When does nursing school become the most difficult? Is there a semester that will be harder than others will? Some viewers have asked me those great questions.
In truth, nursing school can be difficult the whole way through. However, you’ll likely have some semesters that are very difficult, whereas other semesters will be easier.
The Hardest Semester in Nursing School
Your most difficult semester of nursing school will depend on many different factors. Here are some things that could make a semester very difficult:
- The type of nursing program you’re enrolled in (LPN, BSN, ADN)
- Whether you’re attending nursing school part-time or full-time
- Whether you’re working at a job during school
- Family or health issues you may encounter (life happens…)
- The classes you’re assigned to each semester, including clinical hours and projects you’ll have to complete
- The teachers you’ll have each semester
- and more.
Therefore, the hardest semester will be different for each student, and it’s difficult to say which semester will be most difficult for you. However, I can tell you about the most difficult semester that I encountered in nursing school.
My Hardest Semester in Nursing School
Without question, the most difficult semester for me was the last semester of my junior year in nursing school. I attended a 4-year BSN program, and that particular semester included three classes that were very content-heavy, as well as the corresponding clinical hours for those classes.
I took mental health nursing, maternity nursing, and pediatric nursing, all with corresponding clinical hours for each class. The clinical hours alone would consist of 10-12 hour shifts for each class per week (three different clinical days), plus the assignments and tests for the lecture portion of the classes.
In addition, I had to pass a mid-curricular HESI exam that semester, which covered everything we had learned up that point. If a student didn’t pass the HESI exam, he or she would be held back for that semester.
As you can imagine, that was rough. I had almost no time for anything else that semester, and I was constantly working in clinicals, studying for lecture classes, or practicing the HESI exam. Thankfully, I got through that semester and passed the HESI exam on my first try.
My Easiest Semester in Nursing School
Although the last semester of my junior year was the toughest semester, surprisingly, my easiest semester was the last semester of my senior year. I remembered thinking to myself, “Wow, if every semester was this easy, I would have enjoyed nursing school much more. I would have been less stressed, too!”
My last semester was relatively easy because I only had two lecture classes, and they were grouped together on the same day. Then, I was assigned to one unit for my clinicals (we chose our preferred clinical site), with only one preceptor. I had to complete around 240 clinical hours during the semester, which gave me plenty of time to study for my lecture classes (and the coming NCLEX exam).
I really enjoyed that semester, and it really was the easiest semester during my entire time in nursing school!
If You’re Having a Hard Semester, Hang In there!
If you’re currently bogged down by a difficult semester, just remember that it can get easier. Some semesters will be tough, but don’t lose hope. You can get through this! Never let a difficult semester get you down or cause you to question your abilities to succeed. You’ve got this!
Soon enough, you’ll have nursing school behind you, and you’ll be glad that you stuck with it.