I cracked under pressure.

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    I feel so defeated and I'm not sure if it's normal for a nursing student to feel this way or not. I started my second semester a couple of weeks ago and immediately felt too overwhelmed. I had to take A&P 2 along with my nursing classes and even in the first couple of weeks, I was spending all night and weekend doing work and still not getting it all done. I also began to feel like nursing was way too terrifying for me. My clinical is on a cardiac floor and my instructor warned us that many of her students have worked with patients that died while they were there. I don't think I can handle the responsibility. So I've had a pit growing in my stomach and been so sick at clinical from nerves. I caved in today and took a leave of absence from my nursing classes. I am just taking my science class this semester and trying to figure out if nursing is for me.

    To all you nurses/future nurses...how do you know it's for you? Is it normal to be this terrified? I honestly don't know if I'll go back. I've been planning this and taking classes to get into school for years and now I'm totally lost.

    Thanks for listening to me rant...
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  4. 15 Comments so far...

  5. 0
    When I was in clinicals, I felt the same way! I dreaded going and was terrified that I would be in an emergency situation and not know what to do. I must admit, I still feel this way. I work in a doctors office and make the same salary the staff nurses make in the hospitals in my area. If you decide to pursue nursing, maybe you can work in an office where theres much less pressure.
  6. 0
    Quote from Jillian257
    When I was in clinicals, I felt the same way! I dreaded going and was terrified that I would be in an emergency situation and not know what to do. I must admit, I still feel this way. I work in a doctors office and make the same salary the staff nurses make in the hospitals in my area. If you decide to pursue nursing, maybe you can work in an office where theres much less pressure.
    Its good to hear I'm not alone on this one. Does it ever get better? I don't want to have a career where I am terrified to go to work. I have considered a dr office..it's just getting through clinical is tough. Thanks for the input!
  7. 0
    Getting through clinicals is tough but it will get a little better although I never enjoyed it! If your feeling overwhelmed then its a good idea to get as many pre-reqs done before starting your nursing classes, I think you made a good decision. You'll be ok, just remember- EVERYONE is nervous at clinicals and you CAN get through it. Good luck
  8. 0
    Yeah, it's normal to be scared at first.

    Remember, you are never alone on the floor. You have other nurses that work there, your instructor, your classmates, and your primary nurse and the aides. You can ask questions and gain their insight on situations that make you feel uncomfortable.
  9. 0
    I went to lvn school so i know your clinicals are a lot harder. I remember my first semester we did clinicals at a ltc facility and i told myself this will either make me or break me. I made it though! The 16 months I was in school I had no social life and just studied and did homework. I am glad I went above and beyond with that because I graduated top 3% of my class. After each semester I got a little more confident. Just a FYI being a licensed nurse vs a student is a lot harder. I've been one for 1 year and have my routine down but there are something's I haven't experienced and don't know what to do. Hang in there. I broke down several times in school and at work but you just have to remember those little positive things, that helps you to keep going.
  10. 0
    I'm in my second semester right now too and I dread my clinicals. I really really don't want to go. But not because I don't think I won't be a good nurse, but because your a student, its suppose to be scary. The student that isn't somewhat scared and thinks they know it all, they scare me. I know with my program they tell us, out of all 5 semesters, 2 is the hardest! I have absolutely no social life. School is my life and I have kids and a bf at home. It's a lot to juggle. First semester I had a few breakdowns. Second week in, my bf got assaulted and had a fractured skull and brain bleed and this semester week before it started my sister got in an accident, broke her back and had to have surgery. I know they love me, but really family, COME ON !!! Lol I somehow made it through, but not gonna lie, there were times I thought I wasn't going to. There's no shame in taking a break, collecting yourself and deciding if its what u love. P.S. pretty sure all last semester every time I was in with my pt I was saying in my head " pls don't code, pls don't code" .....
  11. 0
    Wow, I have a lot of respect for you. Sounds like youve certainly had your work cut out for you! Thank you so much for sharing..very inspirational. Maybe with less classes and a little break from my nursing classes, I will have the clarity I need. I hope so.
  12. 11
    I've told this story here before, but it seems like a good time to resurrect it.
    Once upon a time in a fabulous ICU far away, I was chosen to precept a senior student for what would now be called a capstone; I was about two and a half years out of school, all of it spent in critical care. She was to work with me on my schedule for 36 of the 40 hours a week I worked, days, evenings, weekends, the works, for a whole semester. We were a general ICU about 2/3 open heart surgery, the rest an even mix of surgical ICU, medical ICU, and a few respiratory ICU patients sometimes.

    I called her and arranged for her to come over to the hospital for a tour and see the place a few days before. We walked around the unit-- a converted med/surg straight hallway with four private rooms, two four-bed wards, and eight two-bed rooms, all with in-room monitors and each room had one nurse in there full-time (the wards had two or three). I noticed she was looking a little nervous so we went into the break room for some coffee. She looked really nervous so I took her the heck outta there and we went to the cafeteria.

    "So, Adrian, was it something I said? You look really upset."
    "Gosh, GrnTea, it's just that ... well ... umm ... (all in a rush) How many cardiac arrests do you have in a day here?"
    It is not to my credit that I stifled a laugh poorly. "Adrian, we haven't had an arrest here in five months that I can remember. We are in the business of preventing that sort of thing. That's why they are here, because we know how to do that."

    Now, of course, as luck would have it, a few weeks into the semester we had a code in another room. I took her down there and put her in the corner and told her to watch. Only. She was impressed by the teamwork. Then about two weeks later, one of our two patients coded. I put her in charge of squeezing the blood bags to put more in-- it gave her something to do but kept her at the head of the bed out of the way, and then we went over the documentation together. By then she was a different person-- she had a good grasp of the processes and personnel and had a beginning appreciation for how things worked. She wasn't terrified all the time.

    I tell you this because I want to reassure you that nobody expects a student or a new grad to know much. That's why you have a preceptor, a staff development period, and people watching you for teachable moments or support (despite a lot of the whining you see on AN, that really is the way most places run). You will have progressive responsibility, sure. But it shouldn't be more than you can handle-- that's why you went to school, to learn that.

    A little anxiety is a good thing-- it keeps your mind sharp, your eyes focused, your muscles ready to go. From a few years later, in that same unit: I was nearly five years out of school by then and had been staff in this fabulous ICU for four, and I was actually pretty good at it. One day I was in the break room with Sarah, a nurse of more than a decade's experience in the unit, one who could take every kind of patient that rolled up the hall, who was never flustered, always expert, always willing to teach and explain. I asked her when I would stop feeling scared when I sat in report. She smiled and said that every day before report started she felt a pang of anxiety, but that it passed when she started working. She said that when that little stab of fear went away she would have to go somewhere else, because it's what keeps us awake and sharp. I never, ever forgot that (and here I am telling that story again, smumble-mumble years later), and I am happy to pass it along to you.
  13. 0
    Yes, a patient's well being is the nurse's responsibility as well the responsibilty of the entire medical team. On my first clinical day in nursing school, my clinical instructor called a code blue on one of my fellow student's patient. So we all got observe a code situation on our first day. Afterwards I thought all my days were going to be like that. Over time I found out that it isn't. However, the more you are exposed to death and dying, the more you get used to it and you learn to cope with it because you also need to support your team members and the patient's family. Just keep in mind that nursing doesn't always deal with death and you can always choose to work in one of those areas instead. You could do public health, research, infectious disease, case management, or school nursing just to name a few. Your clinical rotations will give you some exposure to quite a few areas in nursing and maybe one of those areas will interest you. Just hang in there!


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