Doubts about Nursing - 1st yr clinicals

  1. My daugther is just starting her first year of clinicals at the University of West Virginia and is calling home every few days with concerns about her choice to be a nurse. She does not like any of the real world experiences she is learning. She has had a person go to the bathroom on her. She had to give a catheter yesterday and it freaked her out. It seems like every couple days she has something that makes her what to quit the program. She was an "A" student with the books but the hands on stuff has her freaked out. Any advice/similar experiences out there? Please help.

    Dave
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   mudget
    Dave,
    Do what you can to talk her down, and refer her to this site. She will hear a lot of view points here that she can consider. The first year is tough, there is no doubt about it, but she can do it. She seems very lucky to have you on her side, looking out for her best interests. Again, refer her here and she will have a support group to get her through these tough first few semesters.
    Julie
  4. by   KatieBell
    Sounds as if she had very little, if no exposure to actual health care before her clinicals. What is happening to her are things that will also happen to her weekly or so, as a nurse.

    Have her think back to why she wanted to be a nurse, and see if it still rings true for her. Encourage her to use this website, and ALSO to use real live human beings- the advisors in her nursing program, and her fellow students.

    I've had some students who expected that nursing was somehow going around in a nice clean white uniform, handing out tablets. It is always a shock when they realize that patients can be smelly, need assistance with bodily functions, are rude and nasty at times, and do unthinkable things at times. Now, most of these students got over the shock, and began to really enjoy the profession. Some did not. So, it's going to be up to her. She is still a student, and sounds as if she's young. If this continues to upset her, she may consider a different field- Social Work, Education, etc... But the best thing for her to do would be find an in structor she trusts and discuss it with her.
    She is lucky to have you to support her!!! Give her lots of space. It may be that there is so much "new" and it is a bit of a reality jolt. Or it could be that she really doesn't want to do the clinical side of nursing. Either way, I hope she finds a solution that makes her happy.
  5. by   sjb2005
    She should come to this site. Post her concerns. I couldn't get passed putting a needle in some one. It worked out in the long run. Been an RN for over 14 years now.
  6. by   KristinWW
    Quote from dave1
    My daugther is just starting her first year of clinicals at the University of West Virginia and is calling home every few days with concerns about her choice to be a nurse. She does not like any of the real world experiences she is learning. She has had a person go to the bathroom on her. She had to give a catheter yesterday and it freaked her out. It seems like every couple days she has something that makes her what to quit the program. She was an "A" student with the books but the hands on stuff has her freaked out. Any advice/similar experiences out there? Please help.

    Dave
    Dave, if I had a dime for every moment in clinicals where I doubted myself......

    Please tell your daughter to hang tough. I'm also a "book person" with the As, and it takes me a loooong time to feel comfortable with the hands-on. Besides this site, your daughter needs to hear reassurances from other nurses whom are precepting her. Tell her to voice her concerns to some nurses whom she trusts - every nurse told me that what I was experiencing was normal, and that they despised nursing school. I have only been out of school since May, and I'm loving every minute of it!
  7. by   Sis123
    Really now, how does someone like this even get into nursing school? I am mystified.
  8. by   montana912
    Doubts should be part of the nursing curiculum.. I am a nurse for eight years and by no means feel I am experienced. I have been taken to the ground, had pee thrown in my face, called very elicit name in the book and kept coming back for more. I stay in nursing for the few I help, hoping they remember my smile and my kind touch. We aren't in nursing for the money or the initials after our names. We do it because we are dedicated have empathy and generally care.
    I had my doubts in clinical as to why I am putting myself through this. When I started working I realized I made the right choice when I saw people smile and hug me when I came on shift. I still to this day doubt my actions if they ' were right' and go home and think " did I remember to do this or that"? but all in all it is worth it.
    Last edit by montana912 on Oct 2, '05
  9. by   truern
    Quote from Sis123
    Really now, how does someone like this even get into nursing school? I am mystified.
    Not sure what you mean?? Someone like this passed the admissions requirements obviously...someone like this probably does well in class...someone like this is momentarily nonplussed at what she's experiencing in clinical, but I'll bet someone like this will get over it and succeed
  10. by   michele08540
    Maybe your daughter, should find another career path.
    However, I think WE ALL HAVE These doubts, difference is WE KNOW IT's NOT EASY. Sometimes book smart doesn't mean an A+ Nurse.
    She has 2 choices, hang in there or drop it and move on.
  11. by   ERNurse752
    I think the biggest thing to consider is whether she is just scared because she is inexperienced and afraid of messing up, which is normal...or whether her previous perception of nursing is turning out to be totally different from what she is finding the reality to be, and she doesn't like the reality.

    If it's the first scenario...it will probably get better in time. But she will always find herself scared and inexperienced at times, especially for the first few years. So deciding whether she can handle the stress is key. I can also understand from the perspective of the "A" student - for her whole life knowledge has probably come pretty easily to her, and now it's hard, which is scary and stressful.

    If it's the second scenario...if she can come to terms with the reality, great. If she can't, maybe she should think of some other options.

    What does she really like, and what is she really interested in?

    What does she really dislike, and what does she really not like to do?

    Figuring out a career path is definitely hard!
  12. by   maskp4
    Quote from Sis123
    Really now, how does someone like this even get into nursing school? I am mystified.

    Sorry, but I don't like that tone. These things that his daugter is experiencing is VERY normal. As a child did you tell everyone that you wanted to grow up and be a target for pee, poop, and vomit? I don't think so. I think that we all go into nursing because our love for people and if we could do it cleanly we would all be ecstatic. But since we can't we still love what we are doing because of the people, or do you?
  13. by   MissJoRN
    Again, there are a lot of careers that follow under the catch all title "nursing" ie- paths a person can take with a degree and license in nursing-

    The "book smart" straight A student who doesn't like bodily fluids might love a job as a drug or equipment rep, Nurse Practitioner, Legal Nurse Consultant, administrator, Nurse Anesthetist, etc. Many paths that involve little or even no exposure to "yuck" or select "yuck" (example- a CRNA (anesthetist) has to start IVs and administer blood products and suction mucus but has little "contact" with below the waist fluids, a dialysis center nurse might deal with more urine but never have to suction if it's mucus that makes him/her queasy) Some "away from the bedside" careers will require a background of floor nursing, others can be entered right from school. This girl might be willing and able to "suck up" 2-5 years of bedside nursing for a promissing nursing career in an office? Then again, she might fall in love with bedside nursing? Then again, maybe she would like computer programming better? Only she can decide, but lets give her as many of the facts as we can! Maybe a nursing instructor or advisor at school has some advice? A school or hospital librarian may be able to point her in the right direction, too. (Don't forget those hospital libraries)

    *note- I used a lot of quotation marks because my response was rather vague and didn't give good info on any one of my option examples- a book could be written on the subject, in fact, many books have. So yes, I know this wasn't too informative.
  14. by   GingerSue
    Definitely come to the forum
    Maybe needs unhurried practice with catheterization - arrange the opportunity to think the steps through, then find opportunities to practice to do it perfectly, with a plan for anything that might go wrong
    She can do it

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