not smart enough

  1. Hey everyone. I'm in my second year of nursing school and im starting to wonder... am I smart enough for this? Why do I have to try so hard and work so hard just to get an 85%. I have to put in so much effort while other students can study two nights before the exam and still do well. What am I doing wrong? Why am I like this. I am becoming emotionally drained. If I can barely make it through ADN program then how will i purse my education further within this field.
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    About amynursing

    Joined: Dec '17; Posts: 11; Likes: 2

    18 Comments

  3. by   hherrn
    None of us have any idea how smart you are.
    Are you smart enough? Absolutely- your grades show that. As well as hard working.
    Your real question is why you have to work so hard to get good grades. And that answer may have to do with study skills and support systems.
    Does your school have any resources that might hep you with your study skills?
    Do your peers do study groups?

    I did very well in nursing school, but was lucky enough to have the time- and I spent much more time than most of my peers. I lacked (still do) basic study skills. If I had had my lack of study skills, and the work load and family obligations of many of my peers, I would not have done well at all.

    Try to see what resources are available, and good luck.

    BTW- the willingness to work hard toward a goal is an asset. This will help you in the long run, not hurt you.
  4. by   Sassy-RN
    Nursing school is very hard! You should be proud of yourself that you're halfway there.

    After school is done, and boards are passed, there is way more to nursing being "smart." I have seen 4.0 nursing grades that are horrible with real world nursing. I'd rather have a nurse who was "average" in school that is kind, compassionate, hard-working and a team player!
  5. by   nursel56
    Quote from amynursing
    Hey everyone. I'm in my second year of nursing school and im starting to wonder... am I smart enough for this? Why do I have to try so hard and work so hard just to get an 85%. I have to put in so much effort while other students can study two nights before the exam and still do well. What am I doing wrong? Why am I like this. I am becoming emotionally drained. If I can barely make it through ADN program then how will i purse my education further within this field.
    First, I would take this part:

    I have to put in so much effort while other students can study two nights before the exam and still do well.
    ...and throw it in the trash. Comparing yourself to others is a colossal waste of energy, and it may not even be true.

    Now you need to focus on what's left. An average of 85% indicates you're not in danger of failing out, and many "book smart" people experience difficulty they didn't expect based on their prior testing experiences.

    It doesn't mean they aren't smart anymore, it means nursing school is different start to finish. Academics is just a part of it

    Having to work hard may just come with the territory, but if you're so stressed out your physical and mental well-being are at risk, you may need some help, meaning from a counselor or someone to help determine what sort of learner you are and work with your strengths.

    I can guarantee you have strengths as valuable as those you imagine your classmates have.

    All the best!
  6. by   Glucagon
    I would take a look at your study skills if you feel like you just aren't getting certain things in the time you can to determine if there are more effective methods. I've found ways that work for me by combining several methods (reading, creating notes, watching videos, consolidating the info into flashcards for larger tests), so it may just be that one of the ways you study doesn't work as well for you personally as another might.

    However, I think it's also important to mention that I think some students like to downplay how often or much they study, or maybe aren't really fully aware of the actual amount of time they spend studying. People want to be seen as super smart and they don't exactly want to advertise their mistakes, so they make it seem like they are doing amazing with little effort. I mean, someone I know the other day told me that when she says that she "didn't study," she really means that she only reviewed over her notes but didn't do flashcards, etc. So, to the outside person, it looks like she does okay/fairly good without any preparation at all.
  7. by   tiffanyB12
    Quote from Sassy-RN
    Nursing school is very hard! You should be proud of yourself that you're halfway there.

    After school is done, and boards are passed, there is way more to nursing being "smart." I have seen 4.0 nursing grades that are horrible with real world nursing. I'd rather have a nurse who was "average" in school that is kind, compassionate, hard-working and a team player!
    I don't think these are mutually exclusive. I graduated at the top of my class in nursing school, and now I am a kind, compassionate nurse who is also a team player. I went above and beyond during school and now do the same at work.
  8. by   tiffanyB12
    Don't worry about other students and how much they study. Focus on yourself, focus on understanding the material, and continue working hard. One test at a time, one assignment at a time, one clinical at a time- do your best. You are smart enough. Believe in yourself, and you will be fine.
  9. by   tonyl1234
    First off, you need to lose the emotional stress. Think of a backup plan. If you fail nursing, what else are you interested in doing?

    If you're keeping an 85 average in your second year, most of us doubt that you're in any risk of failing. You're around average. But the point to having a backup plan is to always have it in your mind that if you fail, it's not the end of the world. You have other things you're interested in doing, and you can make that happen. One of the biggest mistakes nursing students make is that they come into school with the mentality that they have to be a nurse. It's just a job. All this leads to is stressing yourself out over a job that you don't even have.

    Then definitely stop comparing yourself to other people. Nursing is more than grades in school. You have strengths. We all do. But we're all better than each other for different things. An example, I'm one of those people who barely studies and is doing great in school. On a medsurg unit, or an ER, or an OR, I'll probably be a great nurse. In palliative or hospice, I'm the worst possible person to put there, because I'm HORRIBLE at expressing sympathy. When I have to engage with the patient on a personal level, I struggle. I have friends I've known for the last 20 years that I can't have a normal conversation with. Remember, everyone you're comparing yourself to, you have something they're envious of. Just focus on you and forget about everyone else.

    Also, one thing to remember, graduating with a BSN or an ADN both need the same basic level of nursing by the time you graduate. The BSN program has 4 years to teach it, the ADN has 2. An 85 is not bad for an ADN program. You're actually succeeding in the harder route to take.
  10. by   HomeBound
    Dear Amynursing. Sweetheart. A few things that may help...because I went thru this same menral process and then mentored students that in particular felt this way.

    1. You have to have been intelligent and successful to even BE where you are.

    2. I knew and still know students that would give their left arm for an 85%, even on ONE exam, let alone an average grade overall. This is not to say that you should be satisfied and cruise. What you should know is that YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT in order to have that average, and divert your thinking from "glass half empty" to "glass half full".

    3. Extension of #2...comparing yourself to your prior performance is not a good indicator of your intelligence or ability. Nursing is unlike anything you will ever do.

    4. Extension of #3....comparing yourself to Others is a serious mistake. My instructors encouraged and even whipped up this hyper competitive environment, pitting students against each other in a misguided and sadistic attempt to motivate students. It is a fallacy that conflict breeds innovation. It doesn't.

    5. Remember the great philosopher Gregory House, MD. EVERYBODY LIES. And the higher the personal stakes for any given person, the more they are apt to lie. I heard this schtick all through my years, whether it was EMS, Nursing, college....whatever. if the speaker feels insecure for some reason...and in nursing school...who doesn't?....then you will get the type of lies that imply that they are sososososososoooooomuch smarter than you are because they don't study.

    Here is what I think about that. If you come into my procedure room and you have not studied the material...you will harm the patient and possibly yourself and me. Why in the sam hell would i want someone in my unit that never studied????? All that means is that this person can memorize what is given in lecture...and regurgitate it. I need someone who understands the concepts far beyond what limited time i have to impart it...that means you study and understand and then we come together to hone skill in application.

    I can act like your mother and say dont't listen to them, they are just jealous. When in reality, they aren't jealous, they are insecure in themselves. Bullies are hugely insecure...when you meet that nurse the picks on irrelevant crap in your report or your performance...yet can never see,m to offer constructive solutions...and you will meet many....they are usually the ones that in nursing school swore up and down that they NEVER study.

    Just ask yourself...why would i admire or want to emulate someone who is proud of the fact that they have no idea what the actual problems and issues are...because they took Cliff's Notes for Nursing?

    Now. What i do hear from you is frustration that you are studying excessively and you are not meeting some abstract metric. What kind of learner are you? Visual? Do you need flash cards and feedback? Do youneed hands on before you can put your book knowledge to making sense?

    Nursing questions are not designed to test your knowledge per se. They are designed to shape your critical thinking skills. The root of it i think is that working with peopleis not like working on a production line...where you get a set on instructions and those are laid outin a linear fashion to get to a predictable result. Medicine is very fluid. You can experience 10 codes and none resemble each other.

    I sat across from a wonderful student a few years ago who was just amazingly intelligent...straight As before nursing school. Worked fulltime. Mom of 3 boys and wife. Yet she was struggling with the questions because she was choosing the second most right answer consistently. She was trying to control the outcome.

    If i do this, then the outcome will be correct. No. I told her that she needed to stop trying to control the questions. She was reading them and she felt halfway thru she knew what the answer should be. Then she got knocked back so many times, she started second guessing and going back and erasing things. See where this goes?

    The questions are NOT reality based. These scenarios are predicated on the idea of the "perfect NCLEX hospital". If every single resource was at your fingertips, fully staffed and no wonkiness occurs....now answer the question. People get tied up in some experience that they had two weeks ago on their unit rotation.

    You ARE smart enough. You are doing the right things. When you get out there, because you studied and attempted to truly understand concepts...you will integrate that with experience and be a wonderful nurse, confident in what she KNOWS. I work with BSN and MSN nurses that scare the living crap out of me. They will admit (now. Because they passed nclex and have a job) they really don't know why we don't do one thing or another or figure out the solution for z problem....because all they can do now is task. They read the orders and just do what the doctor orders and cannot understand why bad outcomes happen...because they never question....they don't have the knowledge to do it.

    You keep doing what you're doing. I'd take you as an 85 Nurse that knows her stuff any day over a 95 nurse that never studied.
  11. by   Chrispy11
    I was a 4.0 student until nursing school. I was told by my Professors it's meant to be hard. Like others had said, a lot of your classmates would love those grades. Most of us felt that the amount of time spent studying was not reflected in our grades. Yes some only spend a few hours studying but that's the exception, not the norm.
  12. by   Sassy-RN
    @tiffanyB12

    I didn't state that it was. I said their is MORE to nursing than just good grades.
  13. by   tonyl1234
    Quote from HomeBound

    Here is what I think about that. If you come into my procedure room and you have not studied the material...you will harm the patient and possibly yourself and me. Why in the sam hell would i want someone in my unit that never studied????? All that means is that this person can memorize what is given in lecture...and regurgitate it. I need someone who understands the concepts far beyond what limited time i have to impart it...that means you study and understand and then we come together to hone skill in application.
    Not necessarily, and be careful with comments like that, you don't to add anxiety when she understands something too easily.

    The reality is that we all learn differently. And not studying doesn't mean that we just memorized information. To some of us, this is just common sense. An analytical person is going to catch on to nursing very fast. We'll need to study, but it's going to be more of how does this disease affect the patient. And then when it comes to how we'd handle it, it's basically symptom relief and prevention of more problems. That's it. Nurses literally nurse.

    Some people have to be taught how to prevent pressure ulcers, other people immediately notice the key word "pressure."

    We don't all need to study.
  14. by   VAEDRN
    I am going to tell you, what I had a former nurse manager told me when I was in nursing school. First, no one is going to give a sh@# what grade you made in med/surg or any of your nursing classes, (yes, she said this to me in her office), just as long as you pass and successfully pass the NCLEX. Second, everyone learns different (some people are "hands on" learners, while others learn best by reading a book and taking a test), so stop beating yourself up. She told me she was a "C" student, and to this day, she is one of THE SMARTEST nurses I have ever known! She is currently the nurse manager on a heart floor in a ICU at a level I trauma center, and graduated with her doctorate a few years ago. YES, nursing school sucks! YES, you have to study your butt off! BUT...it will be worth it in the end, and you will never have to take the NCLEX again after passing. I failed nursing school the first time, because I listened to that voice in my head, and I would put myself down all the time. I also had an instructor tell me, "Maybe nursing is not for you, and you should look into other things, like maybe landscaping." SERIOUSLY LADY?! I'm also terrified of snakes, and could never be a landscaper! I know you have heard the saying "If you want something bad enough, you'll make it happen." Believe me, it is true! My daughter is struggling with math, cries in school, and calls herself dumb. I told her to GET MAD, and pretend that "math" is a bully, and to punch "math" and say "You won't beat me, I will beat you, and I will learn how to do this, and I am not stupid!" That advice might sound kind of stupid to you, because you're not a 3rd grader, learning subtraction either. But seriously, get mad and start telling yourself that you can do it. Stop worrying about other people in class, and worrying about grades. I was always the last student to finish a test. Are the other students paying for your nursing classes? NOPE! So who cares about them! Worry about the day you are looking down at your patient, and all of a sudden they go into cardiac arrest. No one is going to care what grade you made in med/surg! It's all about critical thinking. That is what you want to master! Just DON'T GIVE UP! Try the site simplenursing.com, and see if it helps. GOOD LUCK

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