Need some wisdom- a little encouragement

  1. [FONT="Comic Sans MS"]I am in my 3rd semester of nursing- Peds and OB. I have gotten much better, but am still struggling with my confidence level in clinicals. My grades are better than ever, but in clinicals I get sooo nervous. I just finished my first half of rotation on Postpartum and Thurs. was my first day in Labor and Delivery. I was so nervous Thurs. b/c I wasn't sure exactly what we were expected to do. We got paired up and the day went fine. I got an evaluation today with my postpartum advisor- which was fine overall, but she said that when I got nervous, it was written all over my face :uhoh21: I thought I did fine by the last day of postpartum overall- I had two patients which was a little stressful, but I think I handled it pretty good. She said she told my new advisor that I needed to do better with my organizational skills and that she wants me to be able to take two patients without being stressed the whole time. I didn't know that it showed that much- I thought I did pretty well. I can understand what she's saying to some extent, but when she wasn't with me the whole time- there were like 9 other students- how can she see if I improve with my organization? I told her that I was nervous about L&D and she said it's the fear of the unknown- Yep!- and that I have to get over it. I have explained to her that I don't want to be that way, and it's gotten better over the past two semesters, but I still need some advice from any one out there who has been through this. We learn everything so fast from semester to semester and some things you really take hold of and remember and some things only stay until the test- and need to be refreshed. This semester one instructor always says it's like a ball rolling- from 1st till now- ya'll should know this stuff by now, we're not going to go back and reteach it, and I want to ask her if she remembers what it was like to be in nursing school, how did she feel. With everything going so fast with each topic, there's not time to keep your focus on it for long- if you don't use it you lose it- for me I need some repitition. I guess I feel like I need to or should know it all by now and I don't. I haven't ever worked anywhere to get experience and have only gotten it in clinicals- maybe a week each for 1st and 2nd semester and now I had like 5 on postpartum. I guess I feel a little inadequate still, maybe a little lost when at clinical, esp. when starting a new rotation. I wonder sometimes, can I be a good nurse b/c I don't get it as quick as others or have the experience as them or am not as assertive? I'm just feeling a little down and need a little advice or wisdom from someone who knows!
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    About Redeemed98

    Joined: Jun '05; Posts: 15

    11 Comments

  3. by   augigi
    You need to remember that you're expected to be a beginner! You are expected to have safe practice, which means knowing what you should know, and being aware of your limitations, and when to seek help.

    It sounds like you definitely have that ability to note your deficiencies, and work on them, which is all that can be asked of you at this stage.

    Trust me, even the confident nursing students get out of school - with an RN! - and start working and immediately feel like they know nothing!! You are not alone! I was a great student, never had to study, found things very easy to remember. Yet when I graduated, and suddenly was expected to take my own patient load and generally BE A NURSE, I was terrified I'd kill someone!

    Please, relax, study, enjoy your clinicals! This time as a student may be the only time you are truly in a great learning environment, and supported by your teachers. Use it. Ask when you don't know. And always remember that you are there to learn, not to know everything. Don't forget to give yourself a pat on the back sometimes - you've learned so much in just 3 semesters of nursing, and be confident in your early skills.
  4. by   Corvette Guy
    Can you break that up into a few paragraphs?

  5. by   Redeemed98
    I guess I kind of ran it all together. Hope this is better!

    I am in my 3rd semester of nursing- Peds and OB. I have gotten much better, but am still struggling with my confidence level in clinicals. My grades are better than ever, but in clinicals I get sooo nervous. I just finished my first half of rotation on Postpartum and Thurs. was my first day in Labor and Delivery. I was so nervous Thurs. b/c I wasn't sure exactly what we were expected to do. We got paired up and the day went fine.

    I got an evaluation today with my postpartum advisor- which was fine overall, but she said that when I got nervous, it was written all over my face.:uhoh21: I thought I did fine by the last day of postpartum overall- I had two patients which was a little stressful, but I think I handled it pretty good. She said she told my new advisor that I needed to do better with my organizational skills and that she wants me to be able to take two patients without being stressed the whole time. I didn't know that it showed that much- I thought I did pretty well. I can understand what she's saying to some extent, but when she wasn't with me the whole time- there were like 9 other students- how can she see if I improve with my organization?

    I told her that I was nervous about L&D and she said it's the fear of the unknown- Yep!- and that I have to get over it. I have explained to her that I don't want to be that way, and it's gotten better over the past two semesters, but I still need some advice from any one out there who has been through this.

    We learn everything so fast from semester to semester and some things you really take hold of and remember and some things only stay until the test- and need to be refreshed. This semester one instructor always says it's like a ball rolling- from 1st till now- ya'll should know this stuff by now, we're not going to go back and reteach it, and I want to ask her if she remembers what it was like to be in nursing school, how did she feel. With everything going so fast with each topic, there's not time to keep your focus on it for long- if you don't use it you lose it- for me I need some repitition.

    I guess I feel like I need to or should know it all by now and I don't. I haven't ever worked anywhere to get experience and have only gotten it in clinicals- maybe a week each for 1st and 2nd semester and now I had like 5 on postpartum. I guess I feel a little inadequate still, maybe a little lost when at clinical, esp. when starting a new rotation. I wonder sometimes, can I be a good nurse b/c I don't get it as quick as others or have the experience as them or am not as assertive?

    I'm just feeling a little down and need a little advice or wisdom from someone who knows!
    Last edit by Redeemed98 on Oct 1, '06
  6. by   Redeemed98
    Thanks augigi. Thanks so much for your words of wisdom. Everything you said is true, it's just hard to relax sometimes. I have heard that when you get out of school, you forget everything and feel that you don't know anything. I will take your advice and try to enjoy my clinicals and give myself that pat on the back. Sometimes you just need a little encouraging word from someone who knows what you're going through. Thanks
  7. by   all4schwa
    fake confidence! funny how faking it soon turns into feeling it!
  8. by   Medsport
    That sounds similar to my situation. I just started clinicals last week and I get really nervous during lab check offs and clinicals. My gf, who is also in clinicals, says I need to be more assertive. The other day in a check off, I forgot one step at first, then remembed it (thankfully the instructor let it slide and let me continue). I thought I did fine after that, but my gf was listening and said I him-halled around and sounded very unsure of myself. I'm trying to figure out how to be more assertive if your not really sure in yourself...
  9. by   augigi
    The only way to get confident in lab skills is to practice-practice-practice. Practice on your gf, practice on anyone you can. I remember when we had to take BPs with the instructor listening in on a double-ended stethoscope, and we were terrified we wouldn't hear it! Now, the thought of not hearing a BP is impossible to imagine. In anything in life, you get good by doing it, over and over, until it is natural.

    I'd rather a nursing student was tentative than overconfident! Just get good at what you can, and remember that you're learning the rest.
  10. by   Daytonite
    advice and wisdom from someone who knows. . .nursing school is only designed to introduce you to basic concepts and theory. it is not meant for you to become a master in all these subject areas. your clinical experiences are to enhance what you are learning from books and lectures. again, they are not to make you into a master. nursing school is only a taste of what nursing is all about. your nursing education will continue long after you graduate (read some of the posts on the first year in nursing forum). as you are finding out, there is no way you can possibly learn all this stuff in such a short time, is there? what your instructors are doing is introducing you to all these subjects and having you focus on the most important concepts. by the time you get to the end of your formal nursing program you will see that there are specific concepts that can be universally applied (sterile and aseptic techniques, for example). experience and assertiveness come with time. you can't make time go any faster--sorry. confidence comes with mastery of skills. mastery takes time. back in the middle ages apprentices worked for years to get to the level of a journeyman. journeymen spent years honing and mastering their craft before they could be called masters at it. the same goes with nursing and just about every profession. we just don't talk about it that way anymore. if time was not an element in the mastery of a profession you would be seeing all kinds of 18 year olds running corporations as well as this country and old fogies like me would be sent out to the desert to disappear and die! you can learn to be a good worker at mcdonalds because the work is easy, repetitive and requires very little critical thinking. you are in the big leagues now. nursing requires critical thinking and decision-making. it takes a little longer than a week or two years to become really skilled at doing that. the problem with the world today is that it moves so fast that many young people make the erroneous conclusion of thinking that all of the things they do in their life should move that fast. sorry. it just doesn't happen that way. so, my advice and wisdom for you is to just hang in there. know that you are not alone. thousands of others are in the same boat, feel the same way, and have the same reservations as you. i did once as well. time took care of that. when you graduate from nursing school, you will get a job. that is when you will begin to focus on some specific area of nursing. and, i mean really focus on it. you'll be having to do a lot of learning on your own, reviewing some of the things you touched on in nursing school, practicing skills you maybe only did once or twice as a student and really knuckling down and working. nursing school is helping you to know where you can go later to find information and resources when you need them. you can't expect to remember everything you learned in nursing school. i didn't. but, i do know where to start looking when i need a memory refreshment. and, so will you. that is one of the greatest learning tools that you are going to come away from your school experience with. you'll have days where you'll say, "i remember having to learn something about that when i was in nursing school. now, what was it?" and head for the books. as for the repetition that you need in order to learn, you just have to get through your tests, graduate and pass your nclex for now. when you get into your nursing jobs, i guarantee there will be plenty of repetition to help you learn what you need to be successful in those positions! so, you just continue what you are doing. keep putting one foot in front of the other. jump when the instructors say jump. your immediate goal is to make it to the end of nursing school. then, you begin the next phase. when you get to my age you will look back and realize all the accomplishments that you achieved. but it's all about time and patience.
  11. by   Redeemed98
    Thanks Daytonite! I feel much better. Thanks for reinforcing that experience, assertiveness, and confidence come with time- that's something that I think some instructors seem to forget with students. I really appreciate the encouragement from you and the others. I'm going to try to be the best that I can be and make the best of my day tomorrow at clinical and remember some of the things shared here. Thanks again :wink2:
  12. by   WDWpixieRN
    Quote from daytonite
    when you get to my age you will look back and realize all the accomplishments that you achieved. but it's all about time and patience.
    well, i am about your age and am stressed out like the op, too!!


    but i had to add, that we've only done a couple of weeks of clinicals and i was hoping it'd get so much better!!

    last week was the first time that i had to take an apical pulse before meds, i was sweating so much that it was rolling off of my forehead and on to my pt!! ah, do you think she had a clue i was nervous?!?!? sheesh.....
  13. by   firstyearstudent
    I am third semester, too. Last semester I got a tick on my eval for not being confident enough (my only one!). Then, this semester, the same CI told me that after getting to know me more she doesn't think I'm any less confident in my abilities than the other students. She says I'm just not as good as they are at hiding it when I'm overwhelmed or confused. There is another gal in our class who all the instructors think is really confident and she wears a lot of make up and shaves her eyebrows and paints them on. It's like she is wearing a kabuki mask! I am pretty good friends with her and know for a fact that she doesn't know any more than I do or even feel any more confident than I do (on the inside).

    I think we just need to work on our poker faces (or Kabuki masks!) -- but don't shave your eyebrows, okay?

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