I swear, everyone in my family went down the education road, and I started walking the other way towards the medical field! I’m the first (and only) nurse in my family, so this entire road has been like a long walk in the dark! I had dreamed for years about getting into the nursing program at Brigham Young University, but even getting in made me feel scared because I didn’t know what to expect!! Suddenly, a lot of my friends were behind me, asking me how I did it, and how they can do it too! Since I had to learn a lot of it on my own, I decided to create this series of posts to help others that might feel that the nursing route is too unfamiliar!
Disclaimer: This is MY experience with BYU’s nursing program, but I feel this information is very relevant for most nursing schools! Click the links below to see the other posts in this series!
What is a BSN vs RN?
A Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) is the degree that you get when you graduate from college. You become a Registered Nurse (RN) when you take the super long exam called the NCLEX. You can become an RN without getting your degree, but you are much less likely to be hired, since so many nurses do get their degree. You can also get a degree, without taking the exam…but it would be kind of a waste since you wouldn’t be able to actually work as a nurse.
What is a CNA, LPN, and RN?
A CNA (Certified Nurses’ Assistant) is a license you can get after about 4-6 weeks, depending on your program. This certifies you to do basic nursing care in hospitals and nursing homes. An LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) is usually a 1-2 year certification, that allows you to perform more assessments and work in areas like doctor’s offices. An RN (Registered Nurse) is usually a 3-4 year program that allows you to administer medications, perform diagnostic tests, and educate patients on treatments.
How long is the BSN program?
BYU’s program is 3 years long, with one spring semester of a study-abroad nursing trip. I also did a year of generals before entering the program. But it depends entirely on your school’s program! But most range from 2-4 years if it is a BSN course.
What is a week like as a nursing student?
Typically, in the first few semesters, you will have a lot of book-work, with minimal hands-on learning experiences. You will have one clinical each week, where you work in a nursing home or hospital, practicing the skills you learned in your labs. As you get closer to the end, your clinicals become more frequent, until your last semester when you are basically working as a nurse without getting paid. That is called your capstone!
How many hours do you put in every week?
I have taken about 16 credits each semester, which has equaled out to nearly 25 hours in class each week (with clinical). This does not include the countless hours outside of class that go into studying for tests and practicing the skills you learn in class. It’s not an easy career, but totally worth it!
What supplies should I buy?
I made this list specifically for you! Check it out!
Should I become a CNA in high school?
I didn’t. I will say that it has not put me behind at all with the other students who did. I had had enough medical experience with people in my family to know that medical things did not make me queasy. However, it would have been really nice for a summer job to get experience. I wouldn’t say it is necessary, because I have been just fine without it, but if you have the opportunity, I would do it! It is also helpful for scholarships when they ask what licenses you have.
Should I take this class from that professor?
Go to Rate My Professor. It will change your life.
What should I look for in a nursing school?
Definitely make sure that you have a nursing school that has a lab where you can practice on mannequins. That has been extremely helpful. It is also important to know if there is a hospital close, where you will do clinicals. Also read reviews of the professors of your school!
Should I have a job while I’m in nursing school?
I worked a pretty chill 20 hours/week job during my first semester. It wasn’t too bad, as long as I planned out everything really well. Last semester was a lot harder though, so I’m planning on taking out a loan next semester to just focus on school. I feel like it’s something you have to play by ear, depending on how social you want to be.
Will I have to give and receive shots from my classmates?
Yes. You practice everything on each other. By the second semester, we were practicing injections. You get pretty up-close and personal with your classmates, while you do physical exams and give each other shots. But BYU makes sure to maintain the dignity of every student, and you are only partnered up with a classmate of your same gender.
I am in high school. What can I do now to prepare for nursing school?
I wrote this post specifically for you! Check it out!
What is the best part?
The best part of nursing school is definitely the relationships you build with your classmates and patients. Every day feels like you did something to help someone, and it just makes all the effort you put in feel worth it.
What is the worst part?
The worst part is definitely the smells. You have a lot of tasks to do in the first semester that involve body fluids, and sometimes the smells are almost unbearable. But there are different coping mechanisms that they teach you.
Why did you decide to be a nurse?
I chose to go into nursing because I knew I could really make a difference. There have been countless experiences in my life where family members have been very close to death. Cancer, seizures, life-threatening diseases, and car accidents…so many times nurses were kind to us and helped heal us. I want to be a nurse and do the same for others!
Do you have any other questions? Any experiences as a nurse? Post them in the comments below!