Did any one struggle with low self-esteem in nursing school?

  1. Hello all,
    I'm finishing up my first year of nursing school and I honestly don't feel any more competent or better than I did the first quarter.

    I am very thankful for an opportunity to be in the program, but I am just waiting for things to get better. I don't know what it is, but it's really hard for me to feel competent with skills ect. I have passed every class but that feeling of dread has not left.

    I'm going to work hard and get through school, I'm not planning on quitting, but I honestly don't know if I will end up being a hospital nurse.

    Just wondering if anybody else went through something similar as this and how you overcame it?

    I hate to have sob story, but it's been a though year!

    Thanks all.
  2. Visit Avill profile page

    About Avill, BSN, RN

    Joined: Oct '11; Posts: 255; Likes: 257

    10 Comments

  3. by   pmabraham
    Good day, Avill:

    If you get a chance read (or listen to the audio version) the various stories of Chronicles of Narnia.

    While fiction, C.S. Lewis does a good job (in my opinion) of the life struggles we all have in terms of facing our fears, even our inner self.

    You are not alone. You can do this if you put your mind to it.

    The various feelings may not go away, and at times they may feel extremely intensive. But you go through them without letting them control you. It is hard; but you, can do it.

    Thank you.
  4. by   akulahawkRN
    I've felt that way for about one day... Ok, maybe a week. While you may not feel any more competent than you were during 1st semester, remember this: you're learning new stuff. While you're in that mode, you'll always feel less than competent. Looking back, do you think you could properly mentor a 1st Semester student and help teach them the skills they'd need to know in your program? If so, you're certainly done well. If you could at least give some advice to 2nd Semester students about doing things, you've come a long way toward mastery. It'll take a while before it sinks in that you can do it! When I first became a Paramedic, it took me about a year after I got my license to feel like I'm a Paramedic, not some EMT-fraud that's masquerading as a Paramedic.

    In some ways, I feel very well prepared for 3rd Semester, yet in some ways, I'm still worried about it. Could I go back and mentor my junior classmen? Yes. Easily. And in a way, I feel a LOT more competent and confident in what I'm doing now. I'm very ready to take on the next Semester and continue to excel.

    Anyway, the point is that it takes a while to settle-in and feel like you're capable. Since you're still learning, you won't feel like that for a while. I know that as I approach new info/skills, I'll begin to feel uncomfortable again, but I know I'm very comfortable with the basics of things now.
  5. by   classicdame
    you get confidence by accomplishment. I feel this will come once you begin working. The important thing now is to concentrate on the PATIENT, not yourself. When you take that focus off yourself you begin to allow your confidence to emerge. Not easy I know but you can do it. Look how far you have come already!
  6. by   Kimbsntobe
    Pat yourself on the back for completing your first yr of nursing school...Wow you have accomplished one of the greatest things ever... some of your classmates and well as your instructors probably made you feel unsure of yourself...that's what happened to me in LPN school... But look toward the future when you graduate and you will be placed in various and trying situations...keep moving forward and learning...you will accomplish what you set out to do and that' to become a nurse... congrats!!!!
  7. by   JGakobo
    Congrats for being patient till you completed your nursing course. Master Your Traits | Your Self Development ResourceRead more at Master Your Traits | Your Self Development Resource
  8. by   Avill
    Quote from akulahawk
    I've felt that way for about one day... Ok, maybe a week. While you may not feel any more competent than you were during 1st semester, remember this: you're learning new stuff. While you're in that mode, you'll always feel less than competent. Looking back, do you think you could properly mentor a 1st Semester student and help teach them the skills they'd need to know in your program? If so, you're certainly done well. If you could at least give some advice to 2nd Semester students about doing things, you've come a long way toward mastery. It'll take a while before it sinks in that you can do it! When I first became a Paramedic, it took me about a year after I got my license to feel like I'm a Paramedic, not some EMT-fraud that's masquerading as a Paramedic.

    In some ways, I feel very well prepared for 3rd Semester, yet in some ways, I'm still worried about it. Could I go back and mentor my junior classmen? Yes. Easily. And in a way, I feel a LOT more competent and confident in what I'm doing now. I'm very ready to take on the next Semester and continue to excel.

    Anyway, the point is that it takes a while to settle-in and feel like you're capable. Since you're still learning, you won't feel like that for a while. I know that as I approach new info/skills, I'll begin to feel uncomfortable again, but I know I'm very comfortable with the basics of things now.



    Great advice! Thank you!
  9. by   MDS3
    Akulahawk is right. New things are uncomfortable. Remember learning vital signs? It is pretty nerve wrecking at the time but I am sure you are an old pro at it now, after a year of nursing school. Consider Dr. Benner's nursing theory: novice, advance beginner, competent, proficient, expert. It can take years to get to the next stage... but you will get there. You may always feel like a novice but your skills and confidence will improve.
  10. by   nursephillyphil
    You're feeling uncomfortable because you're transitioning! Nursing school is nothing like High School. You are entering a field with an incredible amount of information, many of which is being updated and with new things added each day. Nursing school is a progressive thing, you learn anatomy and phys and move on to patho and pharm, etc. Later on, when other classes start pulling principles and information from prior classes you've taken things may click! Don't be too hard on yourself. By being a nurse we are students forever. I went through nursing school with the same feelings you had, i also dealt with depression. You WILL do GREAT! Keep your chin up and focused on the prize, you may feel incompetent at times but remember you are at the very beginning of a long journey of learning. Please stay positive and focused, you don't realize how much you actually know.
  11. by   ArrowRN
    I'm am normally highly self-motivated but yes, I finished my first year also, and it gets to be a drag with school, study, school study. You loose the excitement of that first time hearing you got accepted. For me, I took a bit of a break. I know most people will say 1 day off will be detrimental, but just take a whole Saturday to yourself, go do something fun, forget school for a minute. Fit exercise into your schedule, it really helps lift your mood. Once you lift your mood you will be able to focus on school again. Starting clinicals again made things even more busy but it was a welcomed change from the classroom. We all just want to wake up and graduate but just keep pressing on and remember why you came into nursing school.
  12. by   Meriimi
    I know exactly how you feel. It is hard to be able to connect and apply all of the information that you learn in school. It is FAR different to read it in a book vs being able to connect it and be able to come up with an understanding of what is going on when you're on the spot treating a patient. If I could go back and tell myself one thing in my first year it would be to apply as much as I possibly can to try and find a tech job. I didn't get one until the past year and having been a tech has given me so much more confidence. Not only do you have more experience seeing nurses implement interventions, but depending on your facility you may be able to place IVs, draw blood, and place catheters. Plus, all of the patient interaction experience makes a world of difference. When you're used to working with patients daily the communication becomes natural and it's easier to keep the flow going when you're nervous doing your nursing stuff because it's second nature.

    But most of all - believe in yourself. Learning takes time and if you keep at it you will eventually feel more co

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