It’s comes as no shock that Gannon University’s nursing program is one of the toughest majors offered at the school. Students have to juggle classes, care plans and clinicals, all the while making sure they, you know, get a chance to eat every couple of hours. For those of you who are unaware, the average care plan for a patient takes around eight hours to complete. The care plan covers every miniscule aspect of a patient’s medical history, from their family pedigree to their reason for medications.

That, plus the six-plus hours a nursing student typically takes to study, means that the workload is rigorous. It’s especially challenging to be a nursing student who commutes to school from home every day. Junior nursing student Andrea Yosten understands the struggle of being a commuter trying to make her way through college. “I don’t live on campus, so when I want to go home, I can’t exactly go home. I’m here for a little longer in between classes.” With that in mind, here’s the typical day in the life of a nursing student who commutes to school:

5:00 a.m.: Andrea typically wakes up at this ungodly hour in order for her to make it to her clinical placement, St. Vincent hospital, on time. She gets up, gets dressed and makes it out to the door to her car for her 15 minute commute to the hospital.

6:45 a.m.-1:00 p.m.: Yosten arrives at St. Vincent, where she completes clinical training for about six hours. At clinical training, she is under the supervision of a registered nurse. Yosten assesses patients, administers medication and completes other nursing tasks. So far, Yosten has shadowed at endoscopy, urology, oncology, pediatric, neurology and rehabilitation units. And you thought your 8 a.m. class was overwhelming.

1:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m.: After clinicals are over, Yosten drives to her home for a few hours, maybe to scarf down a meal or do some last-minute touch-ups on an assignment. Then, she drives back to campus for class.

4:00 p.m.-5:30p.m.: Yosten drives all the way back to campus for her Moral Ethics lecture with Professor Minkhouse.

6:00 p.m.: Yosten’s day is finally over; she can finally return home for the evening. While all of Yosten’s obligatory duties are done for the day, she still has to eat dinner and work on those six-plus hours of homework. Once the studying is over, Yosten can finally go to sleep and repeat everything over the following day.

On days when Yosten doesn’t have clinicals, she still keeps busy with her 18 hours of class credit. This semester, she’s taking Older Adult Health I, Obstetrics, Pediatrics and Theology. Luckily, most of her classes don’t start until later in the day (no more 5 a.m. wake-up calls!), so she has time to catch up on work or do one of her case studies.


It takes an extremely organized person to be both a nursing student and a commuter. They have to be an expert at prioritizing time, extremely goal-driven and compassionate towards patients. Andrea Yosten completely exemplifies all of these qualities. Even though her life is hectic, she always manages to feel accomplished at the end of the day.