Terrified to graduate in May...

  1. 5
    As the first day of my last semester of my ADN program draws near, I'm suddenly struck with a feeling of intense fear about graduating. Do I/will I know enough? Will I be a good nurse? Am I tough enough for the job? Should I scramble here at the last minute to get a CNA job until I'm licensed so that I gain more confidence and experience? I've just realized that nursing school has FLOWN by and I'm kind of wondering when that happened. Maybe after a month-long winter break I'm just getting stir-crazy and need to get back into my routine. I definitely need some work in the confidence department, but I know that much of that just comes with time. I wish I'd been working part-time as a CNA this whole time, but my family and I have been trying to spend time with my father who is currently in hospice care slowly getting worse with cancer. I want to be able to be there for him, yet I feel like I've been slacking off by not doing the CNA thing (i've actually been unemployed this whole time). Any advice for a super anxious soon-to-be grad? Tips for confidence building or stress management? Thanks so much in advance, and sorry if I'm rambling and slightly neurotic-sounding.
    kywoodrd, jnichox2, Lola Lou, and 2 others like this.
  2. 25 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    I didn't think you were rambling LOL I can tell your freaking out though. Really ALDsn14 we all were and are feeling the same as you do now. It's going to always be that way when your starting a new part of your life soon and you don't know what to expect. I mean I'm anxious/Nervous because I'm going to be an official nurse soon. I freaking out if I'm going to do everything right timely manner (what if I forget something???) so its normal and your going to be a dawg on GOOD nurse!!! Oh also its actually good you didn't work as a CNA because your mind is able to be geared up exactly like a nurse instead of having to throw out the aide thinking and trying to transition your thinking process. Congrats you almost done!
  4. 3
    Take a breath and know that being nervous/freaking out is actually pretty much normal no matter HOW prepared/ready you may feel to graduate and be out there worling under your own license. A couple of things...sometime in this last semester you should have a preceptorship time, a time when you are one-on-one with an experienced nurse. Figure out the top 5 things you are MOST uncomfortable with before you head into that time with your experienced nurse and then ask for advice/instrution on how to do those things well and then take every chance you can to do those things; while you nurse buddy watches. For example, if you are really worried about getting a patient that is connected to tons of wires out of bed then tell your nurse this, watch how she does it, take notes and then do it over and over again. If IV starts give you the willies, claim this, express it and then practice it over and over again in this last semester. If you are afraid to take care of a dying person; same thing. Tell your preceptor and ask for advice then practice. You will gain confidence as you do it over and over. Most stuff doesnt actually take that long to get the hang of, and lots of stuff we make bigger than it actually is because we want to be a 'perfect' nurse. I get it, I was freaked out about turning a patient with a hip fracture to clean them so I actually volunteered to clean every patient on the floor(even those that were not mine)in my 2nd semester when I was on an ortho floor. After 5 weeks of it I got it...not the most fun thing but guess who has tons of confidence cleaning immobilized patients now? This gal!

    IF you were not a little nervous about leaving the safety of school I would be more concerned than I am about you expressing some fear/anxiety.


    I would not rush to get a CNA job at this point with all you have going on and with the last semester here; unless you think you want to work where there after school. I promise you will become so comfy with all these things you are worried about now in short order this last semester if you will examine how you feel so you can claim them then ask for help now, while you have a preceptor.


    Last thought here..you will not be 'thrown to the wolves' once you get out in the 'real world'. Your employer will not ask you to do things you are not comfortable doing; especially when it comes to patient safety, you know? So do not spend your energy worrying. Instead, have an awesome last semester and spend time with your pops.


    Best thoughts your way-
  5. 9
    {{{{{Hugs}}}}}

    Aw, sweetie, you're freaking out because you take nursing seriously, you take your responsibilities seriously, you don't have an over-inflated sense of your skills and abilities. In other words, you sound like any other about-to-graduate nurse with potential. When you get hired you'll have orientation, you'll have preceptor, there will be senior nurses to turn to.

    I felt just like you when I graduated in 1974. I survived and I became a very good nurse. You will, too.
    WaitingonMyMoment, MedLove, GrnTea, and 6 others like this.
  6. 0
    The most important thing here is that you should not feel guilty for spending time with your sick father. You can never get back the time lost that could have been spent with loved ones but you have your whole nursing career ahead of you to learn and become a better nurse.

    It was this time last year that I was in your exact shoes. It actually makes me laugh because I can remember asking me mom (who is also a nurse) “How is it ok that new graduates should be allowed to be responsible for another person's life?”. I could not wrap my head around the fact that even after all of my schooling I was actually ready to care for patients on my own. Do you have any sort of senior nurse partnership/preceptorship/internship that your school requires of you on top of your regular clinicals? This is the point in my last semester when things started to make sense to me. The nursing book world began to align with the nursing real world.

    You have to remind yourself that you are not going to just be thrown out there on the floor to care for a full patient load on the first day. You will orient with another nurse and if your facility is responsible they will not end your orientation until you are safely ready to practice on your own. I have been working on my own for 3 months now. I am constantly asking my manager and other trusted nurses questions throughout the day. It is obvious which co workers are willing or unwilling to help and educate new nurses. On your first day begin finding nurses who you can trust and who have a good work ethic for you to learn from. Take it one day at a time and ask a million questions!!!


    Graduating and facing the real nursing world is scary but once you begin developing a system of practice through repetition and experience you will quickly see that you can do it! Good luck and congratulations on reaching your last semester of nursing school!
  7. 0
    Like everyone else has said - your father comes first. I have not worked as a cna either. I took the class but did not take the test. I took care of my dad for 7 years and would do it again in a heart beat. I too am nervous to graduate in May.
  8. 2
    I'm of the opinion that the value of CNA for a wannabe nurse is greatly overrated.

    For sure I think you've made the right choice in spending the hospice months with your dad... been there, done that (x2)... and missed much time with my mom because I was traveling overseas on a regular basis. My last conversation with her was on the phone from Schiphol airport and I missed some wonderful family time toward the end.

    Relax, get the NCLEX done, and hustle yourself up a job.
    GrnTea and Retired APRN like this.
  9. 1
    OP, I assume the picture you chose as your avatar sums up how you are feeling in your last semester. All I want to do is pick you up and hug you. There will be some sense of fear as you leave the comfort of school behind and move into your field with hope you will do well. You won't know everything because NS only taught us a small amount in such a big field. The real-world working experience is where we learn how to be nurses. Everyday will be a learning experience and being a great nurse includes asking many questions, taking constructive criticisms, and being receptive to learning from your fellow colleagues.

    First things first, good luck with graduating and passing the NCLEX!
    Retired APRN likes this.
  10. 0
    Quote from NURSEKI
    .......Oh also its actually good you didn't work as a CNA because your mind is able to be geared up exactly like a nurse instead of having to throw out the aide thinking and trying to transition your thinking process. Congrats you almost done!

    REALLY? Being a nurse tech has helped me sooooo much in my BSN program. Funny how you say that, yet other aides, cna's, pca's (titles differ), laugh to ourselves at the other nursing students who were "never aides", when we listen to some of the questions that are asked in class. I will NEVER forget an older classmate of mine in his early 50's asked our pharm instructor, "Would there be a doctor in the ER to ask questions about a medication?" And, no this was not a joke. He was serious. Seriously??? Yeah, a future nurse. Now, ask an aide the same question......


    To the OP, do not take a job as a CNA. Focus on finishing up your last semester of school. Spend as much time as you can with your father and your family. Wishing you and your family the best.

    It's almost over. Sending you an early "Congratulations!!!!"
  11. 0
    Quote from brianna1
    REALLY? Being a nurse tech has helped me sooooo much in my BSN program. Funny how you say that, yet other aides, cna's, pca's (titles differ), laugh to ourselves at the other nursing students who were "never aides", when we listen to some of the questions that are asked in class.
    I can only speak from my personal experience but I don't think I missed out on anything by never having worked as a CNA prior to becoming a nurse at the age of 45.
    I will NEVER forget an older classmate of mine in his early 50's asked our pharm instructor, "Would there be a doctor in the ER to ask questions about a medication?" And, no this was not a joke. He was serious. Seriously??? Yeah, a future nurse. Now, ask an aide the same question......
    Hmm. Well, my answer - as an ED nurse for 3+ years - is "usually... and sometimes there's even a pharmacist around for that purpose."


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top