Parents cannot comprehend stress of nursing school

  1. Hello everyone, I am in my third semester of nursing school (Medical-surgical), the most difficult known in the program. I'm sure as all of you know, we have to achieve really high grades, be expected to perform well for simulations and clinicals etc. So here I am running on as little as 3 hours of sleep a night, spend majority of the day either studying or at clinicals, and literally shunning off the world as I head to my cave of books, careplans, and study guides.

    Anyways, I am a 21 year old living with my parents. Recently, they confronted me and even got angry with my day to night behavior (being extra grumpy, more isolated, and overall more aloof). They consider it to be extremely disrespectful; however, this is a recent thing and I would like to think that it's the school work thats doing this to me (I swear, I'm nice). I just need them to understand that this is a difficult time for me and instead of having them against me, I would honestly rather have the support. I feel like the stress is really affecting my health, and I just dont want any more problems to arise.
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    About stargirl018

    Joined: Oct '11; Posts: 55; Likes: 8

    8 Comments

  3. by   CNASuzy
    Nobody understands what us nursing students go through except nursing students and nurses!
  4. by   akulahawkRN
    I'm going to say this from my own experience: 3 hours of sleep is not sufficient. You will very quickly become sleep deprived and that can cause a LOT of the symptoms you describe. I've been there, done that, nearly got bounced out of school for it. You see, academically, I was doing pretty good. It was a LOT easier to make mistakes in the clinical setting because I was tired. I was very much approaching burnout.

    That's not a road you want to continue going down. I suggest that you get some sleep when you can, then consider why you're not sleeping as much as you should. Look for ways to become more efficient at studying. Don't study harder or longer because those strategies aren't efficient at getting the info into your brain. Not all people learn the same way. Some people are auditory learners. They learn by hearing the info. Some people are more visual, so they do well by reading it. Others are tactile and learn by doing, so those people often learn best by teaching the material to someone (or anything) else. Good instructors will utilize these methods nearly simultaneously in an effort to improve student retention of material.

    I suggest that you find out how you learn best. Your school should have people that specialize in learning disability testing. I'm not suggesting that you have a learning disability, but rather they're the experts in helping you figure out some good strategies for studying more efficiently.

    I'm not saying that Nursing School isn't stressful... it is, and sometimes very much so! I learned how I study best and incorporate the material into my knowledge base, and I was (somehow) able to work full-time while going to school full-time and still managed to earn some very decent grades. You're 21, and the fact that you're young means that you're probably not really all that aware or experienced in knowing what sleep deprivation can do to you because you probably feel generally OK. Listen to your family. They know your normal behaviors. If they're telling you that something's changed, chances are that they're right. You're the frog in the slowly boiling water. They can see you're in the pot... you can't.
  5. by   TheCommuter
    I am a 21 year old living with my parents. Recently, they confronted me and even got angry with my day to night behavior (being extra grumpy, more isolated, and overall more aloof). They consider it to be extremely disrespectful; however, this is a recent thing and I would like to think that it's the school work thats doing this to me (I swear, I'm nice). I just need them to understand that this is a difficult time for me and instead of having them against me, I would honestly rather have the support.
    If your parents are still paying for your tuition, the roof over your head, the food that you eat, and the lights that illuminate your room, the unfortunate reality is that you're still beholden to them and must do your best to make them feel respected.

    I am so sorry that you're experiencing this, but no one will truly comprehend what nursing students go through unless they have walked in your shoes. Good luck to you!
  6. by   iluvgusgus
    Studying to the point that you are only getting 3 hours of sleep is counter-productive- what are you going to retain with only 3 hours of sleep? You wont be able to perform too well in clinical with only 3 hours of sleep, and you need to be on your A game in the hospital or you can make fatal mistakes. While you are in school you should take the time to get in the habit of trying to get at least 6 hours of sleep, because unfortunately, nursing school is the easy part! Real nursing is much more stressful and you will burn out quickly if you are sleep deprived. As a rule when I was in nsg school, I never stayed up past midnight and if I needed to, I would wake up an hour earlier to study, but my cutoff was 12 and I still got good grades. You will be less grumpy if you are getting enough sleep and that might solve a lot of your problem with your parents, they are just looking out for you. You will come to a point in your life where you will catch yourself saying, " my parents were right!" a lot.
  7. by   stargirl018
    Thanks everyone! I've been getting more sleep lately, but it's all still a matter of time management which is normal. It never was an issue of me cramming to the point where I would get such little sleep, but rather it would be the anxiety i would get. But yes, you're all right. I really don't have a say considering that they are the ones paying my tuition and keeping the roof above my head
  8. by   alanyse88
    Maybe you can explain to them the amount of stress you are going through and also apologize for making them feel that way even if it was not on purpose. hopefully they understand and things get better
  9. by   RedInScrubs
    I've realized that NO ONE understands nursing school except other nurses. And MAYBE their spouses or children who suffer through the program with them, but otherwise.. It's just a high-pressure cooker that only those who have suffered through completely understand.

    Though half of the stress you're feeling and annoyance towards them may be stemming from your lack of sleep and self-induced stress levels. Yes, it's a high-stakes program, and yes, there's a lot to lose. But you can't sacrifice sleep to make it, because that WILL catch up to you. Honestly, it sounds like it already has.

    Take care of yourself FIRST. You can't make people support you or agree with you. People will do what they want, interpret what they want, and generally, aren't obliged to help you or be exactly what you want. All you can do is mitigate what YOU'RE doing to help yourself mitigate the outside stresses. You have enough going on outside that is out of your control without adding your own that are within your control.
  10. by   TSgtRodrigues
    This of it this way, if you keep going and going and going putting yourself last, then you won't make it. You have to take care of yourself and that includes getting enough sleep. Maybe you not getting enough sleep is part of the reason you are so withdrawn as well.

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