Nursing Fears

  1. I am in my second semester of six, and next week I will beginning my very first clinicals in the hospital.

    Needless to say, I'm pretty scared.

    Many of my classmates have had a lot of experience, while I, on the otherhand, have only had the experience of being a candy striper in high school 4 years ago. Pathetic, I know.

    I've wanted to be a nurse since I was in junior high. And now, all of a sudden, I'm FREAKING OUT.

    I'm scared I'll hurt someone, I'm scared I won't be able to handle the smells, the sights...What if I start an IV and want to pass out? I've never been really squeemish, but now I think for some reason I might be. What if I'm not smart enough to do this? I guess all I want to know is if this feeling ever goes away. Did anyone else feel like this? Did anyone else panic when they saw someone else's vagina for the first time? HELP!! :stone
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    About SmashRN2

    Joined: Jan '07; Posts: 40; Likes: 7
    Student Nurses


  3. by   Pat_Pat RN
    I still feel that way sometimes. This is my second of four semesters. I have been working in the ER for about four years now, I am somewhat jaded to the sights and smells.
    If you're in the program, chances are you are smart enough. The feeling goes away sometimes for me, and I assume it will eventually go away all the time.
    I don't have a vagina, so I didn't freak about that. But holding another mans penis, that is weird!
    Hang in there!
  4. by   S.T.A.C.E.Y
    Aww, don't worry, you'll get over those fears. Its totally normal.

    My first hospital clinical for EMT class (before nsg school), I was observing in the ER. A trauma pt came in, and I was taken aside by a tech to a good spot where I could see EVERYTHING. She explained what was going on, who was doing what, and all the details. The guy of course was naked. I wasn't really sure where to look, or what to ask about the foley cath that was being inserted, or even how to appropriately ask any questions I had. She whispered to me and asked if it was my first time seeing a real penis....shyly I answered yes. Her answer. "Don't worry hun, they're not all that small." Made me laugh. Definitely took the stress off of my first day. Sometimes it even gives me a silent laugh when its foley time.

    I'm sure soon enough you'll have your own funny story about clinical to share with others.
  5. by   Daytonite
    Hi, xxchaffxx!

    I went to nursing school back in 1973 having absolutely no experience as anything but an account clerk. I used to get nauseated and almost throw up every time I pulled into the parking lot and started walking into the hospital to do my clinicals when I was in nursing school. Not only was I afraid of the same things as you, but I was scared to death that I would accidentally kill somebody! This fear was with me probably for a good two or three years AFTER I graduated from nursing school as well. And, then, at some point I had seen about as much blood and gore as I guess my mind was able to process and put into perspective. I realized that I wasn't going to kill anyone. It will happen to you too.

    The worst, for me, was not the blood and the poop, which is what I kind of expected. It was seeing little bits of a person's gray matter (their brains) on their pillow case after they had tried to blow their brains out. It was the only time I nearly barfed. To this day, I still don't understand why I had that reaction--and it's happened to me twice. I've seen arterial blood spurt across a room after an artery was accidentally punctured (the seriousness of it aside, it was actually kind of cool!) and patients have explosive diarrhea or vomit that landed on other nurses (they got to take quick showers and put on clean scrubs down in the OR). It's kind of like a rite of passage that makes you one of the gang. Everyone loves to talk about their "war" stories.

    I imagine that you're going to be just fine. First of all, your instructors aren't going to let you do any procedure until you've been checked off on it in the lab at school. The instructor stays with you the entire time you do a procedure on a patient to make sure you're not doing anything wrong or accidentally hurting the patient. I was never allowed to start IVs as a student. It just wasn't allowed in my state. Once on the job I turned out to be a terrible IV starter. I was so bad at it that I took the 30 hour course given to LVNs here in California. I kept working at it and eventually did get very good at it and ended up working on an IV team and putting in PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter) lines as well as being nationally certified.

    As for thinking you might not be smart enough to do this. . .I used to tell myself that if thousands before me could get through the training, so could I. After all, how different was I from them? I'm just a person. You're just a person. You can do this too. I guarantee you that just about every nurse went through the same fears when they started nursing school. You are not alone.

    Good luck! See you on the forums! Welcome to allnurses!
  6. by   sddlnscp
    I too am getting ready to start hospital clinicals (this weekend actually - gulp). We have been doing nursing home clinicals up until now and I thought I would faint the first time I stepped into a facililty (no Medical background/experience here either), but I survived it. Now I have those same feelings getting ready to go onto the med-surg floor, but I think I'll survive - hehe. We can do this, it is going to be scary and I think it's a good thing we're scared, I would worry about those that are overly confident when they are at our stage to be honest with you. Take a deep breath and walk in, you can do it!
  7. by   NaomieRN
    Having no experience can be a plus for you because there are a few students in my clinicals that have been CNAs for a while not necessarily doing better than me with no prior experience. Most of them, never learned how to do things right in the first place, so they tend to make mistakes. For example, one girl did not put a gown when entered in an isolation room and she took her gown first before the gloves. Think positive and you will be ok.
  8. by   elby812
    Quote from Daytonite
    After all, how different was I from them? I'm just a person. You're just a person. You can do this too. I guarantee you that just about every nurse went through the same fears when they started nursing school. You are not alone.
    Great post! I haven't even started nursing school yet and am having some of those same fears. This site is really a great source of support from those who have been there, done that!! Thanks!!
  9. by   beachbum3
    In my experience every person in my class talks about how they have days when they feel not smart/good enough. I've always had a lot of confidence in everything I've done until this. I'm doing fine, but when I'm neck deep in textbooks, at 2 am, with more crap on my list of things to do for school than what I can keep track of I start to wonder if I'm smart enough or good enough. I question if I'm making the right decisions, if I can even be a nurse, if everyone in the class thinks I suck, if my instructors think I suck, if my pts can see my lack of confidence. I feel like an idiot 90% of the time, and the more I try to learn the more I realize how much I DON'T know. And I wonder how in the world I will go from what I am now to a NURSE in less than 3 more semesters.

    But you know what? Everyone has those feelings. There are days you will feel like you can't do this, and there will be days when you walk out of clinical after a fantastic day feeling like this is what you were born to do. Its definitley a roller coaster. I think someday maybe we will all get used to it. Everyone gets the jitters. Now only if I could make my knees stop knocking before doing something new on someone for the first time......:chuckle
  10. by   manofcare
    Where I go to nursing school nobody assumes you have learned anything outside of school as a part-time CNA, Nurse-tech etc. In reality, the only big confrontation we had last semester was during post clinical between an instructor and a part time CNA student in our program. The part timer failed to realize that the instructor was the one grading, and it doesn't matter how they do it on the floor. Sometimes I feel like working in the hospital is a hindrance rather than a help. I know it is hard not to question yourself. Please remember that ALL nurses are human. And you know that being said, human comes with a ton of problems in the regard of imperfection. Human also comes with empathy. Human also comes with compassion. I am in no way saying that these feelings are more important than training and knowledge, but they complement the intellectual side very well.