20 Things People Don’t Tell You About Nursing School

what people don't tell you nursing school

At some point in time, you have lied. Yes, you have – don’t lie about that. Maybe you told a lie that your sister’s new haircut looked nice, or that you loved the wedding gown your mother-in-law picked out. Nursing school is a web of lies. There are many things people don’t tell you prior to applying to nursing schools, while you’re in nursing school, and after you graduate and work as an RN. Here are 20 things people fail to tell you prior, during, and after nursing school:


1.Getting into nursing school is the easiest part of nursing school.


2.You will become a coffee addict.


3.You will analyze your own poop, your dog’s poop, and your significant other’s poop. You will form a diagnosis from this.


4.You will always have a crush on the one male student nurse in your class (simply because he is a male student nurse).

5.The friends you meet in nursing school will be lifelong friendships.


6.2/3 of the students in your class will not graduate on time or will drop out.


7.You will fail an exam or two (74 is considered failing). Cry, then move on and get that 85.


8.Labor and Delivery is not the only “exciting” unit to work on – OR, Cardiac, and ICU are great units to experience as well.

9.The nurses on your unit during clinical will hate you, except that one nice nurse who is probably a clinical instructor herself.

10.Doctors will become your best friends – try not to piss them off. If you are questioning a medication dose, don’t be afraid to speak up. Remember, you are always advocating for your patients.

11.You cannot do all the reading that is assigned – you are not a superhero, you only have two eyes. Skim the important boxes, and follow the PowerPoint notes and your instructor’s outline. Ask questions for further clarification during office hours.

12.If you ask your instructor, “will this be on the test?” it will automatically be put on the test. So don’t. Just pay attention to what they tell you to study.

13.Hospitals will smell bad – like all the time. Get used it, and practice proper bedside manner and learn how to deal with foul smells.

14.Some patients won’t let you do anything to them – not even take a blood pressure. Its okay and don’t take it personally.

15.Patient safety is and always will be the correct answer.


16.When in doubt on an exam, go by your ABC’s for patient care priority: Airway, breathing, circulation.


17.You will not have an adequate amount of sleep. You will be able to identify other nursing students by the bags under their eyes and the amount of textbooks they will be carrying.

18.There will be crying. And I mean a lot. Tears of joy, sadness, failure, and tears of smelling poop.


19.Lab values will not go away – learn those now


20.And finally, you may not see the light at the end of the tunnel now, but it will all be worth it in the end.


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Jacqueline Molina
Jacqueline Molina is currently a junior in the nursing program at SUNY Morrisville. She has recently relocated from her native Long Island to Syracuse, New York, to embark on her nursing career. She attended SUNY Albany from 2004 to 2008, majoring in English with a double minor in Education and Spanish. From there, she attended CUNY Queens College and earned two master’s degrees—one in English and one in Education. She was a New York City high school English teacher for three years before making the decision to change careers and follow in the footsteps of her grandmother, a nurse manager in a leading Long Island hospital. Long term, Jacqueline hopes to become a successful oncology nurse and nurse educator. She enjoys rollerblading, bacon, traveling, and exploring the outdoors with her boyfriend and three dogs.