Going back to Nursing School - Fearful of failing again

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I am considering going back to school to become an RN. I went into nursing school right out of high school, but I don't think I was as prepared as I feel like I am now at 30. I got to my second semester where I failed one nursing class so instead I switched majors. I have a bachelor degree in business management, and I am currently working in retail.

    My fears are failing again, but also having to quit my job, where I make decent money for what I do. I also am afraid of how hard it will be, and if I am smart enough to do it. I was always a good student, and I made good grades, but I haven't had to study in a long time. I don't have to take any pre-reqs again because I already had them years ago, and my college doesn't have an expiration date on pre-reqs. I am not married nor do I have any kids so I'm going into this with the mindset of this will be my new job. Study hard and work hard and one day maybe I will be an RN. I just feel like this goal is so far away.

    Another problem is I am not the best at common sense or critical thinking/thinking outside the box.

    I guess I am just looking for some encouragement and advice on what I could do now to be prepared before entering nursing school a second time, if in fact I get in the program for the Fall 2017 semester. I am taking one class this Spring 2017 semester, which is PSY210. I need to freshen my memory on Anatomy so any ideas to how I can do that while I wait to see if I get into the program.

    Thank you for the encouragement and advice!



    Dear Fearful,

    If your nursing school administers an aptitude test for how well you will do in nursing school, such as the TEAs, that tells you that you are likely to succeed.
    Nursing schools typically accept students they believe will make good nurses. Now you need to believe it.

    Common sense and critical thinking skills can both be learned, especially if you make them your goals. In school you will be exposed to students with those skills- you can observe them, and learn from them.

    What kind of questions do they ask? To develop critical thinking skills, foster a spirit of curiosity. When you listen to pundits on TV or however you get your news, do you accept everything at face value? Probably not. You may have better critical thinking skills than you give yourself credit for.

    Anatomy is purely a "memorization" class. So...my question back to you is...how will refresh your memory? I know you can come up with a strategy

    It's not only a matter of being smart to get through nursing school. It's drive and determination, as any RN will tell you. At 30, you also have the maturity. You can do this.

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   JJL618
    Thanks for the encouragement. I know I'll always have regrets if I don't at least try again. I'll find out in May if I get in. By that time I'll be 31. A little nervous about a lot of things, but I can't keep working at the job I dislike. I've got to try.
  4. by   KiusLady
    If you want to try dipping your toes in the water before going head-long into a nursing program, try getting a second job as a home-care aid. Some don't require any type of certifications or medical degrees; they'll train you on-the-job for that particular situation. The pay typically isn't all that great, but if you have a well-paying job already then this won't be an issue. Hours will be flexible and work around your life. Still, it can be really helpful with those common sense and critical thinking skills that you want to strengthen (as Nurse Beth said, those skills really can be learned).

    While I was between jobs, I worked as an in-home caregiver.
    It was incredibly rewarding and I learned a lot. It's one of the many steps along my path to finally taking the plunge and going to nursing school (I had always assumed that nursing would be far too hard for me to manage)
    Best of luck in your endeavors!
  5. by   Nurselincoln1
    I decided to back to school when I was 45. I had been a correctional officer for six years and had been assigned to the prison infirmary frequently. I got to know the physician and the RNs there well. The charge Nurse there told me several times that she felt I would make a good Nurse. I finished my prerequisites in a couple of years while working full time . I applied to nursing school and was initially told I would have a two year wait!
    I got a letter from the school a few months later and was informed l would start the next available class in August. When I started I experienced a sort of culture shock. I am a 45 yo male with a majority of 20 something ladies. I settled into school and was a bit shocked by the pace and sheer amount of information that had to be learned quickly.
    With the eventual understanding of my wife and family I made it through! The key to nursing school is to divide your time into manageable increments. I found focusing on week blocks of time to work well. Keep focused. Not all understand the commitment nursing school entails. Keep focused, organized and you will do fine!
  6. by   JJL618
    Thanks for the encouragement. I am anxiously awaiting the email this week that will let me know if I start a new chapter in my life. We shall see what happens.

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