Thought I would like nursing...now I don't know

  1. Hi everyone! I am an ADN student 6 weeks short of finishing my second semester and I am very confused about what to do. I decided to go to school for nursing because I like helping people and definately hate an office job (had one for several years). Here's my problem....I don't know if this is what I want now that I am doing it. I hate clinicals (so far we have only done med-surg, ER, IMC) and dread going to them everyday. I am one of the few students in my group who actually tries to implement a plan of care and I find that so many patients are not willing to help themselves!! I am trying to help these people and they get mad at me, or won't do what they need to, their families are so demanding & some of them are just down right mean! And alot of the nurses where we are doing clinicals are mean and very discouraging....a few of them actually put their hand up in your face if you try to ask them something and they are busy. I wonder if I might like a specialized area, but I won't get to start that until next semester. I am just afraid that I will stick with it and be miserable, then I won't feel like I am doing anything good for my patients or for myself. The few students in my class I have discussed this with are all telling me not to quit, that I am a straight A student and only have a year left...but just because you can do well at something doesn't mean it's what you are meant to do. I don't know...maybe it is just school burnout...I feel like I have lost all my motivation. Any advice would be appreciated...thanks for reading my long post!
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  2. 37 Comments

  3. by   RN Rotten Nurse
    I've been a nurse for nearly 15 years. Not all nurses are as you describe though several are. I have learned to just say what I think to people like that. If a nurse puts her hand in your face tell her to just get over herself. Whatever you do, don't let people push you around, staff or patients or docs. You'd be surprised how people will treat you differently when you stand up for yourself. The main reason I became a nurse is so I would learn how to take care of myself and my family. I certainly don't trust the medical profession to do it. I guess you need to re-examine why you REALLY wanted to become a nurse in the first place.
  4. by   NursesRmofun
    Quote from lilbiskit78
    hi everyone! i am an adn student 6 weeks short of finishing my second semester and i am very confused about what to do. i decided to go to school for nursing because i like helping people and definately hate an office job (had one for several years). here's my problem....i don't know if this is what i want now that i am doing it. i hate clinicals (so far we have only done med-surg, er, imc) and dread going to them everyday. i am one of the few students in my group who actually tries to implement a plan of care and i find that so many patients are not willing to help themselves!! i am trying to help these people and they get mad at me, or won't do what they need to, their families are so demanding & some of them are just down right mean! and alot of the nurses where we are doing clinicals are mean and very discouraging....a few of them actually put their hand up in your face if you try to ask them something and they are busy. i wonder if i might like a specialized area, but i won't get to start that until next semester. i am just afraid that i will stick with it and be miserable, then i won't feel like i am doing anything good for my patients or for myself. the few students in my class i have discussed this with are all telling me not to quit, that i am a straight a student and only have a year left...but just because you can do well at something doesn't mean it's what you are meant to do. i don't know...maybe it is just school burnout...i feel like i have lost all my motivation. any advice would be appreciated...thanks for reading my long post!
    [font=franklin gothic medium]but did you ask any nurses about the pros and cons of the job before you entered nursing school? it is not an easy job and it often seems like your don't get enough thanks. you have to get satisfaction from within and/or from a job well done, imo. i like prioritizing and organizing my work and, yes, helping people. however, the patients aren't always aware how hard our job is and sometimes are too sick to care! i love nursing, but it is a tough job. as for the nurses who put their hand up when they are busy, they may be trying to concentrate. try not to take it personally.
    [font=franklin gothic medium]lastly, clinicals are not the same as working once you've graduated and are actually a nurse. once you get a job and learn some things on the job, you may settle into it. you have some thinking to do. good luck.
  5. by   Blackcat99
    Sorry to hear about your problems. I wish I could tell you it's not like that but it is. All I can say is "Welcome to the "Real" world of nursing.
  6. by   LadyT618
    I don't think you should give up at all. Especially since you're a straight A student. You haven't gotten into OB and ped yet....you never know, that probably where you'll find your niche. Just think of it as you have to go through the motions for the purpose of the boards. Then once you are done and pass your boards (cause I know you will ), try to get into the field you like. I truly do believe you will find next year to be better. Hang in there. Don't base your future in nursing just on year 1.

    Good Luck!
  7. by   shodobe
    I have always had the idea that nursing school is just one step to get to where you want to be. In other words, school only gives you the skills to obtain one step towards your goals. Getting the liscense is one thing but actually going to work each day is really another. Once out of school you will find areas that peak your interest and one day will find your niche in the nursing world. I have been in nursing for 27 years, hard to believe, and yes, there are the nurses who react the way you describe. These nurses are ones to avoid if possible because they have, over time, forgotten what it was like to be a student. They are overworked, rushed and just not appreciated the way they would like to be. Patients and their families just can't imagine what it is like to be a nurse with all the responsibilities and such. They, the patient, are very self-centered and feel they should be the center of attention. All of these situations are real life. There is no way to avoid them, you just try to cope with them. It sounds like you have some deep interest in nursing because of your grades. If you didn't have some interest your grades would also suffer. Like I said before, once out of school there is a whole world of nursing waiting for you. It is your choice on what to do. Good luck, we need you! Mike
  8. by   orrnlori
    Okay, chin up young'un. News flash!!! Nursing school IS NOT like real nursing. Nursing school puts everything in to little blocks and steps and teaches theory that while based in a "sort of" reality is really far removed from what we do every day.

    You will have times when you will doubt. Many of us had those periods. Only a few go through school just drop dead sure this is what they want and have had a "calling to the vocation". The rest of us sometimes get lost and become apprehensive and disillusioned. Afterall, you've worked so hard, you've tried so hard, and it just isn't like the books, or TV, or whatever you based your initial thoughts on. Clinicals aren't fun. You have these little written out care plans and somehow the patients are suppose to perform to your taught theory, but they don't. And they don't in real life either. Real nursing is soooooo much better than school. Yes, patient's can be a pain, families can be a pain, doctor's are most certainly a pain and your coworker's can sometimes be snakes. But they aren't ALL that way. Remember, your patients are ill, in pain, upset, scared, their lives have been turned upside down. They may not want to play with nursing students, it doesn't mean you should think that this is not for you. You have one year to go. If you don't finish you will always wonder, what if? In life, it's not the things we did that we regret, it's the things we didn't do.

    Most nurses are not mean and ugly. It's just that there are a few and they stand out so they rile us the most. Most nurses are just like you. Try to hang in there. This semester is almost over. You can do anything for just 6 more weeks. Change the way you are doing your work during clinicals. Work more with the paitents and less with your care plans. Heck, I was known to extrapolate a little into fiction with my care plans. Not all patients are going to cooperate. Hang on. I think you will be a better nurse and like it much more than how you feel right now. I was in your shoes. It will get better. You wouldn't have made it this far if you couldn't do it.
  9. by   akvarmit
    Quote from orrnlori
    You have these little written out care plans and somehow the patients are suppose to perform to your taught theory, but they don't. And they don't in real life either. Real nursing is soooooo much better than school. Yes, patient's can be a pain, families can be a pain, doctor's are most certainly a pain and your coworker's can sometimes be snakes. But they aren't ALL that way.
    Very True!!! I know I started out in nursing wanting to help patients and change the world, and I soon found the tide of resistance was much stronger than I expected! Whether from patients, families, co workers.......but each hurdle is an accomplishment in itself. I can't fix all the "doctors" in the world, but I can stand up to one who particularly drives me nuts - and call it a good day.

    I have a tape I listen to of interviews with a few prominent Doctors........... one is an ER doc, and he says something about residents that I think applies to us as nurses, too. He says it's so hard for residents to relate to some of the cases they see because for years they have sacrificed and "gone without" to accomplish this dream. So they come of of this time of sacrifice, and see these ER patients who are the perfect pictures of selfishness and self indulgence. ie - Non compliant patients, drug-seeking frequent fliers, alcoholics with no intention of quitting, etc. Doctor and pt. are in total opposition to each other. His point was that we have to learn to treat patient's diseases without the expectation that we are going to treat their "lifestyle". They come to us as they are, and we send them back out to the life they know.......and it's up to them to make changes........but hopefully we planted some seeds while we worked with them.

    I would take time and consider what "pieces" of clinicals you do like.......do you like taking labs and test results and "guessing" at the dx? Do you like connecting with people? Do you like trouble-shooting problems? I don't like every piece of my work, but I know where my strengths are...and I can handle certain things my co-workers can't.....and visa versa. And I've learned to draw my joy from my strengths in the field.
    Good luck - cause everyone is right - we DO need you and your fresh thinking!
  10. by   smk1
    i would imagine that if by the time you graduate, you will have a better idea of what area you liked the most. Also if you don't like the hospital setting there is always home health or school nursing, or insurance consulting etc.. many many other options for nurses. You may have to deal with bedside nursing for a year or two do get some of these positions, but if you can see the light at the end of the tunnel you can get through anything! good luck and try to keep the faith!
  11. by   P_RN
    we have to learn to treat patient's diseases without the expectation that we are going to treat their "lifestyle". They come to us as they are, and we send them back out to the life they know.......and it's up to them to make changes........but hopefully we planted some seeds while we worked with them.
    Wow Dawn this is powerful! Thank you. Can you give us the title of the tape?
  12. by   SandyB
    I also hated clinicals and had good grades. I knew from the clinicals I would hate working med/surg or long term care. Worked psych and forced myself into tele for medical experience (picked tele cuz they can't just die on you without you knowing...what a reason, huh?) After 2 years went back to psych. Knew I still wanted something else, finished an online BSN prgram (degree June 2004!), and have applied to teach VN at a vocational school.
    Don't give up! Nursing has too many possible paths for you to travel to give up now!!!!
    Stick it out and see where a nursing career will take you in the future.
  13. by   Tweety
    I wasn't to thrilled with the pysch rotation, or peds, or ob. But I plowed through it anyway.

    There are many times through nursing school and through those first few years that you are going to question whether or not you were meant to be a nurse. Heck, sometimes I still question myself all these years later.

    I would say don't the fact that you hate med-surg cause you to drop out. You might regret that later. You've come this far, hang in there. What you are describing are the day to day frustrations we all deal with, you gotta take the good with the bad, and some days are real real bad.

    Good luck. In the end, you'll know what to do.
  14. by   zacarias
    Lilbiskit,

    You are not alone in your feelings. When I was in nursing school, I hated med/surg clinicals!! I mean just the thought of arriving to the floor made me nauseous. While some of the nurses were nice, others didn't really like students and made us feel unwelcome.
    A few clinicals I did enjoy like management, OB, and community health. I vowed after graduation, I would never do med/surg. What's the first job I take? Med/surg position in a large teaching hospital in Seattle! I've been there seven months!
    While only you can determine if you can stay in this profession, please know that it will get better either in school or out in the real world. I think you might need to learn to not be so hard on yourself. Maybe find an instructor who you connect with and talk to them about your concerns.

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