Every nursing student (or someone thinking about becoming a nurse) at some point or another is going to ask themself this question “am I smart enough to become a nurse and go to nursing school?”

Rest assured, you’re not the only one asking this question, and in this article, I’m going to encourage you and help you get to the answer.

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Am I Smart Enough to be a Nurse?

You are smart enough to go to nursing school and to become a nurse, but that’s not what will lead to your success. You’ll find that the road to becoming a nurse is about dedication and perseverance and how bad you want it. That will lead to your success, not how smart you are.

HELPFUL LINK: If you’re wanting to become a nurse, you can search for nursing schools here. If you want help in nursing school, check out the nursing student academy.

Take the Quiz

This quiz is based on the quiz I did for the article“Should You Go to Nursing School?” As always, quizzes like this are supposed to be a starting point and a way to stimulate conversation and discussion.

How Hard is it to Become a Nurse?

Keep Reading Until the End. It Will Look Like I’m Discouraging You, But it Gets Better!

The first thing you need to remember is that the road to becoming a nurse is difficult. A nursing degree is harder to get than most other degrees. The nursing prerequisites you have to take, such as human anatomy and human physiology, are hard.

Some nursing programs force you to take entrance exams like the TEAS Exam, and some programs will give you a lot of hoops to jump through, like interviews and essays.

All of that makes getting into nursing school difficult, but it doesn’t stop there.

Once you get into nursing school, it doesn’t let up. You’ll have assignment after assignment. You’ll have clinical after clinical. You’ll have exam after exam. You’ll struggle just trying to find time for everything you have to do and what you want to do, like hanging out with friends, family, or your significant other.

Yet, even after everything I’ve said. After all of that, I’m telling you…YOU ARE SMART ENOUGH!

Here’s the truth. Certainly, while you do need to comprehend the material, and I’m sure a small portion of students will struggle to do that, I don’t think that’s what gets students.

Nope, what gets students is the lack of motivation to keep running the marathon.

What You Need to Be Successful in Nursing School

Nursing students

I’ve constantly compared being in nursing school to running a marathon because that’s how I see it. You need to learn to pace yourself and do the little things you need to train for it and be successful.

Once you start running, you need to pace yourself, taking one step at a time in a long and grueling run.

While it’s not the perfect analogy, I think it still gets to the point. The point is you need to be willing to sacrifice what you like doing in the short-run (such time with friends and family) to be successful. It doesn’t last forever, though it might seem like it.

Related: How to Choose a Nursing Program

Most Students Who Get into a Nursing Program will FINISH

Remember when I said above to keep reading that it will make more sense by the end?

I hope you’ve seen by all of this that what will really make a difference is not “how smart you are” but your ability to persevere and sacrifice to finish the race.

If all of that doesn’t help, here is some other information. According to the National League for Nursing, most students who get into nursing school will finish.

Almost 90% of students in a bachelor-level nursing program (BSN) and about 80% of those in an ADN (or associates) program will finish the program.

Graph showing retention rates for bachelor's or associate degree nursing programs

For reference, when looking nationwide at all 2-year and 4-year undergraduate programs, that number is only about 60% and 70% (respectively).

Does that mean becoming a nurse is going to be easy? No, not really. I think it does mean that becoming a nurse is probably not as hard as you think it is.

Find Nursing Programs

Search our school database to find schools and get information on the programs that’s right for you. (Don’t worry, it’s fast and free!)

Here’s How to Get Into Nursing School

If you’re thinking about becoming a nurse, here’s the first thing you need to do. You need to go here to start searching for nursing programs.

This is important because you need to contact a school you’re interested in to speak with one of their academic advisors, so you can start learning what you need to do to have the best chance of getting into that program.

After that, check out some of these articles so you can start learning more about what being a nursing student will be like. Also, check out some of the other articles on this site to learn more about being a nurse.

Check Out These Articles

Frequently Asked Questions

While being smart does help, what’s more important is perseverance and the ability to sacrifice some of what you like doing in the short run to focus on nursing school.

You need to ask yourself how bad do you want it. That will be one of the best indicators of how successful you will be in nursing school.

The school you apply to will determine what GPA you’ll need to get in. But I (and most of the nurses I know) got into nursing school without making straight A’s, so it’s possible.