What is the 1st semester of nursing school like and what can you expect? If you are reading this article chances are you are thinking about going to nursing school or you’re going to be starting your first semester soon. If that is the case, I know you are so excited about starting nursing school. You’ve worked very hard to get there.
In this article, I am going to share with you my experience during 1st semester of nursing school. I am going to talk about the following topics:
- What classes I took during my 1st of nursing school
- What grades I got during the 1st semester
- Which classes I found the most challenging
- How I studied for my classes
- What shocked me the most about the program
Here are the nursing classes I took during my first semester of nursing school with the grades I received:
- Pathophysiology (A-)
- Health Assessment (B+)
- Intro to the Nursing Profession (A)
- Communication for Health Professionals (A)
What Nursing Class was the Hardest?
The class I found the most challenging, hands-down, was Pathophysiology. The reason I think is because it had something to do with the way my professor taught the course and the massive amount of material you must know for an exam. Many, many people struggled and ended up having to take it again during the summer, which they said was easier because they had a different teacher.
I ended up getting an A- in the course, but this was due to the extra credit project offered which took an immense amount of effort. If I didn’t complete the extra credit project, I would have probably got a C or B (which is fine by me because I just wanted to pass).
I recommend that if your nursing program requires you to take this course that you invest in some type of study guide. I couldn’t have made it through nursing school without supplementary study guide books. You can find some great ones on Amazon.com. For Pathophysiology, I recommend “Patho Made Incredibly Easy” by Lippincott.
The next course that was challenging was Health Assessment, but I think this was because I had to give all my attention to Patho and I wasn’t able to study enough for that course. However, I found it very interesting because I was finally learning nursing material.
Intro to the Nursing Profession and Communication for Health Professional were the easiest courses and I didn’t have to put a lot of effort into them. I got “easy A’s” in both classes.
My grades at the end of the semester were good, but I had to study really hard (especially in Patho and Health Assessment to get them). I was overall happy with them. I was happy to pass the semester and get to second semester.
What shocked me most about the 1st semester of Nursing School?
One of the most shocking things for me about the 1st semester of nursing school was that I didn’t have any clinical time. My program didn’t start exposing students to clinical time until the second semester of nursing school.
Unfortunately, I figured that during the 1st semester of nursing school, you would get to visit the community or learn some nursing skills, but it was mostly book work and lecture classes. I was very much looking forward to buying scrubs, getting a stethoscope etc., but it had to wait until the next semester.
Another shock for me was the difficulty of the exam questions when compared to the non-nursing courses I had recently taken. The exam questions in nursing school required a higher level of thinking and were more complicated because you must know the material inside and outside. In my non-nursing courses, memorizing the material was sufficient enough and the exam questions were fact based (instead of critical thinking). So, I had to teach myself how to study more efficiently.
My advice for you during your 1st semester of nursing school:
- Stay organized! Invest in an app that is a planner or get a physical planner. I would get the syllabus at the beginning of the semester and write in all the days when exams were administered, projects due, clinical times etc. This helped me stay ahead of the game and I found I utilized my time more efficiently.
- Purchase study guides for any hard classes you may have. If you start having trouble in a course, buy a study guide. Study guides narrow down the material and show you what to study for an exam.
- Keep away from negative people who stress all the time. I found that when I was away from people who stressed out all the time I was less stressed myself and was able to handle the stress of nursing school.
- Have fun and don’t be too hard on yourself if you get a B or even a C. Remember those RN initials don’t have an A or B or even C at the end of them. They are just RN!
- Take this fun quiz: “Will I succeed in Nursing School“