Taking the next step in your nursing career means first finding the right nursing program for you, and that’s not always an easy task. From managing online courses to finding the right clinical site, you probably have a lot of questions about what nursing school is really like and how you can be successful.
Here are some tips from Herzing University BSN graduates on how they made it work and the lessons they learned along the way.
1. Being an online student has its benefits
Whether you’re returning to school or enrolling for the first time, many nursing students feel anxious about completing all or part of their coursework online. However, not being in a physical classroom does have its advantages.
Katrina Games found that she could maintain a full work schedule in addition to her course load. “By having classes meet on one or two days a week, I was able to continue working 40 hours a week,” she said. “I also liked taking some of my classes online because I could access them at work or home and I didn't have to go to campus.”
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Nursing school is challenging, but don’t let that discourage you. Your instructors and advisors care about you and want you to succeed. For Judy Reilley, being able to reach out to her professors for additional support was the key to her success in the nursing program.
“Although I was an online student, I was still able to go to the local campus to meet with my professors when necessary,” said Reilley, who graduated in 2017. “I had excellent instructors who were dedicated to helping me learn, and they truly got to know each of their students.”
“My courses helped me grow professionally, and my instructors gave me constructive feedback that helped ensure my success in the program,” she adds.
3. Your clinical experience might change your life
Not only will your clinical externship allow you to put your nursing knowledge and skills to the test, you may find that it shapes the trajectory of your career. Nabeela Rehan found her true calling after completing her clinical work at a summer camp for children who had suffered abuse or neglect.
“It was a truly life-changing experience for me and further confirmed that I really loved working with people and being a positive influence in their lives,” Rehan said. “That experience helped me become a stronger person and gave me all the tools I needed to be successful in my career.”
4. It won’t always be easy, but it will be worth it
If there’s one thing that all nursing graduates can agree on, it’s the importance of keeping your eye on the prize, even on the days you feel overwhelmed.
“Nursing school was not an easy journey, but I got through it with the support of my family, faculty and my nursing cohort classmates,” said Cassi Malko, who passed the NCLEX within two weeks of graduating and accepted a GN/RN offer at a local hospital during her last semester of school in 2017."
“I will apply my nursing knowledge in my new role and help patients in our community get well and stay well!” she says.
* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2021. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.