I Hate Nursing School | How to Survive Nursing School

How to Survive Nursing School

Without a doubt, nursing school has its ups and downs. The nursing course requires a lot of time to study various nursing modules, write notes, write many nursing assignments, attend clinically, and prepare for exams among other engagements that are necessary for you to have a successful career in nursing.

On the other hand, there is the social life that equally requires your attention. At this point, you can only ask yourself the question “is nursing school the place for me?”

If this is what you are experiencing in your nursing school, know that you are not alone. Also, know that it is normal to experience this. First, take a deep breath and promise yourself that you can do this.

How to survive nursing school? The nursing school only requires a bit of planning, time management, and good study tips and strategies to help you enhance your information retention. But what are the reasons why you hate nursing school? Check out some of the most probable reasons for nursing students hate nursing school.

Why I Hate Nursing School

  • Struggling: Nursing school has its struggles and stresses and when they get into your head, you start to think, ‘I hater nursing’. Besides, nursing school requires you to manage so much at a time. For example, in a week you can have 2 exams, 10-page research paper due, 2 clinical rotations, care plans due, and assignments that require completion. Now, when all these couple up with your personal social life, you have chaos. By the time the week is over, you feel like quitting.
  • Burnout: There are at times you feel like you have spent your entire life in a nursing school. You start feeling this way especially when you are tired of being in class, listening to lectures, studying, researching, and taking tests. However, all you want to do is get a job and work as a nurse!
  • Personal Stress: If you are experiencing some family or friend issues, it can couple up with the academic stress to make your stay in nursing school unbearable. For instance, death, divorce, parental responsibilities, or holding down a job can certainly bring more stress into your nursing school life.
  • Poor Diet: As the saying goes, you are what you eat. For instance, if you eat too much chunk food and pizza because it is convenient and easy to come by, your mental health will suffer the blunt. The foods you eat play a key role in your mental health. The body flourishes on healthy, nutritious foods.
  • Lack of Sleep and Exhaustion: Nursing school requires you to wake up early and retire to bed late. You need to wake up early for classes and clinical and stay up till late in the night to study or catch-up on chores. These kinds of sleep deprivation can lead you to low mental clarity while amplifying the feelings of detesting nursing school.

Now that you have seen the various reasons that may lead to hating nursing school, let us look at the different strategies of pulling yourself out of this hate to enjoy the good times in your nursing school.

How to Survive Nursing School

  • Enjoy Your Breaks: Any time you are given a break from your nursing school, make the most out of them. Use the breaks to relax and engage in your social life activities. Even though you may be persuaded to study for your NCLEX or doing some research, consider taking several days off the books and have fun. That way, you can refresh enough so that when you return you will be energetic and ready to study.
  • Eat a Balanced Diet: Eating a balanced diet plays a big role in having good mental health. As such, avoid high caloric foods for healthier foods. However, you can sometimes have a bite.
  • Sleep Enough: Sleeping enough during the weekends and breaks can do a lot more than during the weekdays when you are pressed to study more. If you have kids, you can have someone watch them for few hours as you catch some sleep.
  • Talk With Your Course Mates: Talking to someone especially your course mates is a great stress reliever.  That is because your course mates may be going through the same stress and sharing lightens up.  It will make you feel normal.
  • Communicate With Loved Ones: The stress and struggles in nursing school can tempt you to go into isolation. With a tight class schedule, clinical, sleep, and fast approaching exams, you start feeling that you never have time for anyone. However, this is not the case. Even though it might be harder to carve out some time for others, time with your loved ones is as significant as ever.

When in a nursing school, you need emotional support, and that can only come from your loved ones and peers. Therefore, don’t hesitate to share how you feel about nursing school. That way, you will feel less overwhelmed.

  • Study a Little Every Day: Keep in mind that you cannot cram a week’s worth of study in few hours during the weekend or when exams are approaching. Alternatively, committing to spend some time on your nursing studies daily, even during your breaks. That way, you will feel less overwhelmed and stressed while you stand a chance to retain more content.
  • Concentrate on Material Covered in Class: Without a doubt, your instructors are going to assign several chapters to read every week plus other outside resources to review. Instead of concentrating on reading and outlining every single word, consider taking a clue from your class time. For instance, what topics does your instructor spend the most time reviewing? What are the key points covered in a class? When you get the answers to these questions, concentrate your attention on those areas.
  • Think in terms of Action, Not Facts: As a nurse, you need to understand why certain conditions occur and what the patient undergoes physiologically. Regardless, the patient is not interested in those facts, they just want to get better. As such, when studying for your nursing exam, ask yourself, “what ways can you employ to help the patient with this kind of information.” That way, you will be a better nurse but also a better student.
  • Know Your Learning Style: Everyone studies and learns differently. Some have to see the information; some have to hear it while others learn kinetically. As such, you have to discover which learning strategies work best for you.  Know your style of learning and use it to your advantage. For instance, kinetic learners learn best when they write their notes since the motion of writing helps them remember.
  • Skim-Read First: Nursing School needs a lot of reading. However, if you try to retain everything on your first pass, you will be frustrated. So before your start reading a chapter, skim the material first. Look at the headings, subheadings, and highlighted terms. Review the summaries and questions at the end of the chapter. That way, you can determine which information is most important and requires more attention.
  • Form a Study Group: Research shows that students who study with their peers retain about 90% of what they learn, compared to 60% of what they learn from lectures in class alone and as little as 10% of what they read alone. Moreover, studying in a group helps provide encouragement and boost moral support.

Therefore, getting together with a few of your nursing classmates to discuss and do research together and share studying strategies and tips will significantly improve your performance.  Research shows that groups of three are the most effective. 

  • Use Outside Sources: No one says that you can only learn from your class notes or instructor. Supplement your class notes and resources with others from medical websites, journals, and articles. You can do this before reading a chapter, as a preview to your reading. However, keep in mind that your class notes and instructor are the final and have the correct authority.
  • Use Downtime as Study Time: Nursing studies need a certain level of memorization. The best way is to create flashcards or notes that will help you review facts and concepts, especially when you are doing other things. For instance, tape cards listing vital sign ranges to your bathroom mirror, so that you will see them when you are brushing your teeth.
  • Remember It Will Not Last Long: Your stay in the nursing school will come to an end before you even know it. It will only take you a few years before you graduate from your nursing school. As such, try to keep telling yourself that one-day nursing school will just be a distant memory that you will probably look back at it and laugh it off.


Without a doubt, nursing school is quite stressful. It is said to be even more stressful than any other academic program. Like in any medical program, you require to learn a huge amount of information within a short time, with some juggling personal or family responsibilities. However, with these tips and strategies, we hope you can manage your nursing school stress and graduate to become a registered nurse within the nursing program duration.