Nursing school is a taxing journey that takes drive, commitment and gusto from the students who wish to earn a bachelor of science degree in nursing. With the hours of study, class and clinicals, nursing school can be a struggle for those who choose to embark on that path.
For seniors in the nursing program at Southern Miss, camaraderie among other nursing students keeps them accountable and motivated to succeed in their studies. This fellowship among nursing students helps them to maintain their commitment to their studies and ultimately their future.
Freshman nursing major Mandy Chambliss plans to attend Southern Miss’ nursing school her junior year. Because of the nursing program’s popularity, Chambliss is already aware of the pressure of the program and anticipates the inevitable stresses to come.
“I expect nursing school to be probably the most challenging thing that I will have faced academically and emotionally,” Chambliss said. “But I know that the reward of getting to pursue a career in what I’m so passionate about will make it all worth it.”
Well into their third semester of the program, Southern Miss’ nursing seniors are fully aware of the stress and commitment that comes with being a nursing major. However, the friendships and trust that develop in the two years of nursing school help students survive the grueling years and pursue their passion.
Senior nursing major Hunter Howell said that friendships have gotten him through some of the hardest times in the program.
“I didn’t think I would develop such great friendships with my classmates,” Howell said. “I always thought the stress of the schedule would make it hard to make good connections, but it did the exact opposite.”
With this camaraderie comes an important sense of understanding amongst the students in the program. Psychology Today says that feeling understood by others is critical to one “achieving an enduring sense of security and well-being.” While nursing students benefit from understanding each other, lack of understanding can separate them from those outside their nursing lives.
Senior nursing major Tristan Hill said the commitments of nursing school often result in feeling misunderstood by non-nursing majors.
“Missing out on parties, family events and spending time with loved ones really stinks,” Hill said. “It also sucks because they often don’t understand, so feelings can get hurt. But we’re just trying to do what’s best for us.”
According to the Southern Miss website, nursing graduates experience nearly 100% employment rate post-graduation. Many programs at other universities offer just a registered nurse degree while Southern Miss offers the BSN degree as well, giving students a better chance of employment and leadership roles in the working world. With such success among its graduates, the program is notably competitive and highly stressful.
With more than 175 annual graduates from the nursing program, students have the opportunity to gain friends with students experiencing their same trials.
“I think every semester or class is kind of like family because we’re all going through similar situations and challenges,” Hill said. “We have made it this far, and no one wants to watch the other struggle. So, we push and lift each other up when we need to.”
Southern Miss alumna Rachel Mulling graduated from the nursing program in 2018. She said the relationships she developed in nursing school have continued to benefit her as she has progressed into working as a nurse at Forrest General Hospital.
“USM and nursing school showed me the importance of relationships,” Mulling said. “Nursing school relationships helped me to make really important ones in the field. It was incredibly hard, but it prepared me. I’m very glad I chose to pursue the nursing program at USM.”
Senior nursing students are in the home stretch of the program. They know that they have plenty more tests, textbooks and terminology ahead, but through lots of dedication, they know they can make it through the final struggles.
“I would like other people to know that although nursing school is very difficult, passing is very possible,” Hill said.
Camaraderie amongst students helps them to survive the two years of grueling and rewarding nursing education so that they can thrive in the jobs they are passionate about.
“I’d say nursing school would be nearly impossible without at least some level of camaraderie,” Howell said. “Whether it be study groups or clinical groups, we really rely on each other in every aspect.”