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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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  • 100_0100_max50


    almost 6 years ago


    great practical information to remember

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 6 years ago


    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.

  • Tn1_max50


    about 6 years ago


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

  • Fairiesrock_max50


    about 6 years ago


    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

  • Lookin_so_cute_max50


    about 6 years ago


    This information is very helpful for me and its going to help me out alot.

  • Me_max50


    about 6 years ago


    this is a good article it helps by putting a realistic approach to nursing! :)

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 6 years ago


    u r not 2 old! I just turned 60 and i am going back 2 nursing school--starting with the lpn; I can make a difference--plan to work to at least 74, maybe longer!! Just summon your courage, take a chance and don't look back. Will always be a lifetime learner! Go 4 it; nursing needs u now!!

  • Weekend_at_lela_s_010_max50


    about 6 years ago


    My Mom is 53 years old and is an LPN. She has tried several times to get her ADN, but with small children and a hectic life it was hard. I talked her in to going with me. If my mom can do it, anyone can do it.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 6 years ago


    i really want to study nursing at UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX. I need more information, please help with that.

  • Me_again_max50


    about 6 years ago


    That was very good info!!

  • Me3_max50


    about 6 years ago


    That is all so true! Very well said too!

  • Phil2_max50


    about 6 years ago


    I am an accountant and just would like to be a nurse. How long would it take me to finish a BSN degree. I do have some basic no nursing related courses that I have finished in college like Algebra, English, Psycology etc...

  • 1122071358_c3_af_1__max50


    over 6 years ago


    Hello all! My aunt is a nurse and turned me to this website. I am currently trying to get into the nursing program at my school (I still have a few pre-requisit classes to finish up) and this site is the best thing EVER! Also, this article is very helpful. And I agree on the fact that you should definately learn as much as ylu can about the career before you decide that's what you want to do. I decided I wanted to be a nurse while I was in high school, and when I got my job at a hospital as a PCA (Patient Care Associate), my thoughts about becoming a nurse were confirmed! I also have been able to narrow down what I would lke to do in the nursing field (I am leaning towards pediatrics, labor and delivery, Medflight, or a hospital with a great trauma center. I work on a telemetry floor now, and that's not what I wat to do in the future after I get my RN.

  • 015_max50


    over 6 years ago


    good info

  • 6-10-07_075_max50


    over 6 years ago


    helpful info on here!!!!!

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