Fear of failure

Nursing Students Pre-Nursing


Of everything. Mostly failure. I am a pre-nursing student. I have been taking my pre-reqs part-time for some time now. I really do want to be a nurse! But I had difficulty in Chemistry and I need to re-take it. I feel like because classes are getting harder, I may not be able to cut-it because I need major help like tutoring and study groups! I worry that if one of my kids is sick one day and I have to miss a day of school, or nursing school, or something, that I will fail. I feel like there will be issues with my husband with responsibilties like housework and cleaning when I need to be studying instead! And him not being completely supportive! I worry about not having enough money or financial aid to help me make it! I worry about childcare because I have NO one and my husband and I cannot afford daycare already! I worry about not having medical coverage when it comes time to have a physical before possibly applying to a nursing program! (I feel like I need prozac already for my everyday anxiety, but I have no medical coverage.) I worry that I will do everything right and then have to wait years before getting picked to get into a program due to lottery. I even worry that I will get SO far to get there and end up failing the NCLEX, or even die after passing it or something! I know. Crazy.

Thing is. I want this so bad. For myself. For my kids. For our family.

Chemistry discouraged me. Life's daily challenges bring down my self-confidence in myself. I only have Chem and the three sciences left to complete. Sometimes I feel like I am so close! Other times so far away. No one in my entire family has gone to school or done anything useful really, so sometimes I feel like I am just fooling myself. Like, if I was rich, had childcare, could pay for school and tutors, it'd be no problem.

So here's a question? Did anyone who has become a nurse or is almost there feel like there was so much against them? Or that it was nearly impossble for them academically? Financially? Emotionally? Mentally?

A new graduate ( a friend of a friend ) just told me that if it weren't for God, she couldn't have made it through, and said fear was the biggest road to failure. I hear it, but so much easier said!

Another question? Should I start saying to myself and others "I am going to be a nurse" rather than, "I want to be a nurse." Not "if", but "when" a become one.. etc?! Did positive thinking like THAT help any of you?

Sorry. I am so conflicted. I just feel alone. Stuck. Discouraged. But I still have this hope. I am trying to hold on to it.


I understand you. I am also in Pre-Health Nursing, and there are so many people telling me "it's difficult, it's hard to get in, it's very challenging."

In reality, it's difficult and challenging, but it's not hard to get in as long as we put effort into it and we are determined to do our best and we are very dedicated to what we want.

If you really want to be a nurse, don't be dis encourage by anyone. You are right, YOU WILL BE A NURSE. You should be telling yourself "I will be a nurse," if nursing is really your dream.

I worried about my classes, too because I am having difficulties as well, but it doesn't mean I should give up right? I dont think you should give up either. Try having study groups, tutoring; It helps =)

I advice you to not give up in your dream of becoming a nurse no matter how long it may take; it may take years, it may take a lot of hard work and studying, but as long as YOU WANT IT, you will definitely get it :)

NEVER GIVE UP AND NEVER LOSE FAITH, and yes, God will guide us. He will not put us into this situation if we are unable to do it. HE believes we can. I believe you can, too :)

Good luck, Future Nurse ! :-)

Specializes in OB, L&D, NICU, Med-Surg, Ortho.

I have been where you are financially.

I had to take out extra loans when I was in school. When the other girls got their loan money in, they bought clothes and jewelry. I paid my mortgage up for a few months. I paid bills. We barely squeaked by with 3 kids and I was pregnant when I graduated with #4!

When I would get discouraged, I would look at the pictures that lined the halls and think "My picture is going to be here too."

I am warning you - it just gets harder. Once you are in the nursing program, there are clinical hours and other projects that keep you busier than typical classes. You MUST find a way to manage your time.

Laundry? I would throw a load in before bed.

Get up early, fold it.

Put it away when I came home from school.

By doing a load every night, I didn't need to have a laundry day.

You remember this: that dirty house will still be dirty tomorrow. Your test can't wait. You must study.

Another tip: schedule classes with a break. 1st class @ 0800. No class @ 0900. 2nd class at 1000. This hour between classes is a great way to study. You are already at school! Find a quiet spot! I always had an empty hour before my anatomy classes to help me study. If my kids were sick, I knew I would have that hour before the test to study in the library at school.

Hope that helps :) Keep your chin up.

It is so very worth it.


"The new nurse thinks like a mom. The experienced nurse thinks like a lawyer."

Yes, to all that. I have been through the same challanges you described. One of the reasons it took me until my mid 30's to start taking pre-reqs is because I was afraid of failing. I started by taking 1 class at a time until I built up my confidence. When I had trouble I would take it 1 week at a time or day at a time, breaking it down so I could manage it. I went to night classes because I had no daycare.

I started with math and then took Chemistry because I never had it in high school. I

was scared and even had to ask my high school daughter for help! I did it and got an A while everyone else blamed the teachers accent on their bad grades.

I have had financial issues, and other stressors , upsets happen in my life while taking pre-reqs. I do not handle stress well either. I look back now and sometimes wonder how I ever made if far enough to apply to the LPN program.

I still worry about failing out of the nursing program and only just told family that I applied. Im going to try and it and see if it works out, if it doesnt I will be dissapointed and have to work on a plan B. I dont look that far ahead in general and try to take it 1 day at a time, otherwise it is too overwhelming.

Specializes in School Nursing.

I've had a fear of failure my whole life.. it started in 1st grade when I couldn't pick stuff up (reading, spelling, numbers) as well as the other kids and teacher wanted me put in special ed. By 3rd grade, I'd stopped TRYING.. it was easier just not to do it, not to try, than to try and fail. I was diagnosed in 4th grade with a learning disability but by then the damage was done. I didn't think I could learn and wasn't even going to try.

Fast forward many, many years, my hubby talked me into enrolling in school and taking a couple classes.. I didn't think I could do it and he insisted not only that I could, but that I should.

It's been a lot of blood, sweat and tears (and about 4 years) but I just earned an A.A. degree and while by itself doesn't get me far in work world.. boy does it represent the fact that if you DO try, you can NOT fail.

The past four years have been rough with family, finances, stress and such. Just keep on trucking.. you will not fail!

Specializes in Med-Surg/DOU/Ortho/Onc/Rehab/ER/.

For your physical, and other health-related appointments, look into your school's health center.

You pay tuition and fees and one of those fee's is towards your health center. It doesn't cost much.

As for your fear of failing, I too, have the same fear.

I am a pre-nursing student who does not have the grades to go straight to get my RN. So I've decided to enter into a LVN program. Well to get into that program, there is only one pre-req class which is "Intro into Health Occupations."

It basically goes over anatomy, physiology, medical terminology and dosage calculations.

Well this class is contains 200+ people with only 30 (it used to be 40 but it got cut due to the economy) getting admitted into the LVN program. The top 30 students of the class get in, which means no missing a day (daily quizzes), and no not studying (ace EVERY quiz/midterm/final). I feel like I won't be good enough to get in. You can only take this class two times before it won't let you register for it.

But I have realized that you just have to get over that fear and take one day at a time.

Do the best you can and you'll be where you want to be in no time.

You are not alone. It took me this long to start this journey because I was so afraid. Last week I got accepted to my program. I am happy but yet I still let those old fears creep into my psyche for a minute. I had to slap myself back to MY REALITY - Failure is not an option. I will do this!! - I know that in the past, when I focus on the things I failed, it stopped me from being successful because I let self doubt take over my thoughts. I can't afford to do that.

If positive affirmations like saying I AM GOING TO BE A NURSE helps you, then by all means do that!!! I bombed my first chem exam and it totally crushed me and I thought that I was in way over my head. I recovered and got a B in that class. So you can do this, just don't let the fear get in the way of what you are trying to accomplish.

Thanks to everyone for the encouragement! I made it through barely with a C! Went on to my A&P classes with a B and then an A!!! So micro is proving to be tough with alot of chemistry involved, but I am going to do this too! I appreciate the support! I am so close to taking the TEAS test and applying to programs! So close.

Specializes in Maternal Child, Home Health, Med/Surg.

I feel you in more than one aspect.

When I finally decided I wanted to take this seriously, I sacrificed a lot. My husband had to take our son to his chemotherapy treatments three hours away by himself, so I could go to school, and study. I was spending lots of money on gas for 8 weeks to drive 100 miles a day, 4 days a week. Then after that, I've put myself into frenzies over the point process, GPA, and so forth - which he has to deal with. On the financial aspect, we're extremely broke. Currently, we live with my mother due to our son's diagnosis, and we get 710 from his SSI every month. Is it a great way to live? No. However, she's offered us the chance to live with her, while allowing me to get my schooling done, without having to worry about bills. Is it uncomfortable? Oh absolutely.

But I want this SO bad.

I sit there sometimes(most times) picking my grades apart. Unfortunately, that's all my program cares about. The GPA and a test. Well, I wasn't the best student for most of my college life, and was pretty much a B student. I'm terrified, consistently, that I won't be able to get in. I'm retaking courses, stressing myself out, and flooding myself with classes(15 credits this semester, 16 next semester). Is it worth it? Honestly, right now - NO, I'm tired, grumpy, irritable, stressed, and don't spend as much time with my kids. Will it be? I guarantee it!

I guess this is like a leap of faith. You're running full speed towards that ledge, and hoping that when you jump off - something will catch you. Weird analogy, but one I've been using a lot. We're doing all we can to get into the nursing program, to become what most of us have dreamed to be(even if we've bounced around), that just an acceptance letter would be that thing to "catch us."

Funny how a piece of paper holds such importance in our lives. :p

Anyways, good luck! I hope that you(and myself) are able to get in with whatever ever grades we have! :)

I think the biggest thing to watch out for is that sometimes fear of failure makes us stop trying. Studying really hard for a test and failing it anyway is a pretty terrible feeling, so it can be tempting to not study. Then when you fail you blame it on the fact you didn't study, not that it might be too hard for you.

This is my second BS and I've learned that doing well in school doesn't have much to do with being smart. It's about being dedicated and working hard! You and your family will find a groove that works.

One of my favorite Teddy Roosevelt quotes:

]"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

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