By Casey Pigg
It is 8 p.m. and Abigail Dickherber, a junior nursing major at Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing and Health Sciences and Quincy University, sits on her comfy bed and stares intently at her binders stuffed with PowerPoint print offs and quickly written notes from lecture. In her lap sits one of her many textbooks. She has been studying for multiple hours and has at least another hour to go before she will be done studying for her next exam and moving on to her clinical preparation. This is the typical night of a nursing major; constant studying and preparation.
Their course loads packed with constant exams and clinicals, nursing majors are accustomed to a life filled with stress. Nursing students will typically take 12-15 hours depending on the required courses for the year. This is mainly due to the fact that their class structure is different than the average major, especially because many of their classes include a clinical, or hands on experience.
“They say that if a class is, say three credit hours, that for about every credit hour you should spend 2-3 hours a week studying. So, that is just intense thinking about the fact that a three credit hour course, you should be spending 6-9 hours a week working on homework or coursework, or studying for exams. Testing is different, so it makes it so much more intense in the aspect that we don’t just have to keep our grades higher than regular students do,” Dickherber said. “Below a 77 percent is failing for us. And not just our course grade but our testing as well. So, like quizzes are incorporated in this. Our standardized testing as well as our exams for the course. That average has to stay about a 77 percent as well. So, a lot of different things contribute to the intense aspect of it.”
With as heavy of a course load that nursing majors have, it is important to make sure that they are able to manage the stress of their education as well as any stress from their personal life. Brittany Bentley, senior nursing major at BRCN and QU, finds that staying organized is one of the many ways that she manages her stress.
“Balancing school life and personal life in nursing can be difficult because nursing school is very time consuming. I personally balance the two by staying organized with my time and scheduling time for myself. It sounds crazy to have to pencil a time in for myself, but it’s important to do for my sanity,” Bentley said. “It’s hard to fit everything in a day, but at the end of the day everything needs to be completed. I believe anyone can get through nursing school with good time management skills, a positive support system, and organization of school work. Also, it’s tiring. I’ve never taken so many naps in my life!”
While nursing majors are accustomed to stress, they are not the only ones who experience it. The ways that you handle stress can effect your mental health too.
“If you are struggling with stress or anxiety, that can lead to depression as well,” Dickherber said. “Just talk to somebody. We have great resources on our campus that students just don’t realize or forget about and don’t take advantage of. Reach out to somebody.”