If you’re struggling with nursing school, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s normal to want to quit nursing school, especially during your first year. But before you decide to quit nursing school, let’s explore some common issues in nursing education and how to gauge whether nursing school is right for you.
Why people drop out of nursing school
Simply put, nursing school is challenging. While other degree paths focus only on academics, a nursing degree combines medical education with clinical hospital experience, training nurses how to apply technical knowledge in a compassionate manner. The fast-paced environment can feel overwhelming, especially for first-year nursing students as they adjust.
What percentage of nursing students quit? The National League for Nursing reports that 20% of nursing students dropout. This is attributed to a wide range of factors, including family responsibilities, busy schedules, and some common issues in nursing education.
Common reasons why people drop out of nursing school:
Grueling schedules: Because you’re balancing lectures, homework, and clinicals on top of your personal responsibilities such as family or work, time management skills can make or break your nursing school schedule.
Challenging material: Nursing students must learn how to apply complex facts into real-world scenarios. Problem solving doesn’t always come naturally to all students, so developing this skill can be overwhelming.
Workload: Studying demands a significant amount of time, not only for individual classes but for your licensure exam (the NCLEX) as well. Poor study habits create an ongoing issue of feeling behind and underprepared.
Not prioritizing personal care: In order to take care of others, you must take care of yourself first. Nursing students who neglect their physical, mental, and emotional health will quickly burn out given all their additional responsibilities.
Outside complications: Some students quit nursing school due to personal obligations that prevent their studies, such as caring for family members or working full time. Balancing all this while learning so many new things can feel like too much.
Why do I want to quit nursing school?
If any of these reasons resonate with you, you are not alone. It’s normal to want to quit nursing school. Students considering dropping out often report feeling overwhelmed, overworked, and overall not smart enough for nursing school.
Why do you want to quit nursing school? It’s important to really dive into your feelings to determine whether your frustrations have solutions or not.
Many nursing school challenges can be overcome with the right tools and support. For example, you can learn better time management skills and focus more on your self care to ease stress and pressure.
But one problem that cannot be cleared up is if you truly don’t enjoy nursing as a practice. Healthcare is a challenging field that may not align with your inherent skills, interests, or values, and that’s okay.
There’s a difference between caring for people vs. providing care for people. You can be a compassionate, charitable person and still dislike the work associated with healing. Nursing can be hard on your body and mind, and recognizing your limits while in nursing school is not only important for your well being, but for the welfare of others as well. You cannot–and should not–commit to caring for others if it’s outside your personal limitations.
Some issues that may be too challenging to overcome:
You’re squeamish around blood and/or other bodily fluids
You’re uncomfortable around needles
You’re afraid of germs
Your empathy makes it extremely difficult to be around sick, struggling patients
The decision to quit nursing school is ultimately a personal one, but if you decide you want to see your studies through to the end, you can reap the benefits of a rewarding career.
Why nursing school is worth it
Finishing nursing school starts you on a long-term career in healthcare. Nursing school is worth it because earning your nursing degree opens the door to a high-demand field.
A career in nursing is:
Stable: A national nursing shortage has registered nurses in high demand. Many RNs are able to take their pick of open nursing positions, along with higher salaries, better shift schedules, and more.
Profitable: Registered nurses earn excellent salaries, especially when compared to other entry-level nursing positions such as CNAs and LPNs. In 2023, Indeed reports registered nurses earning an average salary of $92,607, with the potential to earn up to $142,835 depending on experience and location.
Rewarding: Connecting with patients and seeing their health improve is incredibly satisfying. Nothing compares to saving lives, and nurses get to be part of that amazing experience.
Full of potential: Registered nurses can specialize in a wide variety of healthcare settings and focus areas, allowing them to set exciting career goals and create more professional opportunities.
Don’t regret quitting nursing school
Not getting the support you need in nursing school? Achieve Test Prep can help. Our online RN Bridge Program offers support throughout the entire nursing school process, whether you’re just starting out with your nursing prerequisites or need help studying for the NCLEX. Through accelerated test prep courses, we help fill in the education gaps that leave students behind, allowing you to move forward with confidence. Before you quit nursing school, talk to our Advisors to learn more about our tutoring programs and other resources.