Let me put this into context. Maybe this belongs in the general student discussion because I am a BSN student approaching my final semester of nursing school, but I'm seeking out perspective from individuals who are already working in the field and have experience.
I don't think I can do this.
I don't know what I am supposed to do.
I alternately feel like the biggest jerk and the biggest failure on the face of the earth - dramatic I know, but really. I'm a great student! I have fabulous grades, I'm always on time at the hospital, I -care- about the people I take care of during my clinical hours and I treat them with compassion and dignity, I'm not -glaringly- incompetent and I usually get along well with the staff.
And I hate, hate, HATE every single minute of it. In fact, I fantasize every day about blowing off my last three months and not even finishing my degree. I already have one 4 year degree in the burn pile - what's one more!? This is the big failure/big jerk part: I know there are so many people who try and fail at even becoming nurses in the first place, or they work and they scrape and they struggle because it doesn't come easily. I'm not having that problem. So what's the big deal?
I cry, almost every single day, at least every week, I cry and I cry. I cry when I come home. I cry when I try to sleep and I can't. I cry when I think about having to go back to the hospital. I cry when I think about the impenetrably disapproving look on my clinical instructor's face as I weigh whether or not I should even ask her the question brewing in my head, or the next time an honest entreaty for help gets shot down with "you ought to know this already." I cry when I think about getting my license, I cry when I think about getting a job. I feel so miserable and I ask myself every day why I did this to myself.
Oh. And my blood pressure? Hello clinical hypertension! It was perfectly fine before nursing school. Yeah, I've done the stressful college dance before: driving all over the darn place, transcribing interview tapes 40 hours a week, 15+ hours of class, finishing my undergrad thesis - I was running ragged, sleeping <30 hours a week, working one or two part-time jobs and on antidepressants for part of that. It was STILL better than this!
I see the cutthroat and hostile unit cultures, burnt out, overwhelmed nurses cutting corners, I've been laughed at for following orders, yelled at by angry unit managers for doing what I was told to do, I feel like I have absolutely no idea what the HECK I am doing and I think to myself, oh my goodness, if my first job is anything like this, I'm going to end up killing someone and losing my license.
I'm amazed at the minimal authority nurses seem to wield over of their own work environment and their status as first sacrificial lamb up for the slaughter from a legal perspective if something goes awry. I don't see how new nurses ever make the cut as most of them appear to lack support. I have heard so many horror stories from experienced nurses who were humble and transparent enough to be honest with me about what they encountered when they first entered into the field. Obviously they went on to overcome the difficulties they faced, but...
... holy crap! Is this field as terrible as I think it is? How does anyone ever manage to do this? Do the chest-rending anxiety and terror eventually go away, do things begin to fall into place one you get out of school, get your license and find a job - you know, when you have to slog through all the things you've come to hate for even more hours every week - or am I going to be Googling "I hate nursing", "non-nursing jobs with BSN degree" and "getting out of nursing" until 3am every night through all of it?
I know that no one can answer these questions for me - they are, in essence, rhetorical. But I wonder - is what I'm experiencing normal? Am I going to pieces for no reason, or am I just not cut out to do this?
I've worked with the disenfranchised, people in crisis; heavy, taxing mental and emotional work. But this is a new kind. I don't really mind how I feel when I am taking care of patients. It's the way I feel when I'm away from all that. I feel such a profound sense of pressure, especially from instructors giving us their "pearls of wisdom" - what I'm hearing is that we're all going to screw up, we're all in immediate danger at all times of losing our licenses, and we all HAVE to work at hospitals on adult med-surg floors if we ever want to have job options or a suitably diverse skill set no matter how ill-suited or opposed we are to so doing. Reality? Myth?
Do I suck it up, shut it down, or just find a way to work with it? I think I'd love to work in community health as I have some experience working with mums utilizing public health initiative services and I served as a an assistant community resource advisor to financially disadvantaged families. I love providing education, I enjoy working with people individually, conducting research and developing solutions, but I feel like the fast-paced and hospital-based acute care model is being crammed down my throat every hour of every day and I'm drowning in it.
... is that all nursing is?
That's how I feel right now. And every time I think about how much I don't like where I am right now, I try to tell myself that it will get better, I imagine the faces of everyone who has supported me and made it possible for me to finish this degree, I think about all the time, the effort, the money, the difficulties, and the total lack of realistic job prospects I'll face if I fail to deliver. Fear. Guilt. Faint, faint glimmer of hope.
Short story: it does -not- make me feel better.
The best part is not knowing which to worry about most: finishing my (second) degree and not being able to find a job, or being super successful in finding a soul-crushing job that I hate with every fiber of my being.
Thanks for reading my totally long and whiny (yet much needed and cathartic!) post that is probably posted in the wrong forum,
(P.S. "quit complaining", "u should b so greatful (can't you spell?) to even b in nursing school!!!!!", "DIDN'T YOU KNOW NURSING IS HARD WORK??", etc., need not apply; I'm not stupid, I'm just really upset, I feel like there's no one to talk to and I don't need any more negativity - thanks!)
DON'T GIVE UP!!
The hospital setting is not all that you can do!! Remember nursing is powerful you can do many things with a degree in nursing not just in the hospital setting. You can do schools, home health, triage, military, clinics so keep that in mind before you give up.
Some nurses are ******* just like you have ******* in every field!!! They think that they woke up one day and they were nurses they forget that they were students at one point. Don't let them get to you show them what you know and if they are smart asses let them know you are still a student.
Some nurses need to be put in their damn place. I speak from experience. One time I had a question and I asked cause I didn't want to mess it up, the cocky B said "figure it out, what are you going to do when you graduate?" I was ****** so I told her well as you noticed I haven't graduated but when I do I hope to come take your job. She never messed with me again. I hate ppl like that. We are there to learn and even when you do graduate you hope to get nurses with experience that will help you and remember how it was to be a NEW nurse.
Not everyone is this way so don't discouraged!! Keep going in this economy you need all the degrees you can get plus you only have 3 months left. Stand your ground don't let them get to you!! Just remember they are no better then you are. At one point they were in your place.
Last edit by Esme12 on May 23, '13
: Reason: TOS