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‘How much work does a nursing course involve?’


Can you advise this student nurse?

“Hello! New student nurse here (starting this September)!

“My next door neighbour finished her course two years ago and has been so helpful with telling me what to expect but one thing she said really scared me. She says that student nurses have to do more than 40 hours of work a week and you have to do extra reading every night just to pass.

“Is that true? I’m not stupid but I’m not really academic so am feeling a bit sick at the thought of how I’m going to keep up!

“Can I do a quick poll and ask people how many hours of work they think they end up doing on an average week?”

Please use the comments section below to share your advice

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Readers' comments (7)

  • That's a little bit dramatic. Honestly, the amount of work you'll have to do depends on a number of factors... I didn't have to do that much, but I had studied at degree level before, and had many years care experience (and underpinning knowledge) as a HCA behind me. Other people on my course had to put many more hours in... it depends on the individual. You should expect to do some extra work, but please don't let it scare you, it won't be as bad as you think.

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  • I start in September too. There will be rough weeks, but that won't be every week! I have a few friends who've done similar courses and their advice to me is that organisation is extremely important to stay on top of things. Good luck!

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  • If you are organised and do not leave your assignments till the last minute it makes the course a lot less stressful. Just start them as soon as you get them in regards to reading around the subject. During placements you are working for 37.5 hours a week which you get used to and if you enjoy your placements they fly by!

    Also make sure you book tutorials if you are struggling academically with assignments as some are more difficult than others. Reading helps a lot with assignments I have found. Just treat it like a full time job and give yourself at least one day off a week.

    During theory blocks if I finish early at uni I say to myself I'm going to read/work on my assignment till 5pm and treat it like a 9 to 5 job. I guess its all about how you perceive it. Just treasure the Christmas's you have off for the next 3 years as a student nurse because when you are a staff nurse you will probably have to work alternate Christmas's.

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  • You do have to do 37.5 hours per week of placement time (in practice) when you are on placement. And you may have to fit studying around this as there may be assignments or exams due while you are on placement,

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  • Hi there,

    I am currently going into my third year. The thing I would say is yes there is a lot of work to be completed, with my university they like to put deadlines together! However the deadlines are always said way in advance so you can organise what needs doing. My advice is to get organised write down what needs doing and for when. I really struggled with this in my first year, I was always thinking it was like being in college and I could get it done in a few days before hand in. Now i am planning my time it is becoming much easier and I am actually getting better grades too!

    As for placement you do have to do 37.5 hours a week, which I am sure you already know. At first I felt this overwhelming as I had to do all the evidence that goes with it. However if you are cleaver you can do one reflective piece and that will cover loads of your NMC domains. Once I learnt that it made everything so much easier!

    Good luck in your studies I am sure you will love it.

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  • I agree with anonymous 4 September, 2016 8:39 pm. Exactly, that's how it works... Keep going, you will get there,

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  • Coursework can be tough and placements can be tougher, they have to be to prepare us for the demands of modern nursing. I assure you the very fact you are asking the question shows you are more than up to the challenge.

    I agree with much of what the others are saying. The most stressful thing for me was always if I had an assignment to submit when I was on placement as then I could feel a little overwhelmed.

    My top tip is to try and get as much of your coursework done as you can before going on a placement. Its too difficult to try and do both at the same time and you can end up exhausted. Separating your workload into uni work and placement work made it much more manageable.
    Placements can be exhausing, especially when you are getting used to working shifts. The good news is once you are in the swing of it, most people prefer it to a 9-5, I certainly do.

    The course will be hard work, there's no denying that but you CAN do it.
    I have friends and colleagues who all brought something different to their training. Some were really clever, others were less so. Some with years of life experience and previous careers, some straight from school. Nurses come in all different shapes and sizes. We all have different talents and its a good thing too as you are just about to embark on one of the most exciting, dynamic and diverse career paths possible.

    My other top tip is take the time to enjoy it!

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