Is Nursing School Hard?

Duke University - Online Doctor of Nursing Practice
Duke University - Online Doctor of Nursing Practice

Is nursing school hard?

Frankly, yes.

Nursing school is hard for so many reasons. It’s unlike anything you had to go through before. Apart from the busy schedule and endless reading and memorization, you need to face intense situations that won’t only test your patience but your dedication, too.

But, what exactly makes nursing school hard? Here, we reveal 6 of the most common things that make the lives of nursing students extra difficult.


There are a couple of basic courses you need to complete before you can actually get into nursing school. You need to take and successfully pass chemistry, algebra and anatomy.

Now, although these courses sound so simple, they actually aren’t. In fact, 67% of students actually had difficulty with these courses, with 31% of those students struggling with chemistry.

Keep in mind that prerequisites vary among institutions. Some may require more than others while there are some schools that include these courses as part of their nursing program. So, before you actually enroll, make sure to do your research first so you can complete all requirements.

See Also: Top 10 Nursing Schools In the US

2Entrance exams

To make sure that you’re really fit to enter nursing schools, institutions require applicants to pass certain tests that will measure their basic academic skills. These tests can include the HESI Admission Assessment Exam, Test of Essential Academic Skills and the Nursing Entrance Test.

As long as you can remember a good deal of the lessons you learned in high school, you’ll be able to pass them. You can also get some practice tests and review materials if you want to prepare.

3Nursing programs


This is where things start to get a bit more difficult.

Each semester, you’ll need to reevaluate your study habits and routine. You’ll be pretty much struggling running from one point to another for the next couple of years. There are classes, clinical preps, group studies and labs you have to juggle in your busy schedule.

Add to those things is the unbelievable amount of stuff to learn. There are tons of terminologies, facts and practical skills you need to take in. Take note that these lessons aren’t just lessons. They are the things that will allow you to help actual people in the future.

4Passing the NCLEX

After completing the program and learning all the lessons and skills, you’re probably in the best shape to take the last step in being a professional nurse- the NCLEX.

There are two types of NCLEX exams.

If you obtained a diploma in licensed vocational nursing or licensed practical nursing, you can take the NCLEX-PN exam. If you have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing, you can take the NCLEX-RN exam.

Both of these exams focus on four key areas.

Now, to pass these exams, you’ll need to do more than just memorization. You need to know how to apply the lessons you’ve learned in school and this is where critical thinking plays a major role.

To boost this skill, you need to keep answering practice questions. You can find good practice tests in your nursing book. You can also invest in NCLEX books to help you get a taste of what the exams actually feels like.

With the right tools and practice, it’s possible for you to pass the exam on your first try. In fact, 70% of the 2016 NCLEX test takers passed on their first attempt.

5Getting the job

Getting a job as a nurse isn’t really that hard. With a national nursing shortage, you can expect to find more vacant positions. In fact, it’s expected that the total job growth of nursing in the US will hit 7% in 10 years.

This, however, isn’t a complete guarantee that you’ll be able to secure a job right away. There are still a couple of things employers look for when hiring nurses. This includes competency, flexibility and compassion.

6Getting a promotion

If you want to achieve a higher position or get better pay, betting on your BSN degree won’t likely help you. Better opportunities require advanced degrees. It can open multiple doors for your career and help you find the specialty you are truly passionate about.

Going back to school to get an advanced degree won’t only make your resume look pretty; it can help you acquire fresh skills that can make you a more rounded nurse, too.

Reading counts as well. It’s a good way to harness new skills and to stay updated with the changes in health and technology. Reading can also improve your communication skills and enhance your vocabulary.


Is nursing school hard? Yes, no doubt about that.

Nursing school is challenging but it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to go through it. If your heart is truly set on becoming a nurse, these obstacles won’t be able to stop you. They will just give you more reasons to do better.

To give you a clearer idea on the most common obstacles aspiring nurses face, here’s an amazing infographic you can check out.