What does daily life as a nursing student look like?
If you’re considering a career in nursing, you’ve probably asked yourself that very question. If so, you’re not alone!
Nursing school may sound daunting to prospective students. After all, as a nurse, you’ll be responsible for the care and safety of your patients.
However, Bella, a sophomore in Davis & Elkins’ 4-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, says life as a nursing student is a truly gratifying experience.
She wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when she committed to pursuing a nursing career. Yet once she found her footing, she knew she had made the right choice!
Bella gave us an inside peek at the highlights and challenges of a typical day as a nursing student.
A Career That Inspires
As she settles in behind her computer screen on an early Wednesday afternoon, Bella is all smiles despite the busy day ahead.
“I have an exam at 3 o’clock today,” she said.
She resides in the Davis & Elkins dorms on campus, so she took full advantage of the peace and quiet before the rest of the building came to life that morning.
“I’m an early morning person,” Bella said. “So I woke up at 5:45 to study so I could enjoy that extra couple of hours in silence.”
Like many other nursing students, Bella found influence from other men and women in the field to pursue nursing. Her mother has type-one diabetes, so Bella tagged along for many hospital visits while growing up. The medical staff’s professionalism and care left a lasting impression on her.
“I learned a lot about medicine. I was able to see what it was like. It inspired me because all the nurses were so nice to my mom. They helped her so much through everything.”
Bella has felt like nursing is a natural fit for her for a long time — even if her parents tried to convince her to try something different.
“I’ve always loved helping people. I really thrive off it,” she said. “My parents were like, ‘Why don’t you be a teacher?’ But that just didn’t sound as fun as getting in the nitty-gritty of really helping people, being a person who could save someone’s life.”
Now that she’s living out her dream, she acknowledges it’s not all sunshine and roses 24/7. Yet she takes her busy life in stride, one day at a time, by enjoying the college experience.
Rising to the Occasion
Life as a nursing student isn’t a laid-back one. Earning a nursing degree and preparing for the NCLEX takes dedication and grit.
Bella admits she’s had her share of challenges during her time in nursing school.
“I am not a math or science person whatsoever,” she said. “So I definitely try to go the extra mile there.”
Her commitments extend beyond the classroom. Unsurprisingly, many of the students at Davis & Elkins also participate in extracurricular activities, and Bella is no exception.
“I’m an athlete, too. I’m on the women’s lacrosse team here. So I have to manage my time,” she said. “That is probably the hardest thing.”
Her schedule is pretty active, but she still finds plenty of opportunities to relax after a long day.
“Taking an hour to go out and eat with my friends isn’t going to get me a ‘D’ on my test,” Bella said. “Nursing can kind of get crazy. So that definitely helps to take time for my friends or watch a show if I need to unwind.”
The life of a nursing student certainly isn’t a boring one. It has its challenging moments, but as Bella points out, it comes with exciting ones, too. For instance, getting to apply the things she’d learned in the classroom in a practical setting was a fun experience for her.
“Our clinicals are fun, and our labs, too! All the hands-on stuff,” she said. “Like this week, I’ve been going to the Davis Medical Center in town to learn about the medication machines. I also got to take out an IV.”
Bella’s learned more than she ever imagined when she first began her nursing journey, and not just the things taught in textbooks.
Lessons Learned Along the Way
Healthcare is a fast-moving and versatile field. It naturally attracts highly-driven individuals, so an outsider might assume it’s a very intense working environment.
Yet it didn’t take long for Becca to realize that after she started her education, that wasn’t the case. In fact, quite the opposite was true.
“I always thought it was going to be really competitive. Like other nursing students would always be fighting for a spot, or if I didn’t reach a certain grade, I was going to be kicked out,” she said. “But everyone bonded together, and we became really close.”
She credits the small-town feel around their campus for her class’ tight-knit relationships.
“I’m friends with girls that don’t even live on campus. I think there’s a misconception that the [nursing community] can be horrible. Not at all — you really become a family.”
Rather than fretting over finding her place among her classmates, Bella has made friendships that will last a lifetime. That’s led to some fun stories they can share, like one particularly memorable one from her first full clinical day when she emptied her first bedpan.
“I have a really bad gag reflex,” she said. “But I was the one given this bedpan to dump out, so I was gagging the whole time. It was really funny for everyone else.”
Bella’s hit a few bumps on the road to becoming a licensed nurse, but she’s glad she stuck with it. So now that she’s come this far, what advice does she have for anyone else thinking about life as a nursing student?
“Don’t give up! Keep sticking with it. It’s worth it,” Bella said. “Once you get in a flow and get your schedule down, you are set, and you can do anything.”
Are You Ready to Embrace Life as a Nursing Student?
Bella’s story is just one of the many being written every year by compassionate, hard-working nursing students like herself.
Davis & Elkins wants to help you take the lead in writing the next chapter in yours.
With the Davis & Elkins family, you can experience the same dynamic hands-on learning opportunities and connections that students like Bella will carry into their nursing careers.
We believe you have room to grow as a leader. If you love to learn, we want to invest in you. Reach out today!