Assuming The Nurse Role


Today's just one of those days when I'm doubting my entire life. I feel down, I feel incompetent and I feel like I'm not improving. It's just one of those days when I'm looking inside myself, reexamining her, and viewing her from another perspective.

Today didn't start off bad. It started off like any other day. Me wanting a few more hours to sleep, but eager to get to clinicals/work (I'm a student). Being absent wasn't even an option. I like the work I do. I get there, I'm early, I wait for my instructor. I finished all my assignments for this class weeks in advanced and so all I really had to do was enjoy the experience of the work I do. That's all I ever really ask.

I get to clinicals, my instructor shows up, someone who was suppose to leave the floor is unable to do so and so I agree to take her place. "her place" involved moving around the hospital with another nurse. I guess that's where the slope began.

As I walked around the hospital, I began noticing all the "type A" people that work there, all the doctors in their suits and cell phones, the residents trying to seem important, the ones who were so business-like or "professional" and I just felt...disappointed. I felt sad. And i started wondering if this was really what I wanted. I chose this profession because of my desire to give of myself. It wasn't about the business side of things. I HATE business. And I try to avoid it when I can. But sometimes I just feel like with my profession comes this status-oriented, business side of things that I've never been happy with. But I tried to bury that down. I have nothing to say. Words fail me. I'm shy.

I get back from this walk around the hospital, and I go to talk to my instructor for my evaluation and it was fine. I mean, I passed and it was nothing surprising. One thing stood out to me though and it was that I was asked, once again, to be more assuming in my role. This kind of disheartened me a bit and I'd like your feedback. I just don't know what else to do without feeling like I'm plowing down those who really are in that role. For me, even though I know I'm holding myself back, I feel like I'm being patient, considerate, and respectful because I'm always hearing the nurses complain about their workload and I don't want to overwhelm them with the way they complain. But I guess it comes off as unassuming and overly passive.

Just some insight please. I really do feel disheartened by this because I don't know how to be more assertive in this regard right now.


21 Posts

I've had lots of days like that in nursing. do the best you can, be enthusiastic, if you need specific examples from your instructor on how to improve then ask for them, stay positive. There are times when you are asked to give more when you feel you've already gone above and beyond, so just know: This too shall pass.

Specializes in Med Tele, Gen Surgical. Has 4 years experience.

Soliloquiy take heart! I'm so glad that you are having this realization in school, rather than a total reality shock and no foreshadowing before you land your first coveted nursing position. Not all days are rosy. Most are the "new" average. A few are downright nasty. As Pinknblue82 pointed out, "this too shall pass."

This is a great time to look into YOUR coping skills, and what you CHOOSE to spend your precious, precious energy on. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason, and the only thing you can control is your response. See the duck, be the duck. Recognize the pond you're in, let the water roll off you as best you can, and keep paddling. You can do this.

Regarding the realization that you HATE the business side.......well, that is isn't going to change. Realizing you need to be more assertive, you're on the right path in that, first of all, you recognize this. Next, go ask for examples of what your instructor wants to see. Then do it, learn from it, decide what parts of it you want to keep, and discard the rest. your specific opinion is to say to your staff nurse with whom you are paired, "I was thinking X would be a priority to get accomplished in the next hour, and after that I thought I'd work on X and Y. What do you think, and what else can I do to help you with this/these patients?" Then let your instructor know how you handled that.

It's all part of the process. Write a sticky note to yourself about this and file it away to look at six months from now. You'll be most likely be smiling at how far you've come!



192 Posts

I understand what you mean. I held back in school. I felt I was a student and didn't have the right to make a guinea pig out of the patients by practicing on them. I find now that I have worked a bit with patients, through volunteering and my short stay in long term care, that I get along with the patients really well because I am sensitive and I listen to them. I care and I am gentle with the care I give. I listen to their family members and their complaints. They tell me how much they apprecitate being given the time. One patient told me she loved me. I guess what I am trying to show by saying this is that I too was a shy person and soft spoken and didn't charge in and take command with total confidence like many of the classmates. But, at the end of the day, when you are the nurse and they are your patients, being yourself and sharing that with them will be what is important. And your personality will shine through. They will appreciate you for being yourself with them.

As for the business side of nursing, there's no getting around that! I lost my job today at a very badly managed facility that is all about the money and not the people. You will run into one self-important personality after another in this (and probably any other field). I don't have the answer to that except to say the meek will inherit the earth! I was done in by one such personality on my job. But, I will tell you what I tell myself, opportunities will continue to come and chances to improve yourself if you continue to evaluate and reassess your performance and address whatever deficits you find.

For me, I find I badly need more skills training. I couldn't get into the hospital and with a preceptor. So, FYI, LTC just takes you for the RN after your name, but provides no training. And, then they expect you to know how to perform skills like PICC and central lines etc even though you have never been allowed to do them in school. And leaves you to do them on your own. My preceptor has become YouTube videos!!!

Continue to evaluate yourself and get to know what you want out of nursing. Try to explore a variety of nursing areas-maybe hospital isn't for you. I don't think it's for me either. But unfortunately it's the place to learn skills!

Best wishes to you! You sound like you have a lot of heart. Your patient's will love you for it!

mmm333, LVN

298 Posts

You get through all this stuff one hurdle at a time, by taking the long view. There will be awful days.

You will comfort yourself by saying patients appreciate you taking time. Then when you start working you will take the same amount of time with patients and your managers will be riding you about overtime. Then you'll start getting more and more efficient until you are actually able to do both, if not after getting run off or terminated once, then at least on the second or third job. Nursing is a rough ride and not for the faint of heart. Take your lumps, swallow your pride, and keep your chin up. Eventually you will notice that each year is better than the last one was. Hang in there and reflect often on lessons learned. That's my two cents for now.

joanna73, BSN, RN

1 Article; 4,767 Posts

Specializes in geriatrics.

First, keep in mind that we all have different personalities, different values, and varying interests. Diversity is a positive thing. All you needed to do was pass, and you did. Each instructor and preceptor will have their own ideals of what nursing and nurses should be. Don't take what she said too much to heart. You will find your niche at some point. You're also still learning, but as people said, it is a positive that you're able to reflect early on and realize the kinds of environments you prefer. I'm not shy, OP, but I can relate to not liking the "business" of nursing.

Has 6 years experience.

Thanks everyone,

I appreciate your response and more and more it's becoming apparent to me where in the hospital I'd like to begin working, what I'd like to do, where I'd like to go, etc. I think I'll be able to tolerate the business side of things over time. Unless all power goes back to the nuns and monks in all hospitals I doubt it'll change too. lol

But she wasn't the first instructor to give me this midterm evaluation, there was one other who did as well. I had to ask as I asked both of them what was wanted. I got complimented for my research skills, looking up drugs and illnesses and knowing what they do and how to treat, etc. But then they said I needed to spend more time talking to my bedside nurse, participating in rounds, or being at the bedside. I've only had about 3 patients so far and all three wanted a certain amount of privacy with their parents and I wanted to respect that and tried not to bother them unless I really had to. I know for 2 of my patients I stayed in the room with them during rounds even after the student doctor appeared that she wanted me to leave and I even asked to stay so I could listen in, I spent an entire day off the floor (with permission) with my patient as I walked with her and her mom to the various procedures she had to get done. I asked the nurse to call the doctor because they missed rounds, etc. I even specifically asked for certain patients so that I could experience in certain things. In the other clinical,my peers were furious with me because I ended up late because I was spending all the time with my patients, getting their vitals (no other student did 8am/12noon vitals that day), talking to my nurse, giving baths, talking to families, helping my patient go down to a procedure. So I'm wondering if all of my efforts are just going unrecognized and what is meant when they say they want me to be more assuming. I'm starting to feel like maybe what they want is for me to carry more presence.

Lobot: I'm going to try your suggestion of talking to the nurse (or my instructor) about what I want my process to be. At least that way they can see my thinking. But also, since I've completed all my assignments weeks in advance, I'm going to try and spend more time at the bedside and just try to focus on the overall process. That way, I at least have some idea of what I want my routine to be like, or how to adequately prioritize when I'm on my own.

You guys are right, this too shall pass...

RNperdiem, RN

4,580 Posts

Has 14 years experience.

I hope you eventually find that balance between a need to give of yourself and the business savvy and professionalism to maintain respect.

You need some of both to thrive and survive in nursing.


85 Posts

I am neither thriving nor survivng in nursing. Hence my exit from the program. I know that I''m obsessing on this unfortunate event, but I just can't get my mind off it. I have a lot going for me without being a nurse, but it really is disheartening. So much led up to this point with the prerequisites, the research, the visualization of what it was going to be like, etc. and now it's one big let-down. I have had a lot of let-downs in my working life - and this is yet another which serves to worsen my morale about life. Today I passed a bridge that didn't have railings on it. - so easy to jump, but I don't think I'd ever have the nerve. The temptation was there, however.

Has 6 years experience.
I am neither thriving nor survivng in nursing. Hence my exit from the program. I know that I''m obsessing on this unfortunate event, but I just can't get my mind off it. I have a lot going for me without being a nurse, but it really is disheartening. So much led up to this point with the prerequisites, the research, the visualization of what it was going to be like, etc. and now it's one big let-down. I have had a lot of let-downs in my working life - and this is yet another which serves to worsen my morale about life. Today I passed a bridge that didn't have railings on it. - so easy to jump, but I don't think I'd ever have the nerve. The temptation was there, however.

Hey bigeyes,

Nursing, from the little I've experienced, is tough and I feel it's seldom because of the patients but more because of staff and administration and their expectations from you. If it's your dream, I hope you consider taking it back up in the future if you can, but I'd strongly suggest that you keep posting here and contact someone you know so that you can get extra help. I only say this because I've been talking to a counselor because I've had some anxiety due to suppressing a lot of my emotions since college and having them "bubble to the surface". It helps, to talk. And it's worth doing because you're worth it if for no other reason than you exist.

mmm333, LVN

298 Posts

If you are losing heart in nursing school already, you need to figure out a way to cope. The reality of nursing after school is truly soul-crushing for those who don't develop a thick skin. There are books on the topic that you can buy. And of course people here to get advice from. Think of it as a problem that needs to be addressed and use the nursing process on yourself.

BrandonLPN, LPN

3,358 Posts

Has 5 years experience.

It takes all kinds to make the world go round. Nursing is no different. I'm sure you bring a lot to the table that "type As" don't.