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_ashley_ _ashley_ (New Member)

Depressed in Nursing School

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Hi all,

I'm looking for some advice and insight.

I'm Almost halfway done my 3rd year of my BSN. This year I've realized I don't know if I want to be a nurse. Up until this point I was very academic and loved classes/learning and obtained a 90% average.

This year we stared our first REAL clinical with assigned patients and full care (our program is pretty decelerated).

Long story short, I really don't think I like health care nor the responsibility of it and find myself much too forgetful to feel confident in any type of care. I was going to push through it as I only have 1.5 years left and try focusing on community/palliative nursing, but I don't know if I can. I've become very depressed, can barely finish my readings, can't sleep before clinical days, and dread school overall (which I never have until this point). I think my motivation has just dropped as I'm not passionate about it. Or maybe I'm just depressed and its manifesting in school? Its hard to tell. I really don't know what to do, I don't want to regret abandoning my BSN. But I'm wondering if this just isn't the career for me as I am so so depressed.

Any thought are appreciated.

Thank you.

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Hi Ashley,

Please get seen for your depression. There is help out there. I've had issues with it in the past and I wouldn't want to make any sort of big decisions when I was depressed.

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Exactly what Luchador said. Go to your doctor and see if you can get on some meds (even temporarily) for your depression. Depression makes everything seem so much worse than it is, and it can kill your motivation for everything you used to love doing. Get some help and don't make any big decisions if you can help it until you've given medication or whatever the doctor recommends a while to work and help you. I definitely wouldn't quit until you've given it a lot of time and thought, and made sure it isn't your depression lying to you. Wishing you well.

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Hi Ashley,

I am sorry to hear you are going through this. Nursing school is such a heavy responsibility. It requires so much effort simply to complete a single week. If you couple that with depression and feelings of uncertainty about the profession the task seems almost insurmountable. I am a nursing student as well. I feel for you. Your post really resonated with me. I have been exactly where you are. More than once.

First, I think it is very normal to have doubts about the path you are on. Some days I am beaming with excitement about the profession. Other days I have overwhelming anxiety and crushing doubts about the field for nursing. I have had my share of breakdowns and thoughts of dropping out. Those days happen. Nursing school is stressful--and not just in a busy stressful kind of way. Becoming a nurse is a huge responsibility. Acquiring the knowledge to be a good nurse is challenging. Developing the interpersonal and time management skills necessary to survive is challenging. I have faith that we will get there like many great nurses before us. All part of the process. We must be kind to ourselves along our journey.

Second, please consider finding someone to talk to. Many schools offer counseling services that are included in tuition. Depression is real and it should not have to be dealt with alone. Trained professionals can help you to uncover what the source of your sadness is. Depression can manifest in many ways and make everyday tasks challenging. Depression can steal passion and motivation from us.

Next, I have found it helpful not to focus too much on the future. I know it sounds crazy. Every time I go down the path of trying to plan out my entire nursing career I spiral downwards. We live in a society that encourages us to plan and to think only about tomorrow. I think some of the depression I have faced as a nursing student is linked to this false belief that I need to lock into one path. Humans are dynamic. We need to give ourselves the opportunity to evolve. We miss out on happiness and opportunities to learn and grow when we force ourselves to fit into a mold.

The beautiful thing about earning a BSN is that you can do SO many things with it. Even things you cannot imagine right now.

Please, please do not give up. Finish this program. It sounds like you are performing quite well. Give yourself some credit! A BSN is a powerful degree. And the beauty of it all is-- you can always, always change paths.

You can literally do anything. You could go on to get your MBA, go to med school, become an engineer, study fine arts, OT, PT, speech therapy.... anything!

You are off to a great start with 75% of a bachelors degree complete. I graduated with a B.A. in psychology before starting the nursing program that I am currently enrolled in. I switched my major from nursing to psychology when I was 19. I regret not finishing the nursing program I had originally started. I would have needed to go on to graduate school to become a counselor anyway. I could have done that with any undergraduate degree. But so is life! I am embracing my journey. I have come full circle and will be graduating with a BSN in May.

Be kind to yourself Ashley. Think about why you started nursing school. Think about how you have changed as a person. Maybe nursing won't be a lifelong career for you, but it is a start. Find someone to talk to. Never be ashamed to seek help. If you need ideas on seeking out therapy or want to talk further feel free to PM me.

Good luck Ashley. Sending some love from one nursing student to another.

Edited by elephantlover

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Please contact your school's health center. Most universities have low cost or free counseling available for students. Take care of yourself.

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1. Get some help for your depression. Your school should have free counseling.

2. Don't quit the degree. I HATED clinical. It's very different when you're on your own. And if you get out there and still hate it, there are so many options. Work for an insurance company. Go to law school and concentrate on the medical field from a legal standpoint instead. Get your NP and work outpatient. Get into education or research instead of direct patient care. You've already come so far and it's a valuable degree, you don't have to use it to be a bedside nurse!

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I've been here. What got me through was not wanting to start all over again with another degree and finding some areas of nursing I thought didn't sound too bad. I don't think it's ever good to make a life changing decision when feeling depressed. Feelings aside, look at the facts. Remember feelings are NOT facts and can be very fleeting. The fact is you've enjoyed the program so far. You've come a long way and learned a lot. Reality is hitting with the enormous responsibility you will have as a nurse but this is what nursing school and someday orientation prepares you for. You are very smart and you CAN do this each step at a time and focus on the big picture of having a degree in only 1 1/2 more years. You will most likely regret it if you don't see it through. Once you get through ALL of it, you can make a better informed decision if you would like to be an actual nurse. There are SO many avenues from babies, case management, schools, dr offices or clinics, etc and not all of them deal with medically fragile people!! If you decide it's just not what you want then build on this degree and do something else. But don't give up! And definitely see some one to get help to help get you over this hump. There's no shame in taking care of yourself. Best wishes!!

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Nobody likes clinical. And almost nobody likes their first job or two. Then you find something.

Get some help with your depression.

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Hey there. I'm not in the same boat as you, I haven't began my journey towards nursing school yet but I do suffer from depression. It's caused me to be stagnant in my life, and even with nursing. I understand how you feel and what you mean.

The advice about continuing and then seeing if you can navigate towards other fields of interest after you finish, is great. And so is the advice to seek professional help. Thankfully, I'm not in nursing school yet but my plan is to mentally prepare myself so I don't feel the weight of nursing school and my depression crushing me at the same time lol.

Depression makes everything that you're dealing with 10x worse. So make sure to try and nip it in the bud while you can! Good luck to you.

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Please if you take anything from this post DO NOT QUIT the program. Oh my gosh do not quit. There is sooooooo much more out there than patient care for nurses. I have been in your shoes 100%, I have delt with depression off and on for the past 10 years. It can be hard cause it creeps up on you, especially when you have distractions... like school. They have online therapy and psychiatrist (for anti-depressantsand anti-anxiety meds) Try Doctor On Demand - Urgent Care Doctors & Mental Health . I swear it saved me, they accept most insurance and you can get an apt within like a day. I do therapy on there too, its been super nice especially with school schedules (most have saturday appointments). Maybe you aren't depressed, but talking it out with someone like a therapist/psychiatrist can help you get to the root of what is going on.

I have met girls that quit their BSN programs and they told me it was one of the biggest mistakes. When applying for any post grad school they said it was hard to get beyond that they dropped out of nursing school during interveiws(and we all know now a bachelors degree is the new asociates degree and to pay off your bachelors you might as well go back to school for a masters).

You are smart, obviously, look at how far you have came. You love the acedemic side of health sciences, for most that is the hardest part. You made the 1st step by making this post and reaching out. Feel free to message me if you want, but I would for sure NOT QUIT and talk to someone even if it's not a therapist.

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I am so sorry you are having so much difficulty. Please continue to reach out, to whomever you feel can offer support, even online forums.

What I am hearing you say is that the depression began when face to face care of humans came into play. That seems key to how you are feeling. Unfortunately, you say this has tainted your love (or possibly has it just been collateral damage and may return if you are not dealing with clinical?) for academics.

Please see someone now. Medications are not for everyone, and I don't advocate them as a first line defense. You need to find someone OUTSIDE of school and in particular anything work related...for unbiased listening. I am a nurse. I will most likely listen to you and form my opinions and suggestions on my own experiences in nursing. You need someone who is going to listen to your feelings and try to get to the root of what it is...

Have you simply found out that you don't like dealing with the neediness of people when they are sick? Maybe you simply don't like dealing with people in general. No shame in that...many people are like this, ergo...they do work that lessens or eliminates contact with humans.

The thing is...getting thru your BSRN will actually ENABLE you to tailor your practice. You can literally NEVER deal with another care plan or poopy butt again, if this is the root of the problem. Quitting will net you......DEBT, a transcript that you have to explain, a job that may have less mobility and possibility and maybe even earning potential. Nursing can be a springboard to a ton on opportunities.

I had the opposite problem. I was suffering from crushing, debilitating depression PRIOR to nursing school. No direction. No goals. I was freshly divorced and just hating life. I did not seek treatment (which i regret deeply). I had driven away most of my support system, because there is such a thing as sympathy fatigue.

What changed things is a comment made to me by someone i respect. She said, "In 4 years, you will be 4 years older no matter what you do. The question is, do want to be in the same place as you are now, in 4 years' time? Anybody can do anything, for 4 years. It's not a lifetime." I did things the hard way. I didn't get help, i relied on the goal of "just getting thru it" to graduate.

I loathed clinicals. I isolated myself and did not participate in any class or casual activities. It was depression, but in a different form. I had a task and i had to complete it. No goals. Just finish it and be done.

Not a great strategy. I got out into the workforce and found that my depression was WORSE because there is really no formal structure, no deadlines or tasky environment. Quit my first job 8 months in. I could not get out of bed. I thought it was nursing....maybe i just don't like people.

I did go to see someone, and they listened to me....my problems had nothing to do with nursing, but i had self medicated with "what everyone expects of me". SEE SOMEONE. I would advise that you continue, because honey....anybody can do anything for 1.5 years....especially when the cost benefit analysis is so overwhelmingly in favor of staying in and finishing.

Be honest with yourself and do a lot of self care. Do not alienate your support system. Talk it through and make some goals for when this is over. Network with nurses who have left bedside.

And know this. I am not sure I have ever met a student that liked clinicals or their clinical instructor. I had a previous career that was in healthcare, and i had two years of clinics. Free laborand no recourse. I hated the lot of them. No one in my class felt any better. So it is NOT just nursing. Being new, learning an overwhelming amount of information, then dealing with sick humans....it is a lot.

Please find a counselor. If medication is recommended, maybe it will help. I knew several nursing students who said they had never, ever been on an anti depressant until nursing school...and then once it was over, they got off of them. You are out of control of everything right now....being told what to do, when to do it....and then being critiqued by not only your instructors, but by fellow students and your patients. It is overwhelming.

Please try to finish. Keep in mind that once you have your degree and your NCLEX cert, nobody can take that away (unless you do something monumentally stupid, which I just dont think you would). You can work as you want, or not. You can use the degree for lawschool or whatever else rocks your world, or not. What this will give you is OPTIONS. And those are always a great thing to have.

Be safe, be kind to yourself and try not to feel isolated even though it seems like it....there are so, so many that can relate and help you thru this.

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