The overwhelming stress of nursing school

  1. Nursing school is so stressful that it is seriously disrupting my quality of life. I literally cannot get decent sleep as I wake up every 30 mins after 5am thinking that I overslept. Or the fact that I'm taking a stupid theory class that gives us no guidance on how to write these papers. I don't enjoy pysch, as I feel so disconnected in that class.

    i have 3 clinicals, 3 exams, 2 care plans, a research paper, and clinical paperwork all for week 3. At this point my anxiety has gone through the roof to get good grades even though I know C's get degrees. I keep telling myself to take it one week at a time, so here's to six weeks left of this overwhelming semester. All I can think about is graduation, so that is my only motivation this semester but it cannot come quick enough.

    The only good thing about this semester is that I like learning about Med Surg 2 minus the lengthy care plans.


    So here is my rant that probably sounds more like complaining than anything else, but I just had to get this out.
  2. Visit OsceanSN2018 profile page

    About OsceanSN2018, CNA

    Joined: Jun '17; Posts: 217; Likes: 183

    21 Comments

  3. by   meanmaryjean
    When's the last time you took a day off? Like OFF off? Spent some time outdoors, went to the movies, visited with non-nursing friends off?

    Highly recommended. And indeed, Cs get degrees.

    You got this
  4. by   OsceanSN2018
    Quote from meanmaryjean
    When's the last time you took a day off? Like OFF off? Spent some time outdoors, went to the movies, visited with non-nursing friends off?

    Highly recommended. And indeed, Cs get degrees.

    You got this

    Thank you!! I'm in an accelerated program, so I either have clinical or class from Monday to Saturday. I always feel guilty when I'm not doing the busy work or studying for exam, so sadly I never take a day off...
  5. by   meanmaryjean
    Quote from OsceanSN2019
    Thank you!! I'm in an accelerated program, so I either have clinical or class from Monday to Saturday. I always feel guilty when I'm not doing the busy work or studying for exam, so sadly I never take a day off...
    Take one. You must NEVER feel guilt for taking time to recharge. Because without a little down time now and then- you are not at your best. The chef stops periodically to sharpen his knives. Cars require maintenance. People require the same.
  6. by   MotoMonkey
    When I inevitably end up anxious, stressed, and crabby I like to meditate. I know its not for everyone, but there is some good guided meditation on youtube and there are apps. More than anything, I think it helps me because it forces me to take 10, 20, 30 minutes where I am not thinking about school or assignments, I am just focusing on myself. If I can find the time to do it before bed I usually fall asleep faster, though im not convinced I sleep longer or more soundly.

    I also completely agree with meanmaryjean, you need to take that some time for yourself. If you saw a patient who was complaining of these symptoms you would tell them to take time and care for themselves, you need to do the same.
  7. by   nursinglove30
    I hear you. Felt just like that during my first semester. I wanted to do it all so felt guilty every time I would take a break to just relax or wasn't doing something perfect. During second semester, I changed it all. I made peace with getting a B (even though I studied my behind off to get an A). I simplified my life and allowed myself to take naps, cook healthy meals, get to lecture sometimes 10 min late; go in three times to lab if I wasn't performing a skill right; had to do it right first time before. During all of this I was always conscious that I was learning this to take care of patients one day and I needed to not be stressed out otherwise it wont go right. Wishing you good luck with your studies.
  8. by   Horseshoe
    Make time for exercise. It is a huge stress reliever. And don't say you don't have time. MAKE time.
  9. by   OsceanSN2018
    Quote from Horseshoe
    Make time for exercise. It is a huge stress reliever. And don't say you don't have time. MAKE time.

    I am actually highly considering this.
  10. by   Ruixi13
    Just like we need to learn how to triage patients you need to learn how to triage your life. I'm half-way done with my 2 year nursing program and it can be busy and stressful, but I don't think it should ever be as bad as you describe it. If a test is worth 1/3 your grade you need to put much more time into that than things that are worth 1, 5, or 10% of your grade. Get a planner, write every due date out and start allotting your time to all your tests and projects. Writing papers is a skill you should hopefully have learned in high school or any other undergraduate liberal arts classes you have taken. Nursing papers are no different except you will use APA (a format that is easily copied from the internet). And to be honest, I don't think nursing professors are as strict with grammar and essay structure as the professors I have had with my previous degrees..

    I didn't enjoy psych much either, but at the end of the day its a class and you have to learn it, so put the time in, it's really not that complex.

    And echo those posts before, as important as schoolwork is, you need to add a few personal activities during your week may be regular exercise, dinner dates with friends or S.O's, as you like!
  11. by   NotYourTypical
    I can definitely understand your situation. I am in a traditional BSN program and I just finished second semester, which has been labeled by our professors as the hardest semester in the program. Luckily I made it but I was so close to failing it and I can't tell you how many breakdowns I had... I ended up breaking my car key one time...

    But here's what helped me: I had one teacher that REALLY helped me. I had a problem with organizing my time and so I would do all of this work and still barely have time to finish everything I needed to get done. I obviously didn't have time to really relax and take at least one day off. My teacher sat down with me for hours and helped me organize my planner (after she told me to get one... ) and we came up with a method for me to stick with it... (It involves sticky notes )

    The planner I had was an hourly planner and I even drew out a typical school week for myself. As soon as I was able to visually see how much time I really had throughout the week, I was able to plan out things much better and I didn't feel as stressed or as pressed for time.

    I don't know if this post made much sense, but my point is to look at how you are organizing your time and draw it out if it helps you... It definitely helped me. I believe if you can visually see your school week (school related stuff ONLY), you can maybe see how much time you really have in that week, so it'll better allow you to prioritize based on what's due first and how much time you may need for certain assignments or projects...

    Hopefully I made sense and was helpful.



    SIDE NOTE: Also, don't try to finish 10 billion assignments in one day. It helps me to breakdown assignments in 1 -2 hour increments, instead of dealing with one subject for 4 hours straight. This is very important for reading assignments. It was odd to me and I didn't understand it, but I got more done and felt more productive breaking down assignments in realistically doable chunks, instead of using half the day on everything from one class.

    Good luck.
    Last edit by NotYourTypical on Jun 2 : Reason: Missing paragraph
  12. by   masonicusRN
    Yas! Triage Your Time!! Let's say you have 12 drugs to memorize, 50 symptoms, and 8 interventions. Hit the interventions first since it's the lowest number of items, and they're more likely to show up on the test (Bloom's taxonomy -- application/analysis i.e. what you would do for the problem is more likely to show up than straight up facts). Then take a nap or do something you enjoy, friend. I'm a recent grad and I don't regret not studying more! I regret when I studied too much and my mental or physical well-being suffered because of it. For anxiety, I had to try out new coping mechanisms. Meditation, yoga, essential oil, all the complementary/alternative medicine that I once thought was hippie nonsense was a godsend. Have a happy journey!!
  13. by   caitinthemiddle
    You have a lot on your plate!

    That feeling of waking up feeling like you're forgetting to meet a deadline doesn't end once nursing school is over. I graduated in May and still do that sometimes.

    The best piece of advice that I received from a professor in my program was to make sure to give yourself a day off. One day a week where you don't worry about school stuff, veg out or just go release some frustration. Try to nap. You need to prioritize this in your weekly schedule.

    Good luck! You'll find your flow!
  14. by   Tenebrae
    Quote from OsceanSN2019
    Thank you!! I'm in an accelerated program, so I either have clinical or class from Monday to Saturday. I always feel guilty when I'm not doing the busy work or studying for exam, so sadly I never take a day off...

    Get over it and take one.


    If you feel that you cant take a whole day, dedicate 3 hours/ half a day that are solely for non nursing recreation and make sure that you take it every single week.

    Why is this important?

    Because if you are unable to take care of yourself how do you ever hope to take care of patients in a safe and effective manner?


    I learned and am still learning this the hard way since my mum died. I jumped back into work less than 10 days after she had died and we'd had the funeral. When I found myself unable to go less than 15 minutes without crying and had told a patient who was being very challenging "congratulations you bloody well made me cry"

    I had to realise that I'd come back to work much to soon and that not only could i not hold it together I was loosing it with patients and while what I said was fairly tame, it was so not ok and completely unprofessional. I also made a medication error, giving metoprolol and digoxin to a patient who didnt need it. Fortunately the patient suffered no adverse effects and I didnt get my ass completely kicked (possibly management felt that would have been very mean given that I was not only grieving my mum, also grieving my brother in law who had died six weeks previously)


    So learn how to take care of yourself now. It will make you a far better nurse in the long run

close