Ok Grace, I will try to answer. I have been a registered nurse since l965 and have worked nearly that entire time so have a lot of experience.
Talking with patients--you talk about whatever, not only medical issues. You talk just like you talk in your corporate/regular world to people and you will be fine. Patients do not see you as a stranger, you will be their nurse. Medical knowledge comes with time and experience. You can always say you are unsure and remind your patient to talk to his/her physician about their concerns. I am shy outside of the hospital but never at work. I have no problem telling a patient I really do not know but that we can discuss it with his/her physician when they make rounds. You can also ask co-workers or do your own research when you first start your nursing career. I still learn something new each day, nursing continually changes and you will never know everything.
Fear of what you will see and how you will react. Well, know that I passed out at my first delivery. I got up again (with help) and have never had a repeat preformance. You must remember that your studies will help prepare you for what you will see. Sometimes you will see awful sites but you will be very busy helping to stabilize the patient and I have always found that I was too busy thinking about what must be done to keep my patients alive/safe/supported through whatever has befallen them to worry about what I was seeing. You will do fine as you learn to react appropiately to handle each crisis as it unfolds.
(By the way, I was pregnant and working in the ER--I was fine with everything but would vomit if someone vomited--only the first three months--thank God.---very embarassing)
No one likes to hurt someone. IV's can hurt but they save lives. Everyone misses an IV on occasion. We do painful things at times but we also have the ability to eliminate or diminish pain. It is all part of the job. I always apologise when I must do something painful, but if something must be done then that is the way it is. You simply explain what you are going to have to do, be as gentle as possible and do it. As your skill level increases you will miss IV's less often and become more skilled in doing procedures in ways to minimize discomfort. There is sometimes just no way to make something pain free--you have to accept that and remember why it is being done. The goal is to keep your patient alive and return to optimum health.
When we started out as nurses, were we afraid too?? Well of course we were. And don't be fooled, sometimes we still are. You simply learn to cope with situations and keep yourself well in control, no one would ever guess what you may feel. Is nursing right for you--Maybe. Only trying will really answer that question. If you do not try nursing, you will never know and perhaps always regret not trying. Nursing is both a good and a very difficult profession. It is undergoing some changes--probably radical changes are going to occur with the shortage and all the current labor problems. We would love you to go to school and join us. We need younger nurses who will be willing to stand up and be heard, as well as give good patient care. Perhaps your experience in the corporate world will have helped prepare you to help lead us through our current nursing crisis. Good luck to you whatever you decide.