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Failed final semester. Advice?

So I'm in my final semester of nursing school and I failed clinical because I was deemed unsafe. I won't deny the reason as I passed meds in a peds med surg unit without a nurse. Doesn't matter what med it was. That was a med error on my end.

You might be thinking "how the hell could you act outside of your scope?!" I failed because I was too task-oriented. I didn't see the bigger picture. I got stressed out realizing that I'll be on my own in the real world of nursing.

I had a lot of anxiety coming into this semester. I tried talking to my clinical instructor before I started on the floor and it didn't really help. I also felt that she wasn't really putting her heart into helping me. Just a means to and end per se. Come midterm eval I failed it miserably and she didn't give me feedback on my communication and organization. In her defense, I should've asked for the constructive criticism.

I know it's not the end of the world. I have one more shot next semester. For now I'm in my theory courses. It's been a week since i found out I failed. I'm trying to take each day in stride. Do you guys have any advice for me? Thanks.

Edited by xbananachipsx
Clarification

Can you obtain paid employment with the peds population to help alleviate your anxiety in working with this population? Perhaps as a CNA or PCT? Or, even volunteer work? If you become more used to working with kids, it might help you to be more focused the next time around.

I've worked with kids my entire life. Babysitting, tutoring, etc.

my my anxiety was more because I felt the pressure to find a job.... I really had cold feet in a sense. Like graduating is a real thing and I didn't know how to cope.

Also, I wasn't learning much on the unit not til after the midterm eval. I didn't know what to expect going on the unit alone.... And now I paid the price for my carelessness and lack of communication.

I'm told I'm working in adult med-surg next semester. So next time I work w kids is when I'm an RN.

It would be best to worry about finding a nursing job when you have that task directly in front of you. Right now your task is to successfully complete nursing school.

akulahawkRN, ADN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in Emergency Department.

While it's good to be task oriented, it's also good to be mindful of your scope of practice. Effectively you have failed this semester. When you have some time, take some time out for you. Do some reflection to be certain that your analysis of the "why" behind the why you failed is correct. Develop a plan to correct those issues and focus on getting through the next semester and only really worry about getting a job when that task comes around. There's no use getting too wrapped up in trying to find a job before you're ready. Had you found one now, you'd likely have had to give it up because of this failure and then where would you be?

I had to repeat courses too. Once you figure out what's holding you back, you can sometimes end up being a student that just amazes your nursing instructors and fellow students.

Raviepoo

Specializes in hospice.

I failed my first try at LPN because I had a nervous breakdown. Without going into detail I had more stressful events in my life than any one person should ever have to handle. Add the stress of LPN school to that and the result is not good. I should have withdrawn and started up again the following semester. Hindsight, is 20/20, you know?

I'm telling you this because I want you to know that it is possible to learn from your mistakes. Heck, mistakes are the most effective way to learn anything. You did something you should not have done. Will you ever do it again?

Try to learn from this and do better next time. There is no reason you shouldn't take this lesson and do a bang up job next semester. You know what not to do.

You are not the only person to ever fail a semester. It's nothing to be ashamed of. There are many nurses out there who failed a semester and went back and became nurses. One of them is Michael Linares, who is now a very effective online tutors for RN students. Another is my 3rd Semester mental health instructor, one of the wisest people I know. Jump back in; keep focused; and do what you need to do.

Edited by Raviepoo
typo

Thank you.

there are other factors which I won't get into too much detail. I have come up w a a plan. And you know it's probably for the best because I didn't feel confident in my nursing practice and I didn't wanna graduate not knowing what to do on my own and even be more unsafe :(.

I spoke to the lead faculty and she's really going to work with me to help me succeed. One of my main problems this semester was that I felt so alone. I didn't feel the support I needed from my instructor and I felt that I had to solve everything on my own. Any time I asked a question I looked stupid when I'd rather ask to be safe.. A lot of misinterpretation :/

doing my my best to take each day in stride.. Now I've succumbed to the flu after dealing w the stress of the situation.

RunBabyRN

Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology.

I'm glad you're in contact with lead faculty- that was going to be my suggestion. Stay in close contact, and ask for feedback.

Don't get so caught up in tasks- nursing is so much more than tasks. Being able to think as a nurse, focus on safety, and think things through is so much more important than starting a mean IV. Safety, safety, safety. Anyone can teach skills, but it's the thought process managers and instructors want to see.

Have faith in yourself, slow down, and take this time for some introspection (sounds like you're already doing some of this). You must learn to walk before you can run. :)

If you don't mind me asking, what do you mean by "think[ing] like a nurse?" I just need help in setting that mindset... I felt like a freshman when I was on the u it and here I am as a senior nursing student...

It's like what do I have to do to change my mindset? :( my professors know that I understand the content... I did fine in my theory courses but I choked on the unit.

RunBabyRN

Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology.

If you don't mind me asking, what do you mean by "think[ing] like a nurse?" I just need help in setting that mindset... I felt like a freshman when I was on the u it and here I am as a senior nursing student...

It's like what do I have to do to change my mindset? :( my professors know that I understand the content... I did fine in my theory courses but I choked on the unit.

Have you not heard this before? It was such a central point of my nursing program. Is this an ADN program or BSN? The NCLEX is all about thinking as a nurse. It won't test your ability to cath a patient or give them the flu vaccine. It will be all about prioritization, delegation, and critical thinking.

The ability to think critically, think things through, know how to assess a patient (pt presents with abdominal pain and anorexia, how do you proceed?), question standard procedures, prioritize, think beyond simply following orders blindly, this is all part of thinking as a nurse. If you haven't covered any of this, your program is doing you a HUGE disservice.

I didn't mean it like that.... I think it's just the stress of this situation that's screwing with my mind.

I passed HESI... I can understand the nursing process... It's just this huge disconnect I had when I was on the unit. I don't know what else to say but I froze when I was on the unit. I guess I just need more time to let this all pass.

rob4546, ADN, BSN

Specializes in ICU.

Have you not heard this before? It was such a central point of my nursing program. Is this an ADN program or BSN? The NCLEX is all about thinking as a nurse. It won't test your ability to cath a patient or give them the flu vaccine. It will be all about prioritization, delegation, and critical thinking.

Everyone should take note of this little nugget of information. Nursing is so much more than procedures. Nursing is planning for the future while being planted in the present. Take in all available information and plan a safe course.

I had a conversation with another nurse last week about this subject. We spend 60% of our day documenting, 10% on procedures (or less), and 30% of our time with the patients (or less really). I spend 100% of my time thinking about my patient and what his/her needs are/will be and their well-being.

It sounds like you have things figured out, just time to put it into action. Although looking ahead is important finishing what is in front of you is more important. The instructor may not spend much time with you because you are in your last semester. By this time you should need little direction. If you are having trouble then ask for assistance but do what you can to be self sufficient. ALWAYS remember your scope of practice!!! You got this..

Lev, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency - CEN.

OP,

I'm sorry this happened to you. What you are suffering from is lack of confidence. Being task oriented is very very normal for a nursing student and even for a new graduate nurse. It may take a couple months before you start seeing the big picture. For some, it will take longer than others to "click." Speak with your teachers/mentors, learn from this experience, and move on. We all have setbacks in our careers. Also, just for technicality's sake, you didn't necessarily make a med error. What you did was against your school's and possibly the hospital's policy. In my state, nursing students can practice basically within the scope of practice as an RN when deemed competent. I had to look this up before I started precepting a nursing student in her final semester. Although my state technically allowed her to give medications unsupervised, her school did not allow it. Nursing students do not practice under my license, but I am still responsible for my patients.

Here.I.Stand, BSN, RN

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro.

I'm glad you have a plan for going forward. Now, FEEL BETTER!! The flu is mi.ser.a.ble.

RunBabyRN

Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology.

I didn't mean it like that.... I think it's just the stress of this situation that's screwing with my mind.

I passed HESI... I can understand the nursing process... It's just this huge disconnect I had when I was on the unit. I don't know what else to say but I froze when I was on the unit. I guess I just need more time to let this all pass.

I think that, to a certain degree, is normal. You don't just automatically know what questions to ask. I've been in healthcare a long time (new grad RN), and I still go, Yeah, I should have thought to ask that or assess that or whatever. There was a post recently about a nursing student who ended up having to administer CPR and froze on the spot. It happens. Being a nursing student doesn't automatically make you an expert, and no one should expect that of you, including YOU.

When you get your next shot at this, focus more on the thought process, prioritization, etc. over the task-oriented stuff. While the tasks are often more exciting, the right way of thinking will make all the difference.

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