Maybe nursing wasn't for me?

  1. I'm about to graduate in May from an AAS program and I feel like I'm hitting a wall where I'm utterly overwhelmed. Most of my classmates are applying for jobs and looking at BSN completion programs right now. I have been feeling more and more discouraged that maybe nursing wasn't for me.

    I started wanting to become a nurse in high school after experiencing my grandpa becoming very ill. I aspired to be like the nurses who cared for him and I began volunteering as a NICU cuddler. I really wanted to be able to make a difference in someone's life, just like my grandpa's nurses had. Now here I am less than 3 months from graduating and I feel like I maybe made the wrong choice.

    I hate clinicals and dread them. I lack a lot of confidence in my abilities and the anxiety is paralyzing. I don't like the hospital setting at all but my community based clinicals have been ok. I have looked over and over again at the available jobs in my area that aren't in the hospital. The field that I have enjoyed learning the most in school has been mental health but there really aren't any opportunities for new grads in a community based psych setting. I just know I don't want to work in the hospital and that seems to be the only place offering new grad training.

    I suppose I'm just having a crisis moment where I'm realizing how soon graduation is and trying to submit applications to places. I'm 22 and don't have any relevant job experience compared to some of my peers that have been working as CNAs, EMTs, etc.

    Maybe I'm in need of a pep talk that everything is going to work out, but right now I feel like I made the wrong choice going into nursing and I'm not cut out to do this.
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  2. 22 Comments

  3. by   atrn4887
    Hi there,
    Not sure if this helps but I went through a lot of the same feelings when I was in nursing school and about to graduate. I dreaded clinicals as well and I really questioned myself towards the end because of how I felt with going to the hospital. A good part of this is just lack of confidence, at least it was for me anyway. I've been a nurse now for almost 4 years. I can tell you that the more you challenge yourself, the more comfortable you will eventually feel. Have you tried local human services agencies such as non profit organizations for people with mental illness, developmental disabilities, substance abuse? You can find nursing positions in a variety of settings that are not in the hospital.
  4. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from em3120
    Maybe I'm in need of a pep talk that everything is going to work out, but right now I feel like I made the wrong choice going into nursing and I'm not cut out to do this.
    To be frank with you, the only way you will ever know if you can make the cut in nursing is to actually work as a nurse for a couple of years.

    School clinical practicum is nothing like real-world nursing. Also, you do not need to work in acute care hospitals if you do not desire that type of work. For instance, I have never worked one day in an acute care hospital during my 11-year nursing career.
  5. by   SAS2016
    I just graduated with my BSN in December and passed my NCLEX Feb 2nd. I felt the same way but thought I should give nursing a shot to at least know. I figured I HAD to try. The only clinical I liked was the OR and I just shadowed for a couple of days. I dreaded clinicals and DID NOT like floor nursing. So now I am now going to work as an OR nurse. I start my fellowship training program, that is 6 months, on Monday. I plan to start a post that shows my journey from newbie to novice (hopefully). My problem is also confidence. There is hope!!
  6. by   em3120
    Thank you for this. Lack of confidence is really hurting me unfortunately.
    Yes I looked into a mental health services board that serves out in the community after enjoying a clinical day there. I actually spoke to the nurse manager and she told me they won't hire new grads
    Quote from atrn4887
    Hi there,
    Not sure if this helps but I went through a lot of the same feelings when I was in nursing school and about to graduate. I dreaded clinicals as well and I really questioned myself towards the end because of how I felt with going to the hospital. A good part of this is just lack of confidence, at least it was for me anyway. I've been a nurse now for almost 4 years. I can tell you that the more you challenge yourself, the more comfortable you will eventually feel. Have you tried local human services agencies such as non profit organizations for people with mental illness, developmental disabilities, substance abuse? You can find nursing positions in a variety of settings that are not in the hospital.
  7. by   em3120
    If you don't mind me asking, how did you gain the experience you needed to work in a non-hospital setting? I'm running into the dilemma that most of these types of positions are wanting experienced nurses (I'm assuming because you have more independence and responsibility). The 2 local hospitals both hire new grads but it's for a med-surg program that I would absolutely loathe. I'm hoping that maybe I just haven't found a good fit for me yet
    Quote from TheCommuter
    To be frank with you, the only way you will ever know if you can make the cut in nursing is to actually work as a nurse for a couple of years.

    School clinical practicum is nothing like real-world nursing. Also, you do not need to work in acute care hospitals if you do not desire that type of work. For instance, I have never worked one day in an acute care hospital during my 11-year nursing career.
  8. by   em3120
    Thanks! Congrats btw I'm honestly really relieved to hear that other people did not enjoy floor nursing. I feel quite alone in comparison to my peers! It also doesn't help that clinical experiences in school are so heavily focused on med-surg. I feel like I do have an interest in the community mental health setting but it seems like there aren't jobs available for new grads.
    Quote from SAS2016
    I just graduated with my BSN in December and passed my NCLEX Feb 2nd. I felt the same way but thought I should give nursing a shot to at least know. I figured I HAD to try. The only clinical I liked was the OR and I just shadowed for a couple of days. I dreaded clinicals and DID NOT like floor nursing. So now I am now going to work as an OR nurse. I start my fellowship training program, that is 6 months, on Monday. I plan to start a post that shows my journey from newbie to novice (hopefully). My problem is also confidence. There is hope!!
  9. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from em3120
    If you don't mind me asking, how did you gain the experience you needed to work in a non-hospital setting?
    I worked as a floor nurse in nursing homes for the first six years of my career. You must start somewhere, even if it is in a specialty that much of the healthcare community has deemed too undesirable for them.
  10. by   ROOKIELZ
    Quote from TheCommuter
    I worked as a floor nurse in nursing homes for the first six years of my career. You must start somewhere, even if it is in a specialty that much of the healthcare community has deemed too undesirable for them.
    I second this with an added comment.
    Nursing homes also have clients with mental health issues. It may not be your first choice but some time in a facility plus perhaps volunteering with mental health outreach programs may help you attain your goal. Good luck.
  11. by   Lil Nel
    I can certainly empathize with you. During nursing school, while I didn't dread clinical time, I really look forward to it either.

    I graduated nursing school in May 2016. Like you, I lacked confidence, as did most of my classmates. Anybody coming out of nursing school who is brimming with confidence is going to have a very hard landing. You are right not to feel confident.

    But with each working shift, your knowledge base will grow. And as that happens, you will begin to feel better about yourself as a nurse. There is a steep learning career with nursing. Very steep. And sometimes you will feel as though you've taken one step forward in the learning process, and then two steps back. Just know that that is normal.

    Please give it a try. And let us know how you are doing.

    Good luck and best wishes.
  12. by   CrunchRN
    Just keep applying. I know how you feel very well. Have done well as a nurse for 24 years despite the anxiety. You can do this.
  13. by   oldpsychnurse
    Back in the 80's, when I was in nursing school, I hated med/surg and peds clinicals. I just knew I'd picked the wrong career. Then I had my psych rotation and I knew that's where I wanted to be. I applied at the state hospital and worked there for over 15 years. It was a wonderful experience and I learned so much. I moved on from there, but always stayed in psych. I think you really need to get that hospital experience to work in community psych. State hospitals are nothing like acute care hospitals. It's not easy, but every day is a learning experience and after a few years of that, you should be qualified to work at any out-patient psych job. Good luck!
  14. by   carrienoka
    I am currently an LPN, but my first 2 jobs fresh out of school were community based. One for a group home for individuals with brain injury and the other in a Crisis Stabilization Unit run by a non-profit. Both of these places also hire RNs. Just keep searching for jobs that you may like. Mental Health isn't desirable for a lot of people so you will certainly find something! Substance abuse is huge right now, perhaps you can find a detox or something where it isn't overwhelming because everyone is there for the same couple of things. I am in an RN program now and even though I have been an LPN for 5 years and have worked in a variety of places I still dread clinical! Good Luck!

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