Drowning senior year


I am looking to receive some advice. I am in my final semester of a BSN program. Thus far, I have done well. While I have struggled here and there as everyone has, I have always been successful. I have never failed a class or had any significant issues at clinical rotations. My GPA is a 3.4 and I have received academic honors for my grades. This seems to all be changing now, as I am wrapping things up. For my senior practicum, I have to do over 300 hours of hospital time following the same preceptor as well as complete dozens of lengthy ATI tests where the passing grade is 80%. Additionally, I have numerous papers to write both for my practicum class as well as another online class I am required to take to graduate (plus I have to take this class to carry a full time credit load for financial aid). I work part time in a hospital and I am working the minimum amount (5 shifts every 2 weeks).

What it comes down to is that I am drowning. I feel I'm doing very well in the clinical portion. I feel comfortable and I receive nothing but positive feedback from my preceptor and the professor who oversees me. But outside of the hospital, the rest of my semester is falling apart. I am completing assignments late, failing ATI tests despite studying, and having 10 hour panic attacks (literally) on a regular basis. Outside of school and work, I am dealing with family issues as my parents are both sick.

I fear that I won't get my hospital hours done on time, but I find myself cancelling clinical shifts left and right and calling in sick at work just to keep my head above water with the rest of my school work and dealing with my parents. I recently went 8 days without a day off and that is taking a toll on me. I am always either at clinical, at work, or sleeping (I do clinicals overnight).

What can I do to survive this semester? I just can't seem to balance everything. Should I cut back on my clinical hours? Working at my job less is not an option as I have no vacation time and I need the job (they will also likely hire me as an RN). Any advice would be appreciated. Sorry this was so long.


3,677 Posts

Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology. Has 2 years experience.

Is it at all possible to cut back your clinical hours? What about your work hours?

How have you coped during other semesters? I know this semester (I'm also about to graduate) has really kicked my butt with all of the clinical hours and precepting and ATI and assignments and family and and and... It's so time-consuming, and there's very little time for the things I like to do (I squeeze in a little AN time where I can!). Plus, I imagine night shift is adding to all of that that's weighing on you.

Have you talked to your classmates at all? Are others feeling the same way? Have you considered study groups to work on ATI stuff together? I realize with preceptorship, everyone's schedules are different, so this can be a challenge, but it's worth a go.

Any chance of taking half a day and doing something relaxing for yourself? Getting outside, having brunch with a close friend who will lend an ear, getting a massage? It can really help you recharge.

Keep your eye on the prize... You're SOOOO close!! You can do this!


57 Posts

I just wanna give you a hug. And I'm sorry to hear about your parents' health. You are definitely being put to the test, but I hope you overcome.

I am in the same situation except that I have my practicum in the summer. I'm writing 20+ page papers, I'm trying to work ( I work in the hospital too) to pay my bills, and have time consuming projects + that dreaded ATI. I've learned that when I feel heavy, I'm carrying too much. Yes, I can't change that I have to do these things but I can look for ways to find balance. Is there any way you can work less. I am PRN and don't get vacation time either, plus sometimes I'm called off. I've had to survive off of loans.

Find some peace. If you're spiritual, tap into that. If not, get into something that will help you decompress. Peace is available, you just got to find it amongst all the chaos.

Best wishes to you, your career, and your family.

rubato, ASN, RN

1,111 Posts

Specializes in Oncology/hematology.

Oh, I sooooo feel your pain. I'm sorry you are going through all this. I am too and am just doing the best I can to get through it all. I graduate in May, am taking a full load of nursing classes, plus 2 extra classes, work weekends, have a family, and am trying to get through ATI, clinicals, lab, sim, lecture, tests, NCLEX prep, job applications and resumes. My dad was just put on hospice and my mom lost her job.

The only thing keeping me going right now is my amazing husband and son. They are holding it all together for me. Plus, I am trying to remind myself that it's almost over. Maybe you should get a countdown calendar and just try to get through each day, one at a time. I wish you luck. We will be nurses before you know it.