It’s a typical day; you wake up, pull on your scrubs, walk out the door and head to your clinical training for a long, busy day at the nursing home. Well, at least that’s a typical day for sophomore nursing student Andrea Yosten.

Yosten, like many other sophomore nursing students, just started her level-one nursing student clinical training. At these clinical trainings, the students begin to take on duties that an actual registered nurse performs, including helping patients get ready for bed, assisting with feeding and bathing, and answering call bells. More recently, the students learned how to execute head-to-toe evaluations on patients, such as taking blood pressure, monitoring heartbeats or tracking vital signs.

It’s a well-known fact that the nursing program is particularly strenuous. Balancing classes such as Health Assessment 1 & 2 or Nurse Practice Competencies along with clinical, many nursing students find themselves pressed for time.

“The hardest part about being a nursing student is the stress associated with constantly being busy with homework, studying and writing care-plans,” said Emma Patterson, junior nursing student. “As a nursing student, you’re just constantly on the go and you just reach a point sometimes where you’re burnt out, exhausted and feel like you can’t catch a break.” However, the Villa Maria School of Nursing’s program is completely worth all the late nights studying, because students are able to begin their clinical training earlier. This gives them an upper-hand advantage among other schools.

Another reason Gannon’s nursing program is unique is due to the organizations it offers students on campus. Alpha Tau Delta, the school’s nursing fraternity, gives students an opportunity to hone in on their caretaker skills. Additionally, the organization helps students develop professional relationships with faculty members who give them the inside scoop on life as a registered nurse. In fact, many students look up to their faculty and staff members as personal mentors.

“They’re extremely knowledgeable and have seen a lot in their careers and ultimately are the ones who you’re going to confront with questions, problems and seek advice from. Also, it’s great to have at least one professor you know well, who can write a letter of recommendation for you for a scholarship or internships,” said Patterson.

For all the hard work the nursing students go through, it definitely pays off. Gannon University has the highest NCLEX pass rates in the region, surpassing those of Behrend, Edinboro and Mercyhurst. Because of this, more and more students are finding success after graduation. Additionally, they’re graduating with the skills they need to be an official registered nurse, administering medication, helping patients with activities of daily living, even working with pediatric cases, all while being compassionate.

If you’re searching for a program that is challenging, but extremely rewarding, Gannon University’s Villa Maria School of Nursing might be your perfect fit.