How Hard is Nursing School? Top Student Questions Answered

A nurse pondering major questions about nursing school
A nurse pondering major questions about nursing school

As you consider a future nursing career, one of the primary questions you may be wondering about is the difficulty of an educational program to become a registered nurse (RN). Truthfully, nursing school is a challenge, but it is a rewarding decision for many individuals.

This blog will explore the realistic expectations of a nursing curriculum and answer some of the top student questions on the subject. When you ask, “Is registered nursing school hard?” The answer is yes, but hard things like nursing school are often worth the investment. 


Types of Nursing Education Programs 

If you are looking to become a nurse, you likely have a lot of questions about nursing programs and whether nursing is right for you. Different types of nursing education programs have varying features that may ease some student challenges while allowing students to complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. For example, a traditional BSN program is typically four years in duration with in-person classes, while accelerated online programs are shorter because they require a current Bachelor’s degree as a prerequisite for enrollment.

One of the most important benefits of an accelerated BSN (ABSN) program, when compared to an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) program, is the resulting BSN degree. While ADN programs and ABSN programs are both typically completed in two years or less, graduates of an ABSN program have attained a preferred bachelor’s level nursing degree and are positioned in the job market for greater employment opportunities. 

In an ABSN nursing program, students can expect:

  • Online coursework 
  • In-person clinical experiences 
  • Clinical placement support 
  • Innovative teaching methods
  • Mentorship by experienced faculty
  • Meaningful interactions with classmates 

Online nursing programs can also lead to many different careers for BSN-prepared nurses. Nursing school is a full-time commitment, but rigorous programs can build momentum toward future nursing progression. This is especially important if your career ambitions include graduate studies toward an advanced practice position or teaching and leadership role.

Holy Family University offers an online accelerated BSN program that can be completed in just 14 months for students with a prior bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field.

Next, let’s answer some of the most frequently asked questions about nursing school. 


FAQs About Nursing School 

Is it hard to get accepted to nursing school? 

Nursing schools require applicants to meet prerequisites before gaining acceptance into a program. Admission to Holy Family University’s ABSN program is contingent upon prerequisite education, a personal statement, and a letter of recommendation from a supervisor or academic professor. The program itself demands dedication, perseverance, and unwavering commitment.


Do I need nursing experience? 

Nursing experience is not a requirement for entry into an accelerated BSN program. Holy Family University requires less prerequisite coursework than other Pennsylvania nursing schools. Specifically, admissions requirements include course prerequisites of: 

  • Anatomy and Physiology with lab (I and II)
  • Microbiology with lab 
  • A nutrition course taught by a registered dietitian 
  • Elementary statistics 


Can I work while taking an accelerated nursing program? 

It is worthwhile to set aside a full-time focus on nursing school for the duration of an accelerated program. A full-time focus is essential for students enrolled in accelerated nursing programs because development of competency in the nursing profession requires a deep understanding of topics such as:

  • Specialized clinical skills 
  • Evidence-based practice 
  • Nursing process and ethics 
  • Medication administration 
  • Pathophysiology 

The support of family and friends can encourage you through the journey toward your nursing career. As you progress through each course and your clinical experiences, you can celebrate these milestones with your classmates. 


Is an online program harder than an in-person program? 

Both online and in-person nursing programs can be challenging because they are designed to train future nurses who can confidently provide safe and effective patient care. Online programs require students to be fully engaged in learning. In their own words, BSN students at Holy Family University have spoken highly of the online accelerated BSN program experience:

“This residency has been both rewarding and challenging. I grew clinically and as a critical thinker while digging deep to find the confidence and resolve to make it through. Our instructors were supportive and pushed us to find the skills we needed to start clinical placement and have the appropriate foundational nursing skills to bring with us.” - Kristi Pretzer 


Is an online nursing program fully online? 

Online nursing programs have fully online coursework where you learn the fundamentals of nursing care and comprehensively study other key topics through a concept-based framework. Topics you will learn through online teaching strategies include: 

  • Health promotion and disease prevention 
  • Care for specific populations such as children and older adults 
  • Nursing care for select health alterations in individuals 
  • Medical-surgical nursing
  • Health assessment and essential nursing skills 

To grow your confidence in your nursing skills, a campus residency experience lasting one week is part of the Holy Family University curriculum. This in-person training time helps prepare you for success in your nursing clinical rotations.


What is involved in clinical rotations?

Clinical rotations are the time when student nurses work directly under the supervision of a licensed RN preceptor to grow in nursing competency. Clinical faculty also work directly with students and preceptors to help ensure a smooth and effective learning experience.

During nursing clinicals, you will provide hands-on patient care in a supervised role and practice applying your skills in the nursing practice environment. Clinical experiences also allow students to learn about their preferences for future nursing employment.

Holy Family University offers clinical placement support to help find student placements. You will receive dedicated support from a clinical placement team who works to secure a quality preceptor or clinical instructor within a quality clinical site.


What are the pass rates for the Holy Family University program?

The Holy Family University program has consistently achieved pass rates higher than the national average for first-time test-takers of the NCLEX exam. To become a licensed RN, you must successfully pass this premier nursing licensure examination.


Complete Your Nursing Program at Holy Family University 

Holy Family University is an excellent choice for aspiring nurses looking for a second career and a quality, online program. If you want to change careers and serve as a nurse, your bachelor’s degree in any field can be the starting point. Our online ABSN program is mission-driven and develops you as a holistically trained nurse with the knowledge and leadership skills to advance the profession and manage patient care across the lifespan.

For more information, visit the Second Degree Distance Hybrid BSN program page today.