OMG I may have a nervous breakdown...

  1. 2
    First of all, hello to you all. For the past 2-evenings I've been reading the posts here and have come across so much valuable information already. Thank God for this site. I might be visiting it often in the months to come.

    A little about me... I just turned 40 a few months ago. I'm married and have a 14-yr-old daughter. I worked as a medical transcriptionist for 12-years up until June 2007 when I finally quit to start school full-time working towards an ADN. (I've always wanted to be in nursing but could never afford to go to school until now). I took 11 classes at our local community college which included all of the pre-req's and also some additional psych classes (which I loved). I was a little worried about how I'd do going back to school after so many years, but I did terrific and have a GPA of 3.75. In August 2008, I applied for the RN program and was told that I'd probably be accepted for the January 2010 class, but they couldn't guarantee it because it's a very competitive program and with my lower GPA, higher GPA's would be considered first. So.... after about $8,000.00 already paid to them for the classes I already took (and with no guarantee of even getting into the program), I decided to apply to our local CTC school for the LPN program. By September I had already taken the NET and was registered to start LPN school in January.

    So I pay the $200.00 registration fee, $179.00 for uniforms, $500.00 for books, and take out a $10,000.00 student loan. I'm so excited and can't wait to start.

    Along comes January... school starts the 5th. (Class is M-F 8-3). And OMG! I was so unprepared.

    Day one - orientation - starts with dividing the students (75 total) into 2-classes. Then an all day lecture about the rules and regulations. It's an adult class, but since we are in a CTC with high-school students, we have to follow all the rules of the high-school students, seriously - bathroom passes and cell-phone useage. The instructors don't even look at us when they talk - they talk at us. They treat us like we're beneath them. The "head-honcho" director of the nursing program tells us that only 40% of this class will make it to the end of level I and that since so many will be gone, both classes will be able to merge into one by the time level II starts. WHY tell us that???? OMG. Is it that hard? You mean only 4 out of the 10 people around me are actually going to make it to the next level? They tell us that if we fail this level, that our student loans won't pay for it because we failed and we'll have to pay for it ourselves with another type of loan. WHAT??? They tell us that "they" decide if we pass or fail - NOT just the scantrons. They tell us that even if we do great on the scantrons, we might do bad in clinicals and they'll fail us for the whole level if we do. WHAT?? Told us that if we were sick, we'd automatically get 10 points deducted from our test/quiz. If we were late, we'd get locked out of the room and get points deducted. If we were caught with a cell phone on us or in our handbag during a test, we'd automatically get a 0 and be dismissed from class. I went home the first night in shock. I thought this was going to be a great experience - but the first day was just so negative, to say the least. I felt like I was in military school or prison.

    The week goes on and my nerves were shot already. I just couldn't seem to relax and get my head together. Everyday people were already getting written up for things (with points taken off their final grade) - things like wrinkled uniforms (we sit in class all day with no clinicals until March so nobody sees us), too large post earrings, hair not short enough, etc. These rules weren't even ligitimate rules in the handbook either! That particular instructor made them up. ?? We have to wear custom ordered white pants and a white zippered shirt with a white apron - we sit all day and of course it's gonna get wrinkled. God. I felt like I was constantly on edge about having wrinkled pants! All this and then they're piling the work on and talking to us like we're idiots. We had a test on a chapter that we didn't even review in class. The powerpoint was broke, so we didn't even have a presentation. We had to do all of our homework every night and it was checked every morning. If it wasn't completed in full, we got a 0. (sometimes it's kinda hard to do 6 pages of homework every night when you have 3 tests the next day that don't even pertain to that homework). The first Friday, we had to memorize over 150 medical words and were tested on them. I did ok on that test though and also the A&P test - amazingly.

    By the end of the week, I was sicker than could be. My nerves, and apparently a stomach virus, got the best of me. I made a doctors appt and my bp and pulse were both sky high. I had diarrhea so bad I wouldn't dare to cough - especially in my white pants OMG! I had my period and was flooding. I hadn't slept more than 4 hours a night for the past week and felt like I was losing my mind. They put me on bp meds and lexapro - which I'd never been on before in my 40-yrs.

    The second week comes and I'm drained. We had 7-tests that week. Monday was the first nursing foundations test. I bombed it. Only 6 out of 33 people passed it with a 75% or above. The instructor reviewed it with us and made it sound like we didn't know how to take tests and that's why we failed it. The questions were so tricky and were about stuff that we didn't even review or that I never even heard of. She just kept saying she went over all this in class and we should've known the answers. Come on. If it was all stuff she went over, then more than 6 people would've passed it. Stupid. Tuesday and Wednesday were just as bad. I came home every night and studied and cried. I felt so bad and since we had 7-tests that week, I couldn't call in sick (even with a doctors excuse) because they'd deduct points from my grade. I felt sooooooo hopeless.

    Thursday I had no option but to call in sick. I had diarrhea pouring out of me and my stomach was just churning and churning. I had 2-tests that day and an oral presentation and there was no way it was gonna happen. So, by me calling in sick, I automatically got 30-points taken off.

    Friday I withdrew. I was still sick and would've missed 2-more tests that day, so I really had no choice because I would've failed anyway and would've had to repay $3500.00 for failing.

    So, I re-enrolled for the evening class (longer and less crammed together). Maybe I'm totally crazy!? I don't know. It's the only way I could roll over the $1800.00 I owed them onto my student loan. I just feel so uncertain now. I have until May to decide. I never even thought for a second that it would be like this. I'm not a complainer and have been through some tough jobs and bosses in my life. I've always adapted and never had a problem. I didn't expect to be treated like a pathetic loser and talked to like I'm 5 years old. College was a piece of cake compared to this! The instructors were nice and didn't try to trick you. If you were sick (which I never was), you'd just take the test when you came back with no points deducted. I mean, I'm paying them! They're not paying me.

    I just don't understand any of it. Maybe it's the school? Maybe all schools are like this? What rights do we as students have? Any? What if we do great on the tests but a nasty instructor says she didn't like the way you did your clinicals and fails you? What right do you have? There's a lot of money involved here - money that my family can't afford to waste because some instructor doesn't like the way you did something or because your uniform was wrinkled.

    Sorry this is so long. I'm so confused and bewildered with everything.

    Thanks kindly for listening as I rambled on. Geez.

    Marie
    sblivefree and nelliethenurse2B like this.
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  4. 25 Comments so far...

  5. 1
    Well, I'm not sure I know exactly what to say. Every school is different. My first week wasn't that intense but I have read some posts on here that were pretty similar to yours. What I can say is this....the anxiety level the first week is horrific. NS is a different kind of learning and a different kind of education. I dont think you can really compare it to pre-reqs at all. I did OK the first week of my first semester however, the first week of this semester really got the best of me. I called my Dr. for something to help my anxiety. She talked me out of it explaining that "just make it through the first week or two, if you still need something I'll give it to you". Fair enough. I haven't called her back for it....yet.

    Like I said NS is like no other, that coupled with the anxiety of starting something new can be very overwhelming. My guess is that they will lighten up in the next few weeks and you will fall into a routine. Hang in there...if this is what you truly want, YOU CAN DO THIS!!! Although, this isn't fact, my theory is the instructors TRY to break people the first week or so, to see how is really dedicated. Don't let them get the best of you. Like I said, you can do this!!!
    NiteOwlinPa likes this.
  6. 1
    It is the same in my school as well - to the T! From the 10 point deductions if absent to the "being locked out if late". My school is VERY strict. And we were told the "most will fail" line too. And it is sadly true in my school. Last year, 30 students for the LPN program began and at the end THREE graduated. Yes, 3!!!!! 1/10 of the class. They were very mean and degrading during orientation as well - So much so that 2 students left and dis-enrolled because of the degradation that occurred during orientation. I walked out of there shaking like most students. But, it is all a game, really...They are like that to weed out the weak so to speak. Because the program is hard, nursing is hard...I don't agree with the way they go about beating the weakness out of you though. It is like boot camp! I just try to ignore it and try my best....So far it is working. I began Jan. 5th as well and have seen enough this past month for anyone in their right mind to go head for the hills, but I just keep at the books. 3 more students dropped out last week. So from 30 we are now at 25 already..... They said to expect 15 to fail/drop out by the end of the first semester. Oh, and they said the same thing about still owing the $ if failing, and believe you me I am not going to fail and owe $23,000 - yeah, right! That is BS!!!

    Well, off to the books...lol...Good luck!! You are not alone in the boot camp attitude
    NiteOwlinPa likes this.
  7. 11
    Oh Sweety, I really wish you would have just went to your director and talked to here about your anxiety, I bet she would have listened and you would have been able to hang in there a few more weeks, it would have gotton so much better

    I am 44 decided to go to NS, I started this past August, and our classes are 8-3 at the local High School. We have 4 Instructors, each with totally different techniques on teaching. First day we had 50 students, ages ranging from 19-52, and like you orientation was all about the rules.

    No cell phones, we are only allowed to miss a total of 70 hours during the whole year, and 1 minute late equals a 15 minute time deduction, 16 minutes late equals a 30 minute time deduction. (doesn't take long to add up.) Miss a test or quiz, had to be made up within 2 days of your return, and there is a 3% deduction and it has to be done in essay form.

    Sad but true 1/3 - 1/2 of the class does fail out. (We are down to 34 students with 6 months left to go.) (A score of 77% is failing)

    The first 10 Weeks were so intense... Usually 6-8 test per week, or as many as 4 differant subjects. Most test were between 50 - 75 questions each. I went to school came home ate, and studied anywhere from another 4-6 hours miminum and even as many as 8 if I needed to. Then spent the majority of my weekend studying as well. (I was litterally a NS Zombie)

    Week 11- 16 Got a little easier, by then you knew the instructors and they knew you, and the load, still heavy, seemed a little easier, you knew what to study, figured out that everything builds on everything else, and everything that you were learning is going to pretty much be covered again and we were starting clinical rotations.

    Then we had the holidays, had a few breaks, time to unwind, catch up with friends and family, and start the 2nd term. The beginng of 2nd term, We were down to 34 students, and we had our capping ceremony, I am 3rd in the class with a 94%.

    Now, we are doing basically 1 class per month, going to class 2 days and Clinicals 3 days, we have to do clinical paper work every week, and have 2-3 test per week, but all the stress is gone.

    The majority of the people that are left will go on to make great nurses.


    1. The reason that they told you all of that stuff during orientation is because it was true. NS is tough, (not hard) but tough, it takes alot of dedication, and time management. It is very fast paced and there is zero time for anything else. You have to stay on top of everything, and not get behind. Basically you dedicate your life for 1 year. Nothing else exist.

    2. Missing class is not an option, it is too fast paced, even being sick, you have to at least try to go in and take the test, then go home knowing what is expected of you the next day, get home a figure out a way to get it done.

    3. Cell phones are distracting during lecture, and its very easy to text answers during a test. (Not that you would do that, but some people would and do)There is no place for them in a class room, If we are expecting an important call, we give the director our phone, and when it comes she lets us know. Otherwise, we leave them in our mailbox, or car.

    4. The test are not really tricky, they are just different! It is not the instructors desire for you to fail out, they want you to pass, and the test are designed to prepare you for the NCLEX. Most people don't do well on the first few test, and the instructors know that, but there are sooooooooo many test that doing poorly on the first 10 doesn't necessarily mean you are going to fail the class. You are in school you are "LEARNING". In NS you are learning to think in a critical way. As a nurse, decisions will be based on your "thinking" and those decision will effect a patients life.

    5. Failing out due to clinicals, Ya know, some people are great when it comes to the books, but never adapt people skills, or decided to get into the nursing because they think they will make alot of money. Then they realize that they don't like to "wipe ass" or "touch feet" or they just can't get the hang of the importance of being sterile, or getting an accurate blood pressure.
    On the flip side of that there are people who barely pass the books, and are Fantastic with patient care. So it is very important to pass both aspects of NS.

    6. We only have to wear uniforms to clinicals, but the Jewelry can pose as a danger at the clinicals, you wouldn't want a Patient pulling out your earrings or breaking your necklace. I keep my hair in a clip. I think they are perhaps overly stressing the importance of staying clean and well groomed. Infection control is a big issue in hospitals, and they want you to live and breath it.

    I'll say it again, that the instructors do not want to see anyone fail out of class, if reflects very poorly on not only them as an instructor, but also the school (what is their NCLEX pass rate?)

    Think about this.. Every time a student misses a test, the instructor has to create a new test, in essay form, and then find the time in 48 hours to proctor the test, and make sure that that student doesn't miss anything important, while taking the test. (Not always easy to do)
    Also think about clinical time, This has to be scheduled months in advance, there are only so many spots, for 75 students to actually get to learn hands on, so it has to be broken down into groups and only so many students per group. If a student misses clinicals, it has to be made up, and its just not that easy to do. The director has to either try and find room in another group, or try to get the facility to give them another shift, usually on an evening, then find and pay another instructor to proctor the shift, on their scheduled time off. This is not easy. They have these rules in place, so people will only miss when they absolutely have to.

    Therefore, the first few months is a weeding out process, not everyone is cut out for nursing. Not everyone is will to make the sacrifices that have to be made.

    When you are working as a nurse, you will have several different patients, will different diagnoses and you will have to switch gears with zero notice. Not everyone will be nice to you, people will talk down to you, there will be rules that you don't like or agree with. There will be STRESS!. You will hear things, see things and smell things that you will not like, but you will also make a difference in someones life.......

    I truely hope everything works out for you, and I hope that I have given you a little insite to the madness of LPN school, and you will start in the spring with a little more understanding. It truely isn't that bad, its just demanding but so is nursing.

    Good Luck :heartbeat

    J.Q.





  8. 1
    Hi Marie,
    My school is exactly the same. I started on Jan. 8th and it's getting harder every day. You cannot miss one word or assignment without falling behind and we haven't even started pharmacology. They are definitely weeding out the weak. I'm sure being a nurse is an intense job, so this will get us ready. Hang in there, if you really want it, you will do it...
    NiteOwlinPa likes this.
  9. 2
    Quote from WhoNeedsaShot?
    Oh Sweety, I really wish you would have just went to your director and talked to here about your anxiety, I bet she would have listened and you would have been able to hang in there a few more weeks, it would have gotton so much better

    I am 44 decided to go to NS, I started this past August, and our classes are 8-3 at the local High School. We have 4 Instructors, each with totally different techniques on teaching. First day we had 50 students, ages ranging from 19-52, and like you orientation was all about the rules.

    No cell phones, we are only allowed to miss a total of 70 hours during the whole year, and 1 minute late equals a 15 minute time deduction, 16 minutes late equals a 30 minute time deduction. (doesn't take long to add up.) Miss a test or quiz, had to be made up within 2 days of your return, and there is a 3% deduction and it has to be done in essay form.

    Sad but true 1/3 - 1/2 of the class does fail out. (We are down to 34 students with 6 months left to go.) (A score of 77% is failing)

    The first 10 Weeks were so intense... Usually 6-8 test per week, or as many as 4 differant subjects. Most test were between 50 - 75 questions each. I went to school came home ate, and studied anywhere from another 4-6 hours miminum and even as many as 8 if I needed to. Then spent the majority of my weekend studying as well. (I was litterally a NS Zombie)

    Week 11- 16 Got a little easier, by then you knew the instructors and they knew you, and the load, still heavy, seemed a little easier, you knew what to study, figured out that everything builds on everything else, and everything that you were learning is going to pretty much be covered again and we were starting clinical rotations.

    Then we had the holidays, had a few breaks, time to unwind, catch up with friends and family, and start the 2nd term. The beginng of 2nd term, We were down to 34 students, and we had our capping ceremony, I am 3rd in the class with a 94%.

    Now, we are doing basically 1 class per month, going to class 2 days and Clinicals 3 days, we have to do clinical paper work every week, and have 2-3 test per week, but all the stress is gone.

    The majority of the people that are left will go on to make great nurses.


    1. The reason that they told you all of that stuff during orientation is because it was true. NS is tough, (not hard) but tough, it takes alot of dedication, and time management. It is very fast paced and there is zero time for anything else. You have to stay on top of everything, and not get behind. Basically you dedicate your life for 1 year. Nothing else exist.

    2. Missing class is not an option, it is too fast paced, even being sick, you have to at least try to go in and take the test, then go home knowing what is expected of you the next day, get home a figure out a way to get it done.

    3. Cell phones are distracting during lecture, and its very easy to text answers during a test. (Not that you would do that, but some people would and do)There is no place for them in a class room, If we are expecting an important call, we give the director our phone, and when it comes she lets us know. Otherwise, we leave them in our mailbox, or car.

    4. The test are not really tricky, they are just different! It is not the instructors desire for you to fail out, they want you to pass, and the test are designed to prepare you for the NCLEX. Most people don't do well on the first few test, and the instructors know that, but there are sooooooooo many test that doing poorly on the first 10 doesn't necessarily mean you are going to fail the class. You are in school you are "LEARNING". In NS you are learning to think in a critical way. As a nurse, decisions will be based on your "thinking" and those decision will effect a patients life.

    5. Failing out due to clinicals, Ya know, some people are great when it comes to the books, but never adapt people skills, or decided to get into the nursing because they think they will make alot of money. Then they realize that they don't like to "wipe ass" or "touch feet" or they just can't get the hang of the importance of being sterile, or getting an accurate blood pressure.
    On the flip side of that there are people who barely pass the books, and are Fantastic with patient care. So it is very important to pass both aspects of NS.

    6. We only have to wear uniforms to clinicals, but the Jewelry can pose as a danger at the clinicals, you wouldn't want a Patient pulling out your earrings or breaking your necklace. I keep my hair in a clip. I think they are perhaps overly stressing the importance of staying clean and well groomed. Infection control is a big issue in hospitals, and they want you to live and breath it.

    I'll say it again, that the instructors do not want to see anyone fail out of class, if reflects very poorly on not only them as an instructor, but also the school (what is their NCLEX pass rate?)

    Think about this.. Every time a student misses a test, the instructor has to create a new test, in essay form, and then find the time in 48 hours to proctor the test, and make sure that that student doesn't miss anything important, while taking the test. (Not always easy to do)
    Also think about clinical time, This has to be scheduled months in advance, there are only so many spots, for 75 students to actually get to learn hands on, so it has to be broken down into groups and only so many students per group. If a student misses clinicals, it has to be made up, and its just not that easy to do. The director has to either try and find room in another group, or try to get the facility to give them another shift, usually on an evening, then find and pay another instructor to proctor the shift, on their scheduled time off. This is not easy. They have these rules in place, so people will only miss when they absolutely have to.

    Therefore, the first few months is a weeding out process, not everyone is cut out for nursing. Not everyone is will to make the sacrifices that have to be made.

    When you are working as a nurse, you will have several different patients, will different diagnoses and you will have to switch gears with zero notice. Not everyone will be nice to you, people will talk down to you, there will be rules that you don't like or agree with. There will be STRESS!. You will hear things, see things and smell things that you will not like, but you will also make a difference in someones life.......

    I truely hope everything works out for you, and I hope that I have given you a little insite to the madness of LPN school, and you will start in the spring with a little more understanding. It truely isn't that bad, its just demanding but so is nursing.

    Good Luck :heartbeat

    J.Q.




    She couldn't have said it better! NS will have you looking like this especially for the first few months, but stick it out and it'll get better, or so I am told...:bowingpur
    NiteOwlinPa and WhoNeedsaShot? like this.
  10. 1
    Ahh the big mind control starts with the first day and week of nursing school.
    Our school we had to line up for inspection. No hair on collar, no jewelery (except for the watch with the second hand), small amount of makeup OK, clean shoes, right length on the uniform, no wrinkles. If you didnt pass you didnt work on the floors and had to make up your time. The did tell us that a certain percentage of students would not make it . They were correct. We did have students fail or drop out. It was like boot camp in a way. I think I was younger when I started so some of the stuff I was able to let go as I really wanted to be a nurse and their scare tatics were part of the training. The floor nurses treated us like dirt and we had to pass trays. However, passing trays was a real learning experience. As there were patients who were really NPO and there was not communication regrading the status. Some patients were ordered the wrong diets. I made it a learning experience. As we know the difference between eating and not eating can cause havoc in a scheduled procedure.
    Anyway, nursing in stressful and you have to learn how to handle the stress of it all. What to let go. What is this experience trying to teach me. Have faith in yourself. Some of these tactics will make you a stronger person. It is a shame there is no love to share in starting nursing school. Also some of the teaching techniques you may not agree with but heck learn as much as you can and through out the BS. Some people have huge egos and have to throw their egos stuff around but if you have the strength hang in there. There is so much to learn in nursing school and beyond. There should have been some counselor you could have spoken with to vent and discuss your feelings.
    Best of luck to you
    Paddlelady
    NiteOwlinPa likes this.
  11. 1
    i find it so funny that so many people have had the same experiences, with controllin teachers, tryin to make you crap your pants! i understand wanting to weed out the weak, but let that happen with grades- not by having power trips! i dont think i could have worded everything everyone else said any better-
    but the good news is, if you suck it up, do what your suppose to and pass your tests, then in x amount of months, your graduating! i felt like it was kinda like being hazed- but i just wanted this so basly that i shutup and took it, kinda dissappointed myself honestly. we had one drop out the 3rd day....40 started, there are only 32 now left- with the first semester cuts and all. the teachers did get much nicer, they wanted to help you learn it, not just pass the tests, and i think they base that on whether or not the student prepares, studies and truly wants it- isnt just there because they needed something to do and figured that hey, why not give it a try- and by the way, most of those people are gone now- you have to want it, and i do- no matter what it takes. but if it comes down to you having anxiety attacks-like severe ones, not ones that come along with ns-making you drop out and reenroll into the night program, based on the teachers, not you not being able to process that amount of info in such a short time- then i think its time to respectfully discuss it with your instructor- see what they say. one of my instructors were so intimidating that a number of people confronted her privatley, and she didnt even no she was doing it- she apoogized and had even said that in all previous years she had never been looked at like that- it kinda upset her but she was glad that soemoen said something since she herself hadnt seen it... anywho, this problem may not go away, esp if they are also the nite instructors, talk to them as an adult and express your concerns! and goodluck!
    NiteOwlinPa likes this.
  12. 3
    whoneedsashotsaid? that was a perfect post.:bowingpur My school is the opposite of the original poster. The students come late all the time. Have cellphones going off. Texting in class my Lvn program is a joke. We are in our last semester and some students can't even take a B/P let alone know what b/P is they dont even know the blood flow of the heart. I would only let 2 students out of my whole class take care of me or my loved ones. I can see why schools are tough you are dealing with peolpes lives but my school doesnt seem to understand. All they understand is $$$$$
  13. 0
    Thanks so much to all of you who have posted a reply regarding my nervous breakdown. It helps so much to know that I'm not the only one who has felt like this. I wish I would've known school was going to be so crazy BEFORE I started. I was so naive. I guess I'm just not used to being treated like an idiot and ignored when I speak to someone - that was really hard to adjust to. Now I know though and when I go back, I think I'm gonna look at it in a totally different light. Till then, I'll be reading ahead and studying what I can so that at least the first month won't be so crazy for me. Thanks kindly again!

    Marie


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