Losing confidence....

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    I'm a 42 mother of 2 young daughters, back in school since 1988 (y'all can quit laughing!!!) I did my pre req's and maintained a 3.9 GPA (fist pump!) and now am in my first semester of nursing school. I felt pretty confident in my abilities heading into the semester. I am adjusting to hectic schedules between my school/ kids school/sporting events/meetings and everyday life. Or so I thought. Skills tests have become the bane of my existence!!!! We practice during lab (very limited as it seems like everyone is in a hurry!) and I practice at home. Well, I passed first VS skill, but then failed the next two (PPE & Lung/thorax). Had to remediate and passed, then passed MAR (med admin) with no problem. I enjoy clinicals and hoping to go on to earn a NP degree. But with two stupid mistakes, these failures are shaking my confidence! Yes, I am a bit of a perfectionist and set high goals for myself, but I m worried about how my instructors view me now after this. I get nervous during skills exams (fear of failure) and need some advice!
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    I know how you feel. Trust me. Nursing school is such a "culture shock." It's unbelievably stressful. I, too, am a perfectionist and it really bothers me when I don't get something right the first time. But that's okay. NOBODY IS PERFECT, and everyone realizes this in nursing school. Nursing is a completely different world, and it's just something we all have to get used to. I have a new job, and even though I ended up getting great grades in nursing school, I have such low confidence. It's all about the mindset though. And don't feel ashamed at how you think the teachers view you. The teachers know exactly what it's like and they've seen ALL KINDS of students... some who do great the first time and some who have to re-do things 100 times. Everyone is different. The teachers are used to that. They don't care. What they really care about is you getting back up, trying again, and never giving up. Now that's something the teachers adore.
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    Everyone freaks out about skill test-outs and many folks end up having to retest on one or many skills and go on to become fine nurses.
    molls4 likes this.
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    Believe me I'm not laughing about taking a long time to get those pre req's done, lol!

    I see it as a sign of persistence, a quality you will definitely need in nursing school!

    As a fellow academic perfectionist - I can say it will greatly increase your chances of staying sane if you ease up on yourself when you need to repeat a task or all of your work is not 10/10 first time, and every time . . .especially if you have kids. Not getting yourself in a knot of worry will help you be able to smile at them more often.

    I remember once being so stressed out over a paper due one of my kids tapped my arm as I sat at the computer -- I turned and said "what???" with a tone and expression that caused the little face to register a look of horror. I felt so bad about it - but I vowed to loosen up on myself!
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    Hold your head up high and keep moving forward. I made a huge mistake on my med admin check-off in first semester: I was checking off with a very intimidating 4th semester instructor and I dropped all of the meds all over the floor. Whoopsie! That same instructor ended up being my cliniucal instructor in Med-surg. I have since earned her respsect and I havn't done anything tooooo stupid ever since. One of the things I have learned is confidence is everything. Fake it til you make it. If you're super nervous, calm yourself down and try to focus on the first thing you need to do. Usually the rest will follow.
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    LOL, I'm 43 going back to school since 1988, so I'm laughing with you . As long as you pass your skill check on the second (or third, or whatever your school gives you), you're good. Don't stress over it too much. Just keep practicing and you'll gain more confidence.
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    Ahh...the school way vs the real way. Just tough through it. Skills will fall by the wayside. To me, skills was all memorization of the steps and hitting the highlights. Have confidence in what you do and act like it is no big deal. If you slip up, the teacher rarely questions the confident students. The people who pause at every step cause concern by the teacher and watch much closer.
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    My advice. Ease up on yourself. I'm 45 with 2 teenagers (and a very patient husband) and mid-2nd year nursing. Up until this semester, I was mostly A's and a few B's, as well as trying to be super mom/super wife. It caught up with me and I'm at the tail end of a super-meltdown - 'really just staggering into the end of semester now. We put so much in to it because we have had to juggle so much to have this opportunity at our age. I've just got my first C & D this semester and it hasn't killed me or ruined my chances of going forward into next semester. I've been told by more than one RN that we will be so much more valuable because of our life experiences and in the long run, maintaining that A average is not going to matter one jot when it comes to getting a job. Go well.
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    Quote from wismommy
    I am a bit of a perfectionist and set high goals for myself, but I m worried about how my instructors view me now after this. I get nervous during skills exams (fear of failure) and need some advice!
    As an instructor, I can tell you how I would view you. I would see you as:

    Human
    Still learning
    Determined

    I fear you may be intimidated during skills check-offs., viewing it as something out to get you. I want all my students to succeed, but they won't always, just as I won't always succeed.

    In my unit, I am the one they ask to do the difficult IV starts. However, the other day, I just COULD NOT get the IV started! It was not my day. You will still have those days after 20 years as a nurse.

    All you can really do is practice until you feel fluent in the skill. Understand why you didn't pass & keep practicing. Have a friend watch you & criticize your performance. Most of all, keep going. Did you learn from your mistakes? I bet you did. The scary nurse is not the one who is imperfect, it is the one who thinks they are already perfect.

    Tell yourself what you would tell your wn kids: tomorrow is another day, brush yourself off & keep going. You wouldn't think badly of your child for making mistakes, so learn from your own and keep going.
    nursel56 likes this.


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