Help: I failed out of nursing school

  1. I began nursing school fresh out of high school. I believed nursing would allow me to do what I have always wanted, and that was to help as many people as possible. Fast forward three years later, and I have just failed out of a ADN program at a community college. I don't struggle with understanding the content or applying it. Its just when I am taking these tests it feels like everything is going to come crashing down. Ridiculous, I know.

    Everyone knows that nursing school is difficult and I really think that it got to me. I excelled in the clinical setting without issue and received excellent remarks from clinical instructors and other nurses. I work in a large hospital right now as a CNA as well. Right now, there are people who are alive because of things I have done there who wouldn't be otherwise. I love the teamwork aspect of running codes as well (you learn a new appreciation for life). I think the reason I was unsuccessful is the increasingly painful depression and the fact that I get so nervous before tests I see spots and almost pass out. I know that its ridiculous, believe me. Up until this one class Ive been able to overcome it and be successful. Not this time though. I have accomplished so much, and in the end I am continuously holding myself back.

    So, I have a few options. I have to start over either way.

    1) Start LPN school in the fall and start working, then go back to finish RN, then BSN.
    2) Wait a year and reapply to the program and start over.
    3) There is one other school I can start in the spring (but its expensive).
    4) Realize that I have already been unsuccessful in this nursing program; select another career.

    I still want to be a nurse despite seeing all the struggles they go through. But, I also realize there is nothing wrong with accepting that this is not what I am cut out for. I have to overcome the anxiety/depression in order to be successful regardless of what I see is the best fit for me.

    ANY advice or stories about other people who have been in my situation would be very much appreciated.
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  2. 34 Comments

  3. by   crazydoglady89
    I'm not in nursing school yet, but you really need to address your anxiety with a professional.

    There will be exams in all of the options that you listed. Unless you address the issue of your anxiety, you are going to continue to fail.

    I absolutely think you should still pursue your career. You love it and do well clinically. You just need to work with someone to determine the source of your anxiety, how to work through it. I would only consider making a plan of attack AFTER you have done this.

    Also, talk to old professors/advisors at your school. I know you failed out, but maybe they can help you be successful in whatever you choose next. Have you ever taken one of those tests that tells you what kind of learner you are? Did you ever seek help when you first started failing?

    Need to figure out root of the problem before you press on.
  4. by   Simplistic
    If you really want to be a nurse, than DONT give up. However you do need to address the issue of why you were not successful. You mention questions as being a contributing factor. Were you doing practice questions? Were you thoroughly understanding the material, instead of just memorizing the information? There is no point in reapplying if you dont address the problem, otherwise you are just going to get the same result.
  5. by   Maria3248
    I did a ton of practice questions, I even bought an NCLEX app that was really helpful. I apply content in clinical all the time and answer questions correctly when asked by the instructor. I studied for hours and hours, and then when they sat that final in front of me it was like everything went out the door. Its like I can't calm down enough to even read these questions. Its to the point I'm wondering if in addition to seeking help with the anxiety, that maybe being testing for a learning disability might be something to look into. Ive always really struggled with staying focused and find myself being distracted easily. But when Im on the floor, its like I'm a different person. I spoke with my professor actually and she recommended the schools counseling services, so I guess that will be my starting point?
  6. by   crazydoglady89
    Quote from Maria3248
    I did a ton of practice questions, I even bought an NCLEX app that was really helpful. I apply content in clinical all the time and answer questions correctly when asked by the instructor. I studied for hours and hours, and then when they sat that final in front of me it was like everything went out the door. Its like I can't calm down enough to even read these questions. Its to the point I'm wondering if in addition to seeking help with the anxiety, that maybe being testing for a learning disability might be something to look into. Ive always really struggled with staying focused and find myself being distracted easily. But when Im on the floor, its like I'm a different person. I spoke with my professor actually and she recommended the schools counseling services, so I guess that will be my starting point?
    This sounds like a really good plan. It definitely sounds like you just need to get that anxiety under control. Best of luck to you!
  7. by   meanmaryjean
    When I hear students going on and on about how many NCLEX practice questions they did- my FIRST question is "How much time did you spend actually reading the textbook for content and taking notes?"

    Because just practice questions is not enough to understand content enough to be comfortable with it.
  8. by   Maria3248
    The majority of the time I spent studying was going over textbooks chapters, the outline for course content, and powerpoint lectures. I tried flash cards in the beginning, but I felt like that took a really long time and I didn't really use them. I tried group studying but for me I found it difficult to keep paying attention. Practice questions were kind of like the two days before the test. I did well on the questions that applied to the class.
    When I spoke with my teachers individual, a common thing they noted was poor self confidence and anxiousness. Ive always kind of been that way and I know it can be fixed with a little help, but to come this far and not have been able to resolve it makes me think that maybe no matter how much I love this that nursing is above my academic capabilities. I failed by half a point.
  9. by   HouTx
    I agree with the advice - seek counseling services to develop skills for coping with stress. Nursing is an inherently stressful career - because we deal with humans who are frequently at their lowest ebb. Those coping skills will be helpful no matter what you do in life.

    Wishing you all the best.
  10. by   puravidaLV
    Hi, gonna be that person. Your story doesn't add up. 1-4 options basically don't make sense. Why can't you get back in? There isn't a single school I've ever looked at that basically says "one fail and youre out". Something missing from this story.
  11. by   Union-Jack
    You're still so young, this is just a stumbling block. Go talk to your MD and get on something to help control your anxiety. Give yourself some breathing space, then get back to it.
  12. by   sanakruz
    Many schools have a "one fail youre out" - along with 4 -year waiting lists to get in. So once you ARE in, you better stay.
    It looks bad for a school to fail students.
    There are accommodations for students with test anxiety as well, which is what our OP has.
  13. by   sanakruz
    bAD advice for anxiety releif. Xanax street? Dont walk there!
    And age has nothing to do with it.
  14. by   Maria3248
    I have repeated this class and my school only allows you to repeat once. The course is split up over seven weeks and are made up of pediatrics and critical care of adults. If you are unsuccessful in one, you have to drop and you miss the other half of the content. So, its not even a fair repeat the way this section is set up (not that it matters).

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