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Want to hear a scary story? Two words. Nursing school.
No matter how you get there, how long it takes, or the detours you make on the road to the scrubs and long nights, nursing school is hard. The coursework is intense and the expectations are high. I mean can you expect anything less of a career that’s goal is patient care and you are in charge of hundreds of people on a daily basis. You are the difference between life and death in some cases. You will be the one to hold people’s hands as they cry, the one to provide the support of someone struggling alone. The bright smile to make a child’s day. It takes a lot to want to be a nurse, but here are some of the things that I have learned while on my way:
1. You have a community rooting for you that you probably don’t even know about.
Almost every nurse I have met who I tell that I am going to school to be a says these two things, “Oh honey good luck!” with an empathetic expression then followed by a smile and encouraging words pushing me forward to the next day of studying and stress. Every nurse that I have met has been rooting for me and the same goes to you. Nurses want to see others succeed, they appreciate the sacrifices you will one day make because they have made some of the same, they understand the stereotypes surrounding nursing, and they are there to help you. When I was working a simple retail job, I met a stranger who told me she was a nurse and when I told her that was my intended profession, she offered me a hug and some kind words. What other profession does that?
2. Study, study, study and then study some more.
Think you are studying enough? Think again. There are not enough hours in the day, days in the week, and weeks in the year to study all of the information that you need to know. Guess what? Most of it will seem irrelevant to you once you get into your jobs, but that does not mean it is any less necessary. There is so much knowledge to learn and medicine is changing every day, so build a good relationship with some tutors and your textbooks because you are in for a long ride.
3. If they are truly your friends, they will appreciate any time with you—yes, even if that means a study date instead of the club.
Let’s get real here. Your raging social life? Out the window during nursing school. Yeah, it will stink to not be able to go hang out with your friends all the time and you will have to decline some invites, but the true friends in your life will not only understand, but will work around things for you. Prepare for study dates and quick coffee runs for a while. It will be worth it, but it will stink for a bit. Adopt a hermit lifestyle temporarily to reap the benefits in the future.
4. Take a breath, you got this.
Sometimes all it takes is looking yourself in the mirror and telling yourself that you got this. Picture this: you will walk across that stage one day with a pin on your chest, a smile on your face, and RN behind your name. You were made for this and even when the going gets tough, you can handle it. Nurses are superheroes and so are you—perfect fit, am I right?
Nursing isn’t for everyone and the road to get there may seen never-ending, but take heart in knowing you are not alone.