Welcome to the new nursing cohorts and congratulations for your acceptance into the Nursing Program! Nursing is a great profession with countless opportunities. However, there is no avoiding the endless reading, overwhelming course load, countless clinical hours, examinations, and papers to earn the five letters after your name, BSN, RN. It is assuring to say that it will all be worth it in the end. One piece of advice that I could give you all from my experience thus far, is to allow yourself time to learn. You may feel at times that nothing will ever make sense and that the expectations are set too high. I can tell you now, as a senior nursing student, that it will all come together at some point. Upperclassmen have often told me the same thing when I was at your point in the program but I did not believe them. I now can admit that they were right. A nursing professor once told me during office hours, "Nursing is like a puzzle." I agree with this statement and it parallels my advice to you. When you build a puzzle, you cannot fully see what It is supposed to be. However, the more pieces of the puzzle you collect, the more you understand the big picture. Nursing school and nursing in general is the same way. Imagine that each lecture, clinical, and patient care experience gives you a couple pieces of the puzzle. At the beginning of the program, you won't really understand the big picture because you only know as much as the pieces given to you. As you progress, you collect more pieces and start putting them together. By the end of your last medical/surgical rotation, you should be able to have developed a good grasp of the "big picture." You will understand how the pharmacology, pathophysiology, nursing interventions, MD orders, and interdisciplinary care all interrelate for the care of one patient.
Take it from me, nursing school is challenging but worthwhile. We all are high achieving students capable of completing the program. Believe in yourself, allow yourself time to learn, and create memories with your cohort as you collect the pieces of the puzzle.
Student Nurses Association President 2011-2012