Considering a career in healthcare? Pursuing a career as a nurse is rewarding, challenging, and satisfying, but nursing school isn’t for everyone. Most BSN programs require high GPAs and courses in math, chemistry, biology, and other difficult subjects. However, pursuing a nursing degree can also be extremely fulfilling, and becoming a nurse can give you the opportunity to make a significant difference.
Most people associate nursing school with all-nighters spent studying, clinical experience, and student debt. But what about the things no one tells you about nursing school? Whether you’re filling out nursing program applications or starting your first semester, here are three things you need to know.
You’ll make friends for life.
Nursing school is a one-of-a-kind experience, and there be will few other times when you’ll engage so closely with people on the same career path as you. Nursing school creates an environment where you can reach out and work together with other students in your nursing program who understand everything you’re going through.
While making friends is nursing school isn’t inevitable for everyone, starting your nursing school journey with an optimistic and focused attitude can help you make close friendships. Whether you’re studying to be an RN or a nurse practitioner, making friends in your nursing program can help you feel less alone, and obstacles will be easier to overcome with their support. Go the extra length to offer the person next to you a pen or piece of paper, and don’t hesitate to ask questions to classmates. Close friends can help you succeed by studying together, networking together, and confiding in each other throughout your nursing school journey.
Not everyone has to pay out of pocket.
Although the average cost of a BSN degree is quickly creeping into six figures, not everyone has to pay the cost of nursing school tuition out of pocket. According to the ValueColleges nursing guide, there are numerous options available that can help nursing students reduce the cost of their nursing degree, and online students are often eligible for the same financial aid benefits as on-campus students.
The first step to receiving financial aid is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA asks a long list of questions about your income and your parents’ income, as well as general information about your financial situation. The FAFSA determines your eligibility for need-based assistance, such as the Pell Grant, which provides financial aid for undergraduate students.
There are also special grants available for nursing students to help combat the shortage of nurses in the workforce. Grants are typically given by the government, but some colleges and universities also offer need-based grants. Some nursing students may also qualify for private grants, which can be awarded directly to the school or to the student.
In addition to grants, scholarships and tuition reimbursement programs are available to help nursing students cover tuition costs. Nurses may also qualify for student loan forgiveness after taking out federal loans.
You don’t have to wear scrubs all the time.
Most people associate careers in healthcare with caring for patients in a medical setting. However, nursing students don’t wear scrubs all the time, and there are various career opportunities available for nursing students outside of the medical setting. Although the career choices available to you will vary based on your level of education, license, and certifications, most opportunities allow nursing students to apply other interests to their career in nursing to improve patient outcomes at a more indirect level.
While you may have to invest in nursing scrubs while preparing for clinical, internships, and lab courses, it’s also important to invest in a few quality professional pieces—like pencil skirts and blazers for women or dress pants and suit jackets for men—especially if you’re considering a career in administration, education, or research.
Nursing school isn’t for the faint of heart, but pursuing a career in healthcare can be extremely rewarding. If you’re interested in a career in healthcare, learning about the ins and outs of nursing school can help you decide which career path is right for you.