Arrrrggghhh..Feeling Burnt out +Not sure about nursing


so as the title says i have been feeling a little like a burnt out candle whenever i am on placement.

i am a 19 y.o male currently in 2nd year of a 3 year rn program at an australian university.

i really really enjoyed my 2 clinical placements at a nursing home last year however this year i was awkwardly thrown into a busy public hospital and i am feeling a little confused.

i am generally great academically and i do not have to apply any effort to get great marks, i simply listen up in class, do assignments on the last day and still pass everything with distinction!

i have been feeling that i do not have enough clinical knowledge and i am underhanded because this is my first time in a hospital as a nurse and my student colleagues constantly seem to get better treatment because they know the ins and outs of the administrative side of being in a hospital. i do however have the ability to answer tricky questions about actual medical terminology and things like anatomy and physiology when the other students cannot.

i have only had a few days on the ward this year due to missing a month worth of clinical due to being admitted to hospital for the 4th time this year and i am already feeling like i have been working too long.

i try to get enough sleep however i still find myself closing my eyes during handover meetings, seminars, etc.

i also find it difficult to stand for extended amounts of time (although i am pretty much forced to be on my feet 8.5 hours each shift with only a short break) due to the fact that i shattered my left leg in a motorcycle accident which was unfortunate as i was wearing full protective gear which probably saved my life.

i am generally outgoing and dont mind participating in the female chit chat that goes on, but lately i just don't want to hear about how xyz has been trying to get pregnant for 6 months and lots of very inappropriate conversation that goes on as if i don't exist :eek:

has anybody ever been too tired during the day and not being able to cope with the constant dramas of being on a ward comprised of 99% female staff (i am the only male nursing student in the hospital, and 1 of about 20 males in a group of 500 students).

Rob72, ASN, RN

685 Posts

Specializes in Infectious Disease, Neuro, Research.

Weeellll... I don't think you're feeling differently than many others who haven't previously worked in direct care. Generally, it seems to take +/- 2 years to really find your legs, and be able to both deal with the patients psycho-social needs, do a full assessment, and prioritize your patients/interventions.

You say that you are out-going; the difficulty is that socially (I suspect) your outings involve more men or a comparable male-female ratio. I'm also guessing you don't have sisters...? Being the only guy, your social norms are being violated. The sexual dynamic can make things difficult. Some of the women will try to shock you, most will just be participating in "the girls version" of locker room talk. I can only say that you'll have to find a way of intermingling that suits your personality, and allows you to interact or be reserved with grace.

Regarding fatigue, I would suspect some mental stress, in addition to your physical compromise. My only thought there is that it helps if you self-analyze, and spend time working the areas you don't feel as comfortable with- hit the direct care. Talk with your instructor, and see if they have any suggestions. For some people, easing back on the academic effort- doing B work instead of pushing extra for an A- and switching to the clinical side makes more sense. For others, the academic work is easy enough and the clinicals challenging enough, that they simply have to power through. Clinicals are more a social dynamic than a practical one(unless you really struggle with treatment rationales).

Good luck!

Edit: if possible, at your clinical site, find a "Mom", generally older, but always a more mature Nurse (female) whom you can talk to, and spend most of your time with her. She will (should) help you find a way of creating a social model for working with the other Type A personality females.;)


6 Posts

Specializes in Aged care. Has 2 years experience.

That's a great response, thankyou for taking the time to write that Rob72 :)

I have worked in an all female environment before and I am not actually offended at the conversation topics that arise, I just feel kind of like I am being left out on purpose because we could talk about a more general topic rather than things like pregnancy, girl parts and the hot guy on TV last night!

I am probably just overwhelmed after taking so much time off from Uni due to being injured, I am hoping to only do 2-3 subjects next semester instead of the usual 4 topics!

I realise that women are only doing exactly what guys do when they are in an all male environment, I am guilty of the exact same thing at one time or another, I probably just need to relax a bit and maybe change to topic or try and contribute to the conversations :)

Rob72, ASN, RN

685 Posts

Specializes in Infectious Disease, Neuro, Research.
and the hot guy on TV last night!

Depending (heavily!) on your personality- play gay. When you've had it up to your eyeballs, I have found it a stress reliever to get up to go after a task, but in parting, flop a wrist, and pop off with something off the wall and girly. Usually, it will have the ladies rolling, and be a funny, gentle, reminder that the estrogen may be getting a tad thick. Works very well if you are either very straight-laced(dead-pan delivery), or normally a bit of a joker.

I'm straight-laced, my brother-in-law is a goof. When we go out with our wives & they go onandonandon about the girl stuff, we'll start. In about 10 seconds, they aren't sure whether to hide under the table, or just go with the laughs.

You can have similar effect just by getting up, making a face, and saying, "I need to go take a Midol(or whatever the ladies below the equator buy)..."

Good luck, bro'! :D

Edit: I confess, it's much easier when you're married with kids- at that point you are pretty much, de facto, one of the girls.


10 Posts

Maybe if you have problems with your health and aren't able to fully engage yourself in the program and grasp the information, it may not be worth it right now. maybe you should take a break and come back again when you're in better shape(if possible) and ready to learn. of course this is up to your discretion because I don't know exactly how you feel, but you should consider how your decisions will affect your future.