Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing School
1. What do I need to do to get accepted?
- Try your best to get As in your science classes. This is a point based system that mainly relies on GPA. Some other things that may get you more points are: taking sciences at the U of A, being in honors (taking 18hrs = 10 points, which helps A LOT), having a high GPA overall. People still get in without having a perfect GPA or these other factors, but it heavily depends on the group you’re applying with and where you stand among them. Sometimes the GPA requirement will be a 3.5 and other times it will be a 3.9.
2. How to be successful in nursing school.
- First, you need to accept that this is your new priority and as such will take up a huge chunk of your time. Most of that time is spent studying and doing homework. You aren't studying to pass the test anymore, you are studying to save a life and be the best nurse you can be. It will be hard to change your mindset from getting all A’s to being able to actually apply the knowledge you learn to your practice.
- Second, you need to master time management. You cannot procrastinate your way through nursing school, you will slowly drown. It helps if at the beginning of each semester you can get an idea for the classes and when tests are. If you get a pattern down, it will help you plan ahead when it’s time to begin studying and reading the textbook. For example, if one class has a test every week then you need to study as you go through the material each week. And if another has a test once a month you can probably start studying a week before the test and be ready. It's’ all about using your time wisely and efficiently.
- Third, develop good study habits now while you are in freshman and sophomore classes. If you can figure out how you best retain knowledge this will serve you well during nursing school. Yes, you will probably still have to read the textbook but do you rewrite what it said in your own words, do you draw out concepts, use a concept map or just highlight the important things? Use whatever works for you, just make sure it is the best way for you.
3. Can you work while being in nursing school?
- Yes, but put school first and only do what you can handle. It’s important to still have enough time to study, sleep, and somewhat have a social life to function well throughout nursing school. Many nurse internships in the Fayetteville area only require you work twice a month or once a schedule. If you work I suggest limiting it to less than around 20 hrs a week at most, especially during harder semesters (J1 and S1).
4. What do you mean when you say J1, J2, S1, or S2?
- Our nursing program is 4 semesters long, so J1 means 1st semester of junior year, S2 means second semester of senior year, etc. But since people get in at all different times, whether early as sophomores, later in their undergrad career, or after they already have a graduate degree, it’s easier to distinguish what semester you are in using these acronyms.
5. Where can I find opportunities to get hands on nursing experience before starting nursing school to see if I like it?
- Getting your CNA certification before nursing school has helped people really understand what the physically demanding part of nursing entails and it allows you to get hands on experience with working with patients. Being a home-health aid is also a great way to get an idea of healthcare, it is a step down from CNA but you will have more freedom and it’s a shorter certification class. You can also seek out volunteer opportunities at hospitals and clinics. With those you won’t be doing a lot of hands on patient care but you can work on interacting with patients through therapeutic communication. Through SNA you can also volunteer at our events to network with current students and work with people in the community. If you have connections already to the healthcare world you can ask to shadow someone to see what their everyday life looks like.
6. What should I do if I don’t get in?
- You can apply as many times as you want. The advisors do recommend applying to multiple nursing schools in the area, especially if you do not get in the first time. If you didn’t get in talk with your advisor, it might be best to try somewhere else or it could be beneficial to stay at the UofA and work towards another degree.
7. Is it true that I will have no social life while in nursing school?
- Depends on your time management and the semester you are in. The first semesters of both junior and senior year are rough and there is a lot of information thrown at you, but if you can figure out a pattern to doing homework and studying and don’t procrastinate it will be much easier for you to find time for other things. We suggest examining your life and making sure you can put school first before social events or extracurriculars. We still encourage you to have outside activities to help with stress but make sure you can put them on pause for a while if you have a really big test you need to study for or a project to do.
8. Is nursing school expensive?
- There are some extra expenses when it comes to nursing school that other majors may not see. There is a fee to apply to the nursing program. You’ll need to purchase equipment and uniforms for clinicals, and books for your classes. You will also be responsible for the cost of going to Arkansas Children’s Hospital your S1 year, which includes hotel, meals and transportation. Most people make plans with their clinical group and split the cost. But if you are worried about the financial burden of nursing school, talk to your advisor or Dr. Patton, and they can help accommodate some of the costs. EMSON strives to make sure money won’t prevent you from becoming a nurse if you have the aptitude to get into the program.
9. Do you wear your scrubs every day?
- Nope, just on days where you go into a healthcare facility or when you are going to lab in EMSON. On regular class days, you get to wear what you want.
10. What are clinicals?
- Nursing students have the unique opportunity to practice skills and learn in the real world of health care. Our students, in addition to going to traditional lecture-based classes, are assigned to go to health care facilities, such as hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics. These experience-based classes are called clinical courses as they take place in a clinical setting. J1 you will go to an assisted care facility. J2 you will be in a hospital for med-surg and a mental health facility. S1 you are in a hospital for OB for 3 weeks, an assisted living facility or hospital for management for 3 weeks and then for pediatrics you are in a high school, SIM lab and go to Arkansas Children’s Hospital. S2 you are in a hospital for critical care.
11. What if I’m scared of needles/blood/poop/vomit, can I be a nurse?
- Take a minute to decide how much these things bother you. If you have the tendency to pass out at the sight of them, nursing may not be right for you. But if you’re passionate about being a nurse, you’ll find that your tolerance for these things gets better as you experience them more. For needles, you won’t be the one getting the shots, but you will be the one giving countless shots and IVs, so decide if that’s okay with you. As for the bodily fluids, we find that our desire to care for our patients and support them in these tough times far outweighs feelings of being grossed out. Plus, you will probably be wearing gloves.
12. What is the difference between SIM lab and skills lab?
- SIM lab is when there is a mannequin acting as a patient and you are given a situation. The mannequin is life-like and has breath sounds, heart tones and can blink or give birth. There is a teacher on the other side of a one way window using a microphone to talk through the mannequin. You and another student receive report from your teacher and then you have to enter the room together and take care of the ‘patient’ by giving meds, performing assessments, doing skills like catheters or IV placements. The rest of your clinical group is in another room watching what you do on a TV. When you are done you all come together to talk about the good an the bad and then the next two students go. It is intimidating and weird at first but after awhile you get used to it as your confidence builds.
- Skills lab is when multiple groups are learning skills specific to the clinical they are in. This is where you learn how to place a catheter, NG tube, IV’s, do an assessment, prepare medications and all the basics you need to know for clinicals. Usually there are stations and the groups will rotate throughout the day.
13. How does advising work?
- As a pre-nursing student, you usually have either Ms. Langley or Ms. Henderson as your advisor. They will continue to be your advisor throughout your whole nursing career. You can go to them with any questions you might have but you usually see them when you need to sign up for your next year’s schedule and remove the hold on UAconnect. Once you are in nursing school you do not need to sign up for classes early, even if you have priority registration. You will always get a spot in every class you need. Desiree will send out a schedule for each semester and tell you exactly what to apply for.
14. What is the study abroad trip to Ghana like?
- It is lead by Mrs. Agana the pharmacology teacher, who has connections in the country. You will spend a month total of travel and time spent in the country. While you are there you will have clinical in the local hospital and clinic in Bolgatanga, Ghana. You also have teaching projects where you prepare ahead of time to educate the community in Bolgatanga about various topics like alcohol abuse, dental care, infant rehydration, and wound care. Towards the end of your stay you get to visit touristy places like the Crocodile pond and Mole animal refuge. It is a very rewarding experience academically and personally. If you would like to see pictures from previous trips go to the Facebook page EMSON Ghana Study Abroad.
15.When do we take the NCLEX?
- AFTER YOU GRADUATE. You prepare for NCLEX the entire time you are in nursing school. Some classes have Kaplan practice tests for you to take for bonus points or a grade. Within the first few weeks you will get a large green Kaplan book with basically everything you learn in nursing school in it for you to read and utilize on your own. You also pay for Kaplan online which lets you take practice tests anytime you want.
16. I heard they are switching up the application process to include an interview is this true?
- Yes but only for people who are joining pre-nursing as a freshman at the beginning of 2019 and beyond. So if you are just starting college in January 2019 you will be the first group to have an essay, interview and the point system when you apply for nursing school in 2 years. The point system is still a thing and that will be the first thing they look at but then they will look at your essay and last they will take into account your interview.
17. What does being in honors in nursing school look like?
- Honors is a commitment to higher level classes and a thesis project your senior year so if you are doing it only for the points you might want to rethink your choice. There are a few honors courses and clinicals you have to sign up for and they try to keep the honors students together but that doesn’t always happen. The honors aspect of most of the classes is an extra assignment or two that you have to do, otherwise its the same as everyone else. When it comes to the honors thesis you can do the normal project and paper thesis or do an internship or service learning project. These are still new and have yet to be defined by EMSON as to what they specifically look like. But the service learning project is mostly helping hospitals implement new things in their facility.
18. What is the best way to study?
This is honestly very individually based and depends on how you learn best but here are some suggestions:
- Go to every class
- Write your notes or type them in class and rewrite them at home
- Make quizlets or flashcards
- Look up quizlets other people have made
- Use the objectives and make a study guide
- Read/scan the book
- Pay attention to the little things the teacher will say in class that are not on the slides
- Kaplan videos
- Kaplan questions
- Online questions the textbook has (some don’t)
- Draw pictures related to a concept to help it stick in your mind better
19. What are some stress relieving things to do?
- Going outside and doing anything active/relaxing
- Reading something other than a nursing textbook
- Go visit your family you haven’t seen in a few weeks
- Do some arts and crafts
- Hiking or hammocking
If you have any further questions feel free to email our Pre-Nursing Chair firstname.lastname@example.org.