Being a nurse is easily the most rewarding job ever. The tender care you give to patients and the intimate bonding you build with them is more precious than words can describe. For a lot of people, the only thing standing between them and a nursing career is passing nursing school.
To be a registered nurse, you have to go through exams and be licensed. Most working nurses would agree that passing nursing school was the hardest part. States and schools set their own requirements to ensure licensed nurses are of the highest possible quality.
Nursing School Structure Explained
The first step towards your registration is to undertake a relevant degree. The two options available are the 2 years associate degree nursing program (ADN) or 4 years bachelor of science program in nursing (BSN).
Passing either of these two courses won’t make you a nurse, you are only one step closer to your dream. After completing the degree, you have to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) exam to get licensed.
Taking the NCLEX-RN exam before graduation is not possible. In other words, you must find a way to pass nursing school first before you are eligible to be a nurse.
Overview Of Different Types Of Nursing Degrees
It is an associate degree in nursing that takes two years to complete. The curriculum of each school differs to complement the specifications in that station, demand, and resources.
The general framework covers in-depth training on topics like microbiology and immunology, ethical issues, nursing specialties, community health, and more.
The program adopts a mixture of lectures and clinical training so students can get practical experiences in handling real-life cases. In some schools, the clinical hours required to pass can be well over 700 hours through the course.
They hone the skills of students in professional settings. Simulation training includes clinical rotations, seminars, workshops, community service, and presentation skills.
Once a student passes nursing school, it is an approval that they are ready to take on the NCLEX-RN exam and serve the community.
A BSN degree is a bachelor’s degree offered by universities. It typically takes four years to complete but most schools allow a six-year time frame since many students work and study at the same time.
Compared to ADN, the courses in a BSN degree are much more detailed. More topics are covered to prepare students for future tasks.
The BSN curriculum often includes classes on pharmacology, ethics, and other advanced concepts that ADN’s course does not cover. BSN students also will need to attend nursing theory lectures to understand concepts like community health, case management, and research skills.
How To Pass Nursing School In The USA?
1. Understand The Curriculum
The curriculums differ in different states and regions. You should go through your school’s manual for the program. Download materials available online to see what your program includes.
Actively seek to compensate elements that are not covered in your program. For example, if your program does not offer any volunteering experiences, you should join other organizations and communities during your school years to expand your reach. It gives you more exposure to different types of work.
2. Join Study Groups
Joining study groups and revising with your peers is more efficient than studying alone. You can compare notes and exchange ideas on how to do certain tasks better.
Besides, nurses work in teams. Being in a study group stimulates a real-life work environment. It is beneficial to your interpersonal skills as well.
Jot down some notes during class. Visualizing the content and rewriting it in your own language makes comprehension easier. It consolidates the knowledge you gather in class and makes it easier for you to exchange notes in the study group.
3. Schedule Meetings With The Instructor And Ask Questions
If you start falling behind because you are not receiving enough support, go and seek help. Stalling will only pull you further back. Always go to your instructors when they are available to ask them questions. They are here to help with any inquiries you have.
You may have noticed how all the elites in class are the ones that actively discuss coursework with lecturers. They maximize the chance to ask tutors questions or theories they are confused about.
To put it bluntly, you have paid a substantial fee to receive the education. It is your responsibility as a student to raise questions when things are unclear.
4. Complete Pre-Class Prep
Nursing schools are not high schools. Students are not handed a stack of textbooks to revise at the beginning of each school term. You will have to look for the study materials like readings, worksheets, or books by yourself. The effort you put in will directly influence your chances of passing.
Completing the pre-class prep makes it easier to understand the topics covered. It gives you a headstart to familiarize yourself with the course and identify possible challenges. No one will supervise you like in high school. It is up to the student to decide how much dedication they want to put in.
5. Get More Clinical Hours Or Join More Extracurricular Activities
Practice makes perfect. Unfortunately, due to various constraints, some nursing schools can’t provide as many clinical hours. Then, it jeopardizes your final exams as you are unable to perform up to standards.
Look for more clinical hours by applying to internships and volunteering activities. There are usually lots of opportunities outside of school for students to join.
Sign yourself up to network with professionals in the field. You should not rely on the school to do everything if the school does not have enough budget.
What Are The Common Reasons For Students To Fail Nursing School?
Nursing is a stressful career. Nurses often have to sacrifice personal time to cover shifts and do additional tasks. Under this intense environment, nurses are trained to perform all tasks with steady hands. The stress at work is already manifesting in one’s academic years.
Nursing courses are packed with lab sessions, clinical exams, and essays. Students always find themselves chasing deadlines.
The long study hours coupled with strict protocols and regulations can destroy one’s results. Without good mental support, a lot of students fail to make it to the end.
2. Lack Of Support And Resources
Although there are loads of nursing schools offering different courses, not all of them are of high quality. Some nursing schools do not have adequate support for students to build a competitive portfolio. The lack of resources hinders students’ career choices.
Without quality support, students cannot pass their final-year exams successfully. That’s why it is very important to choose a reputable nursing school.
Low-quality nursing schools may be easy to get into but the absence of standards means you will not be able to graduate because you can’t learn anything from them.
3. Nursing Is Not Your Passion
Passion should be the biggest reason for anyone to be in the industry. The high salary will not motivate you for long, given the long hours and harsh work conditions. You have to love what you do to find the beauty of it.
It takes a good amount of time to understand the profession and responsibilities of a nurse. Aside from taking care of living patients, nurses have to deal with deaths all the time, which can be challenging. Some students drop out after a while because they find the job too demanding.
Best States For Nurses In The USA
In the USA, there are close to 3 million registered nurses. As one of the biggest countries in the world, it is understandable how the job offers and benefits can wildly vary. If you compare the salaries, employment opportunities, and cost of living, some states stand out to be better for nurses than others.
The average annual salary for RN is between $80,000 to $86,000 nationwide.
One of the most ethnically diverse states in the country. California offers tempting salaries for nurses to head to this sunny state. The average annual RN Salary in California is $120,000.
Despite the high cost of living, Washington is still the best in providing comprehensive packages to its medical staff. The average salary is around $92,000. In recent years, the state has been experiencing rapid medical growth.
3. New York
Living in New York may be incredibly stressful, but the opportunities it has is unimaginable. There is a pool of international experts and healthcare professionals here. If you are looking to go abroad, setting your foot here is the right start. The average salary here is $90,000.
When you are first enrolled, it feels like passing nursing school is for superheroes. It is the greatest obstacle you have ever faced.
The challenge may throw you off. But with practice and appropriate tactics, you will find passing nursing school very doable. Keep these tips in mind and read them out loud whenever you feel stuck in the sea of papers.