Being a nurse is very different from how it is portrayed in pop culture. Today’s nurses are working in an environment that is much tougher than most people think, and the route to get there is extremely challenging. Here are some of the main challenges faced by nursing students:

Costs of education

Before anything else, just getting into nursing school can pose many challenges. Paying for tuition fees, books, school supplies, and the overall cost of living can discourage anyone who wants to enter the field. Finding a suitable program and creating a list of realistic options is key.

Challenging education

Nothing can really prepare students for the exams and lectures at nursing school. Nursing schools include a lot of practical exams alongside the written tests. It’s not all about memorizing facts; students have to develop a knack for critical thinking.

Hectic schedules and long shifts

A large part of studying to be a nurse is carried out in clinical environments. Although extremely challenging and physically taxing, practical training provides nursing students the vital opportunity to use the theoretical knowledge they’ve learned in lectures. This includes the various mental, psychological, and psychomotor skills necessary for patient care.

A research article from The Scientific World Journal discusses several challenges that a nursing student may encounter in a clinical learning environment. Some of which include ineffective communication and inadequate preparation. The article also talks about how theoretical training and practical training go hand in hand—one will not be effective when the other has been executed poorly.

Social life and work-life balance can suffer

If you have been assigned shift work, your social life almost always disappears. Cosmopolitan details the most common nursing student problems, and highlights how going out with friends becomes almost impossible because of hectic schedules. Apart from trying to keep up with an ever-changing schedule, nursing students also need to complete necessary homework and worksheets before the next day’s shift.

Unreasonable expectations and unrealistic demands

An article on Nurseslabs on the most common challenges nursing school students face, talks about how many people have unreasonable expectations, and often make unrealistic demands on student nurses. People often expect student nurses to immediately know what to do during emergency situations, and sometimes even expect them to give medical advice or offer treatment. But in reality, it takes more than the basic medical training to resolve most medical situations.

This is one of the reasons why most people interested in pursuing a nursing degree think twice about entering the profession. On Maryville University’s nursing degree page, they looked at the current employment figures. The university reports that with demand high, “job openings for nurses are expected to increase by 15% from 2016 to 2026.” They’ve also found out that the need for family nurse practitioners is expected to increase steadily by the year 2025—with the nation facing a predicted shortage of at least 100,000 family doctors. Encouraging more students is a huge challenge facing the health industry.

The many challenges of nursing school shouldn’t discourage anyone interested in entering the field. Here at the Global Health and Education Projects, we emphasize the importance of passion, and how it can turn adversity into an opportunity for innovation. Our virtual global health internships offer opportunities for you to try out what it looks like to work in the field of health and social care services. By putting in a few hours of volunteer or internship with an organization with a global reach individuals interested in nursing careers can get a leg into the world of nursing and allied health care services.

In summary, passion can turn even the most challenging task into an incredibly rewarding job. After all, the greatest employees are those who have the greatest passion for what they do.

Written by Naomi Benson

***Naomi is a guest writer for the GHEP Blog.