Have major anxiety, depression, don't really enjoy science... am I crazy for applying?

  1. Hi,

    This is going to be a long post, and I'm not in the best place mentally, but I really need some advice from current nurses. Thanks to any who reply.

    I've just applied to an LPN program. I'm in my mid 20s with no career direction. I earned a B.A. several years ago, but it's been pretty much useless in my job search. I've worked in a variety of industries and nothing has been very enjoyable. I realize work is called work for a reason, but it would be nice to at least like what I do AND be paid reasonably.

    My family is getting tired of me always switching my career goals and constantly thinking about what I'd like to do. They want me to just pick something and stick with it already! I have depression, horrible anxiety (on medication for both), and I don't really enjoy science very much. I've taken anatomy/physiology classes in the past and hated them, but managed to get Cs. My family is thrilled that I've picked something. My grandmother was a nurse and she's so happy I've decided to be a nurse too.

    I am a caring person, and I truly want to make a difference in the lives of others. I've struggled with how to go about making that happen in a job. I decided on nursing because it's decent money, stable, I'd get to help people, and I wouldn't be trapped behind a desk. Other than that... I really don't know what else I'd do if I don't do nursing. All my interests are better kept as hobbies. They're not very practical.

    I hear these stories about how difficult it is to find a job, there really is no nursing shortage, nursing is a calling, etc. I realize no job is perfect and very few things are actually recession-proof. I know nursing schools and hospitals are businesses, so perpetuating the idea that nursing school = guaranteed job, is in their interest.

    I'm already worrying about school and I haven't even been accepted yet. If I can't manage my anxiety now, how will I cope on the job? If I don't love science will school and the job be misery? I'm not into technology either, and I'm not mechanically inclined. I worry about all the very hands-on procedures I'd have to do... will that just get easier with practice? I don't want to make a fool of myself. I also don't want to make a huge mistake by going into this field and then regretting it.

    Anyone have words of wisdom? Sorry for the length and rambling nature of this post.
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  2. Poll: Should I pursue nursing?

    • Yes, you'll get used to things...

      3.85% 1
    • Maybe

      11.54% 3
    • No, you need to reconsider...

      84.62% 22
    26 Votes
  3. 16 Comments

  4. by   ItsThatJenGirl
    I'm not a nurse yet (anxiously awaiting an acceptance letter), but I can't imagine going into nursing hating science. It's not as if you must be an expert in the field, but having an interest in learning about it is important, IMO.

    How about volunteering at a hospital and see if you like the atmosphere? Or you could try shadowing a nurse and see if it's something you're still interested in.

    I'm not of the belief that nursing is a "calling". My reasons for going into the field aren't that different from yours, but I do love science.

    There are lots of ways to help people and earn decent money without going into nursing school. You could be a radiology tech, or a respiratory therapist or a social worker. Have you ever taken one of those online career aptitude tests? It might give you some direction.

    Good luck in your decision.
  5. by   RNperdiem
    Nursing isn't really much of a scientific career. It is a service job.
    I am not saying this as a put-down to nursing, but careers like nursing, teaching and medicine are about selling our skills and services to people.
    If you have had a varied job history, you probably have worked some customer service type jobs.
    If you are looking at stability and income and already have a college degree, have you considered RN instead of LPN? There are vastly more RN jobs out there and more variety. In my area, LPNs are limited to nursing homes, some doctors' offices(often interchangeable with medical assistants) and home health.
  6. by   LovingLife123
    Quote from RNperdiem
    Nursing isn't really much of a scientific career. It is a service job.
    I am not saying this as a put-down to nursing, but careers like nursing, teaching and medicine are about selling our skills and services to people.
    If you have had a varied job history, you probably have worked some customer service type jobs.
    If you are looking at stability and income and already have a college degree, have you considered RN instead of LPN? There are vastly more RN jobs out there and more variety. In my area, LPNs are limited to nursing homes, some doctors' offices(often interchangeable with medical assistants) and home health.
    I respectfully disagree with this. While yes, it is a service job, you have to understand how the body works and the patho of diseases and conditions so you know what is going on with the body. You need to know drugs and how they affect the body. All science things. Understanding microbiology and how disease is spread is also important.
  7. by   LovingLife123
    OP, I think if you are looking for a career to be satisfied with, you need to look deeper than just what you think is good money and stable.

    Ask yourself, what am I really interested in? What makes you happy? It would be a shame to waste time and money on a career you may hate. You will need to also look at the job market in your area and see where LPNs are working and how viable the job market is for them.

    Also, you need to get better grades. Cs won't cut it to get into a program. It's very competitive to get into nursing school. It's hard and you will really have to buckle down and study. And it is science. But if you decide to go for it, it is worth it in the end.
  8. by   NightNerd
    I agree with others who encourage more investigation into potential career ideas - especially that you should try to shadow a nurse for a few shifts to see if you could see yourself in a similar role.

    I was not originally big into science before I started the nursing program; mildly interested at best. Even now, I am much more excited about psych and hospice nursing, two areas that are pretty holistic compared to some other specialties. So, I didn't find that I needed to be a complete braniac. However, it is imperative that you have the discipline to learn the processes behind disease, understand the actions of medications, etc. A HUGE part of pretty much any nursing job is teaching, and you don't want to draw a complete blank in front of your patients and their families. It just helps to have some motivation to learn the science of it, even if it's not your main gig.

    If you like helping people, aren't completely about the desk life, and have some struggles with anxiety/depression, maybe consider some of the following too: art, music, or recreational therapist; social worker (kind of desk-y, but there are jobs that involve some field work); teacher (e.g., pre-K, special ed); health educator; massage therapist; reading specialist; etc. Maybe check out some online aptitude tests like the Strong Interest Inevitable, MBTI, etc. They're not the definitive answer on what's best for you, but they are a great place to start gathering options. The bls.gov website has a pretty great section that details a ton of different career options, which is helpful with research.

    (I would also suggest dental hygiene as a possibility if you think you can cope with some science and the occasional case of stinky breath, but prefer something that may be a little more repetitive, a little less life and death. I often wonder if I might love that even more than nursing if I could go back. I think it's similar earnings to nursing and pretty sweet hours by comparison - while it's doable, night shift is no friend to the anxious.)

    From reading your post, it sounds like your biggest drives to pursue nursing are that you need to pick something to stick with and that your family approves. For me, that would not be enough to push me through. What else, if anything, gets you excited about the work of a nurse?
  9. by   JKL33
    Do you feel that the treatment of your anxiety and depression is optimized? As far as struggling to find what you might enjoy, recognize that one's ability to make a decent decision about such things (in the setting of depression/anxiety) may be best undertaken when treatment of these underlying issues is optimized....otherwise it may be difficult to imagine yourself enjoying any particular line of work, regardless what it is.

    Best wishes,
  10. by   roser13
    I can't tell you how many posts I have seen here of nurses (who had never had issues with anxiety) develop panic attacks & GAD's after starting their first nursing jobs. Count me in as one of those folks.

    I believe that today's version of nursing (not the nursing itself) is almost guaranteed to strain emotional and mental resources. I do not believe that nursing is a career that you should consider. I suggest you read a whole lot of threads around here to get an realistic vision of what today's nursing world looks like.
  11. by   raindrops1234
    I also think that you should take a step back and reconsider. Not enjoying science would definitely be a problem because in order to be a good nurse, you need to understand pathophysiology and how the human body works. I love when I am taking care of someone and I don't know what their disease is & taking the time to research & understand it....you sound like you would not. Also, getting C's probably wouldn't make the cut for getting into nursing school (no offence at all).

    I think you should take some time to explore yourself! What kind of hobbies do you enjoy? Is there a career path that can extend from those? And while you are exploring, you may also find a way to help manage your anxiety and depression! I wish you all the best!
  12. by   Everline
    IMO, the anxiety is a real problem. Nursing, especially the first year, can be extremely stressful. I am an anxious person but I was always used to managing it well. When I got my first nursing job as a hospital floor nurse, it made my anxiety so much worse. It's very hard to imagine it until you go through it. I don't recommend nursing to anyone who is highly anxious and doesn't have a solid method of managing it very well. That being said, nursing is a wide field and there are many setting and specialties so there is that opportunity to find your niche. Not all nursing specialties are stressful in the same way. Nursing is stressful, but you would have to find what kinds of stressors you can deal with and which ones you can't or don't want to. But you still have to get through nursing school, NCLEX and being a new nurse. So, I would think about it with a good deal of introspection and if you decide to go ahead with it, make sure you are taking care of your emotional health and have plans in place to deal with the emotions and stress that come with nursing school and a nursing career.
  13. by   FutureNurseInfo
    No, do something else. Do you consider yourself a creative person? Do you like kids? Try teaching. You will never be behind a desk, run around working with kids, and design your own lesson plans. Also, pay is decent, at least here in NYC.
  14. by   direw0lf
    Ok I've just read the first 2 replies. I disagree with the person who said nursing is not very sciencey. It's called the art and science of nursing! We PULL on science - evidence based research - for why we do everything in nursing! Science is extremely important! However you do not need to like it, to enjoy a career in nursing. You will probably need a good foundation in anatomy to do best in your nursing classes, and my nursing classes re-hashed everything in anatomy and added the critical thinking nurse parts on top of it. So, if you didn't like anatomy and physiology and didn't retain much, nursing classes will be tougher but maybe you don't like science because you didn't like the teaching style or you don't do good with a classroom setting. You can study on your own to prepare for nursing classes.

    But the science is just one issue. The harder issue for you I think will be your mental health issues. I would strongly urge you to keep working on helping yourself mentally, so it is manageable, before you go into anything new. I do believe in the benefits of immersion therapy - but start off with something else besides nursing school imho because I'd be afraid you'd set yourself up to fail. However I don't know you but from this post. You might be ok enough to get through school, with help available to you whenever you need it (ie: a therapist who sees you weekly or biweekly, and working with the school counselor, and employing coping strategies that work for you)

    I think some people fall into the trap that their job defines them or that they rely on their job to fulfill their life or make them happy. The truth is that even if you like nursing, you'll have some very bad work days. You wrote "I decided on nursing because it's decent money, stable, I'd get to help people, and I wouldn't be trapped behind a desk. Other than that... I really don't know what else I'd do if I don't do nursing. All my interests are better kept as hobbies. They're not very practical." And you wrote about how you've changed careers a lot and your fam isn't too happy and just want you to pick something. I get the feeling you think your career would fill a hole in your life, make you happy, etc but no one has that, no one loves every day of their job and every aspect.

    If I were you, I would ask the school of nursing you are considering if you could arrange to attend a class as a visiting student interested in the program. And use that opportunity to talk to the students and the teacher. Ask the teacher what it's like being a nurse and if she could help you to connect with someone so you could shadow a nurse for a day. LPN school is intense, many have said on these forums I think you'd feel better about what decision you make once you see it first hand.

    Wish you the best.
    Last edit by direw0lf on Aug 16 : Reason: wordage
  15. by   AlwaysThinking
    Thank you everyone for all your insights and advice. It has been very helpful for me, and given me a lot to think about. I really appreciate your willingness to help me out! I've been considering seeking therapy/counseling for a while. The cost of sessions is just so much.
    Thanks again for everyone's responses.

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