What is nursing school really like?


If you are considering nursing school, then you may wonder what you should expect throughout your education and training. The answer is a lot of hard but gratifying work and the experience of helping others while you train for a very in-demand career.

You will meet a lot of new people

From classmates to professors to trained nurses and patients, you will constantly meet new people and learn how to work with others. In order to carve out a successful career, you need to be able to communicate well with people from all backgrounds.

A lot of reading

Prospective nursing students should be prepared to spend a lot of time reading textbooks, online materials and diving into studies relevant to their nursing program. Reading is a large part of your studying. If you love to read anyway and have a genuine interest in the sciences, then it will be interesting and enjoyable.


There is a lot that a nurse must know in order to offer the best care. Studying a lot is the only way to achieve the level of knowledge needed to receive a nursing license. If you are passionate about nursing, then it will go fast because you are doing something that you enjoy. Your professors will help you learn study skills that will ensure that you make the most of your time. Baylor University’s online nursing programs can set you well on your way to a successful career in nursing, with its 96% NCLEX pass rate making it one of the top programs in the country.

Writing research papers

Be prepared to write at least a few long-form research papers throughout your studies. These papers will require a lot of research, documenting all your sources, etc. In addition, you can expect to do a lot of revising and editing before you turn in your final papers. If you already have good writing and communication skills, then this part will be a lot easier for you than others.

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Lots of tests

Many students find that test time in nursing school is a little different from what they were used to in the past. Therefore, instructors want to make sure that students are well prepared for the types of questions and the formatting of final tests required to get a nursing license. This means offering students tips on how to study better and more efficiently for tests and making sure that any coursework tests are in a similar format to what can be expected in a professional nursing exam.

Core coursework for the first half of studies

The length of the nursing program you choose can vary. For example, if you already have a bachelor’s degree in an appropriate area of study, then you may be able to complete a nursing program in one to two years. Programs for those who lack a degree can be four to five years, depending on the desired final degree. Regardless of how long your degree takes, the first half will be dedicated to making sure that you have a good foundation of knowledge before you are assigned to work in a clinical rotation.

Assignment to various clinics

There is nothing like hands-on experience. The last half of nursing school involves working at actual medical clinics and facilities. Even as a student, you will be doing lab work and working directly with patients to offer them the care they need for a healthy life. This aspect of nursing school is where you get to see real results from all your hard work.

An early start to each day

Nursing students often need to be ready to study or work very early. While online nursing programs may offer some flexibility, clinical rotations often start at 6am, meaning that you may need to be up at 5am or earlier to get to where you need to be.

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Expenses beyond tuition

You will need to prepare for some extra expenses while getting your degree. Here is a list of some of the items that you will have to pay for out of pocket or through private health insurance:

  • Immunizations: Nurses are required to have more immunizations than the average person. 
  • Textbooks: College-level textbooks can be expensive but usually have good resale value. You may also be able to rent some books.
  • Scrubs and shoes: To work at a medical facility, you must wear scrubs and appropriate footwear. 

In addition, you may need to cut back on any job you have now. A full-time job and nursing school, especially if you have other obligations, maybe too much for you to fit into a day. However, when you get a degree in nursing, you will be entering a field that is in high demand and commands a top salary.

The NCLEX exam

The final exam you will need to take is the NCLEX. This is the test where you show what you have learned throughout all of the nursing school and your clinical rotations. The test measures your skills in psychological and physiological integrity, health promotion and care environment. If you pass the NCLEX, then you qualify to work at any medical facility as an entry-level nurse.

Online nursing programs make training to be a nurse more realistic for many

Nursing school no longer has to be done completely in person. There are many programs available to those who want to work in the exciting and growing nursing profession. If you already have a four-year degree, then you may qualify for an accelerated program that allows you to take the NCLEX exam in just 12 to 18 months. Online programs do have some residency requirements, and you must take part in clinical rotations, but almost all coursework can be completed online.


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