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5 Tips For a Pain-Free Nursing Education

5 Tips For a Pain-Free Nursing Education

Hollis Forster, RNC-NP

Anyone who’s completed nursing school can tell you where they floundered in their education. These could be big mistakes, such as choosing the wrong school, or small mistakes, like not “reading” an instructor very well. Nobody makes it through school without a few blunders, but if you follow these five rules of thumb, you should be able to avoid most of the big pit-falls.

1. Gain first-hand knowledge of a field before choosing it as a career path.
Any experience you can gain in the field, such as through volunteer work, family or friends in the profession, etc., will help avoid major career disappointments. 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 plant nursery in their community. Nursing, nursery: it’s a common mistake. Did they know what they were getting into?

2. Make a careful assessment of your career goals, short- and long-term.
Look at your goals and choose a direction that will work best for you and your family. Online courses and other flexible alternatives are making it easier to complete a nursing associate’s degree and certification programs. This makes it possible to complete one rung of the educational ladder, then work while earning another degree to the next rung. If you know your goals, you can tailor your education to save time and money in the long run.

3. Go straight to higher degrees, if that’s your goal.
If floor nursing isn’t for you, or if you have your heart set on administration work or other avenues of nursing that demand a master’s degree, then apply to a program that will get you there directly. Starting as an LPN and working your way up may only be frustrating. If you need to work (and most of us do) during the time it takes to earn a master’s degree, consider arranging an assistant position for yourself in the field you really want to pursue, instead of working in a local acute care setting or physician’s office. Still, there are exceptions: experience on the Med-Surg floor of a hospital or as a medical assistant in an ambulatory care setting can add value to any career you plan to enter.

4. Avoid changing schools.
If or when you change schools during your educational path, there will be classes that the new school won’t accept. Work experience that you might get credit for in one school may not be accepted by another. And most schools (even if you’re 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.

5. 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.” Still, it’s safe to say that nursing school is incredibly intense and time consuming. Between the clinical and classroom hours and the out-of-class time spent studying; it is to say the least, demanding. 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 burn-out before you have completed your education.


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    maxleo

    about 3 years ago

    24 comments

    All my life I wanted to become to become a nurse, to help people and hopefully I will have a nursing masters degree next year and I will be able to start my dream career. It is a hard and long road to become a nurse but if this is your dream than nothing is impossible. Thank you Hollis Forster for the tips and I would advice everyone who want to follow a nursing career to read your article first.

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    mslou34

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    Hey yall I am needing some kind of input or some true and honest advice on this please>>>, First of all i am an LPn have been for 3 years, it will be 4 next month. I am planning on enrolling into a diploma program in january, and its requires the hesi at the end of the test. But I also thought of the excelsior program, however, i knowthat I would not be able to discipline myself to study and go somewhere to take the test, and stay focused on it, and plus i have heard so many stories of ppl, that spent alot of money, and got to the weekend clinicals and didint pass, which the clinicals are about 1900. and yo have to travel to go this clinical. I dont know for sure that I evn want to sit in the clasroom from 8 until whenver, 4 -5 dyas a week, and still be able to be a wife a mother and take care of myself. OMG I dont know what to do, however my husband DONT want me to do online, because he feels that takin nursing online , a person is not getting hands on training, and he knows that I am knowledgeable, oh and by the way I currently work WEO. So I am so torn on what to do, please give me some honest to god advice, I got to make this decison before dec 16. AND if I dont take this path then I will wait until may to restart into AD program that I am not sure I will even get accepted into, IF I go threw the diploma program I will be complete DEC 3, 2009. SO WHAT DO I DO< WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WERE ME!!!!!!!!!! HELP!!!

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    missmiaaasu

    almost 6 years ago

    8 comments

    I totally agree with 3,4, and 5.... I know so many LPNs that had the utmost intentions of pursuing their BSN but were never able to. The reality is LIFE HAPPENS! Something may happen and totally side track your goals! Aim high from the start. I began my prerequises at one school and switched to another school's nursing program.... Now i am left with a lot of classess that i do not need, and still more to take. Including stupid PE classess that my other school did not require... Long story short stick with the school you start with. Remember a degree is a degree. You WILL get a job if you pass the NCLEX!

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    rhonjovi33

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I had a total opposite experience in nursing school. It was absolutely horrible! I got all the way through the program and were required to take a test at the end called Hesi. If you didn't make a 900 on it, you didn't pass. Didn't matter what your grades were in class. So half of the class didn't make it. After 2 years of clinicals, making the grades, paying the tuition, and doing everything that was required, we failed because of a test that is not even required by State Board. And the school advertises that they have a 98 or 100% pass rate. If 8 people pass everything, including Boards, in a class that has 17 make it through, how can they claim that as a pass rate?? 4 of us were allowed to enter an LPN program into their 4th level and let me tell you- it was wonderful. Totally different atmosphere. We were used to teachers yelling at us and telling us everyday how we weren't going to make it. I will go on to get my RN, but will drive 2 hours if I have to. I guess my point is to check out the school before you waste your time. Ask them how many actually started into their program or how many made it into 4th level that went on to take boards. Talk to some of the students. You'll be very happy you did the research.

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    shame4

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    Michiboo17 I am also doing the excelsior program and I haven't had a rough time at all. I work 60+ hours per week in addition to going to school full time both at Excelsior for nursing as well as our local University for Health Care Administration. I am very busy and the study guides I purchased have been a HUGE asset. After taking the first exam and getting a C I purchased these study guides on ebay. They were about $50 each and I have used them to prepare me for exams and I have passed 4 more exams so far all with As so I thought you might want to check them out. They are nursing concepts 1-7 study guides one is by L. Arends and one is by Hauschild. They are worth the money. They have a ton of information as well as practice tests. Check it out and good luck with your pursuit.

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    Ms_Nec69

    almost 6 years ago

    16 comments

    I can agree 100% with rule of thumb #5, I found this fact out the hard way. I entered a LPN program in August of this year. And one of the first things my instructors stated was" if you do not have to work then it is suggested that you don't." Well I did not take that statement to heart. My instructor also stated that Murphys' Law would occur during this time period, (Anything that can go wrong would go wrong). I was only allowed to miss 10 days of school during the course of my education which would take 10 months to complete. At any rate I felt that I would be able to work fulltime, go to school fulltime, and be a fulltime single mother. My school work was marginal, but I was hanging in there until I moved so that could lessen my hours @ work, a injury @ work, and a kitchen fire in my home. So I had to withdraw from school, It was a very hard decision for me. Now I know that when I reenter school to take a leave of absence from work, so that I can put my all my focus and energy into school. LPN school is very, very, intense and I will be better prepared for my dream, because I know that becoming a LPN will be worth all the sacrifices that I must make.

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    Michiboo17

    almost 6 years ago

    4 comments

    I am very frustrated right now,I'm currently studying nursing online with Excelsior College of which I thought would b better for me, But I'm quickly finding out that it's not easy..I gotta push myself to study and take an exam when I felt I've studied enough..unlike a traditional class where the teacher is on your back to study a stack of notes and get an exam in a week or so..help

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    JZSRN2B

    almost 6 years ago

    10 comments

    I work a full time job and go to school part-time....intense sometimes does not describe my days. I have to have my schedule down to a science which can be hard with kids. It has been a long haul thus far and I am just about to start my actual clinicals in January. It is hard but can be done

  • Summer___i_sailing_out_to_see_dolphins_padre_2008_max50

    TheSingingNurse

    about 6 years ago

    32 comments

    I'm just finishing up my 3rd semester of Nursing School and have worked no less than part-time and full-time when available the entire time....it CAN be done if necessary....

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    heebes743

    about 6 years ago

    22 comments

    I am in an ABSN program, and I remember on our first day, they asked how many people had a job, and about 4 or 5 out of 41 raised their hands. Our professor then said, well, none of you will still be working by the end of the summer!
    She was right! Some of my classmates were able to get a part-time job during the fall semester since it wasn't as classroom-intensive, but even still, the most any of us work is two days a week.

    Nursing school is great! If you're on t he fence, just do it! It's a decision you will never regret!

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