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Beginning to question if nursing is for me

Student Assist   (1,725 Views | 2 Replies)
by liathA liathA (New) New

liathA has 1 years experience .

470 Profile Views; 14 Posts

So I'm currently four months from graduating my RN program. For the most part things have gone reasonably well. I've had setbacks here and there, but up until this point I've enjoyed my clinical experiences and have gotten good feedback from my professors and clinical instructors.

Until this term. The past couple of months have really made me question whether nursing is for me - not because of the job, to be honest, but because of nurses. There's just been this overwhelming message that graduating from nursing school is tantamount to being given authority in a religious order. It's not just about being professional, doing your job well, performing good patient care, remaining committed to continuing education, etc. - it's about proving that you are a "good person" and have a "calling", which seems to be a subjective standard mostly based on whether or not particular people like you.

As a student, or heck, just as a person, we are all going to make mistakes. I'll certainly own that I still have lots of things to learn and there are always ways that I can improve. However, there's a difference between constructive criticism vs. failing a clinical day and being lectured on my lack of professionalism and compassion because I had a brief miscommunication with another nursing student (a remark that I intended to be encouraging was interpreted as me criticizing the other student for being lazy and not taking care of her patients - something I certainly never intended, and is patently absurd besides as that particular student is beyond excellent and to say something like that about her would only make sense if you were disconnected from reality).

If it was just a miscommunication or conflict here and there, I could roll with the punches - that's just life, stuff happens - but it's just one thing after another, and it's clear that only certain students are being called out for very small things while other students are given passes on much more serious misconduct. In addition, these issues are almost never addressed in a straightforward way, by an instructor taking a student aside to have a conversation and correct their conduct. Instead, there will be a vague group lecture with no names named, and you get informed a week later that you were the problem and that there are significant consequences for the perceived or actual mistakes you made.

I've seen similar issues in the nurses that we follow during our clinical rotations at multiple sites in a variety of units and specialties.

I spent over a decade in the military, and this kind of leadership is just baffling to me. I'm seriously starting to wonder if I'm cut out for a work environment where this kind of behavior and communication style seems so pervasive. Maybe it's just the seasonal affective disorder talking, but I'm starting to get really discouraged about my long term career prospects at this point.


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284 Posts; 4,162 Profile Views

You are so close to graduation - no point in quitting now.  You can do so much with your RN - you don't have to work in a hospital.  Clinical can be difficult if you don't quite click with your instructor and once things get out of hand, they just sort of steamroll into a disaster.  Regardless of what is happening, do your best and keep moving forward.  If you are lucky - you won't have to work with any of these people and you can form appropriate work relationships with your nurses where ever you land.

Is there an opportunity to return to the military as a nurse??  I mean I know there is, but is there for you?  I know another former military person who had a little trouble adjusting to life outside the military (she was in for almost 15 years).  It had nothing to do with nursing (although she initially thought it did), it was just hard for her to go from the very structured environment to the um... no so structured - and not so "team" oriented environment.  She said it was hard to go from knowing everyone had everyone elses back literally - even if they personally hated each other - to willing to make up lies about you if it gave them a quarter raise.  The lack of trust was difficult for her to learn to deal with - but she did.  She's a great nurse.

Anyway - don't quit.  You could end up in the exact same position in any job outside the military.  Civilian life sometimes feels like jr. high drama all over again.   

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Nadiutta specializes in LMT.

6 Posts; 41 Profile Views

liathA, I hope you didn't quit!

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