(Now please bear with me, because I just got off work and I am really tired).....
God love you truthsayer. I feel so bad for you right now because it seems like your upperclassman are not very good role models. I just wrote an email to a soon to be nursing student who had some of the same kinds of things said to her and I have to say that its all *crap*. I don't know what it is that makes people want to make others feel like they can't succeed. I mean, I see that sooooo much. People just talk about how hard everything is, and how much time you'll have to devote, and how you'll have no other life to speak of, and just how much everything will suck for you. Why can't people just say, "You know what, you're going to do great! Relax, don't be nervous, take your time, enjoy the experience, you're going to be fine. You're going to make a great nurse." I guess that wouldn't give them as much joy as they get from making people feel anxious and scared.
I can't speak on the racism part of things, but as for the marriage and family part, let me just say this: If a couple has a weak marriage, well just about anything is bound to make it weaker. Right? I mean it doesn't take any stress at all to do harm to a marriage that is not strong. On ther other hand, a marriage that is in good shape is not going to be shaken by nursing school. That is just ridiculous. The key is always remembering your priorities. Though nursing school educators may like to make it seem different, the priorities are 1) God; 2) family; & then 3) school. A person who puts those priorities in any different order is bound to have trouble. And as for "family" being staff and other students, well that is also B.S. I know who my family is, and the last time I took a head count, none of my nursing professors or classmates was included in my family. If I can't claim them on my taxes, they are not my family
Sure, some things will fall by the wayside. Clothes may not be ironed, dishes may not be done, floors may not be mopped, but so what...those are not very important things in the grand scheme.
Don't let horror stories frighten you. I mean this is nursing, and some bad things are going to happen from time to time. You knew that right? Re: the patient that escaped from his restraints and jumped out the window - that is sad. I don't know what else to say about that other than sad things are going to happen. I mean, we can look at these situations and learn from them, and that is all we can do ex post facto.
Lastly, the skills you'll be doing really aren't that hard. I know that they seem that way at first, because you get so worried about performing them exactly right in front of the instructor, but they are really pretty simple. No one feels totally comfortable with them though until they actually perform them for the first time on a real patient. You know what I mean? Doing trach care on a dummy in the lab is one thing, but after the first time you do it in the clinical setting on a real live person you'll feel totally comfortable and you'll never forget what you need to do.
Let me just end with this: You will do fine truthsayer! You will make it through nursing school with mind, body, and soul intact. Keep your priorities straight, while always keeping your eye on the prize. You will make a great nurse!!