I am halfway between my LPN and RN right now, with 2 classes left to take before I can complete the exit course. I am having alot of doubts about myself, convincing myself that I dont really know this material, and I am so afraid that I am going to graduate and end up causing someone's death because I don't feel like I know what I'm doing at all. Is there any other students with this fear, or any new nurses that could relate to this? I've got myself so worked up about it, I am taking xanax twice a day to keep my blood pressure down. Any advice that could help ease my mind? Anything would help!
May 15, '09
I worried for years that I would accidentally kill someone. This was a fear (anxiety) that I had way before starting nursing school and for a long time after I had my license and was working. I used to get physically sick to my stomach as I drove up to the hospital for my clinicals when I was in nursing school. I attribute this to my desire to do things the right way. It didn't help that I had a mother who was a combination of Judge Judy and Dr. Laura if you can imagine what they could do behind closed doors with you. I carry that baggage with me forever. Because of it, I followed rules. I always do things like check medication bottles three times, keep my medication cart locked at all times, listen to all 4 quadrants of someone's abdomen, wash my hands between patient contacts (my hands we always red and sore), get another catheter if I accidentally contaminate the one I am about to put into a patient. When I would hear about coworkers who got into trouble or written up for some infraction of a rule it only doubled my resolve not to make the same mistakes. When I heard about the Heparin mistake made by nurses with the Quaid twins I wanted to scream at them (the Judge Judy in me) because they didn't follow a simple rule taught in nursing school. Somewhere around my 5th or 6th year as a nurse my fear that I could accidentally kill someone faded from my immediate thinking although it is often still somewhere in the back of my thoughts. I think it is a healthy respect toward life to have this. Why? Every life is precious, even the life of the lowly ant. That's the way we nurses think because we are spiritual beings who have a higher purpose to our work. In a way, we are kind of spiritually policing ourselves and that is why we feel such anxiety about the work we do--we know how invasive our work is.
As for blood pressure issues, when I dropped off 210 pounds, exercised, started eating more vegetables and fish and less red meat my B/P went down to normal and I was taken off all my blood pressure meds. I worried a lot when the last of the B/P meds were discontinued. I bugged the doc so much when a couple of readings were 140/80 to put me back on something that he did probably did it to shut me up and within 2 weeks I was having problems with hypotension. We stopped that med and I've kept my anxiety about hypertension to myself since. B/P yesterday at my oncologist's office was 106/70. And I still eat gobs of veggies and fish.
Some anxiety is good for us if you use it to your advantage. We use our bodies for work and recreation and we shouldn't forget to do the same with our brains. Any exercises for the mind should be considered. May I suggest that you try some meditation. Meditation is good for reducing stress and anxiety. It doesn't have to be anything formal like transcendal meditation (which is expensive to learn). Just sitting for 10 or 20 minutes daily on a regular basis and letting your mind daydream for a bit is good therapy for anyone. Visualization techniques are another form of it. Have some past life therapy just for fun to discover what you did in past lives and to see if some of the anxiety you have now might be related to past life experiences. Sit quietly for 20 minutes and pretend you are the greatest nurse on the planet being called to save patient after patient and being showered with accolades by world leaders. Your mind will thank you.
May 15, '09
Being somewhat anxious indicates you are a concientous nurse wanting to do the right thing. Being obsessively anxious is a whole other animal. I think you would benefit from some counseling. Perhaps your school has someone to talk to, or your insurance has suggestions on referrals. Or your MD. But you need to connect with someone who has the tools to share that can help you understand your fear of failure. I think you took the most important step - realizing you cannot do it alone. Good luck!
May 15, '09
I would try to learn some of the relaxation techniques that we teach patients. Benson's, meditation, Reiki, whatever. Anxiety is good when it forces us to be careful with our patients. It is destructive when it eats you alive. I also think that you need to pick which area of nursing you want to practice in. For me, the thought of having 8 patients of unknown acuity gives me hives. To think that they could have an episode and I am the only one between living and dying is horrifying to me. That said, I would like to work in the ICU or OR because the nurse/patient ratio is much better. I feel like I need to be able to give someone my whole focus, instead of playing "Jon and Kate" plus 8, minus Jon (although that may be happening in real life soon, too ; )
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