For the Nursing Student Who Feels They Aren't Meant to Be a Nurse

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    Many nursing students have doubts if they are cut out to be a nurse and experience situational low self-esteem. I was one of them, and this is my story.

    For the Nursing Student Who Feels They Aren't Meant to Be a Nurse

    I remember looking around the room during orientation before the nursing program started. There we were, the chosen 60. We were told that this year the school had over 800 applicants and only 120 were accepted (the other 60 were at another campus). So automatically I assumed most, if not all, were almost straight "A" students, as the average GPA was 3.8 to enter the program.

    As the year went on and the classes got harder, keeping up my GPA also got harder. There also seemed to be an unspoken competition about grades, and therefore I found myself keeping my B's, and my *gasp* C's to myself. This my friend, is when the first ounce of self-doubt crept into my mind.

    Consequently, my self-esteem went down too. I felt like I had nothing to make me stand out, not my performance in class, not my grades, nada. Heck, I was sure some of the professors didn't even know my name.

    Then came clinicals – and boy, they sure came with a fury.

    Call lights, bed rails, bed pans, Foley bags, med passes, a unfamiliar supply closet, IV machines, and dose darn bedside tables (why do they have to be different at every clinical?!) Oh and to top it off many, many, uncomfortable "firsts" (and hoping the patient didn't ask if this was your first time!).

    And I hated it.

    It was then that I started to consider that nursing wasn't for me. Why wasn't I comfortable with simple things like dumping out the Foley bag or simply toileting a patient? How was I supposed to be a nurse if patient contact made me uneasy?

    Every new skill, and every rotation seemed to rub in the fact that I was not made for the nursing world. But I didn't quit, and my first year came and went.

    As year two started, I realized that I had retained more information than I though. I could actually answer questions I was being asked. It was like magical nursing osmosis. I couldn't believe it! I did know a thing or two. Not only had my database of information and skills increased, but so did my self-confidence.

    I started to accept that I was a B student (and that C's get degrees! *wink*), and became comfortable with my classmates' achievements. This, along with the strength and support from my close-knit friends in school, fueled me to finish.

    Years have passed and I'm still not a bedside nurse, nor do I think I will ever be one. I enjoy more slow passed, one-on-one work and that's okay! (I work as a school nurse/home health nurse).

    Now, enough about me, let's talk about you. If you clicked on this article, then most likely you are either questioning, or have questioned if you are cut out to be a nurse. Listen (or read I guess) carefully, you chose to be a nurse for a reason. Don't let situational low self-esteem get in the way of your goal. You already have the great accomplishment of getting into nursing school, now finish it. Once you are a nurse, the world if yours. There are so many different specialties in nursing that at least one will fit you.

    In the meantime, stop comparing yourself to that nursing student who is so confident they call themselves the nurse when going into a patient's room (true story!). Also, remember it's okay to stumble, cry, vent, dislike a rotation or two, get a few C's, eat your feelings in ice cream, run solely on caffeine, and...did I mention run solely on caffeine?

    Bottom line is that if you want to finish, you will finish and in a few years this will be your story too.
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    About Avill, BSN, RN

    Avill has been a school nurse for about 3 years and works as a home health during the summer and PRN. She also enjoys caffeine, coffee and espresso.

    Joined: Oct '11; Posts: 175; Likes: 114
    1 year(s) of experience

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  3. by   Heylove
    Right on!
  4. by   turtleki
    I will be entering my program in May, in a new state, with an unfamiliar environment. I noticed at orientation, a little nervousness creep into my spirit, I appreciate your article.
  5. by   Avill
    Gosh in a new state?! You are a brave soul!
  6. by   OldDude
    I entered nursing school from an industrial construction background as a late 30's aged student; pipefitting was my profession. I hated pretty much everything about nursing school and doubted I had an iota of what it took to be a nurse. I had made up my mind I was going to finish the damn thing out and return to pipefitting (cuz I wasn't a quitter). Pediatrics was my last rotation and everything fell into place - I just didn't like grown up nursing. Pediatrics was the cure and I haven't left peds since. Oh yea, a 75 was the minimum passing grade in nursing school; I soon realized a 75 was just as good as a 100 if it took you to the next step!!

    Good Article Avill
  7. by   LikeTheDeadSea
    This is the perfect description of nursing school! I remember trying to shake up my thought process on what an "A" really meant and having a hard time with that.
  8. by   MENurse2019
    Thank you for this. This is really what I needed to hear today. I have been really struggling lately just feeling passionate about what I do. I am in my second semester of an ADN program (top program in my state), and I keep second guessing myself. I get really good grades (4.0 last semester and on track to do the same this semester), but I keep questioning whether its right for me. I have to keep reminding myself that there are so many opportunities besides bedside nursing. I shadowed a school nurse and absolutely loved it, but I know it can be a challenge to get a full time position as such. I also have an entrepreneurial/businessy itch, so I'm curious about bridging the two together for a career. But again, thank you so much!
  9. by   Avill
    Management could be in your future then. I said it before and I'll say it again - nursing is one of the best degrees you can get even if you want to go something else. Glad this helped !
  10. by   wannabeny
    Needed this article so badly. Thank you.
  11. by   Jaide06
    Thanks for taking the time to write this. When ever I doubt that nursing is right for me , usually because of fear ..i try to remind myself that there are so many different areas of nursing and that I can do this.
  12. by   ItsThatJenGirl
    I really liked this article. I'm having a really hard time adjusting at times. I went from being the "smartest" person in all my pre-req classes to being a totally average student among all the other "smartest" people. That was something I wish I had known before I started.
  13. by   MiladyMalarkey
    Also waiting for that wonderful moment where I don't feel like a complete noob. One day I'm sure it will all kick in.
  14. by   detrelibre
    This article resonated with me so much that I may as well have been the author. I had almost zero confidence in nursing school, I barely scraped by on exams and during clinical I was a clumsy, unorganized mess for all twelve hours. I was certain that nursing was not for me and that I should go back to waiting tables.
    I took my time to learn, never gave up, and kept fighting for that nursing degree.

    I am now three years into my nursing career. I have been a guest lecturer at an Ivy league nursing school in my area, currently applying to grad school, and kicking *** and taking names as an RN in the ER of a busy level-one trauma center.

    Advice I would give myself three years ago while in nursing school? You may in your deepest core feel unsure of what you're doing and what career path you've chosen, but try your very best to not let it show. People notice when you're unsure or lack self-esteem, and unfortunately they feed off of it.

    Good luck.