Sunday, March 30, 2008

When A Nursing Student Is Not A Nursing Student

I had another one of those conversations the other day.

Random Person: How are things going?
Me: I'm getting ready to graduate in a few weeks.
RP: Really? You know I'm going to nursing school too.
Me: Oh really? How much longer do you have?
RP: Um. Well. I haven't actually applied yet, so what, two years?

I hate to break it to you, my brother, but it's actually more like four to six years.

I can say this now because I've been through it. I made this mistake. I woke up one day and decided I wanted to go to nursing school. I thought I would waltz over to my local community college and sign up to start the next semester. Little did I know it would take four years before I was accepted.

It's not easy getting into nursing school. Every school has its own set of criteria for accepting students. If you are someone who is thinking about nursing school, get in touch with that school and find out what their criteria are. Pay very close attention to every detail and even closer attention to deadlines. For example every school will have some sort of admission packet that must be submitted. One year I missed the dealine by SIX HOURS and so had to wait another year to try again.

Pay close attention to what the criteria are and make sure you can meet them. For example, the school I am going to requires that one take an entrance exam as part of the admission criteria. Here's the rub. You can only take that exam once a year, so if your score isn't all that great, you have to wait another year before taking it again. Even if you have everything else in order and ready to go, that's another year of waiting to get in.

My sister-in-law decided she wanted to go nursing school about the same time I decided to go, but first she decided to try some other things and see how that worked. So about a year ago she finally decided to get serious about applying and working on pre-regs. She spent all of last year working on pre-regs. Meanwhile the school she applied to told her there was a two-year waiting list. She decided to pay $75,000 and go to a private school.

After finishing the her pre-regs the private school informed her that they were full and couldn't accept her application and were now using a lottery system. In other words, names are drawn at random. You could get right in or you could never get in. It's all chance. Meanwhile, you guessed it. She took her name off the waiting list for the other school because she was so sure she would get accepted by the other one. If she had left her name on the list she'd only have to wait another year, which isn't that long when you remember, or if you read my earlier post, we made the decision six years ago to go to nursing school. Now she has put her name back on the list and they tell her now the waiting list is 3 years.

So children, if you think you want to be a nurse, get busy NOW finding a school and working on getting accepted. No whining about the admission criteria, the wait time, the tuition, the entrance exam. All of us who are nursing students had to go through it. If you really want to go, you need to understand right now, up front, that it's time consuming and difficult to get in. Otherwise do something else and quit complaining.

Oh, and another thing. If you aren't currently attending nursing school, stop telling people that you are "going to nursing school". Yes, and I'm going to die. I don't mean right now, but someday I'm going to die. But imagine the different reaction if starting tomorrow I told everyone I met that I'm going to die. There's a big difference between going to nursing school now and going to nursing school.........someday. And shame on you for making people think otherwise.


imanurse said...

I enjoyed reading this. You are so right about how hard it is to get into nursing school. So hard that I decided to start as an LPN. This way at least I will be working in the nursing field and it will not be so hard on me while I am waiting to get into a BSN program.

Nurseknowpp said...

Best of luck to you. I started my journey way before the economy started going downhill. I hear that it's even more difficult now than ever. And please, don't misrepresent your nursing student status. It's an insult to those students who have worked hard and made it in.

Nurseknowpp said...

And I can see by your username that you are already misrepresenting your status. Imanurse, you are not a nurse.