8 Nursing School Myths Debunked
A lot of people have misconceptions about nursing school whether they believe nursing graduates only work in hospitals or they believe nursing students are required to wear a specific color of scrub pants and tops. However, since it’s been estimated that the nursing field will continue to grow between 2020 and 2030, it’s time to debunk some of the myths about nursing school.
1. Nursing School Is Not Like Other Schools
A lot of people assume that attending nursing school is just like attending any other collegiate school, whether it be business school or art school. While nursing school does require students to attend a couple of lecture-based classes ranging from general education courses to classes on chemistry and pharmaceuticals, a good portion of nursing students’ time is spent in clinical settings. Clinical classes often include hands-on experience for students in simulated labs and with real patients in hospitals and clinics, which is rarely, if ever, found in classes for other degree programs that aren’t in the healthcare field.
2. Nursing Students Do Not Only Memorize Technical Skills
Some people believe that nursing students do a lot of memorization, especially memorization of technical skills, such as drawing patient blood or using a computer system to check patient medications. However, while these skills are necessary to learn, nursing students are required by their schools to go above and beyond simple memorization. Students have to demonstrate technical skills, and they have to use critical thinking to determine when to use these skills.
3. Nursing Grads Do Not Always End Up at a Hospital
While it’s true that about 61% of registered nurses work at a hospital, not all graduates of nursing school go on to work in a hospital. In fact, about 18% of registered nurses (RNs) work in doctor offices or other healthcare clinics, 6% of RNs work in nursing or residential care facilities, 5% of RNs work in government settings, and 3% of RNs work in educational settings. That also doesn’t count all of the RNs who work for private businesses, such as nursing school grads that work as medical staff for factories.
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4. Nursing Education Does Not End With Nursing School
Some people think that registered nurses who graduate from nursing school with a degree do not need any further education in their RN careers. However, this is not true because RNs are required to take two hours of continued education training every five years to keep their RN status up to date. A lot of nursing employers offer this extra education as part of their nurses’ jobs, but some RNs can also obtain continuing education credits with online courses.
There are also a lot of RNs who decide to go back to nursing school later in their careers to obtain a nurse practitioner license, also known as a master’s degree in nursing. This is optional for current nursing school grads, of course, but many RNs are choosing to further their education in this way since the available jobs for nurse practitioners have been expected to grow 45% from 2020 to 2030.
5. Nursing School Students Are Diverse
There has been a long-standing idea that nursing is a female profession, and while there may have been only female nurses many years ago, there are plenty of males enrolling in nursing school and becoming RNs today. Another common misconception about nursing school students is that they must be young or “college-aged,” and this is also a myth. There is a growing number of adults over 30 making career changes and deciding to enroll in nursing school today, which makes nursing schools more diverse than ever.
6. Nursing School Does Not Take Long to Complete
A lot of people believe it takes a very long time, perhaps over eight years, to become a registered nurse. However, this is far from the truth because most RNs receive a bachelor of science in nursing degrees, and these are degrees that take an average of four years to obtain. Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) can get an associate degree in nursing in just two years, too. Of course, those attending nursing school part-time may take longer to complete their degrees, but becoming a nurse certainly takes less time than becoming a medical doctor.
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7. Nursing School Can Be Completed Online
While most first-time nursing students are required to do in-person clinicals, some LPNs can go back to nursing school online to further their education and get closer to becoming an RN. Other current RNs who hold an associate degree in nursing (ADN) can often complete online school to obtain a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. In other cases, at least part of nursing school can be completed online, making it easier for first-time nursing students to plan their work schedules around school.
8. Nursing Students Do Not Always Wear Uniforms
Although there are some nursing schools that require their students to wear uniforms for clinicals, a lot of schools allow their students to choose their outfits according to a dress code, which is usually work-appropriate men’s or women’s scrubs and non-slip sneakers. Most schools also allow students to wear jackets and cardigans as needed for comfort.