A career in nursing is one of the most fulfilling professions out there. As a nurse, you can change people’s lives by providing traditional medical care as well as holistic and alternative treatments that can help them spiritually and mentally. If you’re interested in becoming a nurse, you might have several concerns and questions on what nursing school is like. 

Nursing school may appear to be shrouded in mystery and could seem daunting, but with the right attitude, mindset, and guidance, you can successfully complete it.

With that in mind, realize that successfully completing a nursing program isn’t for the faint of heart. Nursing school is difficult, and it takes dedication and perseverance to complete it, and go on to create a career. In this article, we will provide you with all the necessary information you need to know about nursing school. 

What’s the Difference Between a Registered Nurse (RN) and a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)?

Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) are healthcare professionals who play important roles in patient care. However, RNs have a more advanced education and are responsible for administering medications, providing patient education, and making critical decisions about patient care. LPNs, on the other hand, typically work under the supervision of RNs and are responsible for performing basic medical tasks, such as taking vital signs and helping patients with daily activities.

That being said, you can’t go wrong with either path. Nursing is a highly in-demand field, so you will have options regardless of what path you decide to take.

At AIAM, the RN program  takes 24 months, while the PN program takes 15. Both programs will teach you how to tend to the physical and emotional needs of your patients using holistic and traditional methods.

How Do I Get Into Nursing School?

Getting into nursing school can be challenging, but with the right preparation and strategy, it can be achievable. The first step is researching different nursing programs and determining which ones align with your career goals and academic background.

Once you have a list of potential schools, review their admission requirements and ensure you meet all the prerequisites. This may include completing certain courses, taking standardized tests, and obtaining relevant work or volunteer experience.

Additionally, submitting a strong application highlighting your strengths, achievements, and passion for nursing is essential. Dedication and persistence can increase your chances of getting accepted into your desired nursing program.

The application process at AIAM is straightforward. You will complete an interview and a tour of the campus, then submit an application. If you don’t have a previous bachelor’s degree, you’ll take an entrance exam. Once you achieve the score you need, you will meet with a financial aid representative who will help you decide payment options. They’ll also help you fill out an enrollment agreement. You can find the exact requirements here for PN enrollment, and here for RN enrollment.

What Will My Classes Look Like?

If you choose the RN degree, you’ll take 109.5 credit hours across eight 12-week quarters. The PN certificate consists of 59 credit hours, taken over five 12-week quarters. At the beginning of your study, there is some overlap between the required courses for a PN certificate and an RN degree.

You’ll begin with an anatomy class, a few classes introducing you to nursing, and a college success skills course that will give you the information you need to conquer your education. Then, you will continue to the core of your program.

For those in the PN program, this will include courses in pharmacology, dosage math, biology, psychology, growth and development, holistic concepts, and IV therapy. You will finish your study with courses in ethical practice, transitioning to practice, and a second lifespan course, which includes 52 clinic hours.

In the RN program, you will continue your learning with the same classes found in the PN program, along with courses in research, additional math classes, nutrition, chemistry, pathophysiology, diversity, ethics, and business, along with RN nursing courses. You’ll conclude with a professional transition class and an advanced care nursing class that requires 76 clinic hours. Find a full course list for both programs here.

What Are Clinical Hours?

Clinical hours are a chance for hands-on, practical experience in a medical environment, working under the supervision of doctors and certified nurses. These hours are an essential component of medical training and are a requirement for licensing and certification in most healthcare fields. As part of your nursing coursework, you will complete a total of 359 hours in the RN program, or 209 for the PN program.

These hours will be done at a diverse variety of sites, giving you a chance to experience different settings where you could potentially practice after graduation. Clinical hours are a critical aspect of healthcare education as they provide students with the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge in a real-world setting.

How to Prepare for Nursing School

Here are some tips to help you prepare for nursing school:

1. Research nursing programs: Look into different programs and find one that fits your needs and goals. Consider factors such as program length, cost, location, and accreditation.

2. Take prerequisites seriously: Many nursing programs require specific prerequisites such as anatomy, physiology, and microbiology. Take these courses seriously and do well in them, as they will lay the foundation for your nursing education.

3. Get healthcare experience: Consider volunteering or working in a healthcare setting to gain experience and exposure to the field. This can help you confirm your interest in nursing and give you valuable experience to draw from in your studies.

4. Develop good study habits: Nursing school can be rigorous and demanding, so it’s important to develop good study habits early on. This includes setting aside dedicated study time, staying organized, and seeking help when needed.

5. Take care of yourself: Don’t forget to take care of yourself! Nursing school can be stressful, so make sure to prioritize self-care activities such as exercise, healthy eating, and stress management techniques.

How Hard Is Nursing School?

Attending nursing school can be a challenging experience that requires not only academic skills but also emotional, physical, and mental strength.
Emotional challenges: It’s tough being a beginner. The amount of things to learn can make you feel insecure and question yourself. But don’t worry, it’s normal. To overcome these feelings, you need a support system and a mentor. Seek someone who can see your progress objectively, and reach out to a professor or community member who can give you perspective on what you’re learning.
Physical challenges: As a nursing student, you’ll have a demanding schedule. Here are some tips to help you survive: stay hydrated, take your vitamins, exercise regularly, and find ways to relieve stress. These simple things will help you enjoy the process and avoid hating your life while in school.
Mental challenges: Stepping into an unfamiliar environment can be challenging. If you find yourself in a situation that you’ve never encountered before, it’s essential to keep calm and stay professional. It may take some time to adjust, but observing how others handle intense moments can be helpful.

Is Nursing School Worth It?

Nursing school is a challenging and demanding experience that requires complex study, but all the knowledge you gain will be vital when you enter the workforce. You will face many difficulties and challenges you may have never encountered. It is worth noting that only around 51 percent of students in the RN program and 47 percent in the PN program graduate on time. Nevertheless, obtaining a nursing degree or certificate is a significant accomplishment that requires a certain type of individual to excel in the field. The coursework is rigorous because it is designed to prepare you for the challenges you will face as a nurse.

Throughout the process of learning how to care for another person’s physical and mental well-being, you will develop a tenacious attitude, learn how to overcome difficult situations, apply the practices you learn effectively, and problem-solve. The long hours of clinical work will expose you to diverse nursing situations and patients who need your assistance.

So, nursing school is indeed a challenging experience, but if you aspire to help others care for their physical, spiritual, and mental well-being and pursue a lifelong career in alternative medicine, then it is unquestionably worth the effort.

The Bottom Line

Nursing school is a rigorous and demanding program that requires dedication, hard work, and a genuine desire to help others. The program combines classroom learning with hands-on clinical experiences, preparing students for the profession’s challenges. Despite the challenges, nursing school can also be a rewarding experience that allows students to make a positive impact on the lives of others. 

AIAM offers students a multitude of resources to help them succeed after graduation, including on-campus career fairs, weekly job-opening listings, resume help, and preparation sessions for licensing tests. There are experts on stand-by to help if you need additional assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the typical duration of nursing school? 

Nursing school programs can vary in length depending on the level of education pursued. Generally, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) takes about 2-3 years, while a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) typically takes 4 years. Advanced degrees like Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) can take additional years.

How intense is the coursework in nursing school? 

Nursing school coursework is known for its rigor. Students cover a wide range of subjects, including anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology, and nursing theory. The workload can be demanding, requiring strong study skills and time management.

What are clinical rotations like in nursing school?

 Clinical rotations are a crucial part of nursing education. Students gain hands-on experience working in various healthcare settings under the supervision of licensed nurses and instructors. Rotations typically involve caring for patients, administering medications, performing procedures, and collaborating with healthcare teams.

How do nursing students handle the stress of clinical and coursework?

Managing stress in nursing school is essential. Students often rely on support from classmates, professors, and mentors. Developing self-care routines, staying organized, and seeking help when needed are important strategies for coping with the demands of nursing education.

How does nursing school prepare students for real-world nursing practice? 

The nursing school curriculum is designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and clinical experience needed to succeed in nursing practice. Through coursework, simulations, and clinical rotations, students learn to assess patients, develop care plans, communicate effectively, and provide compassionate care in diverse healthcare settings.

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