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5 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Nursing Education

5 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Nursing Education

Hollis Forster, RNC-NP

Anyone who has completed nursing school can tell you where they have floundered in their education. These could be big mistakes, the school they chose, or small mistakes, “boy, I didn’t read that instructor very well.” But, here are five possible pit-falls that, in my experience, might be worth side-stepping…

Gain some first hand knowledge of the field before choosing it as a career path

Having experience with the nursing profession through volunteering, knowing friends or family involved in the field, reading, etc. This will help avoid disappointments about the basics of the career (what, how and when). When I finished nursing school, there was a couple in my class who graduated with wonderful grades, passed the RN exam and within weeks opened a nursery (as in garden) in their community. Well, nursing-nursery, it’s a common mistake. Did they know what they were getting into?

Make a careful assessment of your career goals, short and long term

Look at your goals, to choose a direction that will most effectively work for you and your family. It’s becoming easier to complete the A.D.N. (Associate Degree in Nursing) and certification programs of nursing, because of the advance of on-line courses and other flexible alternatives to traditional class work. This makes it possible to complete one rung of the educational ladder and then work while traveling to the next, but knowing your goals and tailoring your education to the ultimate goal will save time and probably money in the long run.

Go straight through to higher degrees if your goal is set there

If floor nursing is not for you, if you have your heart set on administration work, or other avenues of nursing that demand a Master’s degree, then begin a program that will get you there directly. Starting as an LPN and working your way up may only be frustrating. If you must work (and most of us, must) during the time it takes to achieve a Master’s degree, consider arranging an assistant position in the field you really want to pursue instead of working in a local acute care setting or physician’s office. Although, I recognize that experience on the Med-surg floor of a hospital or as a medical assistant in am ambulatory care setting can add value to any career you plan to enter.

Avoid changing schools and leaving too much time between achieving goals

This “pit-fall” may be very similar to the one above, but I feel it is worth mentioning separately. When, or if, you change schools during an educational path, there will be classes that the new school will not accept, work experience that you might get credit for in one school may not be accepted by another and most schools (even if you are two classes from your degree) will insist that you take a minimum amount of credits from them before you graduate with a degree in their name, so be careful about choosing your school and diligent about completing a degree or certificate before moving on to the next.

Accept that nursing school will be a MAJOR part of your life

On the first day of nursing school, my instructors said, “Don’t expect to work, or have a relationship while you are in this program.” That was many years ago, and programs have become much more “user friendly.” However, it is safe to say that nursing school is incredibly intense and very time consuming. Between the clinical and didactic hours and the out- of- class studying time, it is, to say the least, demanding. Of course, there are everyone has family obligations, and many people work while going to nursing school, but take care not to expect too much of yourself during this period. Don’t let “burn-out” affect you before you have completed your education.

To pay the bills, look for a flexible job that allows you to give the hours you need to class and study time. If you can get a position in the nursing field, you may get some credits for job experience from your program, but if not that, you can get the experience you will need to go right into a job after you complete your degree.

There are probably many other “mistakes,” or “pit-falls” that are not mentioned here or that you can imagine, write your thoughts on this subject as a response to this article and help others avoid these issues on their way to their nursing niche.

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    jenndavis

    over 1 year ago

    2 comments

    i live in NY and wanna get my RN to BSN degree. I dont plan on living here the rest of my life. After i obtain my degree I plan on moving down to Sout Carolina. Does anyone know if I will have a problem finding a job after I get my degree. Other words, will they take my Nursing Degree from NY

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    melmichielli

    over 1 year ago

    2 comments

    My daughter has epilepsy, she wants to take on line courses in nursing. We are from NY. Does anyone have any advice for her.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    laneah33

    over 1 year ago

    6 comments

    I didnt mean to do thumbs down on Your artical. I though it was great. Little buttons on my tablet. Sorry, great info

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    laneah33

    over 1 year ago

    6 comments

    I am really wanting to start nursing school. Im 35 years old and have 4 children ages 7,8,11,&,14. My Husband helps out alot. My main concern is i have no college credits. After high school i went to and completed Cosmetology school. Ive heard so many things that if igo to lawson state community school i may not be able to get a nursing job after ive taken all my tests. Does it matter which school you go to as long as its accredited? I live i Bessemer, al and dont know what im going to do about tuition. I do know however that im not wanting to be a full time stay home mom anymore. I love my kids dearly but i want to do something that makes me proud of myself, and make my Husband and kids proud of me alo. My dream is to be a labor & delivery nurse. Please give me advice on everything anybody.thank you.

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    marnerne

    almost 2 years ago

    22 comments

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    larita

    almost 5 years ago

    52 comments

    100% agree....especially with>>“Don’t expect to work, or have a relationship while you are in this program.”
    thnx for posting this article...itvery helpful.

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    Leah122477

    over 5 years ago

    2 comments

    I agree with most of your advice. I would like to add to the info. Anyone out there who is considering a career in nursing should definitely become a CNA before appyling to nursing school. Also,I have three words for nursing students and I can't stress this enough; DO NOT PROCRASTINATE!!!!!!!!!!!! whether it is studying or struggling with those fun care plans. It will cause anxiety, depression, weight gain and insomnia. Take your books and notes with you where ever you go. You never know when you might have 15 minutes with nothing to do, so learn some new terms. I do feel that it is okay to be in a relationship during nursing school as long as you significant other is supportive. Good luck to all nursing students. You can do it!!!!!!!! Just keep praying.

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    kjagnew1

    over 5 years ago

    134 comments

    Thanks this was really helpful and should help out anyone who is in nursing school or thinking about going. It helped me. I'll be sure to forward this to my friends.

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    meeb7

    over 5 years ago

    8 comments

    Very helpful!

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    mrsbeck826

    over 5 years ago

    34 comments

    I love this article! It is very helpful and brutally honest. I thank God for NursingLink because I was able to research the field of study I wanted to go into and it even gave me the steps needed. I did so much research, and was already taking practice TEAS test before I started my prereq's.

    NursingLink is a fountain of information, and I will refer as many people as I can to this site.

  • Angy

    angie4477

    over 5 years ago

    10 comments

    What other tech schools are there?

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    mramsey40

    over 5 years ago

    422 comments

    great practical information to remember

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    carieanne

    over 5 years ago

    8 comments

    wmcgill, My 50th birthday was yesterday. I started back to school in the spring of 2007. I finished all the prerequisites and was accepted into the nursing program this fall. I am just finishing up my first semester in the RN program. It is a lot of work but age is not a factor. There are others in my age group and even one older than me. (most are in there 20's to 30's) I have also finished the prerequisites for the RN to master bridge program. My brain cells are not what they were in my 20's but life experience makes up for it and of course dedication to my studies and grades. If I can do it as a 50 year old grandmother then I am sure that you can do it at 29. Major tip: make sure that what ever school you choose that it is accredited. If you wish to change to a better school later then all your work will be for nothing. I am glad I read this article. It eased my fears that I am doing things in the right order and with the right goals in mind. I hope to become a CNRA and as I age if things get physically difficult I plan to teach at the local college. When I can no longer do good for others I can inspire others to take the reigns.

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    Shelli78

    almost 6 years ago

    16 comments

    I liked this article, I think it gave a lot of useful information.

  • Fairiesrock_max50

    wmcgill

    almost 6 years ago

    16 comments

    My mother (may her RIP) was a CNA for 18 years and left the field of nursing to work at factories.She tried to go back into nursing but as being in her 50's,they was worried about the physical aspects of the job.My mother tried to go back to school for LPN unfortunately, did not make her dream a reality as cancer took her away from me. My mother in law is a LPN and worked in this field for over 20 years.At first she worked for extended care,then pediatrics and now she is working for obstretics/gynecology since physical limitations prevent her to work at certain jobs in the hospital.She loves her job but feels like she is "un-appreciated" she tried to go for her RN but at her age,she feels she is too old to go back.If I could change my life at the age of 29 and go back to school,I am sure she can accomplish her dream..Good thing when I am doing clinical,I will be working with my mother in law which will be extremely helpful

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