What Can You Expect in Nursing School?

So you are thinking about going to nursing school. You are considering your many options for a nursing education, the types of degree programs you can pursue, and are now wondering what these different nursing schools can offer you. You have heard that nursing school can be challenging, but what exactly do these challenges entail? What kind of coursework, lab experience, and workload will be expected of you? And what can you, as a student, expect during your time at nursing school?

Whether you are choosing an RN degree program, a four-year BSN school, or an accelerated RN-to-BSN program, there will be a lot for you to learn. The field of nursing is one that requires vast expertise — as a nurse, you will need to know everything from basic math and English to anatomy and pharmacology. There is no doubt that nursing school can be a challenge, but it is certainly a challenge worth taking. Nursing school can lead you into one of the most in-demand, rewarding medical careers today.

Where do you start? Sometimes, knowing exactly what to expect in nursing school is the best way you can prepare for success, both in class and on the job.


In your first year as a nursing student in some programs, you primarily take your core, general education classes. These can include college-level courses in Math, Communications, Computers, and Writing. While they may not seem applicable to your major at first, take them in stride. Whether it is writing clear medical records, searching patients’ histories, or calculating prescription doses, each of your tasks as a nurse will reflect what you have learned from your early years of nursing education.

As you complete the prerequisites, you will also be re-introduced to core classes specific to your major, such as Anatomy, Microbiology, Psychology, and Ethics in Healthcare. As part of Goodwin College’s nursing program in CT, many RN and BSN courses are offered in hybrid or online format for your convenience. Once you learn the fundamentals of nursing, you can expect to put your education to practice. At Goodwin, we aim to get you to the experiential learning stage as soon as you enter our classroom doors.

Clinical Assignments:

No matter the nursing program you choose, the latter half is almost always dedicated to the hands-on aspects and skill development in your field. This is the clinical portion of your coursework, in which you will conduct specific laboratory work and practice direct, patient-centered care. You can expect to be assigned to a medical facility where you can gain direct experience with real patients who need real help. At Goodwin College, you could work in settings such as:

  • Community Health Centers
  • Doctors’ Offices
  • Home Health Care Services
  • Hospice Facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Long-term Care Facilities

During your clinical assignment, you can expect to go on rotations, shadow medical professionals in your department, practice lab procedures, and provide client care.


Your skills and knowledge base will vary depending on the type of nursing school or degree you choose. Upon the completion of Goodwin’s BSN program in CT, for example, graduates can expect to effectively:

  • Practice professional nursing from a holistic, visionary, and culturally competent base, as they design, manage, and coordinate patient care
  • Apply knowledge from their education (in nursing theory, practice, research, liberal arts, and sciences) to their professional nursing practice
  • Collaborate and communicate with patients, families, and medical professionals
  • Demonstrate leadership and management skills utilizing critical and creative thinking, ethical decision making, and evidenced-based practice
  • Use evidence-based practices and quality-improvement methods to deliver the safest, most appropriate, highest quality patient care

Interested in learning more about nursing at Goodwin College? Learn more today, or check out all of our nursing programs to see why we’re a leader in healthcare education in CT! You can also interact with us on Facebook or Twitter!