Want to be a nurse...but too stupid?!?

  1. I am 32 years old. I was always interested in nursing, but when I graduated High School it was a decision - nursing, which I did not have the grades for (hey, we're all stupid when we're 17) or the job I was offered at the time, working for a record company.

    Guess which one I took?

    I worked in the music biz for 7 years. I loved it, the artistic temperaments, the perks, but not the pay! Minimum wage for 70 hour weeks....it was tough. I couldn't afford to eat properly. I packed it all in five years ago and now work full time in the Transportation industry, doing payroll for a trucking company. While I love my job, and I like to think I'm good at it, I can't really "do" anything - I don't have a piece of paper like my husband, saying you ARE somebody. I know that sounds silly.

    I have recently been looking into going back to school. I can't quit my full time job - no money. But I can become an RPN at night school. It will take three years, and I've missed the deadline to apply this September - but I have signed up for two of the credits (psychology and Health writing skills). So I suppose I will be a bit ahead next year. I toyed with it all year after having a FABULOUS nurse when I had surgery last year. She was amazing. She listened to everything I said (or mumbled) and fought for my comfort with the surgeon (who I don't think cared if I was alive). She was an inspiration, I want to BE her....I want to make that kind of difference to someone. These days the only appreciation I get is when a truck driver picks up his paycheque!

    Here is my dilemma. I am terrified. I was never a good student. I excelled at things I was interested in (English, arts, Biology) but was a disaster at anything mathematical. I haven't been in school in over 12 years. I am so scared of failing.

    Finally, after years of "floating" off in employment neverland, I have finally found what I really want to do, and I am so scared I won't be able to do it!

    I am actively searching for a math tutor to prepare me for the entrance exam, I have applied to be a volunteer at the hospital around the corner from my house, what else can I do to boost my confidence? I have contacted the college I am planning to attend, but it is very large and impersonal.

    Any tips? So many thanks.
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  2. 39 Comments

  3. by   delirium
    On any other day, I would encourage you to follow your dream and do what you know in your heart you want to do. Anyone can succeed at anything if they set their mind to it, I truly believe that.

    Today, however, I will direct you to my thread titled 'What is it about nursing students...'. Apparently no-one is too stupid to be a nursing student.
  4. by   Vsummer1
    I read that you are in payroll.... then I read you aren't good at anything mathematical. If you are doing payroll -- you are doing math!

    So, don't sweat it and just think that you ARE good at that stuff. At least your employer must think so... they are paying you to do it!
  5. by   sjoe
    I used to think that some people were too stupid to be nurses. Until I had to deal with certain nursing supervisors and administrators.

    (Or maybe they got someone else to take their NCLEX exam for them and forged the rest of the paperwork.)

    But levity aside, RN school is a challenge in many ways--academically, physically, emotionally, and financially. You might be more comfortable starting as a CNA, then LVN, etc. to see what suits you best. Not sure what an RPN is--my guess is the same as an LVN.

    There are also lots of other healthcare specialties that focus more tightly on certain areas that might be interesting--doing sonograms, respiratory techs, operating room techs, etc. Lots of areas from which to choose to find the one that fits.

    Good luck.
    Last edit by sjoe on Aug 22, '02
  6. by   Love-A-Nurse
    worthy, welcome and all the best to you!
  7. by   Dez
    Worthy,
    I can completely sympathize with you. Im 23 y/o but was horrible at math. Actually to be honest with you, I rarely went to school. I want to be a nurse so much but am terrified about the schooling. I just started school on monday for my pre-reqs. But I am determined to get through it. All we can do is our best. Good luck!
  8. by   live4today
    Originally posted by Worthy
    I am 32 years old. I was always interested in nursing, but when I graduated High School it was a decision - nursing, which I did not have the grades for (hey, we're all stupid when we're 17) or the job I was offered at the time, working for a record company.

    Guess which one I took?

    I worked in the music biz for 7 years. I loved it, the artistic temperaments, the perks, but not the pay! Minimum wage for 70 hour weeks....it was tough. I couldn't afford to eat properly. I packed it all in five years ago and now work full time in the Transportation industry, doing payroll for a trucking company. While I love my job, and I like to think I'm good at it, I can't really "do" anything - I don't have a piece of paper like my husband, saying you ARE somebody. I know that sounds silly.

    I have recently been looking into going back to school. I can't quit my full time job - no money. But I can become an RPN at night school. It will take three years, and I've missed the deadline to apply this September - but I have signed up for two of the credits (psychology and Health writing skills). So I suppose I will be a bit ahead next year. I toyed with it all year after having a FABULOUS nurse when I had surgery last year. She was amazing. She listened to everything I said (or mumbled) and fought for my comfort with the surgeon (who I don't think cared if I was alive). She was an inspiration, I want to BE her....I want to make that kind of difference to someone. These days the only appreciation I get is when a truck driver picks up his paycheque!

    Here is my dilemma. I am terrified. I was never a good student. I excelled at things I was interested in (English, arts, Biology) but was a disaster at anything mathematical. I haven't been in school in over 12 years. I am so scared of failing.

    Finally, after years of "floating" off in employment neverland, I have finally found what I really want to do, and I am so scared I won't be able to do it!

    I am actively searching for a math tutor to prepare me for the entrance exam, I have applied to be a volunteer at the hospital around the corner from my house, what else can I do to boost my confidence? I have contacted the college I am planning to attend, but it is very large and impersonal.

    Any tips? So many thanks.
    First of all.....WELCOME to Allnurses! We're so glad to have you join us! :kiss

    Secondly......I was out of school 12 years before I started the nursing program, and I was scared to death because I did NOT do as well in high school as I could have.......too much DRAMA on the homefront......so I'm blessed that I made it out of that mess alive. :chuckle

    Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.....the nervousness subsides with each step you take....it did for me.
    I did not graduate with honors from high school, but I did graduate with honors from college....so trust yourself....you've hopefully matured over the past 12 years and are much wiser than you were as a teenager.

    Your self-esteem will get a major boost in college......soon you'll not care if your "degree" matches up to your husbands.....it will be ALL ABOUT YOU, my lady. You will become your biggest fan before you graduate because you will be doing something you've always been passionate about doing. Let your husband enjoy his "degrees".....you've got yourself to promote for your own reasons......and I hope that NONE of those reasons have to do with your husband's attitude towards you.
  9. by   researchrabbit
    You will be surprised at how much you have learned in the time you have been out of school. And let me say that a determined student is better than a "smart" student anyday (although a smart, determined student is the tops). Cs make degrees, trite but true. Many excellent nurses use creative spelling and grammar ...many had trouble with math or chemistry, some had trouble with one or more clinicals.

    Not trying because you might fail is not a good reason to not try. (OK, terrible sentence structure, but you get my point). Good luck!
  10. by   caliotter3
    Worthy,

    You are already doing one of the best things you can to deal w/your apprehensions. You are being proactive about finding a tutor in math. Good for you! Believe it or not, the math required for nursing is not at the calculus level! It is basic equations and calculations. You can do it.

    May I suggest that you make a schedule to work on "math" until your entrance exam? Map out a plan, using the table of contents of a math review book. Take weekly quizzes. Actually study for 30 minutes, one hour, whatever, five or seven days a week Thirty minutes of doing math questions every day will get you back in the mode and should decrease your anxiety.

    Your school might have developmental or remedial math classes, some of which might be self-paced, or graded credit-no credit. Take one of these classes. You can ask the teacher for help.

    Math review books can be found in your bookstore. If you don't want to invest in one, get it from your library. When you look for these review books, ask specifically for math for nursing school. I know I have seen some like this before. There are also prep books for the nursing school entrance exam.

    ANY time you spend in these review activities will prove to be beneficial. Don't look at it as wasted time, or dwell on calling yourself stupid. Think of this time and effort that you are doing on your own, as actually part of your program toward your goal.

    Best wishes.
  11. by   Mattigan
    I have been an RN since 1983 and you would not believe how primitive my math skills are. I have no problem with dosage calculations. I also did chemI &II, organic chem and biochem math without having a breakdown. I loved Stats. class! Honest, it isn't like real math- I can't do that. I can't help kids with math if they are beyond the 5th grade.

    Honest, if I can do it ,I figure anyone can. Don't be afraid- just go a day at a time and one day , you'll show up and they'll say you are finished.
  12. by   Momma_Penguin
    Welcome....and yes you are Worthy:kiss .....NOT too stupid to be the nurse you have always wanted to be!! I thought I wouldn't make it either but.. if you REALLY want to do this, perhaps you could start at being an LPN. If you want to see if you can do the classes and such, it is something to consider. The pace is fast tho... not easier as some people think. I am happy to meet you and hope you get to start your 'lernin' soon....:chuckle Laura LPN
  13. by   Hooligan
    You've got some good advice here and the only thing I'll add is that my first time around (high school & college) I was a horrible student...I skirted by with C's and an occasional B's & D's for variety. I did just enough to pass the classes, graduate and get a job. Now...now that I know what I want to do with my life and what it is exactly that I DON'T want to do with my life, I am a great student! I'm just finishing up my pre-requisites right now so I haven't begun the true "nursing classes" yet...but I am confident that if I apply myself I will do well. I might not always get A's but I feel confident that I will get the best grades I can! Best of luck to you!

    ~Bean
  14. by   Worthy
    Thank you, everybody.

    It's not that I compare myself to my hubby, and he certainly doesn't make me feel bad about myself - he is my biggest supporter - it's just that I was never able to afford college (also lots of drama on the homefront!) and I really feel a bit sad when I see his framed diploma on the wall.

    Yes, I do a lot of math, but it's with a computer and calculator!

    Thanks again for the support.

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