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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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    klecto8

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    hi I've been in the medical field over 15 years frist as ancna then in 2004 I receive a Associate Degrees in medical assistant after that I went on to get a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in 2006 my draem has all way been to be a nurse but now i'm 50 year old is that to late to become a nurse

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    NCGyrl

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    Hello to all! You are never to old stated by the last poster. I was turning 30 when I completed my degree in Medical Assisting. Prior to that I was a CNA and wanted to complete my degree for Registered Nursing. I have two boys and a spouse so I needed to work as well to help make ends meet. I decided to do the Medical Assistant program because it was profession that allowed you to be flexible and learn different aspects of the medical field. I will go back to school this fall and work on my degree for R.N. You can achieve your goal just do it in steps. You can make $30K as a Medical Assistant so think about it. I'm a witness.

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    Benya

    over 6 years ago

    14 comments

    YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD!!!!
    Go for your goals. I am going to be almost 35 when I graduate. I consider
    my age to be an advantage! I loved the article and I can't wait to read many more!
    Did I mention I am soo digging this site?!

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    wiserthanyou

    over 6 years ago

    8 comments

    dont mistake the username.i realize that this is huge undertaking and i am humble enough to listen to any and all input

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    cchrist1

    over 6 years ago

    18 comments

    To anzolawiggins: YOU ARE NEVER TO OLD FOR ANYTHING! Go for it girl.....if that's what you want to do. I have found that there is people of all ages trying to become nurses. Granted, more are in there twenties and thirties, but there are certainly more mature people amongst them. Follow your heart and pursue the field if that's what you desire. GOOD LUCK!

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    smcleod

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    As to say i really enjoyed reading this article. Not only that reading the comments to this article. I appreciate all the information that was offered. I am new to the field i made the first step as to deciding to go into this field after deciding that accounting was not for me. Im so excited and i am still doing my research but this is were i want to be and it is so good to see others encourge each other to go on and achieve. Best wishes to everyone and I hope that everyone excel in everything that they do. Good Luck!

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    anzolawiggins

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    All this information is really good. Has anyone tried the online classes. I really want to get my RN but I reallyv want to know what are some good schools that are accredited.

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    mikkidane

    over 6 years ago

    4 comments

    i am wondering if at the age of 53 if i am to old to get my LPN license....any comments?

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    MsShirley904

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I was in the accelerated program and it kicked my butt!!! I took fundamentals and did pretty good in it but when it was time for phamacology I failed by 2 points and now waiting for the next available class to come up to retake the course. The class is offered only twice a year and the next two are full. I will be in January 2010. This caused a problem with my financial aid so what I did was stayed in school and changed my major to Medical Assistance I will be done in 3 more months because my gen classes was accepted this will also allow me to gain some hands on experience as well. At first I was embarrassed but then I came up with a this plan. This is a private college so I have to get something out of it. I will take that AS in medical assistant and come back and try to get my AS in nursing. While I am waiting I will take some classes and obtain my BS in Health Administration. Like the other post stated, please check the school out some of them are full of balooney. I thought that I would be able to go to the community college and take some classes and they suprised me with a huge NO...It's all about business here, but the good news is I will be able to go to another community college in the next county because it close to home and because I never been there before and they will accept my AS in medical assistan.,,,t so there is light at the end of the tunnel.

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    jorjasmith

    over 6 years ago

    10 comments

    I've done all the research possible with regards to choosing a nursing school. I previously obtained a bachelor's degree by going to school part-time and now the prospect of nursing school scares me to death. I'm a hardworker but I keep wondering if this will be enough. I've done the research to obtain the CNA license, and I'm seriously considering if I should go this route. The good news is that the programs I've applied to are only for one school year (3 semesters) but are very intense. I anticipate that once I obtain my RN license I'll definitely go for my master's degree in nursing (either administrative & financial or in nursing education). Has anyone else out there done an accelerated nursing program? If so what is your take on that program? As well as I have a choice between the BSN and an associates degree; the only major difference is that the associates program starts five months before the BSN program, does anyone know the pros/cons of having the BSN (other than more job opportunities)? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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    Account Removed

    over 6 years ago

    great info

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    CookieADO

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I am currently in nursing school and I have to encourage ANYONE who is thinking of going to college to become a nurse to try taking as many non-nursing classes as you can BEFORE you start into the program. I have all but one class done and found that, if I had tried to take all of these classes (A&P I & II, 2 psych classes, 2 English classes, 2 Chemistry classes, an Algebra class, Sociology, etc., etc.,) my brain would have EXPLODED!!!!!!

    I also must encourage you that if I can do it as a single mother of 2 working part-time, YOU CAN DO IT TOO!!!!!! You must be VERY committed and disciplined to your study time and most colleges require nursing students to get a B or better - so no sliding by with a low C or D just to "pass the class". Think about it though, would you want a nurse giving YOU an injection or starting an IV when he/she couldn't remember how to calculate the dilution of your IV bag or how much medication someone your size should safely receive? Even though the doctor writes the order, it is the nurse's responsibility to double-check him/her and be certain that the order was written correctly.

    Nursing school is hard, but will be VERY rewarding ,both personally and financially, in the end! I worked in an Cardiovascular ICU as an aide for 4 years and have completed 2 semesters of my actual nursing program and I cannot wait to graduate and start taking on some patients!!!!!!

    My other word of advise is to be SURE that the nursing school you attend is nationally accredited. I made the costly mistake of starting at one school and during semester #2, found out that they had lost their accreditation (only because they were upgrading their program from a Diploma to an Associates Degree) and I ended up dropping out and going to a different school that had a waiting list, but was accredited. If you graduate from a non-accredited school, you SERIOUSLY reduce your chances of getting hired ANYWHERE. My sister is a nurse and she said that is one of the first questions she has been asked at every job she has applied for.

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    tamikagirl

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    These comments are very encouraging!! I am in nursing school for the second. It gets nerve wrecking, it seems like something always gets in the way of what u want!!! Its good to know that i am not the only one out here that have doubts, but with reading everyone else's comments, I KNOW THAT I CAN MAKE IT.THANK U ALL

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    orrn64

    over 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I have been an RN for almost 23 years. I cannot think of a more rewarding career. I have had a wide range of experiences and currently work in surgery. What I did not do when I originally graduated from nursing school, was obtain my BSN. I strongly recommend obtaining your BSN immediately unless you cannot swing it financially. Although I never had a problem finding a job, there are more doors open to you with a BSN, including management positions. I went back to school to complete by BSN 17 months ago, and am proud to say I only have 4 weeks left until I am done. My plan is to get my master's in nursing education next. I think the advice of continuing on until your goal is met is excellent. It took me 20 years to go back for my BSN! Like other people have related, nursing school is not easy. It wasn't easy the first time around, and continuing my education has presented other challenges like juggling family and work commitments. Desire, strong will, and perseverence will definitely pay off!

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    T_kj3

    over 6 years ago

    10 comments

    It's really encouraging to read the stories posted on here. I knew I wanted to go into the nursing profession the year my parents' got really sick. Not only did I lose my only sibling during a violent crime, my parents lives were hanging by a thread and I nursed them back to health. It was extremely rough. I had to manage diet, hygiene, medication, and doctor appointments as well as find time to study because I was taking classes and also managed my role as a single parent. Just when I thought it couldn't get worse my father was hospitalized three times during his illness and my mother twice. It goes on and continues to get better, but with occasional setbacks. I will continue to fight until I get what I want.

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