What Does it Take to Get Through Nursing School?

There’s no doubt that nursing is a well-respected profession.

It takes a certain type of strength to be a nurse; you have to work long hours providing physical and emotional care for very sick people of all ages. You may work in a department that sees babies being born, or you may work in one that sees patients die every day. If you have what it takes to become a nurse, you’ll never find a more challenging or rewarding job.

Exactly what does it take to become a nurse? A lot more than just clean scrub uniforms and a strong stomach. To get through the rigorous training of nursing school you’ll need to be able to focus, prepare, and be dedicated enough to see it through. It’s a highly competitive field, but an extremely rewarding one to work in.


Getting into a great nursing program is only half the battle; once you are there you’ll need to develop some serious discipline. Studying, testing, and clinical are rigorous, and it can be difficult to have a life outside of school.

The secret to success is having the discipline to spend long hours studying even when you want to be doing something else. Dedicate yourself to succeeding with nursing school, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a great nurse.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

You need to find the best system of studying that works for you. Find a way to keep everything you need organized to avoid feeling overwhelmed, especially when you are researching or studying for tests.

You may find that keeping your notes organized in a plain, old-fashioned three-ring binder with colored tabs works best for you, or you may do better with keeping everything digital on a laptop; find what works for you and use it to your advantage. Little things, such as keeping an extra set of clean scrub uniforms on hand, will help you avoid last minute scrambling to get ready for class.

Think Like a Nurse, Not a Student

Get in the nursing frame of mind. Even before your first clinicals, approach your classes as though you are already a nurse, with confidence and an open mind. Of course, when you put on those first scrubs you’ll probably feel more like a nurse, but even before those are needed, believe in yourself and it will definitely get you in the right frame of mind for succeeding in nursing school.

Another aspect of “thinking like a nurse” is learning to care for yourself as well as your patients. Nursing school is hard, with long hours and lots of information to take on board. Remember to get enough rest when you can, and try to take care of yourself in general. Nurses soon realize that it’s impossible to take good care of patients when they are themselves not well, so learn to care for yourself so you can provide the best care for your patients.

Work Experience

During the summer, if you aren’t taking classes, consider working or volunteering at a hospital. Watching real doctors and nurses will help you understand what you are learning and help you decide if the field is truly for you. Plus, you’ll gain some valuable insight into what it takes to really be a nurse.