others as a driving force behind their choice to become a nurse.

Tips for Navigating Nursing School

1. Manage your time: Juggling coursework, clinical rotations, and personal life can be overwhelming. Planning out your schedule and sticking to it will help keep you on track.
2. Get support: Find a group of peers or form a study group to help reinforce what you’re learning. Connect with professors and take advantage of any support resources available to you.
3. Use your resources: Don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it. Utilize textbooks, online resources, and lecture notes. Additionally, consider taking practice tests or quizzes to reinforce course material.
4. Take care of yourself: Maintaining good physical and emotional health is important. Make sure to prioritize self-care through a proper diet, regular exercise, and stress-reducing activities.

By incorporating these tips and strategies, nursing students can enjoy a less stressful and more fulfilling school experience.

Alternatives to Traditional Nursing School Programs

If the traditional nursing-school experience doesn’t fit your lifestyle or interests, there are alternative education paths that you can consider. Here are some of the most popular options:

1. Vocational or practical nursing programs: These typically take one year to complete and offer students a certificate in practical nursing.
2. Associate degree programs: These two-year programs offer students an associate’s degree in nursing and provide a good foundation for a career in nursing.
3. Online nursing programs: These programs offer the flexibility of remote study coupled with in-person clinical rotations.
4. Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs: These four-year programs provide students with a well-rounded education in nursing, healthcare management, and leadership.

Ultimately, the choice of nursing program depends on your goals and lifestyle. Be sure to carefully consider your options before making a decision.

In addition to these alternatives, there are other programs that students can pursue if they are interested in healthcare careers. Click here to learn more about the demands of architecture school.

Interesting facts

– Nursing school is notoriously challenging with a rigorous course load and extensive practical experience required.
– According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, over 20% of nursing students fail to pass the NCLEX licensing exam on their first attempt.
– Compared to law schools, nursing programs often have a higher percent of students who graduate on time.
– If you’re curious about the challenges of law school, be sure to check out Is Law School Hard?, which provides an in-depth look at what it takes to succeed in legal education.


How long does it take to complete nursing school?

Nursing diploma programs typically take 1-2 years, while associate and bachelor’s degree programs can take 2-4 years and 4 years, respectively.

What is the NCLEX?

The NCLEX is the National Council Licensure Examination that all nursing graduates must pass to become licensed in the US.

Is nursing school harder than medical school?

Both nursing school and medical school are challenging in their own ways, but nursing school typically has a more rigorous practical component.

How do I get into nursing school?

Admissions requirements vary by program, but most nursing schools require a high school diploma or GED, prerequisite coursework, and a minimum GPA.

What is the job outlook for nursing graduates?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 7% growth in employment for registered nurses from 2019-2029, making nursing a promising career choice.

What kind of study habits are necessary for success in nursing school?

Successful nursing students need to be disciplined, organized, and able to prioritize their coursework, with strong time management skills and a commitment to self-care.

Are there online nursing programs available?

Yes, many accredited nursing programs offer online coursework, although in-person clinicals are still required.

What are some alternatives to traditional nursing school programs?

Vocational or practical nursing programs, associate degree programs, and online nursing programs all offer alternative pathways to a nursing career.

What should I do if I fail out of nursing school?

Talk to your professors and academic advisor to understand your options. Depending on your program’s policy, you may be able to reapply or transfer to another nursing school.

How much can I expect to earn as a nurse?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for registered nurses was $73,300 as of May 2019.

Real experience

Sarah had always dreamed of becoming a nurse, ever since she was a little girl playing “hospital” with her dolls. She worked hard throughout high school to maintain her grades and volunteer at nearby hospitals, and finally, the day she had been waiting for arrived: she was accepted into nursing school.

But as the weeks went by, Sarah began to realize just how challenging nursing school was going to be. The course load was rigorous, the practical experience requirements were intense, and she often found herself struggling to keep up with her studies.

Despite these challenges, Sarah refused to give up. She formed study groups with her classmates, reached out to her professors for help, and found ways to manage her stress so she could continue to perform at her best.

And as she progressed through her nursing program, something incredible happened: Sarah began to feel more confident and knowledgeable. She marveled at how much she had learned in such a short period of time, and the incredible sense of satisfaction she felt when she put her skills into practice with real patients.

In the end, all of Sarah’s hard work paid off. She graduated from nursing school with honors, passed her NCLEX exam with flying colors, and landed her dream job as a registered nurse in a local hospital.

Looking back, Sarah knew that nursing school had been challenging, but she also realized that the difficulties she faced had made her a stronger, more capable nurse. She was proud of herself for persevering through the hard times, and knew that her experience would only make her more valuable to the patients she would care for throughout her career.


Nursing school is challenging, but it is also rewarding and fulfilling. With the tips provided, prospective nursing students can be better prepared to handle the demands of nursing school. It is important to remember that successfully navigating nursing school requires dedication and perseverance.

For those who need more flexibility, alternative nursing programs can provide a path toward a nursing career. However, choosing the right program should be made after careful consideration of the associated pros and cons.

After graduating from nursing school, there are many nursing specialties to consider. Whether you are interested in pediatrics, cardiology, or another specialty, there is a nursing path for every passion. Click here to learn more about top nursing specialties to consider after graduating.

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