Am I cut out for this?



I am currently a pre-nursing student, about to apply to the program and desperately hoping I get in. As of now, I am hoping to become a psychiatric nurse.

Yet, I still feel unsure and stress constantly that I am making a mistake.

I chose nursing for a variety of reasons. I know I will be able to find a job and make money as an RN. A lot of people in my family are nurses and they all seem to love it. I know I need a job where I feel I am making a difference. I know I could not handle sitting at a desk all day; I like that nurses do a lot of running around, hands-on stuff. I like that it will be possible for me to work only two or three long shifts a week. Most of all, the idea of helping others appeals to me immensely. As I mentioned, I am hoping to go into psych nursing because I have always been told by others (including my mom, who is a mental health counselor) that I am very well with giving advice/making people feel better/staying cool in hectic situations. I am also a relatively happy and cheerful person almost all the time, and do not hold grudges (I'm guessing these would be good traits for a psych nurse to have also?). I have struggled with mental illness myself in the past and being able to help others dealing with mental illness, even if only a little, would make me incredibly happy and satisfied (or so i believe).

I am worried, however, because I don't know if I have what it takes to handle the stress that I know comes along with this profession. I suffer from social and generalized anxiety as well as fairly severe ADHD. I cannot take the meds they have prescribed me for ADHD because they make me either horribly depressed of just feel off in general. Also, I do not seem to fit in with my nursing peers. I am a more artsy, free-spirited hippie type of person, and I simply do not see any others like me in my class. I am worried that I would feel isolated from friends/family because of the hours I have to work. I want to make sure I am making the right decision. I don't want to be a nurse unless I can be a good nurse and feel happy while being a nurse.

Any advice or words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated! Also if you have any advice regarding what nursing specialty may be a good fit for me, that would be great also.

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

Anyone with "fairly severe ADHD" is going to find nursing education very challenging. Nursing is a knowledge-based profession - the curriculum includes many math and science courses that have to be taken BEFORE any of the clinical education takes place. Although there is some degree of academic accommodation that can be provided for students with formally documented disabilities, this is not usually the case for clinical practicum training because of the requirement that all patient care is delivered at the same level of quality and safety. Bottom line -- Nursing, even in low-stress environments, requires the ability to multi-task without losing focus; responding appropriately and constantly making decisions based upon a continuous barrage of information.

I encourage you to discuss the realities of nursing with a healthcare provider that is familiar with your own limitations to see if it is feasible career option for you. If not, there may be other "helping" professions in which you would excel. For instance, with your artistic and creative talents, perhaps you may be interested in art or music therapy.