Going into nursing with a bad memory?

  1. I'm starting my prerequisites next month for nursing so I can apply to start an ADN program next fall. But I'm wondering if my bad memory is going to hold me back or be an issue when I start working with patients. I'm only 26 but I have always had a bad memory and it doesn't seem to be getting any better. It's not so much a long term memory problem as it is short term. I can remember all kinds of things from my childhood going back to preschool. But I can leave the gas station without grabbing the ice I just bought, or leave the house with the bathtub running that I was cleaning, I've forgotten to get the groceries out of the car that I just bought, or walk out of the kitchen while washing dishes and then become distracted and come back to find the sink running over. Has anyone ever tried any supplements to help with their memory?
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    About MeAnurse?

    Joined: Feb '18; Posts: 21; Likes: 13
    from NC , US
    Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience

    24 Comments

  3. by   Buckeye.nurse
    Have you mentioned this concern to your primary care provider? I'd suggest starting there. I wish you well as you sort this out and start your nursing career!
  4. by   Horseshoe
    I also think you should speak to your doctor about this.

    I think it would be quite difficult to get through nursing school and later, any kind of nursing job if you have a short term memory problem. I'm sure there are many things one can do to help compensate for a bad memory (checklists and things), but I still think it would be quite a challenge, and depending on your specific job, potentially dangerous.
  5. by   Lisacar130
    Yeah, I would ask your doctor about ADD/ ADHD?
    Well, it really helps to make a to do list, but that can only help so much. There are A LOT of distractions in nursing. A LOT. So I would really try to find the cause of this.
  6. by   OldDude
    Too many squirrels running by? How were your grades in high school?
  7. by   Rocknurse
    I have a terrible memory (menopause brain) so when I'm working I literally write everything down. I write a very detailed report sheet for myself and list every single task I have to do for the patient and check them off as I go. If someone tells me something important I write it down. I look at my papers about 100 times a shift. Not missed anything yet so it must be working. I'm in graduate school too. I don't know if your problems are similar but I have 29 years of nursing behind me so a lot of things are second nature. It might be tougher if you're just going in to nursing. There's a lot of information to retain.
  8. by   MeAnurse?
    Quote from OldDude
    Too many squirrels running by? How were your grades in high school?
    I was a pretty lazy student in High School but managed to get by. Math was my biggest struggle.
  9. by   MeAnurse?
    Quote from Rocknurse
    I have a terrible memory (menopause brain) so when I'm working I literally write everything down. I write a very detailed report sheet for myself and list every single task I have to do for the patient and check them off as I go. If someone tells me something important I write it down. I look at my papers about 100 times a shift. Not missed anything yet so it must be working. I'm in graduate school too. I don't know if your problems are similar but I have 29 years of nursing behind me so a lot of things are second nature. It might be tougher if you're just going in to nursing. There's a lot of information to retain.
    I for sure will be writing everything I can down. The biggest lie I tell myself everyday is (I don't need to write that down) I'm constantly using my notes app on my phone so I can remember to do things. But it's nothing new to me I had the same problem in my teens. And congrats on 29 years! My brain will probably be complete mush in 29 years at this rate.
  10. by   TriciaJ
    If your doctor doesn't find any medical problem, you might just have a habit of being preoccupied and distracted. (It's going to be hard to write notes to yourself to turn off the bathtub, lock the front door, etc.) Have you heard of mindfulness practice? It's where you teach yourself techniques to stay in the moment.

    You might want to check this out; consider developing a meditation routine as well. It may help. Good luck.
  11. by   Rocknurse
    Quote from MeAnurse?
    I for sure will be writing everything I can down. The biggest lie I tell myself everyday is (I don't need to write that down) I'm constantly using my notes app on my phone so I can remember to do things. But it's nothing new to me I had the same problem in my teens. And congrats on 29 years! My brain will probably be complete mush in 29 years at this rate.
    I can affirm....my brain IS complete mush!
  12. by   OldDude
    Quote from MeAnurse?
    I was a pretty lazy student in High School but managed to get by. Math was my biggest struggle.
    I would have predicted that. What you, and others, call lazy translates to it wasn't interesting to you. I would predict you are of above average intelligence to GT student level and you can stay locked onto subjects and activities that you are interested in for hours and hours...the most common being video games. You should have been screened for ADD when you were in the 3rd or 4th grade but you are the quiet type that calls little attention to yourself so you flew under the radar.

    So, how did I do?
  13. by   Cowboyardee
    The advice to get checked out by a doctor is good. Do that.

    That said, if your doctor checks you out and gives you a clean bill of health, your issue may well be that you've never had to rely very much on your memory and presence of mind for your daily tasks. Maybe you compensate in other ways; maybe the stakes are low; maybe you've just avoided situations where these things matter. I think you might be surprised after a while on the job that your brain tends to reorganize to suit the demands your work places on it.

    I felt very absent-minded and forgetful before I entered nursing. Now, a good number of years into my career, I can typically have complex medical histories, lab values, etc memorized for multiple patients at the same time with little effort, and I can easily juggle the long lists of daily duties and tasks I need to do. And then I go home and still misplace my keys, phone, and wallet. I've memorized dozens of phone numbers that I use at work (and have to be able to call quickly without looking them up), but I couldn't tell you my significant other's phone number without peaking at my phone. Go figure.
  14. by   MeAnurse?
    Not too shabby. I never played video games but I was the quiet one I suppose.

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