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Cry for help: I don't think I can do this.

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by -MissTake- -MissTake- (New Member) New Member

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Wrench Party has 3 years experience and specializes in Cardiology, Cardiothoracic Surgical.

823 Posts; 13,057 Profile Views

Mclennan's totally got it: hang in there, girl! I just graduated from a BSN program as well, and spent most of this school year feeling like a blubbering, burned out failure from the sleep deprivation, the stress and the expectations. I was lucky to have friends that picked me up and booted me forward, and one faculty member that gave me some pretty solid advice:

"Yes, this sucks...but it is a phase and it too will pass. I didn't know what I wanted to do at first either...but I got a job and went from there. If you keep your mind and opportunities open, you'll eventually get to where you need to be. And, remember, that if we didn't think you and your classmates would have succeeded, we never would sent you on this journey in the first place."

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12 Posts; 714 Profile Views

I am so sorry that you are going through this right now. I too went through feelings similar to this during my final semester of college. They weren't as bad as yours sound, but, they went away the closer I got to graduation. However, I had the advantage of already being a LPN for close to 10 years by that point. So, I had a different perspective on what the field of nursing is really like. Also, I went back to school to further my education to find employment in acute care. That was my goal in life and still had doubt about my decision.

I remember during a clinical day going after something in the clean linen closet when it hit me. I had a lot of emotions from "why did I do this again" and "I don't like this field anymore" to "maybe I can switch my major and never look back!". Being a student nurse isn't ever the best place to be in life! You will NOT be railroaded into acute care, especially with 2 four year degrees. You have so many possibilities at your fingertips with that behind you. Have you considered pharmaceutical work? You are also employable in insurance companies as well. The list of possibilities also extend to further your education in a specialty such as Legal Nurse or Forensic Nursing. Of course, you may have to put in your time at least one year in acute care for some of the positions so that you have that knowledge base. In this economy employers are extremely picky just because they can be.

Since you haven't been getting a lot of sleep, try to work on that. It must be your priority even though it's difficult. Once that falls into place, things won't look as bleak. You could speak to your physician for solutions to not sleeping well and your emotions you've been feeling.

Would you be interested in shadowing a nurse in acute care or another setting to see what it is actually like as a RN on her own? Maybe you would benefit from seeing the profession from a completely different stand point? Try to call around to see if your are able to schedule a couple of hours to shadow a nurse in a field you are interested in (possibly the community health field you spoke of). When I have been on interviews, I have never had trouble when asking if I could shadow for a couple of hours. It's also done with high school students who are considering a career in healthcare.

There is nothing like helping someone who is unable to help themselves. When you watch someone evolve from being ill to returning to their former self (or close to it) it's a tremendously rewarding experience. Also, there's nothing like the first time one of your patients returns to you to thank you for what you've done or the mother who puts her child in your arms because she is scared to death that her child is seriously ill, just because you have RN behind your name. Not every day is delightful or horrible. You have stressed out co-workers and grumpy doctors or otherwise to contend with. But in spite of it all, it feels good to make a difference in someone's life, sometimes a significant difference. When you feel this, all the BS in college will take a back seat.

My advice is to stay in school and get your degree. You can keep in the back of your mind that a BSN doesn't mean hooking up IV's and pushing meds for the rest of your life. You will have a multitude of options available once you get some experience and you probably don't even realize it just yet. I kept telling myself that when I would start to feel like I wanted to run away from everything. Hang in there, you WILL be glad you did.

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506 Posts; 8,124 Profile Views

Just wondering if its 'hospital' nursing that is the problem, rather than nursing as a profession?

You talk about nurses not having autonomy and being first in line for the blame game, and you sound to me like someone who wants a little more independance and control over their situation?

Go ahead and finish, and just remember that hospitals are not the only option.

Work independantly, at a doctors office, or sidestep to become a nurse paralegal.

if you want more activity and challenges, go work on a cruise ship or better still, in the military.

You would be in a small, loyal team, pushing skills and initiative to the limit, gaining and giving respect, and receiving job satisfaction that is second to none.

Just my 2c worth, but you seem to be battling against a hospital heirarchy and culture where just maybe you don't belong.

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11,191 Posts; 53,719 Profile Views

i seriously believe your state of mind is the culmination of nsg school stressors.

i felt as you do, right towards the very end when i wanted to walk away from it all.

a loved one gave me a dopeslap that knocked me across the room, but also reoriented me back to my good senses.

(thanks, i needed that.)

you'll feel differently once you're a nurse, i can promise you that.

it likely won't happen overnight, but you will grow into your own unique role of the professional nurse.

you will exercise your nsg judgment appropriate to ea pt situation...

and will apply your 'mature adult' judgment to those who may try and undermine you.

in other words, you do not have to take anyone's ****...please always remember that.

like the pp who brought in goodies and had a "talk" with his/her instructors...

i too, had the same type talk with mine, less the goodies.

i totally rejected their attempts in trying to disparage me, and communicated that calmly, articulately, and succinctly.

i made myself quite clear and after that discussion, there were no more issues.

you (or anyone) do not have to accept victim status, as you are in control.

i'm not saying you're feeling victimized; i'm saying that your perceptions of any given event, are what will define its acuity or not.

take your power back; give yourself a much-needed dopeslap; and move forward.

you can do this...as you've been doing it all along.

it's your time to shine.

leslie

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192 Posts; 6,013 Profile Views

Yo.

When I saw the BS in my program - the second a teacher tried to treat me like the other 22-year old half-wits - I scheduled some office time with her for a meeting. I brought a small fruit basket & a couple cups of Starbucks. I put on a nice smile. And I drew my boundaries: I will not be treated like a child. I will not tolerate condescension, manipulation, or passive-aggressive mind games. I agree to be receptive to your teaching, to study hard, to be on time and be respectful. You don't mess with me, and I won't mess with you. Let's have mutual respect, and we'll get through this just fine. I'm older and have life experience and brains. I don't need to be poked with a cattle prod or shouted at, and I'm over drama. Are we clear? Are we cool? We shook on it.

:)

Yep! Had this situation with my first clinical instructor. She was at least 15 years younger than me and mother to one toddler. And, she was very authoritarian with our clinical group (most of whom were the age of my college-aged son). So, we had to have it out, so to speak. I went to her office, with a token gift as a follow up to ease my very honest email about her inappropriate public behavior to me in front of the group during clinicals. That little token went a long way for the next three months. On the last day before finals, we had words unfortunately, but at that point, there was nothing she could do to me. I had an A in class, I had excellent clinical worksheets and an insightful clinical self-eval, I hadn't hurt anyone or even been late or unprepared. I had won. She couldn't get rid of me no matter how hard she tried. No teasing or hazing had run me off. I was still standing.

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27 Posts; 1,001 Profile Views

Let me put this into context. Maybe this belongs in the general student discussion because I am a BSN student approaching my final semester of nursing school, but I'm seeking out perspective from individuals who are already working in the field and have experience.

I don't think I can do this.

I don't know what I am supposed to do.

I alternately feel like the biggest jerk and the biggest failure on the face of the earth - dramatic I know, but really. I'm a great student! I have fabulous grades, I'm always on time at the hospital, I -care- about the people I take care of during my clinical hours and I treat them with compassion and dignity, I'm not -glaringly- incompetent and I usually get along well with the staff.

And I hate, hate, HATE every single minute of it. In fact, I fantasize every day about blowing off my last three months and not even finishing my degree. I already have one 4 year degree in the burn pile - what's one more!? This is the big failure/big jerk part: I know there are so many people who try and fail at even becoming nurses in the first place, or they work and they scrape and they struggle because it doesn't come easily. I'm not having that problem. So what's the big deal?

I cry, almost every single day, at least every week, I cry and I cry. I cry when I come home. I cry when I try to sleep and I can't. I cry when I think about having to go back to the hospital. I cry when I think about the impenetrably disapproving look on my clinical instructor's face as I weigh whether or not I should even ask her the question brewing in my head, or the next time an honest entreaty for help gets shot down with "you ought to know this already." I cry when I think about getting my license, I cry when I think about getting a job. I feel so miserable and I ask myself every day why I did this to myself.

Oh. And my blood pressure? Hello clinical hypertension! It was perfectly fine before nursing school. Yeah, I've done the stressful college dance before: driving all over the darn place, transcribing interview tapes 40 hours a week, 15+ hours of class, finishing my undergrad thesis - I was running ragged, sleeping

I see the cutthroat and hostile unit cultures, burnt out, overwhelmed nurses cutting corners, I've been laughed at for following orders, yelled at by angry unit managers for doing what I was told to do, I feel like I have absolutely no idea what the HECK I am doing and I think to myself, oh my goodness, if my first job is anything like this, I'm going to end up killing someone and losing my license.

I'm amazed at the minimal authority nurses seem to wield over of their own work environment and their status as first sacrificial lamb up for the slaughter from a legal perspective if something goes awry. I don't see how new nurses ever make the cut as most of them appear to lack support. I have heard so many horror stories from experienced nurses who were humble and transparent enough to be honest with me about what they encountered when they first entered into the field. Obviously they went on to overcome the difficulties they faced, but...

... holy crap! Is this field as terrible as I think it is? How does anyone ever manage to do this? Do the chest-rending anxiety and terror eventually go away, do things begin to fall into place one you get out of school, get your license and find a job - you know, when you have to slog through all the things you've come to hate for even more hours every week - or am I going to be Googling "I hate nursing", "non-nursing jobs with BSN degree" and "getting out of nursing" until 3am every night through all of it?

I know that no one can answer these questions for me - they are, in essence, rhetorical. But I wonder - is what I'm experiencing normal? Am I going to pieces for no reason, or am I just not cut out to do this?

I've worked with the disenfranchised, people in crisis; heavy, taxing mental and emotional work. But this is a new kind. I don't really mind how I feel when I am taking care of patients. It's the way I feel when I'm away from all that. I feel such a profound sense of pressure, especially from instructors giving us their "pearls of wisdom" - what I'm hearing is that we're all going to screw up, we're all in immediate danger at all times of losing our licenses, and we all HAVE to work at hospitals on adult med-surg floors if we ever want to have job options or a suitably diverse skill set no matter how ill-suited or opposed we are to so doing. Reality? Myth?

Do I suck it up, shut it down, or just find a way to work with it? I think I'd love to work in community health as I have some experience working with mums utilizing public health initiative services and I served as a an assistant community resource advisor to financially disadvantaged families. I love providing education, I enjoy working with people individually, conducting research and developing solutions, but I feel like the fast-paced and hospital-based acute care model is being crammed down my throat every hour of every day and I'm drowning in it.

... is that all nursing is? :( That's how I feel right now. And every time I think about how much I don't like where I am right now, I try to tell myself that it will get better, I imagine the faces of everyone who has supported me and made it possible for me to finish this degree, I think about all the time, the effort, the money, the difficulties, and the total lack of realistic job prospects I'll face if I fail to deliver. Fear. Guilt. Faint, faint glimmer of hope.

Short story: it does -not- make me feel better.

The best part is not knowing which to worry about most: finishing my (second) degree and not being able to find a job, or being super successful in finding a soul-crushing job that I hate with every fiber of my being.

Thanks for reading my totally long and whiny (yet much needed and cathartic!) post that is probably posted in the wrong forum,

MissTake

(P.S. "quit complaining", "u should b so greatful (can't you spell?) to even b in nursing school!!!!!", "DIDN'T YOU KNOW NURSING IS HARD WORK??", etc., need not apply; I'm not stupid, I'm just really upset, I feel like there's no one to talk to and I don't need any more negativity - thanks!)

Many Hugs .. It's good to talk :)

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192 Posts; 6,013 Profile Views

OP I understand how you feel. I hated school. I always said I would never be a nurse. Then off I went to nursing school 20 years later because it looked like my best option for employment.

But, once I got out of school, a weight lifted. Yes, my first TWO jobs ended rather quickly (LTC, no training); but that inspired me to look into other areas of nursing and even allied health fields. I believe there is great value in this degree, even if you don't want to work in a hospital.

Do some inventory of your personal skill set. See what broad areas you are close to or already qualified to pursue. Polish up the rough spots to be qualified for those areas (for me it was computer skills),

I, two, have a former bachelors. But, I stayed home to raise kids and never used it. Now, I am trying to make myself a well-rounded employee. Life is long, who knows where i will land. But, I want to have options.

I like to go to the specialities area of allnurses to read about different areas of nursing and what it takes to get there. Just think, you could be in research or as someone said, public health. How about education or teaching (partly joking, but never say never!)

Now that I have had my license for a year, and tried a few things, I am inspired by the variety of options before me. No, nursing isn't perfect. I came home from my second job every day saying nursing was a horrible profession. So, i stepped down to something easier for me emotionally and now I find my attitude has changed and I'm ready to go at it again-hands on patient care.

Unfortunately, work is work- no matter what the field. It would be a luxury to love ones job. Don't feel you have to have all the answers right now, just go through the motions- finish your BSN, take your boards, apply for jobs- one day at a time. Don't think too far down the road.

During the last year and after I graduated, I keep praying something would save me from having to actually go to work- maybe I could win the lottery? Once I accepted that wasn't going to happen, I was determined to give it my best try. Look at how much has been. invested. I find now that I have a love-hate relationship with nursing- I love the information, I'm up for the challenge- but I hate the politics of the profession, the lack of training-there are so many ways to get fired!!!

Oh, BTW, if your first job or two doesn't work out, don't sweat it. Just don't list them as a reference. You will eventually get another job and another shot at learning.

Best wishes!

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kalevra has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ED, Telemetry,Hospice, ICU, Supervisor.

530 Posts; 19,396 Profile Views

Quit while you are ahead. If this is how sure you are about the nursing career field, then perhaps it is time you move into a less stressful job. It is your physical and mental health we are talking about. How much does keeping your sanity mean to you? How much does controlling your blood pressure mean to you?

" Know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away and know when to RUN ". - Kenny Rogers (The Gambler)

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Annaiya has 5 years experience as a NP and specializes in PICU.

555 Posts; 13,201 Profile Views

Being a nurse is NOT like being a nursing student. Step back, take a breath, and start focusing on just 1 thing at a time. Don't pile on a Job Search with finishing school and NCLEX. That's too much. Just focus on what you have to get through next week, not next month. After you graduate, study for and pass NCLEX, then start your job search. It sounds like hospital nursing might not be for you and that's OK. Find a community health job, a job in a clinic, a home health job or something else that sounds interesting to you. That environment is 100% different from being a staff nurse in the hospital. And if you try something and don't like it, the great thing about nursing is you can look around and find something else. Nursing opens a lot of doors, so definitely finish your degree and take NCLEX. Your post was articulate and well written, so if you can interview anything like how you write, you will have no trouble getting a job after graduation.

Another thing that I think is important is having friends who are nurses that you can talk to. If you haven't found anyone in your nursing school that you really click with, allnurses can be a passable substitute. I find my friends and family that are not nurses absolutely do not understand what I go through. I'm lucky that my best friend is a nurse too. When I found myself overwhelmed and crying a lot at home from all of the sad, horrible things I've seen at work, she understood when I talked to her about it. I think that type of support system is really important in nursing.

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96 Posts; 3,523 Profile Views

I have not yet been to nursing school (I start in the fall) but I do know a couple of gals that hated it with a passion just as you.

They both graduated and now they love their jobs. They work with a "fee for service" type of doctor (to not give specific names) in a clinic. With the new healthcare "thingy" I keep hearing these will be popping up more and more though I know little about it. I'm in the Seattle area, I do not know that these clinics are becoming popular anywhere else though.

Was your clinic rotation just as bad as the hospital rotation (if you even had one)? I currently work in a clinic and it's so laid back here and the drama is so slight that most everyone loves it. I realize it's easy to say "stick it out" you'll be ok or at least you'll have your degree but I know, all to well, that when you seriously hate something even one more day can feel like the end of the world. I really hope you find the answers you are looking for.

Best wishes and take good care.

-D

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1 Post; 380 Profile Views

Ok, I see you have quite the response from the nursing community and so many I really don't feel the need to read all of them but I'm sure some great advice. I read your post and thought yikes! The first thought I had was I feel like your clinicals (instructors) have somehow failed you. You should feel comfortable with your clinical instructor going to them as a reference, for guidence, and if you don't then that's probably not your fault. I had a similiar circumstance in my clinical training when I was in nursing school. Smart instructor, probably a great RN, but did not know how to teach worth ... You get a basic foundation in nursing through school and basically how to pass the NCLEX. Afterwards you become refined in your hospital/unit orientation and through clinical practice. There are so many fields, specialties, so many places where you can find that perfect fit :) As far as nurses, well, there are ALL types. Seek out those RNs that enjoy helping, teaching, essentially being a resource (they exist). There are always the disgruntled employees, just stay clear of them, they always tend to bring you down.

As far as jobs, I got a job right out of school in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Just apply everywhere. It never hurts. If you are willing to move, there are opportunities all over the country. Teaching hospitals are usually good at hiring new grads and there are new grad immersion programs at some hospitals which can be a great opportunity for new RNs. Once you get a little experience it really does open the flood gates for jobs.

I wish you the best!! One thing to keep in mind is 'Why did you choose nursing?' Keep that answer close to your heart and shield it from those that take the joy out of something you love. We are not born to know how to give meds, start IVs, what signs and symptoms belong to what disease process. All this has to be learned. What does come natural is love, compassion, and what we find enjoyment in, harness that and don't let anybody take that away.

Sorry if I got sappy on ya ;)

Hugs

Mo

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112 Posts; 5,695 Profile Views

People on here make you feel hopeful. Let me tell you the truth. School is nothing compared to the real world. Nursing is rewarding, but it's a rough working life. If you are lucky you might land an unconventional job. Floor nursing is horrible (generally speaking). Some nurses like it, but as a nurse, you hardly have control over the nurse to patient ratios. Everyone doesn't have the same experiences, but I have kept in touch with at least 15 to 20 of my classmates since graduation and 99% of us are miserable and desperate to get out. Finish your degree. You might need it later down the road if you decide to get your master's degree. Why waste all of that money? Good luck to you.

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