Slow and clumsy...Can I pass nursing school?

  1. Hello, I'm a second degree student and I eventually want to be an FNP. I have been accepted into a pricey accelerated bsn program but having second thoughts. I already know that the academic side of it will be grueling, but what I am actually more concerned about are the labs and clinicals. I've always had a problem with my motor skills for as long as I can remember. I'm also very uncoordinated. I looked it up and I think I may have dyspraxia or something. I'm clumsy and very slow with any task that uses my body, like tying shoelaces or cutting a slice of cake without making a mess. Some tasks are flat-out impossible for me even you give me all day to do it. I also have a weak grasp and struggle with things like opening a bottle of wine with a wine-opener. I basically feel like a kid when it comes to these. (And many times, kids are better at it than I am!) I'm not sure if it has anything to do with the fact that I have very small hands. I just confirmed last week that they're smaller than the hands of my 10-year-old niece. Due to this, I always avoided jobs that required me to use my motor skills. I cannot imagine myself wrapping up sandwiches under a time constraint, let alone making them. My past jobs include typing in front of a desk in an office or tutoring kids. But I'm not going to be able to avoid a certain task just because I'm not comfortable with it once I'm in nursing school, right? I just had my TB test done a few weeks ago and as I saw the medical assistant effortlessly injecting the needle into my arm, I couldn't help but think to myself "How am I going to become a nurse or even a nurse practitioner, when I struggle with a simple task that even a medical assistant can do so easily?" I know they say that it takes practice, but I think this is just a completely different problem for me.

    I also feel like I have poor judgment skills and lack common sense a lot of the times. I heard of a student that failed a clinical because the nurse told her to go get a syringe for insulin injection and she accidentally grabbed one for a regular subcutaneous injection. (I guess she didn't know the difference at that time) When she came back, the nurse looked at it, and failed her on the spot without a warning! Maybe the nurse just happened to be the wicked witch from the west, but anywho, that sounds like a VERY possible scenario to me...

    Like I said, my goal is to work as an FNP at a primary care clinic where I see patients 1 on 1, so I probably wouldn't have to be as "quick" as staff RN in a hospital, but I don't know if I would be able to pass nursing school let alone work as an RN before becoming an NP. What should I do? Should I look into a different career?
    Last edit by nsm1639 on Mar 8
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   llg
    So let's tally this up. You have:

    1. Poor judgment skills
    2. Little common sense
    3. Significant problems with manual dexterity

    What makes you think you are well-suited to a nursing career? Why spend the rest of your life beating your head against the wall? Why not choose a career that will better fit your talents/strengths?

    I don't say that to be mean, but to be kind. You'll be much happier with life if you choose a career that matches well with who you are and what talents/skills you have to offer the world. Being a square peg trying to fit into a round hole is no fun. It can be done, but it is usually a bit traumatic to both the peg and the hole.
  4. by   Extra Pickles
    nsm you have just laid out a recipe for disaster. Like the previous poster I am not saying this to be mean. I personally think that anyone who follows this up with "Sure you can do it put your mind to it don't shatter your dreams follow your dreams!!" nonsense is going to be the one doing you the disservice. You have not described yourself as a good candidate for the profession.

    To successfully graduate from a nursing program you will need to handle simple mechanics. These simple mechanics would need to be done quickly and accurately. You will not have loads of extra time because you are clumsy. Just the facts. If you are exaggerating your own inabilities that would become apparent if you find yourself successfully navigating the tasks. However, if you are anything like you are describing you will not be passing the fundamentals portions. Again, not trying to be mean but the fact is you would likely fail out of this pricey program. If you were lucky you would fail out sooner rather than later so you wouldn't waste too much cash.
  5. by   UCFAshley
    First off, the nurse who didn't grab the right syringe? Holy crap-- that is like first day pharmacology and should deserved that on-the- spot fail, Secondly, the medical assistant who effortless performed that TB test did so because he or she has been doing it--a lot. The whole small hand issue? I wear a size 4 ring. I am tiny, just over 100lbs. If youre as tiny as me and as long as me, you find ways to accommodate yourself. For instance, I couldn't wrap my hand around a BVM because they're so small, so my CPR instructor showed me to use my thigh.

    I am not someone who is like "you can do anything you set your mind to." I fully agree with the above posters and feel if these are real inabilities you should probably look into a career bath that is best suiting for your strengths. On the other hand, I've learned that one can surprise herself with what she can do. I see people who are total dipsticks in life by flourish in their profession. I'd say if you think it is worth the investment and it is something you want to give a shot at, go do that. You will find out real quick if you're not cut out for nursing
  6. by   Extra Pickles
    Quote from nsm1639
    I heard of a student that failed a clinical because the nurse told her to go get a syringe for insulin injection and she accidentally grabbed one for a regular subcutaneous injection. (I guess she didn't know the difference at that time)
    I noticed something in this post and made me curious. You seem to be saying that you have no medical background at all, but most lay people, those who have had no nursing classes, wouldn't know the term "subcutaneous injection" or "subcutaneous syringe". Especially not that there are differences between those and an insulin syringe. How is it that you know this? Have you already attempted a nursing program in the past? What happened?
  7. by   GrumpyOldBastard
    Quote from nsm1639
    I also feel like I have poor judgment skills and lack common sense a lot of the times.

    my goal is to work as an FNP
    Hmmm..... It looks like this is the biggest problem of all. Judgement and common sense are essential traits for all RNs, ESPECIALLY NPs! Exactly what do NPs do if not exercise judgement ALL DAY?
  8. by   RNNPICU
    What is it about becoming a Nurse and eventually a FNP are appealing?

    you have stated "I also feel like I have poor judgment skills and lack common sense a lot of the times. "

    These skills are two of the most important aspects of being a Nurse. Sometimes it is judgement that can make a life or death decision or even recognizing a subtle change in your patient that can change their outcome for better or worse. Common sense is so important in nursing as it is the basis for your critical thinking skills. Evn the ICU which may be 1:1 even with 1 patient there is so much judgement happening every minute, literally, evaluating impact of medications, or hoping you patient gives you a subtle sign of life. Nurses that work non-ICU setting can have 3-4-5-6+ patients although less intense, you have to balance all of their needs, discharge, admissions, education.

    As for being clumsy - many people when trying something new struggle with how to perform, especially under pressure. Some people get shaky, have difficulties with screwing in connections,etc, but with practice become better.

    FNP are even held to higher standards. NPs have even higher level judgement and common sense skills. yes these are learned in school, but NPs are the decision makers. FNPs can see 30+ patients a day, or be working in a hospital and balancing 10 -15-20 acutely ill patients. Plus managing lab results, ordering correct labs, medications + much more, it is not a 1:1.

    Unless you are exaggerating your skills, I would try and look at other alternatives in health care. .....
    Last edit by RNNPICU on Mar 14 : Reason: forgot to add something
  9. by   Johnwick101
    All these responses and none of you THINK the OBVIOUS!?

    She has LOW SELF ESTEEM, LOW SELF CONFIDENCE, AND HAS A POOR SELF IMAGE.

    NSM1639, The thoughts you are feeling are 100% normal. A lot of people sell themselves short in life all the time. THANK YOU for expressing yourself HONESTLY, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. I would encourage you to get into self help and learn how you can boost your self esteem and self confidence.

    By the way, the posters who are ultimately concluding from her post that she lacks common sense need to self examine themselves because you are the ones who lack common sense. She has a bachelors degree and has already been accepted to an ABSN. I HIGHLY DOUBT SHE LACKS COMMON SENSE EVEN IF SHE THINKS SHE DOES.

    Anyways, my advice to you NSM1639, would be to stop all that negative **** talk, and just go through with it. Stop filling your mind up with all this negativity, and get it done if that is what you really want to do. Good Luck.

    -John
  10. by   Extra Pickles
    Quote from Johnwick101
    All these responses and none of you THINK the OBVIOUS!?

    She has LOW SELF ESTEEM, LOW SELF CONFIDENCE, AND HAS A POOR SELF IMAGE.
    Might I suggest you stop shouting? And no, it's not "obvious" that these are factors that WON'T affect her ability to successfully navigate nursing school, these factors have a decided affect (yes, a negative affect) on her ability to succeed in such a program. Your "diagnosis" isn't really the issue at hand, anyway, if you read her post in its entirety.

    NSM1639, The thoughts you are feeling are 100% normal. A lot of people sell themselves short in life all the time. THANK YOU for expressing yourself HONESTLY, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. I would encourage you to get into self help and learn how you can boost your self esteem and self confidence.
    Not bad advice in general to seek help when one feels it's warranted, but NO, her feelings are NOT "100% normal". If they were, you wouldn't have tagged her as having low self-esteem, low self-confidence and a poor self-image; those would all be the hallmarks of NOT "normal" self-assessments. I suspect you'll learn more about this as you progress through your OWN nursing program's curriculum.

    By the way, the posters who are ultimately concluding from her post that she lacks common sense need to self examine themselves because you are the ones who lack common sense.
    Say what? Interesting conclusion, but inaccurate. You feel you have this diagnostic ability from reading a few lines of text? That's a pretty solid jump to a weak conclusion. Take care before doing that with a patient.

    She has a bachelors degree and has already been accepted to an ABSN. I HIGHLY DOUBT SHE LACKS COMMON SENSE EVEN IF SHE THINKS SHE DOES.
    Again with the shouting. You are focused strongly on this one comment she made, but are disregarding other, much more telling issues that would be problematic in any nursing program, notably her motor skills are of significant concern. I personally never even mentioned "common sense" as an issue, but am very sure of the rest of her post as indicating someone who will not do well in clinicals, the core of the nursing program. Do you have no concern for that? Is all that you got out of what she wrote that she's just being a Negative Nancy and being "down" on herself? If so, please re-read, and imagine how someone who cannot satisfactorily both make a sandwich and wrap it within the same day might do when having to react quickly and competently with a decompensating patient? Very simple physical tasks that she says she cannot do "no matter how much time" is allowed tend to indicate the inability to manage a typical patient load with all the medications, dressings, treatments, new orders as required. I'm simply being realistic here. She says she intends to work in a medical clinic as an NP somewhere where being "fast" won't matter, but the reality is she won't get THROUGH the nursing program if she isn't measuring up to expectations, and that includes being able to react reasonably to tasks and situations at hand within a specified (and usually short) time frame.

    The nurses who are responding, and who know what she faces, have painted her a realistic picture. Cheering her wildly with a "you can do it no matter what" in an effort to shout everyone else down isn't helpful to her, ultimately.
  11. by   Extra Pickles
    Oh for goodness' sake, John, I just read your other posts and realize now you are not even yet IN a nursing program, you have only just applied to one! Now I understand why you don't realize the error in your post here, you don't yet know what you don't know. But hopefully you will figure this out before you go shouting elsewhere
  12. by   Johnwick101
    Quote from Extra Pickles
    Oh for goodness' sake, John, I just read your other posts and realize now you are not even yet IN a nursing program, you have only just applied to one! Now I understand why you don't realize the error in your post here, you don't yet know what you don't know. But hopefully you will figure this out before you go shouting elsewhere
    WOW, JUST WOW.

    THIS IS GOING TO BE THE LAST POST REGARDING THIS THREAD.

    * She has a bachelors degree and she has been accepted into an accelerated nursing program. IF she's accomplished this much I am certain she can get through the program.


    Motor skills? Blah Blah Blah

    Repetition is the mother of all skills. If you do something enough times over a given period of time, you will eventually learn it and it becomes an unconscious act. END OF STORY.

    Please stop acting like nursing is ROCKET SCIENCE, because it isn't. It seems like you are a nurse and you want to "hype" your job and make it seem like its the holy grail of major accomplishments.

    To be frank, its not easy, but not exactly hard either!

    She's gone this far in life , so I completely ENCOURAGE HER to take the NEXT STEP in her Journey.

    FYI* Regarding my case. I applied to more than ONE SCHOOL. If you would have completely read my post on a different thread, which you snooped around to find. You would have realized I have applied to a number of schools but was requesting more information about a certain program.
  13. by   RNNPICU
    I have always been that person who finds the invisible crack and trip or stumble, I also had a hard time responding quickly, but I never doubted myself regarding common sense and judgement. I remember one night, about three weeks into a six month orientation, my preceptor and I had a fairly sick pt. Something was going down and we were going to need a med quickly, I started shaking and had a hard time, she took over. After the situation resolved she handed me a bottle of sterile water and a syringe and needle and told me throughout the night she was going to call for a dose and i needed to practice drawing it up under pressure. She gave me a few moments just to practice then the remainder of shift she would call for it. It worked. Had the preceptor been \less nice or "mean" (I am using mean un quotes) then I probably would not have succeeded.



    OP when you start nursing school there are things that you will have to get right and will only have a short time to come up with a response or answer. You have to be thinking of the people you will be taking care of. If this is low self esteem please get some help with it as people will be looking to you for the answers and support. You will have lab practicums where you have to learn to apply sterile gloves and not contaminate your sterile field, you will need to learn to listen to heart sounds breath sounds and demonstrate your ability to do an assessment in about 5-10 minutes. You have to be able to interpret what you are seeing and hearing and report.
  14. by   Extra Pickles
    Quote from Johnwick101
    WOW, JUST WOW.

    THIS IS GOING TO BE THE LAST POST REGARDING THIS THREAD.
    Again with the shouting? But ok, you did say this was the last time

    * She has a bachelors degree and she has been accepted into an accelerated nursing program. IF she's accomplished this much I am certain she can get through the program.
    You are certain, are you? Because of your understanding of what the next couple of years entail, because you do the work yourself? No. But there are those of us who DO know what lies ahead (not second-hand, actually DO this work) and recognize where the pitfalls are or may be. It is why those of us with a clue have expressed concern about this career path.

    Motor skills? Blah Blah Blah
    Repetition is the mother of all skills. If you do something enough times over a given period of time, you will eventually learn it and it becomes an unconscious act. END OF STORY.
    Really? And you know based on the OP's statement that she takes considerable time to tie her shoes or make a sandwich that she will be able to pass each clinical assignment in the time period allotted? You know that she will have the opportunity to take considerably longer to everything she needs to do within a specified time, even though most students are moving as fast as they can WITHOUT deficits? You don't, "End of story".

    Please stop acting like nursing is ROCKET SCIENCE, because it isn't. It seems like you are a nurse and you want to "hype" your job and make it seem like its the holy grail of major accomplishments.
    To be frank, its not easy, but not exactly hard either!
    Says the person who has yet to have his very first day as a nursing student. Hopefully you won't be one of those new students who come to the message board freaking out about how he got awesome grades in pre-requisites but is getting dropped from the nursing program. But it happens. A lot. NO, I am not "hyping" anything, I'm laying out a very realistic view of why her physical /motor issues may be a real problem for her, and should be considered carefully. LOL at the "rocket science" comment, of course it isn't but then again you are speaking as though YOU have a clue what she will be facing, and it's evident you do not.

    She's gone this far in life , so I completely ENCOURAGE HER to take the NEXT STEP in her Journey.
    As do I, as do others. But she askedabout all this, YOU did not. SHE wanted to know what we thought, so we are telling her. You certainly can disagree about her odds from your position of vast experience, but there are others of us who take a different view, from OUR positions (of yes, experience).

    FYI* Regarding my case. I applied to more than ONE SCHOOL. If you would have completely read my post on a different thread, which you snooped around to find. You would have realized I have applied to a number of schools but was requesting more information about a certain program.
    When I find someone who posts their first one or two or three messages in an abrasive, shouting, immature or even nasty manner, I look at other posts to see if it is only one thread or one topic or if it's a pattern of behavior. Good to know, don't you think? It isn't snooping LOL as you put it all out there and it's so easy to see by merely clicking your name. It's not "rocket science"

    As for the rest, I don't care if you applied to one nursing school or ten. Totally irrelevant. What I SAID was that although you are posting as though you know exactly what the OP will face (because you write as if you know something about it) I found that you haven't spent a single day in such a program and therefore do NOT know what you are talking about.

    If you care to learn something, know this: motor skills matter. Ability to complete simple tasks in a short time frame matters. Ability to react quickly, think something through quickly, perform more complicated skills requiring more motor dexterity DOES matter. Those of us who do this daily (and make it look easy to those who don't) are accustomed to it, but remember that in nursing school it was often extremely challenging.

    You are hung up on the book part of things, which makes sense because it's ALL you have done to date. Studying from the books, which is what the OP has done to get her Bachelor degree as well. No one doubts that. BUT this thread is NOT about whether or not she has the academic chops to complete a nursing program (she of course has THAT). It's about the clinical components, so YES I can confidently state that what she has presented here portrays a daunting future as far as nursing is concerned. Possible? Surely. Probable? No.

    Good luck to you.

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