First semester nursing student... at the brink!

  1. 0
    Where to start... HELP!! I am in my first semester of nursing school. I came to this site via a search for "reality of nursing career" and have spent the last hour and a half reading comments and ACTUAL realities of nursing.

    I started this search because I am really starting to wonder if this is the career for me... and only 6 weeks into a nursing program. I have the ability to go back to school and not work for the duration of my schooling. (Yes, I am lucky!) I already have a degree and have had a very sucessful career before moving across the country and deciding to start over again.

    I wanted to go into nursing beacuse firstly... I am altruistic! I want to help people, in whatever context it may be. Secondly, because it seems practical. There are many different paths you can take in nursing, and in theory, there should always be an open position for a nurse. Having a husband in the military, this is enticing and important.

    After busting my butt for two years doing the prerequisites (my previous degree was in music, so I needed many) I have finally started the program! It is nothing but dissapointing. The instructors are teaching us nursing theory that will never be used in "the real world." Clinicals are spent feeling like a piece of lint stuck in a dryer vent. (Is there any other time that I have felt so insignificant??) I get yelled at and demeaned in a way that I haven't felt since grammar school, on a regular basis. The instruction is poor, at best. (A good nurse doesn't necessarily make a good professor!) So... my first insight into actual nursing is pretty scary.

    Then, I read that life gets no better when you actually ARE a nurse... for the most part. I could change plans and get a masters degree in biology, teaching, music, or anything else. Is nursing going to be rewarding enough? Or rewarding at all? Do I want to feel like a doormat when I could be so much more?

    I'm feeling disolusioned, deflated and discouraged by nursing school and the nursing profession in general. People get into nursing because they want to HELP people and feel appreciated. This seems FAR from the reality.

    Any thoughts... from anyone? I need to make a decision soon if I am going to continue with this and any feedback or insight would be invaluable!!

    Many thanks... from someone who has spent the afternoon in tears.


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  2. 14 Comments...

  3. 2
    Given that you are only 6 weeks in I would advise you give it a bit more time.Nursing school is like no other kind of education. You may feel like what they are teaching you is pointless but it's not. You will think "and I am learning this because...?" It will start to come together as the program progresses. Yes you will feel frustration and want to tear your hair out but this too shall pass. Only 6 weeks into the program you will feel useless and self conscious in clinicals.
    Whether or not you will eventually feel better or not no one can say.I love being a nurse and for me the struggle was worth it.Sure there is stress and politics but that applies to most jobs.For the most part I feel that nursing is rewarding for me and you don't have to feel like a doormat if you don't want to.
    Give it some more time and then reevaluate.
    WordWrangler and nursel56 like this.
  4. 5
    until you're a nurse - do it their way
    once you're a nurse - find your own way.
    JHU2016, DawnJ, SilverOwl, and 2 others like this.
  5. 0
    I'd probably go into teaching Biology instead... no it doesn't really get better. The sad part is many people feel that nursing school did not prepare them for the reality that was actual nursing and that floor nursing actually is much harder and way more stressful.

    Being a nurse has many rewarding aspects... but let's be honest here, it's tough work, and no you are not appreciated for it most of the time.

    I love my job right now, but they best thing about nursing is that because of the wide variety of nursing fields and specialties, when I no longer love my job, or need a challenge or a break, whichever the case. I will have more options laying out in front of me... despite the fact that the job market has taken it's hits as well.

    I work full-time as Pediatric LPN but am also going to schoo, right now, in my final semester actually, of the RN program.
  6. 0
    A lot of ppl think that it will be easy once they get into the nursing program and that is not the case. I would seriously advise u to ask yourself if this is what you really want to do. Being a military wife myself i am relate. I put my schooling on hold twice because we were always moving. I couldn't get into a nursing program because we weren't stationed long enough for me to get in a program and stay in it. Finally we moved to WA and I got on the wait list and was accepted. I will say that I hated going to class everyday and listening to those boring lectures. I really enjoyed clinicals and was tryin to do everything because I'm very good hands on. I would hate for u to go thru the entire program and u realize ur not happy. Because u will see that u have to sacrifice a lot whether its that quality time on the weekends, working full time before and now ur barely working, losing friends etc.. Goodluck in whatever u choose to do
  7. 0
    I am now 9 weeks into my first semester. I had some of your feelings for awhile, and then, magically, I had an ahha moment. Things are getting better. I feel more useful, and I am learning valuable stuff now. I do have to admit I have an amazing clinical instructor, but next semester, I won't and I'm going to have to make that work. If it were me, and I were in your spot, I'd at least give it a semester or 2. It's hard to feel that you've made a good choice when you feel like dryer lint. Wait and see how you feel about nursing when you feel more competent. At most, you'll have wasted a year. I'm 42 and just now going for my degree, so I'm sure you've got a few more years to figure this out.
  8. 1
    I also couldn't stand listening to lectures on nursing theories and such. Yes it is important but you will move on from learning about that and learn about diseases and nursing interventions, medications, and much more interesting things. In clinical you will feel insignificant because you have not learned nearly enough yet to truely understand everything that is going on. You are at clinicals to learn, and although professors do not always act like it, that is why you are there for. Even learning about something in lab is different than in clinicals.
    I felt like I made a huge mistake even after my first year in nursing school. I did fine in class, but did not enjoy it or clinicals. I graduate in May and I am just now starting to enjoy nursing and realizing that I did not make a mistake. I am glad that I stuck through it when I was going to quit because I had no idea that I would actually end up liking nursing. You will start to learn more, understand more, and feel more confident. It is stressful though, but from what I have heard after the first 6 months you start to feel more comfortable on the floor as a nurse. Professors do yell but from I have seen they are the ones that have pushed my skills along because you want to be prepared for them so you don't get yelled at
    I would not quit, most of the students in my class wanted to quit while learning about theory. There is no way to judge if you like nursing from only 6 weeks of being a student, really! Yes some will enjoy it from the getgo but most of the people surrounding me, including myself, had not.
    mkatts19 likes this.
  9. 3
    Quote from abagail1220
    Where to start... HELP!! I am in my first semester of nursing school.. . . . . ... and only 6 weeks into a nursing program.

    I have finally started the program! It is nothing but dissapointing. The instructors are teaching us nursing theory that will never be used in "the real world." Clinicals are spent feeling like a piece of lint stuck in a dryer vent. . . So... my first insight into actual nursing is pretty scary.

    I'm feeling disolusioned, deflated and discouraged by nursing school and the nursing profession in general. People get into nursing because they want to HELP people and feel appreciated. This seems FAR from the reality.

    hmm - where to begin.

    First of all, I would advise you to reserve comment on the overall curriculum until you have a better idea of exactly what the nursing profession is all about. Nursing theory IS used in the "real world" - as a foundation for developing models of care, including staffing, nursing philosophy, policies, etc. Just because you (uber-newbie) don't understand something does not mean that it is useless.

    Did you expect to just jump right into the super-nurse role of your fantasies? Nursing is a very complex and inherently dangerous job. Even though they may be more "exciting", we do not allow students to engage in risky activities until they have been prepared to do so. Everything starts with baby steps. It's a good idea to just focus on observing and getting a better understanding the health care environment during your first few clinicals. Learn more about the culture of health care delivery - how do various professionals interact? How is communication managed? Watch and learn. Then, when you are finally ready to engage in patient contact, you'lll be much more effective.

    Secondly, you are also making an unfounded generalization -- " people get into nursing because they want to HELP people and feel appreciated". Many nurses entered the profession just because they were seeking a reasonably secure and well paid job - not to be an angel of mercy. If you're looking to "feel appreciated" - best look elsewhere. Nursing is not about external warm fuzzies and eternally grateful patients. It is not about us. Satisfaction has to come from within because external rewards are just not significant enough to balance out the hard work and effort.

    If you're having second thoughts, it may well mean that nursing is not for you.
    merd01, alainawalker, and Luckyyou like this.
  10. 0
    Nursing in the real world is all about giving medications and charting. In most places if you can find the time to develop a thoughtful care plan, someone is being neglected and you are doing something wrong. The staffing is awful, you'll be worked to the bone and hope that nobody died because of something that you did or didn't do. Nursing theory is nice, but is of absolutely no use once you hit the floor since your patients' care will be dictated more by your facility's policies and the physician's orders than your own clinical judgment.

    Nursing school is a breeze compared to nursing. The stress of an exam is nothing compared to the stress of knowing that you have (too many) people's lives in your hands. If you stick with it, enjoy it while it lasts! It doesn't get any better once you have your license in hand.
  11. 5
    The experience is different for every person. I wanted to quit nursing school (BSN) so many times.. and even literally got a chance to go into a different nursing program (ADN) during my 3rd quarter at the university level. I thought it was God's sign basically saying, if you want out, get out.. but you still have a back up. If you don't believe in God, I apologize for the reference, but pretty much whatever you believe in apply it to that . I was the "slacker" all through nursing school.. I didn't study as much as the next person, I barely passed my classes.. I went out to clubs and what not. And I got judged for that because I supposedly wasn't taking it too seriously. But how many people can say you were taken aside several times during the year by a teacher to be told, "You know you're going to be a really great nurse because..." when they saw something about you in clinicals when you actually interacted with patients. If I wasn't meant to make it then I would have failed those classes. You are always going to feel down, and depressed sometimes.. I had random breakdowns of crying and freaking out and wanting to quit.. but that's why you need to have a support group of not only your family, but at least 1 or 2 or more other nursing students who know EXACTLY what you are going through. No one else will understand your situation like they do. I definitely think you should STAY in the program. The fact that you are going through all these emotions and thoughts and situations means you CARE. It's going to be hard now but everything worthwhile has it's hardships.. otherwise it wouldn't be as rewarding to finish!! That's why we're all so 100000% thrilled on that graduation day! And as for being an actual nurse, you make it what it is. Some are ****** off all the time, and some love their job for the patients, some for the money.. each person is different and how you are makes YOUR job. If you truly try in all your classes and all your tests and you end up "failing" then yes, maybe it's a sign it's not for you.. BUT you made it into the program for a reason. So many people want to be in your place.. stay strong and look for support as you have here on this site. Get a life (literally) DON'T just studystudyschoolstudy. If you have a significant other, make sure you spend time with them.. if you love soccer games make sure you play at least once a week. That helps ease the stress of school.. and who knows you might meet another soccer player who's in nursing school and you can help each other get through the problems with a common love. It's possible! But stay in it until outside situations give you a reason not to!
    kymdiane, JHU2016, ameliagal, and 2 others like this.

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