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Feeling Discouraged Already


After interviewing and making the grades, I got into my nursing program. Of course I've had doubts about whether I would be good at it, and I heard that that is normal.

But when I started, I wanted to start confidently. I'm not extremely outgoing, but I'm not shy either. I was so excited to start, and had some worries about whether I would always know what to say or when to say it, but I was going to try to do my best.

Today, in our simulation lab, we had simulation patients I'm not sure if every school does this, but our sim lab hires real people to portray patients for us to work on in a simulated hospital setting.

Our task was to introduce yourself and perform an 8 page Health History Assessment.

At the beginning, before I entered my patient room, I was so excited. I felt confident as did most others. I walked in and immediately didn't feel welcome. This feeling lasted throughout the assessment, though I was genuinely friendly and interested. I tried rephrasing questions so that I wasn't just listing things off, and I tried different methods of transitioning between topics. I even elaborated on some, and asked if the patient would like to go into more detail about others.

I was obviously a little bit nervous. It was the first time I had done this. I forgot a few technical things during my introduction but most did the same. Of course, it was practice. Here's the issue.

I was ready for a patient that was difficult or easy, it didn't matter to me. It was practice.

My partner and I switched off between patients. Both of hers were nice older women who gave her great reviews. The older (middle aged) men that I had assessed on the other hand, discouraged me so much.

After the assessment all they cared to write on my review was that I was nervous and that practicing would be a remedy.

They didn't comment on the fact that I smiled, or tried to open them up, or that i really did try my hardest. I am okay with that, I understand that some people just have personalities that are different than ours. But here I am, bawling my eyes out for the passed hour because everyone else raved about how great it went. Now I'm wondering if I'm actually cut out for this and I don't know what to do to make it better. I'm feeling more discouraged than ever. I hope someone can lend me some kind words or suggestions that will give me a little bit of confidence to do better the next time.

thank you so much

Next time u go in wear a suit made out of rubber, so that way your skin will appear a little tougher... Get it?


Specializes in Neuro, Telemetry. Has 6 years experience.

Honestly, get over it (and I mean that in the nicest way possible). You JUST started the program. You had a rough lab simulation. It happens. You WILL get better with practice. I fumbled in my first couple simulations, and it knocked my confidence a bit, but I made it a point to never cry, and to alsways dust myself, take my criticism and improve for next time. By the end of my 1st semester I got a 46 out of 50 on my final lab practicum that was a comprehensive simulation over what was learned in block 1 except only focused assessments due to time. You can do it. You just need to practice. Confidence will come with time and after a few tries. Some students knock it out of the park off the bat, and some students need a little more time. It's ok. Your instructors don't expect you to be perfect right now.

Also, just a note, how you smile or ask questions isnt as important as the information you gather and how you appear to the patient. You may feel like you did well, but you gave off a nervous vibe. It's ok and it happens. But in real clinical, patients will pick up on that vib and it can make them nervous and even make them not want a student caring for them. Again, dont worry yet. You will get more confident with practice and for now, just fake it till you make. On bad lab day doesnt mean you werent cut out for nursing.

Lastly, it may help to practice assessments and vitals on family members. They are more forgiving of you being nervous, and it will give you good practice to be more confident next time around. GL

I'm not positive about what you mean lol, but I'm guessing that I need to put on a "tougher" front when dealing with patients that seem to not want to be a part of the assessment?

thank you. I guess it just wasn't what I expected. I think maybe they were told to act that way in the first place, it just caught me by surprise when my peers had really cooperative patients. I'm actually glad I was given tough patients- I'm just so worried that it's me and that I truly am not good at this but I think you're right, I shouldn't jump to that from one bad experience.


Specializes in Neuro, Telemetry. Has 6 years experience.

Even though that comment was from another poster, I can say that yes, that it what was meant. Especially as a student, you will get many patients who dont want to be assessed. They get assessed when admitted. They get assessed with every status change. They get assessed before certain meds. They get assessed assessed assessed, and when you come in as a shiny new student wanting to assess them for your careplan, some just dont want to deal with it. Even as an RN, I woud think they have the same issue. Thats where the thick skin comes in. You just roll with it and dont let them know it bothers you.


Specializes in Neuro, Telemetry. Has 6 years experience.

thank you. I guess it just wasn't what I expected. I think maybe they were told to act that way in the first place, it just caught me by surprise when my peers had really cooperative patients. I'm actually glad I was given tough patients- I'm just so worried that it's me and that I truly am not good at this but I think you're right, I shouldn't jump to that from one bad experience.

Our program uses simulation mannequins. The instructors have a mic/speaker system and they talk as the patients. Even though it was just mannequins, I was really nervous my first time. I remember walking in and first forgetting to ash my hands. Then I kept grabbing my hair. Then I fumbled through my head to toe and forgot some stuff. I spoke too low and they had a hard time hearing me. Basically, it was a mess. But like I said, by the end of the semester I aced the practicum. I still get nervous at clinicals and now in block two we are getting ready for simulation days, and I worry I will make a fool of myself. I just look at it, that simulation is the safe place to mess up so you know what not to do in real life.

I can understand your disappointment in so-so reviews, but don't stress too much about it. They weren't bad, they just said you need to practice to get over your nerves. I am sure you are not the only one with that review, and no one does a perfect assessment on their first go. It does take practice. That is what sims are for, to practice and resolve your nerves. If you think all of your patients in clinicals will be cheerful and happy to see you you will be in for a very rude awakening. You can't take it personally. Take a deep breath, practice with your classmates, and work on developing a thicker skin. You will be okay.

Thank you so much :) You really did help. I will definitely take your advice :)

Thank you! I guess I was kind of expecting that for the practice round, and it threw me off guard completely. That may have been a better learning experience than having a really cooperative patient, if I really think about it. I'll just work super hard to do better next time :)

Nursing school is tough. Why? Because your nursing job will be tough. You're going to deal with people who treat you like trash for no reason. It's good to learn lessons on communication now. That's what school is for, after all. The patients wrote down that you sounded nervous because, despite your efforts and smiles, your predominate characteristic was nervousness, even though that is not what you intended. Now that you know how you come across, you know what to work on. It will come with practice, though it may be harder for you. School is a learning process. Chalk it up to that, move on, and practice.


Specializes in public health, women's health, reproductive health.

Sim lab can be quite difficult. Please remember, you are learning. Simulation lab is supposed to be the place you can safely make mistakes and improve your skills. Learn from the experience. Journal about it if it helps. Let the experience give you tips on what you would like to work on. Don't let it get you all in tears. You will have to learn to handle these types of situations as you will face that and things even tougher in clinical and in your nursing career.

Also, I advise you not to compare yourself or your experience to other people and their reports of how things are going for them. I'm in my last semester of nursing school and I promise you, it is not helpful.

That is probably the best advice I've gotten. So many people have told me (in regards to so many things) not to compare myself to others. And yet, I've never listened. But I suppose this is a good time to try it! I am trying a journal as well. :)

SopranoKris, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 6 years experience.

Our sim lab is video/audio taped. We're not given any info until we walk in the room. They always give us a scenario that we haven't yet experienced or studied. It's the best way to get practice. Sim lab is where you're supposed to make mistakes. Not real patients :)

It's hard watching yourself the first time, but it really helps you to see how you truly come across to other people.

If your school doesn't do that, ask a friend to record you on your smart phone doing an assessment. It's VERY helpful! Then you can really pinpoint your strengths & weaknesses.

Don't get discouraged. Use this as a chance to improve! None of us are perfect :D


The day I care what reviews I get (whether from simulated patients or real) is the day I quit. If that's all that takes for you to snap, I'm nervous to see what the satisfaction surveys will do to ya( when your actually working with your own patients and you don't have time to get their ******* remote when they can get it themselves).

Learn your course and craft and personalization will come. After all just cause your patients may not necessarily connect with you, doesn't mean someone else wont.

I'd also like to remind you not to let the experience of others define your own. Maybe some of your peers were envisioning a much worse experience, so the fact that it wasn't as bad as they thought it would be made it a feel like a success. Maybe some of them are keeping their true feelings to themselves and bluffing about feeling that it went "great," when they truly feel the same way you do. The point is, it doesn't matter. Evaluate your own performance for areas in which you would like to improve, practice, and you'll be feeling more confident (and conveying more confidence) in your own skills in no time.

la_chica_suerte85, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

It doesn't sound like anything bad happened. Your tears may be more of a release of the stress from the moment than anything. I wish our SIM lab had real people instead of the creepy, blinking, talking manikins. If all they had to say was to practice more, then I don't really see a problem. It's great that you're off doing such a detailed H&P off the bat and it sounds like you already pretty much know your stuff. Give yourself a break -- and, like others said, it may help to toughen up a bit. Men are not so easy and compliant the way a lot of the older female pts are.

Just relax and learn from experience. Your in nursing school, your going to make mistakes. Don't let comments tear down. Trust me, as a nurse , your going to experience a lot worse so just relax. Incorporate the deep breathing technique.