I'm a nursing student in my 3rd year, will graduate with my RN degree in 2012 if everything goes as planned. The problem is, I don't know if everything should
go as planned. In high school, I easily got good grades, so I got used to not really studying for anything. Unfortunately, that habit has continued into university. I cram for my exams instead of doing the assigned readings throughout the semester. I know I'm not learning what I need to be learning to be a good nurse. I'm not going to be competent when I graduate in 2 more years. I decided to buckle down and really do my readings and learn what I'm supposed to be learning this semester, but it's such a busy semester, that I'm just trying to keep my head above water, like every semester before this one.
I know I need to do something about this. And I know I don't have enough time to go back and learn what I was supposed to learn in the past 2 years at the same time as trying to learn the new stuff during the semesters. I'm considering taking a year off after I finish this school year in April (i.e. delay starting my 4th and final year for a year) to work as a care aide or something in a nursing home to get more basic experience and be able to pay rent while diving into the textbooks and trying to learn what I'm supposed to know. (In Canada nursing students can get jobs as care aides and such.) But I don't know if I'm brave and determined enough to do that. Here's something horrible: if my clinical instructor failed me (meaning I would have to re-do this course, which would mean I wouldn't be in school next semester, giving me time to study as I want to), I would thank her. I would be relieved. Because I know I'm not going to be competent when I graduate, unless I take time off to study.
You may reassure me and tell me that everyone is nervous and feels incompetent when they first graduate. There are lots of posts on allnurses.com about this topic. But there are also posts that are rants about incompetent nurses you've had to work with, who are a danger to the patients. That's who I would be. I think one of the biggest things I need to learn is pharmacology. I don't have any of the drug families memorized. (In our pharmacology class, we were taught to memorize the drug families, since there are so many individual drugs out there, it's impossible to memorize all of them, but if you know the families, you'll be okay). I don't know them at all - I can't tell you what a Beta-blocker or ACE inhibitor are, for instance. And I know this is bad.
So... any advice? I guess I'm looking more for validation than advice, actually. I've talked to a few nursing profs and other nurses I know, and they all tell me I'm just nervous and everyone is and I'll be fine. But I hope I've explained clearly enough in my post that I'm really not going to be fine. I guess I'm looking for someone to agree with me and give me the kick in the pants that I need to take the year off or whatever to study and catch up to where I'm supposed to be at.