I know this is a pre-nursing rant, but I'm posting it here as I was hoping to get more experienced replies. If this is wrong, I won't be upset if it gets moved. I apologize that it is a bit long.
I'm not a Nurse, nor am I in a Nursing Program just yet. I'm at the tail end of my pre-reqs before I can petition to go on the wait-list for the program.
I'm not one of those who feel that Nursing is a 'calling', but it is one of many things I was interested in when deciding a new career direction. I will admit that I was drinking the marketing kool-aid when I first started this journey. Through allnurses (and other follow-up research) I seem to have thankfully gotten a dose of reality in regards to what the career is really like, and what's in store for me. That said, I'm still interested and excited about becoming a nurse.
Most of the time I am pretty confident about myself into the career. I'm generally hard-working, reasonably intelligent and at times personable. However, I do have some concerns. I doubt I'm alone in this, but sometimes I have some serious self-doubt about whether or not I'm doing the right thing. I'm doing well in school and my grades are great, and all that, but...
1) I'm afraid I've been forgetting everything
. I grasp the concepts of everything just fine, but even in the several months since I've finished A&P 1 and 2, I know I've lost some knowledge. I doubt anyone is going to ever pull me into a broom closet and force me to recite the steps of cellular respiration, nor will I have to fear getting swirlies if I can't describe the entire blood clotting process forwards and backwards. (I hope).
Some of this knowledge has got to be more than just 'background knowledge'. When I read over it all again it comes back, sure. But it never feels like it's a full-time resident of my knowledge, like many other non-essential, non-day to day things are. I don't know how much of this I will need to have with me at any given time.
2) I'm afraid I'll be incompetent
. That a patient will crash right in front of me, and I won't know what to do. Or worse, I'll do the wrong thing- take it from a "a critical situation" to "welp, they're dead now". Or I'll make some other grave mistake, or just 'blow it' in the worst way possible. Locally we repeatedly hear about the Nurse that mixed up orders of magnitude when calculating an IV drip and killed the patient. Orders of magnitude is actually something I catch myself making mistakes on sometimes in electronics. Therefore I always double and triple check them and have always caught it. But what if?
I'll admit that I can be a little absent-minded at times. Usually I'm good at focusing and being precise when it matters, and allowing my mind to wander a little when doing non-critical monotonous tasks. My current job requires 100% accuracy 100% of the time. So far so good in almost seven years. It sounds like Nursing allows *NO* time to let the mind wander. So what if? What if?
3) My self-esteem isn't stellar.
I'm aware of it, I'm working on it and making progress. However, I've heard so many rantings here on allnurses where the patients yell at you all day, the patient's families yell at you all day, the doctors yell at you, fellow nurses yell at you and the management and administration yell at you. I know this is a site of ranting and the negativity is concentrated, but sometimes it sounds like everyone has it out for you.
This is either going to make me or break me. I try to maintain that it only matters if it matters. That is, if the patient is yelling at me, but I know I've done nothing wrong, and all my co-workers also know I've done nothing wrong, it won't affect me at all. Otherwise, hopefully I can develop some quick and effective coping skills, as well as the ability to confidently back my actions and myself up if necessary. I don't at all intend to screw off all day or half-arse anything. However, mistakes and conflict over mistakes do happen. See #2.
4) What if I hate it? What if I can't find a job, 12 to 18 months goes by and I'm no longer hireable? Well, I guess that's the danger with anything. Don't know till you try.
If I were to be honest with myself, I guess that reassurance is what I'm looking for by posting this. However, the thing that allnurses really, really excels at
is giving you honesty
. Maybe another honest dose of reality is what I really need.
So tell me. Have you all been here before? Have you seen this before in other students or new grads? Are these fears normal? Founded or unfounded?
Thanks for any and all replies. The good, the bad and the ugly. Lay it on me.
Based on my experience these are my thoughts:
It is normal to feel anxious before starting nursing school. I did, and I think so did most people in my class.
As far as forgetting A&P, I wouldn't worry. You will be studying the pathophysiology of different diseases/medical problems. Also, before clinical we researched our patients and had to complete clinical prep sheets where we explained the pathophysiology of our patients' conditions. There were several semesters between my taking anatomy and starting nursing school and at least two or more between physiology and starting nursing school. It wasn't a problem. You will be able to review anything you need to once nursing school starts.
I wouldn't worry too much at this point about being incompetent when giving patient care. Nursing school is a very structured program. Before you go to the hospital you will have researched your patients and practiced skills that you will be performing in clinical in the lab. You will have your instructor supervising you in clinical, especially in the beginning. And there will be your patient's nurse and all the rest of the nursing staff too to ask questions of when you need help. You will be taught how to respond to concerning changes in your patient's condition. You will have the 5 rights of giving medications drilled in to you. You won't be left on your own. If you pay attention to what you are taught, study conscientiously, and before clinical research your patients, their medications, and the clinical skills you will be performing thoroughly, you should be prepared. I found that nursing school forced me to be very focused. Practicing safely is critical, and nursing school teaches you how to do that by making you very focused. But you are right that there is no room to be inattentive when you are caring for patients.
My experience with the nursing staff, patients, families and doctors as a student was primarily positive. The vast majority of patients and their families were a pleasure to take care of. Most of the nursing staff were considerate of students. The negative interactions you describe that you have read about here will for the most part not happen to you as a student. There will be some negativity, but as a student you will not experience many of the situations you would experience as a working nurse. Be conscientious, ethical, respectful, well-prepared, hard working and helpful. Keep a good attitude. Be willing to listen. Be receptive to criticism.
What if you hate it? You probably will at times. I did. As far as finding a job, there are no guarantees. But if you do well in nursing school and in clinicals you may make contacts with other nurses/managers that could help you with finding a job when you graduate. Some people in my program worked as paramedics/techs/aides throughout the program and found their first nursing job with their current employer.
I hope this is helpful. I went through an ADN program, and then bridged in to a BSN. Good luck.
Last edit by Susie2310 on Dec 3, '12