The Road to RN

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Ever wondered what it's like to be in nursing school? Personally, I am perfectly content in the History & Foreign Language Departments, but since I have several friends in nursing school, I've always been curious as to what goes on in Cockroft Hall, the building that houses the prestigious Mississippi College Nursing School. So, I talked to one such friend named Haley Hanks to learn a bit more about the lives of nursing school students. Here's the window she gave me into what it means to be in nursing school, as well as several tips for how to deal with everything that comes your way as a nursing student!


Haley had wanted to be a nurse since she was a kid. After a series of blood clots in her legs & thus quite a bit of time spent in doctors' offices, she was introduced to the medical field in a pretty unique way. She got to see the treatment plans in action & realized that she had an interest in pursuing medicine. Figuring out whether or not nursing school is for you is always a process; some people find their calling far earlier than others, & some have an instantaneous revelation while others (probably most of us) come to a slow realization over a long time. Regardless, getting to nursing school & knowing that it is your passion is incredibly meaningful. 

The best part of nursing school for Haley is the community. You make friends with your nursing classmates because you have every class together every day. You also get to know your professors on a deep level because you have them for several semesters & they truly want you to succeed. Community is more than just friendship though. It means that everyone in the class has each others' backs to make sure that the whole class is on top of every assignment, project, & paper. Community also is recognized in the way that everyone understands what everyone else is going through in terms of schoolwork. When it gets rough, there is always a group of people who get it, & they aren't hard to find since you sit in class with them every day.

The classes of nursing school look different every day. Sometimes you start at 8:30 or 9 in the morning, but on clinical days, you begin earlier. Then sometimes you get out around 11am, but on other days, lab days in particular, it's not until 4:30 that you're done for the day. Nursing school isn't predictable, but it does make you rely on your calendar to stay organized which works well to help you manage your time. Time management is a crucial skill to have going into nursing school or to learn pretty quickly. Haley color codes assignments in her planner to keep track of due dates & tests. She also makes detailed study plans & prioritizes organization to stay on top of everything.

There are several other key factors of getting through nursing school. Haley discussed the importance of making time for yourself—eating healthily, getting enough sleep, staying physically active, & spending time with friends. Nursing school is time-consuming, but as Haley reminds herself daily, if you know you have done everything you need to do to the best of your ability, then that's all that anyone could ask for. Have confidence & love yourself. Sometimes it can feel as if there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done, but when you are sure to be well-rested & get exercise, you feel far more capable of accomplishing every single homework assignment, project & test preparation. 

Speaking of accomplishments, getting a white coat is one of the proudest moments for a nursing student. Haley laughed when she remembered her white coat ceremony because in all honesty, she wasn't even fully aware of what she was getting herself into, but it was a motivational moment for sure. That pristine, white coat represents the professionalism of the career & a momentous step in feeling equipped for a future in nursing.

The white coat can only motivate you so much, however. In nursing school, it's important to find out exactly how to motivate yourself amidst all the deadlines & tests. Put simply, you have to do it or you fail. Seen in a different light though, all the extra assignments & homework help you out enormously. As a nursing student, you have to truly learn the stuff because just going through the motions isn't good enough. What you see in clinical helps you see how what you've learned in the classroom & through hours of study really matters. It also develops a desire to care for patients with compassion & love; or in Haley's own words, to care for patients the way she would care for her own parents. To be able to put that into practice in the future is incredible motivation.

Mississippi College's Nursing School students are some of the school's most hardworking individuals. They are people who spend hours studying so that they can take part in a career that allows them to very actively love others who need attention & care. Haley is one of hundreds pursuing this cause &, personally, it's incredible to see my peers so dedicated to such a worthy cause. I enjoyed my conversation with Haley & I hope you've enjoyed reading about the life of a nursing school student here at MC!

With much respect to people who can partake in the medical profession,

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