Wanting to Quit Nursing School

  1. Hi there,

    I am am almost half way through my third year on my BSN program. My specific BSN program is very decelerated. It is just in the past month that I have taken on my OWN patient and have now started to take two. (Yes, I know, in third year)

    Either way, I HATE it. Finally having enough exposure and knowledge of the profession/what its really like, I want to quit so badly. Every time I am giving medications, charting, doing assessments, I feel sick. I'm so scared that I am missing something and I realized I never want to have the responsibility of someone's health. I can admit now that I went into it without knowing what the profession was really like and doing it mostly for job security reasons.

    Its taken me 2.5 years of school to realize this because 1st and 2nd year where so academic based with minimal clinical, I love class and learning, have a 90% average. I just HATE clinical and lab and truthfully am not doing very well in them.

    Only area I could see myself going is addictions, marginalized populations, community type nursing or related non-nursing jobs I could acquire with my degree. The thought of quitting and starting a different degree gives me such happiness and relief, but I don't want to regret abandoning my BSN. I just don't know if I can physically make it though the necessary clinicals to graduate.

    I would love any opinions or advice you guys have to offer.

    Thanks for any imput!
    Last edit by _ashley_ on Nov 9
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    About _ashley_, BSN

    Joined: Nov '18; Posts: 2; Likes: 2
    from CA

    15 Comments

  3. by   canoehead
    I would stop. If you don't like it, theres no point in spending thousands more. If you were in your fourth year, I'd say stick it out, but in third...nope.
  4. by   cleback
    I would explore other career options before actually quitting... job shadowing, talking to people in the field. You may just be realizing pitfalls of a profession. All professions have cons. The grass isn't always greener.

    I went through a similar situation in nursing school. I had just started working as a CNA and honestly, it was terrifying the possible harm I could inflict. I explored switching majors to the business school. I met with an advisor and interviewed with a few entry level jobs. I realized that the CNA job was daunting but I liked not being at a desk... and that I really only find my finances interesting, not other people's lol. So I stuck with it.

    I actually had a second doubting period during my first year of nursing... but same outcome.

    Anyway, when the sh!t gets real, you may be like me and start fantasizing about other careers. I have realized that's my reaction to stress, and the fantasy is just perception of greener grass. But I'd still encourage you to explore your options. Don't live with thoughts of "what if."

    Best of luck to you.
  5. by   City-Girl
    Maybe there's other positions in the human services field where you could apply some of your previous course work so you would not have to start from square 1. If you truly know that your heart is not into it, it's okay to call it quits before you spend more money on a possibly very expensive education. I attended nursing school with a girl who spoke of nothing else but getting a position in pediatric nursing after graduation. (Other than clinical she did not have any other patient experiences during school). Well, we finished nursing school and she got that job in pediatrics, only to learn that it was a much tougher job than she had thought. I suggested she get a position with adults in the hospital I was working for at the time, she said she decided to go back to school for another degree in a different field since she could not see herself as a nurse working with adults. At least you have realized that you are not into it before you finished. Good luck figuring out your next steps!
  6. by   klone
    Life's too short. If you're miserable, quit and find something you enjoy. Not everyone is suited to be a nurse, and that's okay.
  7. by   Swellz
    I bet many of your prereqs would work towards other degrees. It may put you back a semester or two to change majors but that is nothing if you know nursing isn't for you. Were there any roles you saw in the hospital that interested you? I would talk to an advisor. They might have some ideas for you.
    Last edit by Swellz on Nov 9 : Reason: grammar
  8. by   Bonstemps
    I would say stop, if you are truly unhappy and find practice to be unpalatable.

    However, theres a great opportunity here. You remind me a bit of some of my colleagues who left nursing - they adored medical / nursing academia and hated their clinical, and instead became MPHs and, eventually, PhDs in PH. Have you considered public health? It may be the thing for you!
  9. by   ShadowNurse
    Quote from Bonstemps
    I would say stop, if you are truly unhappy and find practice to be unpalatable.

    Have you considered public health? It may be the thing for you!
    Excellent idea. Some people are all about the abstract, and we need those people to back up our practice with theory, experimentation, and data.
  10. by   Devnation
    Ok, I guess I'm the lone dissenter so far. I don't think you should quit, at least not yet. I understand because I was in that boat too. I was great in the classroom and mediocre at clinical. I was frustrated by this and began to dread clinical. In passing I heard the head of my program say to another student, that it was not clinical that caused people to flunk out, it was usually the classroom portion. I decided to take this very small and cold comfort to heart. Nursing is a profession that requires a huge adjustment period. I felt prefectly awful at it (and probably was) for the first year. Then it got better.
    You have already invested a significant amount of time, money, and energy in nursing, and you loved the academic part. There are so many different avenues in nursing that you may find that direct patient care is not your thing, but psych nursing is the bee's knees. Or maybe hospice, community health. If you like research, these days you can go directly from your BSN to a PhD program, no clinical required. But all that starts with your BSN. So I would look into some non-clinical nursing jobs and talk to a trusted faculty member about your concerns. If after that and soul-searching you feel you need to quit, go for it and don't waste time on regret.
  11. by   inthecosmos
    I would say don't quit...

    I loathed clinical, to the point where I often cried before and after each one. They never seemed to get any better, either.

    Until I spent time on an oncology unit. It was magical. I loved my patients, I loved clinical, I loved EVERYTHING about it. It may be that you have not hit your specialty yet, which is okay.

    I should note that, I too, excel in the theory portions of school. I have 2.5 years of varied experience in acute oncology, hospice, and an intermediate, pulmonary unit. I do not love every aspect of nursing still. My anxiety, though, has virtually disappeared. The majority of my anxiety stems from bad patient experiences (personality conflicts) and clashing staff personalities.

    My intention is to eventually find a hole in the wall and study, research, and develop new evidence-based practice. I enjoy nursing, though. I really don't regret completing my degree.
  12. by   stevemac
    I'll side with Devnation.

    I've only been a nurse for 3 years, and having spent my entire adult life never wanting to be involved in healthcare, I now wish I had looked at it more seriously many years ago.

    Some of the things that I like about the field of Nursing: It is an in-demand job. Pick a specialty, and even some that you would not have thought of for a nurse, and you'll find job openings for Registered Nurses there.

    It's an extremely portable job. When you get a wild hair and decide you've always wanted to live in Rhode Island, it's a very simple matter to relocate and step almost seamlessly into the new job.

    It pays well. After almost 4 years of experience as a Paramedic, my very first RN job paid $10/ hr MORE than I earned as a Medic. With just an Associate's degree (I realize your program is BSN), a new nurse in my area STARTS around $50k/ yr; more at the hospital right in my town.

    It's very flexible. Do you want overtime, or only sip from the time-clock? In many cases, the choice, quite literally, is yours.

    Oh, the variety! Especially since you'll enter as a BSN nurse, when you decide that you want to change specialties, even to something radically different, after your first job it's all just on-the-job training.

    To your concerns: I once had to intubate a seven year old boy who had been involved in a car crash. It was very difficult for me: he's a little boy! And, he was just about my own son's age. I had to dissociate myself from the emotion of it, and think about him simply being a body that needed an airway. Whatever the tasks are, and especially while you're in clinicals, they won't be terribly complex or scary; look at them as tasks that need to be completed and simply complete them--competently and professionally.

    Just yesterday I had an 11-month old baby that needed an IV. I'm very good at starting IVs, and I also knew that I had a partner who is God's gift to little baby IV starting! So I let the family know that I was going to ask my partner to come help, and away we went. If you're friendly and honest with your patients you'll find that almost all of them (and their families) will relate to you being new--or a student--and will be patient while you "practice" on them.

    Finish your schooling. Study hard, become a professional. And then find a slot in the extremely broad, amazingly varied field that is Nursing that does interest you. It's completely okay if it is not bed-side nursing.
  13. by   lromkee
    Do what makes you happy but I would finish if I were in your shoes. There is so many avenues that you can take as a nurse. You don't have to work bedside. Explore your options.
  14. by   middleagednurse
    I would advise finishing this year. You never know, you might find yourself liking nursing. Now if you still don't like it by the end of your 3rd year, then switch to something else. Your clinicals will give you the opportunity to see other professionals in action, and maybe something will strike you as interesting.
    Last edit by middleagednurse on Nov 12 : Reason: spelling

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