The Hardest Parts of Getting into Nursing and What You Can Do About Them

Debra Riley


Nursing can be one of the most rewarding career opportunities out there, but it can also be one of the most challenging. It can be emotionally draining, and it forces you to manage your time well, especially as you are learning how to be a nurse.

Understanding common challenges can better prepare you to overcome them.

Today,I’m going to cover some of the main challenges you’ll face, along with some tips to help overcome these. Let’s get started.

challenges in nursing

Getting Your Degree

Nursing school can be one of the hardest academic pathways you could take. Between grueling coursework and long clinicals, it might feel like you will never see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, pushing through will help you finish as quickly as you can.

Nursing school can also be expensive, and many students aren’t able to work during the school year because of how busy they are.

That’s why it’s a good idea to take some time to look for scholarships you might be eligible for. There is a scholarship for nearly every interest, so even if you don’t think you are a very high-achieving student, you can still search for scholarships online. There are Going Merry scholarships for college students available that can cover part or all the cost of your degree.

Long Days

Unless you work in a doctor’s office, you likely won’t have a 9-5 work schedule. Nurses work long hours, often spending 10 to 12 hours a day at the hospital. Because shift changes often require administrative tasks to be completed, your total workday might be even longer than that.

These long hours and the time spent on your feet all day can be physically draining. It’s not uncommon for nurses to experience burnout.

One of the best ways to prevent burnout is to make sure you are getting enough rest and taking time for yourself when you are not at the hospital. You might ask friends or family members to help you complete tasks so you can spend enough time doing something you love.

It’s also important to use all vacation time you are given as part of your employment. Taking time away from the hospital allows you to recharge.

tired nurse

No Set Schedule

Often, a nurse’s schedule will change from week to week, making it hard to adjust. This is especially true if you work night shifts, which many new nurses must do. You might work from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. the first three days of one week, but the next, you may work every other week the next.

Some nurses are forced to switch between the night shift and the day shift. These changing schedules can stop you from getting a good night’s rest.

Try scheduling appointments and doing other tasks when you have an extended among of time off. If you have three days in a row off work, you might schedule your appointments in the middle of that time so you can rest after one set of shifts and before the next.

If you have some challenging shift changes coming up, consider speaking with your family and friends about not placing too many expectations on you then.

The Emotional Drain of Nursing

Nurses often feel a personal connection to their work, and it can be very fulfilling to be part of a patient’s healing process. Nurses are often very emotionally invested in patients’ lives, but this can also be difficult after years of nursing work.

It’s important to understand mental health facts and have a good support system in place with other nurses who understand the emotional burden. Expressing your feelings after a challenging day at the hospital or after losing a patient can help you let some of that burden go.

Some hospitals have counselors for their nurses, or you could get to know some of the other nurses on your floor.

Lack of Staff Members

Many hospitals have required nurses to work overtime because they simply don’t have enough staff to operate otherwise. Nurses at these facilities may need to pick up extra shifts or work longer shifts than normal.

It’s important to research the scheduling and overtime policies of any hospital you interview at. Some offer their employees double their normal hourly rate for working overtime.

Make sure you talk to current nurses at each hospital to get their thoughts on overtime or extra shifts. It’s also important for each floor to have enough nurses on staff so each patient receives adequate care.

If a patient passes away because a nurse was unable to give them the right care, the nurse could still lose their license for being negligent, even if it was because the hospital didn’t have enough staff.

nurse going home after long day

Verbal Abuse from Patients

It’s not uncommon for nurses to receive poor treatment from either families or patients as they try to care for the patient. The patient may become verbally or physically abusive. It’s important to report any threatening behavior to your supervisors, and you should get help from other nurses if a patient needs to be restrained.


In conclusion, becoming a nurse is rewarding, but it can also be very challenging. Nursing school can be difficult and expensive, nurses often work long hours and have changing schedules, and they may sometimes face emotional burdens or verbal abuse from patients.

It’s important to understand the common challenges of being a nurse so that you can better prepare yourself for them.

Consider looking for scholarships or paid internships to help pay for nursing school and create a support system with other nurses. Additionally, make sure to take full advantage of vacation time so you can recharge when needed.