NURSING SCHOOL: Your Biggest Challenge!

  1. I was reading in the student threads about some of the challenges student nurses are facing these days. I'll admit, I kinda had it good: I lived in the dorm, I had a great roommate, and I was the same lighthearted person I am today. My goal in nursing school was to get my education and have FUN at the same time. And I did! I was fortunate as I had some professors who believed that school should not drain your total person and allowed me to show my silly side where I could.

    The biggest challenge for me in nursing school was the pediatric rotation. Yes, drug calculations was going to be a bear, but I knew if I could just overcome my fear of math and equations I could get it. But, I couldn't get past seeing the pain of abuse and the pain of death in children. In my entire nursing school experience, I never got lower than a 94% in anything, except for my Peds rotation. I think it was depression and transference (as my brother was the child I thought of every time I had a peds patient) that made me not do as well in that class. I ended up with an 86% - the very first and only final exam I ever had to take. (In our program, if you maintained a 94% average or higher during the year, you didn't have to take a final exam.)

    What was your biggest challenge?
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    Peds and Geri were by far the biggest challenges for me. I give thanks for the people that can do it, because I can't!

  4. by   Q.
    I think mine was microbiology, a 16 week course crammed into a 6 week summer session. I got a C.

    I originally thought I would like Peds, but I remember upon seeing a simple video of a 3 year old with a see-saw type breathing, I got so upset I knew right then and there I couldn't do Peds. Neonates are different, for some reason; that doesn't bother me as much. But I could never do Peds.
  5. by   vashka25
    Being a nursing student at present there are many challenges and trivialities I face every day. With the program that I attend we go to College full time during the day, and then attend University classes at night...which makes for a long day, particularly when you tack on the fact that I work nights trying to pay for my education (been living on my own since 16).... For me the challenge doesn't lie in maintaining high marks, as I was fortunately blessed with a great memory, nor does it lie in learning to care for my patients...but rather my hurdle to overcome is learning to take time for myself. As many of you already know....taking care of other people is the easy part, its learning to take care of yourself to avoid the burnout, stress, and emotional rollercoaster that comes hand in hand with our chosen profession.
    But in the end it all comes down to one thing.....I love what I do, and for me that is all that matters...!
  6. by   Stargazer
    Check out the thread on the AZ shooting and the one on "Would you switch to psych nursing?" to see my probs with horrible nursing instructors and, well, my psych rotation, respectively.

    My biggest non-nursing challenge was solved by moving out of the dorms my junior year. My social life, if continued unchecked, would've definitely prevented my ever graduating!

    Probably my biggest challenge was community health nursing clinicals. I had to make home visits to a woman who had a hx of being abused, who currently had an abusive boyfriend, who was in counseling for abusing her own kids, who was on welfare and was constantly getting her utilities shut off. She lived in the worst, most crime-ridden neighborhood in town. On 2 different occasions, I felt endangered--once because her boyfriend came over while I was there, and once because she became suicidal and very out-of-control. I would tell my mom about these incidents, and she would yell, "I'm paying all this money for you to attend a private college and they're sending you to dangerous neighborhoods!?!"

    I also had to make home visits to this very poor, uneducated, very young couple on the military base. They had a new baby and never had enough diapers or formula (although of course they had money for beer and cigarettes) and kept getting their phone and heat shut off. So here I am, a 20-year old, unmarried, childless, private college student who didn't balance her own checkbook, and I'm supposed to show up and tell them how to balance their budget. Yeah, I had a lot of credibility. Except not.

    They always acted a little wary of me--I think they thought I was looking to take their kid from them for negligence or something. The 3rd time I visited, the baby's huge (like, 6 foot tall) Italian grandma was waiting for me on the porch with her arms crossed over her chest, holding a--no kidding--gigantic frying pan like a weapon. She was very defensive and wanted to know why I kept visiting. I'm proud to say that I charmed the socks off of her; after I showed her the diapers, formula and vouchers I'd brought and explained that I was just trying to hook up these wacky kids with some decent social support systems, she ended up laughing and hugging me as I left. Whew!

    Then there was the time another student and I visited a single military mom on the base. Place was a sty, she's using the oven as a space heater in a trailer where the kid is already walking a few steps. I still don't know how this happened, but she conned us into watching the baby "for just a sec" while she ran and did some errand. After she ran out, my friend and I played with the baby and stared at each other in dawning horror as the minutes ticked by. "We are the dumbest people in the WORLD," she moaned. "What if she never comes back?" We sat there trying to figure out how we were going to tell our instructor.

    After almost 45 very bad minutes, the "client" finally returned with her carton of cigarettes or whatever and we bolted.

    I hated community health nursing.
    Last edit by Stargazer on Nov 20, '02
  7. by   hapeewendy
    I think the hardest part of nursing school for me was just coping with everything that was going on at the time. When I graduated highschool , my parents who had a particularly nasty divorce went to court because my mom ( who doesnt work at a very high paying job) wanted to continue to get some support for me financially from my father while I was in college. Despite the fact that I was over 18 her lawyer said that they had a good shot and that my father made more than enough money to help out and where they still together he would have an obligation to pay at least in part for my education. Well my mother, being my biggest fan and everything stood up infront of a judge and explained the situation and got an order for my father to continue paying "child support" while I was in nursing school. It was something ridiculous like $100 a month but in principle it was a victory and I was proud of her! truth be told the money did nothing for my nursing education - I worked at a restaurant, took out a loan and paid my own way. But I was so proud of her , until I heard my father saying "well I have other children now and shouldnt have to give you guys any money"
    I had a lot of mixed emotions about my life during my first year of nursing school and almost up and left the whole thing , figuring it hopeless. I'm glad I didnt though... being the first person in my family to graduate from an actual college program and seeing the pride on my mothers face made all those trials and tribulations entirely worth it.
    The second big hurdle was actually having to work hard and study. I had it pretty easy in school, didnt have to study all that much and got excellent grades without much effort (not proud of that , just saying!) anyway nursing school changed all that in a hurry! All nighters were a new concept and I was overtired a lot of the time. And wanted to quit the whole program when I was doing my pre-grad, again I'm glad I didnt.
    its a tough ride , you really earn the title of "nurse", its far more intense than many other college/university programs and it takes special people to be able to do it.
    so lets keep remembering that we are a special breed of people , who roughed it to get where we are now!
    I'm proud of all of you and am glad you toughed it out!
  8. by   Pamelita
    I could say nursing school was pretty tough!
    But GI and Ortho/neuro were the classes were I was like I don't wanna be a nurse anymore!!!
    The drug calculations were a chanllenge since I suck at math really bad, but I got good grades ( I don't know how)
    One challenge during my first year in nsg. school was that I was a 20 year old and I was still underage! I could not go to happy hour with my friends after classes!!! buuu
    Hang in there, its all worth it after all..
  9. by   Tweety
    My biggest problem in nursing school was actually fatigue. I worked for Pizza Hut about 40 hours a week in the evening and weekends and was just tired all the time. I don't know how I did it. Don't think I'd have the energy today, but I was very very driven back then.

    Being male, I was quite intimidated with OB but managed to make it through. My OB patient was a woman who had four previous deliveries, she had an epidural and slept most of the time. She didn't mind me being there at all. It was amazing when her child was born.
  10. by   ICUBecky
    my biggest challenge...resisting the temptation to go out every night with my non-nursing major friends. i definitely liked to go out!! also, getting up really early in the morning for clinicals. yuck. i'm definitely not a morning person.

    i didn't like community health and psych rotations. god bless, those who do it!!
  11. by   KP RN
    Organic chemistry--
    After 20 years as a nurse, I've never had a situation in which I had to explain the clinical significance of benzene rings, valences, or carbon bonds...
  12. by   kelligrl
    Well, I have eight freakin' days left and seriously, my biggest problem is the MAN that I'm married to. I love him, but could he get any less FREAKIN' supportive?? I swear he's threatened by the whole d**n thing!! Today FLIPPED out because I was supposed to be off Sat., but remembered I had a school thing to do from 8-12. Not even a whole day!!

    I'm thinking he better get over it, real quick....Geez he makes my head hurt.....:stone

    OK, I'm done.

    Oh yeah, and I hated Peds. Making little kids cry sucks.
  13. by   nimbex
    Mine was my obsession with learning "skills", I was so disgruntled that I would lack"basic skills" at graduation that I led a mini revolt to try to re-vamp clinicals (like I knew what was best)!!!! HA!!!

    It took a while, and a critical care position to learn that I can teach a monkey to shoot cardiac outputs and hemodynamics, but that little devil doesn't know what to do with the wall of drips after the numbers print out !!!!!
  14. by   kimmicoobug
    My hardships while in the program currently is time management...not with regards to my patients, but in regards of trying to manage my home, kids, husband (biggest whiner of my time), studying, care plans due every Friday, and various other homework assignments. I don't find the material very hard (except CV does have quite a bit to digest). One example of my time management suckage is with halloween being last week. Instead of working on my care plan that was due Fri. morning on Thursday, I took my kids trick-or-treating. I had since Wed. night to do this lengthy assignment, but instead chose to shop for costumes. I also had other assignments due in this two day period, so my care plan did not get turned in on Fri. morning. It was not finished until 4 pm Fri. and ultimately got turned in on Monday morning. Luckily, I have a really good relationships with my instructors. This particular instructor knows that I am a strong student. I was honest and told him my priorities for those few days were not my clinical paperwork, but my kids since no one else could take them out on Thurs. I haven't been late with any other assignments, so I think my instructor is OK with it.

    As far as any particular subject matter, probably cardio. Learning meds are cake, it is just the heavy concepts.

    In the hospital setting, I have problems with ortho/neuro. For some reason, when I get on that unit, everything seems to go wrong for me. And because of this I have developed anxiety which potentiates the problem.