Struggling NP student - page 2

I am in my final semester of NP school and I am having a hard time. It is not the work load but the clinical experience that I am having major difficulties staying focused. I have 9 years of RN... Read More

  1. Visit  core0 profile page
    0
    Quote from lvICU
    Dissent, thanks for the info on the patient presentations. I am actually presenting on ICU patients only. I am doing pretty well on the actual presentation part. My plan is what needs the most help (I have never been told this, it is just my self-evaluation).

    I also struggle when I am asked a random question about a lab or disease process during rounds. The physicians don't always ask a question that is completely pertinent to my patient so it is sometimes hard to be prepared, although I try to be ready for anything. I have trouble thinking when put on the spot like that. I will continue to work through this though. Again, thanks for the info. I can use all the help I can get
    Another thing that might help is to have a A/P for every system. One of our attendings teaches the residents to have a diagnostic and a therapeutic differential for each system. For example if you have a patient in shock you would list what the differential in and then what tests you would do to rule in or out the differential. Then for treatment you would list what the different treatment options for the differential are. This allows you to think about the different processes going on with the patient. Also some of the differential may already be done so you can include that but state the test is already done and what the results are.

    For example shock. MAPs 50's.

    Diagnostic differential - hypovolemic vs cardiogenic.
    DDx - Echo yesterday showed EF 65 percent with normal wall motion. Check if patient is volume responsive. CVP is 12. Vigeleo placed for SVV.

    Then SVV 20 with CO 7 CI 2.5 showing adequate cardiac function.

    Therapeutic intervention Bolus with NS to so SVV < 10 consider VBg etc.

    Even if you can say its not a particular process this method forces you to think why its not or what piece of information you have that rules it in or out. Then if someone asks you a question you can discuss the process intelligently.

    As far as notes, we are using a hybrid note. Our PE is system based but our A/P is problem based. This is strictly a billing issue. Our coders want the notes to have a problem based system. They were getting claims rejected because the problem billed on was not spelled out for the insurance companies. I still present the problems in a system based approach, I just write the A/P in a problem based format.

    I'm a PA in a tertiary SICU.
  2. Visit  sandnnw profile page
    2
    Your level of anxiety is perfectly normal. I can remember standing in front of an Pulmonary/CC or Cardiology Attending, several per day/week, helping present and discuss ICU patients. There was a fellow, third year IM, intern, medical student, DPharm (usually with a student), RN (usually with a student) and LCSW, Case Mgr and Service NP or PA. This team can be a bit intimidating until you begin to realize, they are all there for a reason, the patient. Not to poke fun at you or ask silly questions, despite the looks on the faces you may get (rare). They understand where you are at and hopefully where you will be in a few years. Think of this as an opportunity, as most NP/PAs do not get this kind of experience.

    Take the advice of these good folks and whatever you do, don't forget:

    introduce new team members, guests
    review cultures/path results
    how long a tube has been placed, specifically those in a vein or artery
    asking for further questions, suggestions
    close the door to the room, family loves to listen (and often misunderstands)

    Get through this, work on improving your style and template. After a while, you'll know what's important (and what's not).
    ghillbert and lvICU like this.
  3. Visit  dissent profile page
    5
    Quote from lvICU
    Dissent, thanks for the info on the patient presentations. I am actually presenting on ICU patients only. I am doing pretty well on the actual presentation part. My plan is what needs the most help (I have never been told this, it is just my self-evaluation).

    I also struggle when I am asked a random question about a lab or disease process during rounds. The physicians don't always ask a question that is completely pertinent to my patient so it is sometimes hard to be prepared, although I try to be ready for anything. I have trouble thinking when put on the spot like that. I will continue to work through this though. Again, thanks for the info. I can use all the help I can get
    Well then scrap basically everything I said about presentations. In the ICU as Juan said, it is 100% by system- Basically SOAP format per system.

    The "pimping" is really just to help teach you. I know it can be very anxiety provoking but once you realize you are not supposed to know everything, you will start to relax and everything will go smoothly. On rounds they are specifically trying to push you to the limits of your knowledge so that you can learn. If they just tossed you softballs all day long you'd learn nothing. They want you to take a step back and a give yourself a second to think before speaking and showing your thought process. They'll know you are bright and if your thought process is wrong, they will guide you through the rest. Just realizing they are not out to get you is more than half of the battle.

    Good luck
    ivyleaf, ghillbert, GM2RN, and 2 others like this.
  4. Visit  juan de la cruz profile page
    1
    Quote from dissent
    give yourself a second to think before speaking and showing your thought process.
    That's a good piece of advice right there.
    CCRNDiva likes this.
  5. Visit  CCRNDiva profile page
    2
    Quote from dissent
    Well then scrap basically everything I said about presentations. In the ICU as Juan said, it is 100% by system- Basically SOAP format per system.

    The "pimping" is really just to help teach you. I know it can be very anxiety provoking but once you realize you are not supposed to know everything, you will start to relax and everything will go smoothly. On rounds they are specifically trying to push you to the limits of your knowledge so that you can learn. If they just tossed you softballs all day long you'd learn nothing. They want you to take a step back and a give yourself a second to think before speaking and showing your thought process. They'll know you are bright and if your thought process is wrong, they will guide you through the rest. Just realizing they are not out to get you is more than half of the battle.

    Good luck
    I didn't think about that. That is great advice. It never occurred to me that they are pushing the limits to facilitate learning instead of just testing her current knowledge. This tidbit is going in the vault!!
    ghillbert and mammac5 like this.
  6. Visit  rnsrgr8t profile page
    1
    The anxiety you feel is normal. You are adjusting to a new model of care and it is hard, especially when you are used to being the "expert" in your field and comfortable in your RN role. The points given in the previous posts are very good. The "pimping" really is for your benefit to help you learn to think critically and on your feet (very important in the APN role you are pursing). Remember though, it is ok to say you do not know if you don't, especially if you give yourself a second to really think about the question. I had plenty of times in grad school where I got asked a question in clinical and, after taking a second to think, I would be honest and tell them I did not know! You have to be prepared to do your follow up research/reviewing texts etc to make sure you DO learn the answer. They do not expect you to know everything. You are a student. Relax, have confidence in yourself and your abilities and you will be fine. Good Luck!
    CCRNDiva likes this.
  7. Visit  newyorkgroove profile page
    0
    I am in my next to last semester of NP and I feel the same as you I've never liked clinicals, hated them, actually, but NP school is especially bad because of the number of hours you have to spend on them. I have also found myself trying to find reasons not to go, last semester was terrible. I did clinicals three days a week and worked every weekend and it was really messing with my mind. If we can hang on I think we will be glad we did, though I don't know that I really care for the primary care specialty, which is what my program is. Same old thing, accommodating drug seekers, watching some sweet little old person deteriorate more with each visit. Don't know that it's for me, but I've gone too far to jump ship now.
  8. Visit  lvICU profile page
    0
    Quote from dissent
    Well then scrap basically everything I said about presentations. In the ICU as Juan said, it is 100% by system- Basically SOAP format per system.

    The "pimping" is really just to help teach you. I know it can be very anxiety provoking but once you realize you are not supposed to know everything, you will start to relax and everything will go smoothly. On rounds they are specifically trying to push you to the limits of your knowledge so that you can learn. If they just tossed you softballs all day long you'd learn nothing. They want you to take a step back and a give yourself a second to think before speaking and showing your thought process. They'll know you are bright and if your thought process is wrong, they will guide you through the rest. Just realizing they are not out to get you is more than half of the battle.

    Good luck
    Thank you so much for this advice. It really puts things into perspective and I think if I keep this in mind, I will be able to relax a little on rounds and then maybe my brain will not "freeze up"
  9. Visit  t2kck profile page
    5
    We all feel anxious in NP school. It is exhausting. What people don't tell you in NP school is that you are learning to practice medicine. The learning curve is great. I had to turn off the nurse role and change gear to medicine. Study hard and arrive at your clinical 15 minutes early. This allows you to get relaxed, talk to people and read up on diagnosis d' jour. Now think what you would do if you did not have any nursing experience? Consider this, you have more knowledge and experience than a first and many second year medical students. Trust me, things start to click about 6 months after you start working. If you are in a clinical with a MD it can be awful. You are a coming threat. I found it easier in my training to have a NP as my preceptor. You might want to change that in the hospital setting. NP's are A+++ personalities. We hate failure. However, I willed myself in to practicing medicine. Nursing is a small piece of the NP training. Schools stick it in under community health and education. They want to keep reminding you that you are a nurse. Duh. Don't be suckered into this trick. NP has little to do with nursing except to get your job done you work with them. Once I understood my new role, I approached it differently. It also helped me understand why doctors get ******-off at nurses who don't get labs/lab results on time to their office. It gets intimidating but...darn it all it makes sense.

    Then when you do work in the hospital setting as a nurse practitioner you know the reality of nursing. You know to expect a nurse to turn a 300 lb person in bed every hour is not going to happen. You were there, done that. So your orders are more nurse oriented to reality. Turn the 300lb patient every 2 hours and get a clinitron bed. You order CBC qd. When the doc freaks because it was not done by 7am, you know the nurse has 24 hours to get done. You don't fret. You have been there, done that. You are enlightened with information that doctors don't have... You are the NP. You know both sides of job. Your are going to do well. Keep friends with the nurses, they are your best friends. They do not want you to fail. Let them help you with information regarding patients. LISTEN to them. Congrats.
    ivyleaf, MERCEDES674, CCRNDiva, and 2 others like this.
  10. Visit  missvictoriat profile page
    0
    Quote from lvICU
    Thanks for the encouragement! The "thinking clearly" problem is also where I get stuck. I can usually work through things in my head or on paper but when put on the spot in rounds I freeze up pretty bad. Then, I feel like an idiot and that doesn't help matters...I am just trying to keep a positive attitude and keep on trucking

    Carachel: I have not done outpatient because I chose to do a critical care specialty with the ACNP program. In hindsight, I may not have chosen this route as I don't think that it suits me well. Part of the problem is that we do not have a set preceptor and we rotate units every few weeks. I have anxiety about meeting new NPs, attendings, residents, blah, blah, blah. It is a combination of many factors. I don't think it is my thyroid because I had it checked a few years ago, but thanks for the suggestion.
    @ IVICU - WOW! What a challenging specialty to venture into! CRITICAL CARE with the ACNP program! I tilt my hat to you! You have come this far, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! You will do well!
  11. Visit  GM2RN profile page
    0
    OP - thank you for starting this thread. I haven't started my program yet, but I am bookmarking this thread for when I do.
  12. Visit  nurseaig profile page
    0
    Don't give up.
  13. Visit  anxiety profile page
    0
    [quote=lvICU;5130701]I am in my final semester of NP school and I am having a hard time. It is not the work load but the clinical experience that I am having major difficulties staying focused. I have 9 years of RN experience and I really thought that I wanted my NP but I truly feel like this isn't clicking. For example, I have to force myself to go to clinical because it just makes me miserable. I chose to do a hospitalist type clinical and we rotate to different services of the hospital and with each rotation I have gotten more and more anxiety. This has gotten so bad that I have actually been trying to come up with excuses not to go to clinical.

    I just don't know if this level of anxiety is normal. I feel like I am losing my mind and I am scared to death to even think about being a new grad NP. I am at a loss for where to go from here. Do I just tough out this last semester and muddle through with the hopes that this will all get better with time and experience? If anyone felt like this during NP school, I would love to hear about how you handled the situation and how you are doing now.[/oquote]


    I am starting my final semester tomorrow....I am freaking out. Now, I don't have as much experience being a nurse (4 years) but I think it is normal for no matter how many years you have had because np roles are different. I almost feel like working at a doctors office as a nurse would have better prepared me to be an fnp than being a staff nurse at the hospital! (Is that weird?)

    Anyway, I had a little over a month off and I feel like I have forgotten everything that I have learned. Like you, I have tried think of reasons not to go to clinical. Once, I actually called in sick because I couldn't bare the thought of going. I tried meds for depression and beta blockers and they didn't work for my anxiety. I think I might ask my doctor for a prn xanax script or something.

    I honestly think I do best with preceptors/instructors are the most important predictor of how I feel. I didn't feel extremely comfortable with my clinical preceptors the first semester of clinical. I just worried if I didn't use the correct term or performed something incorrectly I would fail. Basically, I couldn't learn with them and honestly with the exception on one of the three that semester there was no reason for why I should have felt that way. The other was just an evil person (fortunately I was only scheduled the last half of that semester with her or I would have probably quit).

    Last semester, I loved my preceptors and my clinical instructor so I didn't hate going as much. Sure I still was counting down my hours everyday in anticipation of the end of the semester but it wasn't like I despised going. They were really positive and when I was wrong they corrected me in a good way.

    Unfortunately, one of those preceptors that I didn't very comfortable with (not the evil one though) will be my clinical instructor this semester (so basically the person that decides if I pass or not). I am afraid if I am not 100% all the time I will fail. I just spoke to my boss about going prn at work because I'm flipping out about needing to be perfect so much than I need all my spare time to use it to study/etc... I hope that will work but I have serious motivation problems because I have been distracted by wedding planning. I can't stop looking as wedding stuff.

    I just keep telling myself....less than 4 months...I worried in undergrad too and everything was fine then. My instructor said I was right on track so really I don't see any reason for why that should change. Hopefully it won't. Anyway, I just want to let you know that I am right there with you. Hang in there! I wouldn't think they would have let you get this far if you were doing bad!


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