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I feel dumb as a rock in comparison to my classmates

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by Nursing_1011 Nursing_1011 (New) New Student

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I don’t feel like I deserve to be a nurse. I’m a third semester student and I barely know how to hang and set up an IV. Like literally I don’t even know how to start the machine...that’s how bad it is. I absolutely loveee helping people and there’s nothing that makes me more happy in life than to help individuals in need. With that being said though, I just feel so incompetent. Honestly, half of the time when my classmates are talking about the Pathophysiology of diseases, or nursing interventions/priorities.....I don’t even know what they’re talking about half of the time. I just listen in awe as to how intelligent they are. But then reflect back on how little I know about the SAME subject that realistically all of us should know about. 
 

I'm struggling. Hard core. Every bone in my body knows that nursing is the only career out there for me that would make me happy. Yet, every bone in my body also thinks that I’m not intelligent enough to be a nurse. It’s terrible. It’s like having the loveee and passionnn of wanting to do what’s good...yet not having a brain to back you up on it. I just feel so lost & all I want to do is cry. I just feel so dumb. & I also don’t like how faculty may potentially only judge you based on how you’re doing IN nursing school......honestly, things like Med surg don’t even interest me in the slightest bit. Yet I feel like professors judge you just bc they’ve seen how you are on a Med surg floor for example......in the end of the day, my heart is in aesthetics or women’s health. 
 

does anyone have any success stories of HATING nursing school & feeling like a complete failure while you’re going through it.....yet are totally crushing it career wise?! 
 

is how I’m feeling normal? I just feel so lost. 

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BSNbeDONE has 34 years experience as a ASN, BSN, LPN, RN and specializes in Med/Surg, LTACH, LTC, Home Health.

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What exactly do you expect faculty to judge you on? Your passion won't press the button on an AED, or open the crash cart to life-saving drugs. And FYI, generally the on/off button on equipment is identified as such and/or marked with the same or similar icon as what's on your laptop or computer. People's lives are at stake and in a crisis, hand-holding just won't do..,.unless you're outside in the waiting room with the family. Would you want your or your family member's surgeon not having the ability to identify a scapel? Or your doctor not knowing what a stethoscope is? You need to get it together, future nurse, or find another career before you waste more time and money. 

Now that the tough love is over, nursing has changed and evolved a great deal over the years, and is definitely not for everyone. If you think the faculty is being tough on you, wait until your patients get their hands on you. It was not my chosen career and I've hated more days in the field than I've enjoyed. But I view it as a job and not as a passion. It seems to me that what you want faculty to judge you on (what's in your heart) can be accomplished by your becoming a CNA (certified nursing assistant) and leaving it at that. 

Question for you, at the end of your school/clinical day, do you collect your things and go home like everybody else? Or do you request to revisit the simulation lab so that you can 'play around' with the IV pumps and other equipment that you KNOW you need to become more familiar with? There's ways to accomplish your goals and "crush it" (as you young folks say) in nursing school and as a nurse. You just require more effort than your classmates, and it could very well be that this is just not your time to become a nurse. Only you can address these issues and change your path, whether it's success of failure.

To answer your question, yes, I'm successful as a nurse (rich, heck no! But successful, yes). Do I hate nursing? No, but I have a very strong dislike for it...always have. But it is a path that was decided for me before I was aware that I could make my own decisions; and now, (for the past 34 years), it's all I know. If I wasn't such a creature of habit, I would have left the field a very long time ago. It just so happens, though, that this field allows me to eat and pay my bills regularly, and splurge on more than I should sometimes.

I hope this helps...

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Practice makes perfect. Nearly anyone can learn to do something if they put effective study time in and practice, practice, practice. Your confidence issues may be the biggest thing holding you back. 
 

make a list of skills you feel incompetent in schedule extra time to practice these things, watch videos, use a skills lab, whatever it takes. Knock the list out.

 

make a list of topics you feel incompetent in. Start watching Youtube videos about them, etc. whatever resource. Write down any words you don’t understand. Make flash cards for those words.

 

eventually, your cumulative knowledge and determination will have you outperforming the people you thought were smarter.

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blueskiesandsunshine.prn specializes in BSN student.

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13 hours ago, Nursing_1011 said:

I also don’t like how faculty may potentially only judge you based on how you’re doing IN nursing school......honestly, things like Med surg don’t even interest me in the slightest bit.

Unfortunately, your performance is all they have to judge you on. This is like saying how high schools shouldn't judge students based on how they're doing in high school...nursing school is a series of benchmarks. It is there to teach you how to critically think. I am going through nursing school at well ATM, and I know it isn't easy. Though being caring and empathetic are qualities of a great nurse--those don't exclusively prepare you for the actual profession nor are they even 10% of what the nurse's role is.

I know you say Med-Surg doesn't interest you, but I hate to tell you that few new grads go into aesthetics or women's health right off the bat. For that, go to beauty school or become a doula. 

Plus, Med-Surg and Fundamentals form most of the comprehensive knowledge base you will need to possess to be a nurse and pass the NCLEX (according to my professors).  

Nursing requires many important theoretical skills and technical skills that not everyone can grasp. Only YOU know if you can handle being a nurse. This is a decision I myself have had to face in the past. I know that although not everything comes natural to me, I work 100x harder than my peers and make it out just as strong. 

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2 Followers; 875 Posts; 5,698 Profile Views

How did you get to the third semester and not know the basics? Why don't you know them? Why are you doing anything hands on and know nothing about it? Why haven't you studied? What do you mean med surg doesn't interest you when it's the necessary foundation of nursing? Why don't you know patho and interventions when they're necessary in every aspect of nursing? Why are you in nursing?

I can't wrap my head around any of your logic of knowing nursing is for you but not bothering to take the time to learn the core principles of nursing. If you're three semesters in, don't know the basics, and don't care to know them then nursing isn't for you. I'm not even trying to be condescending, I'm literally concerned this isn't the career field for you.

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You have made it this far.  Either your program sucks or you are doing well enough to avoid failing out.  Since you are still there - maybe you should look at this from a different perspective.

1.  Have you been taught to spike/hang an IV bag?  Have you been taught to program a pump?  While I was taught to spike and hang a bag, I was never taught about how often to change tubing or how to actually program the pump.  I learned these things when I became a tech.  I recommend you work part time as a tech also.  Its a great way to do those skills that you aren't getting to do in nursing school (not all of them - but some, and if you land a nurse intern job - even better because then you will be doing all those things with a nurse).

2. How interactive have your clinicals been?  Have you had good preceptors or did they even know what you were doing?  What skills have you been able to practice in lab or in a clinical setting?

3.  Nursing school is not "nursing".  In school you learn knowledge, in clinicals, in lab and in the real world you learn nursing.  Our labs were not nearly involved enough.  Knowing the steps to changing a trach is certainly different than doing it on a human and foleys too.  Saying I did that in lab and doing it for the first time on a human isn't remotely the same.

4.  Its OK if you don't like med-surg, but chances are you may have to do it unless you land in another spot.  One of my friends just graduated and will be an OR nurse.  

5.  Lastly - don't be so negative.  Not everyone is great in school.  Obviously you did something right to make it in - you have to be somewhat intelligent.  Its OK to be scared that this is all new and different.  You can't compare yourself to anyone else.  Just be you.  When the time comes you will be the only one to walk into that room and sit for the NCLEX.  You made it into school, you haven't failed out, so keep going.  You will find your place.  If this is what you want - then stop defeating yourself.  I have 1000 reasons for why I couldn't go to nursing school and zero of them stopped me.  I finished and so can you.  The rest will work itself out.

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nurse_00100110 has 5 years experience as a ADN, BSN.

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 Nursing_1011, 

You are more than enough. Stay Strong.

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by Rac New Student

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You are in the third semester. That means you already passed all the requirements. 

I think you might have too high expectations for yourself and underestimate yourself. Don't be in low spirits. You may not know the patho and interventions that your colleagues were talking about.  However, they may not know what you already know. 

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Forever Curls has 1 years experience and specializes in Nursing Student.

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11 minutes ago, Rac said:

You are in the third semester. That means you already passed all the requirements. 

I think you might have too high expectations for yourself and underestimate yourself. Don't be in low spirits. You may not know the patho and interventions that your colleagues were talking about.  However, they may not know what you already know. 

This. You've made it this far, give yourself some credit!

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On 5/23/2020 at 8:16 AM, Nursing_1011 said:

I don’t feel like I deserve to be a nurse. I’m a third semester student and I barely know how to hang and set up an IV. Like literally I don’t even know how to start the machine...that’s how bad it is. I absolutely loveee helping people and there’s nothing that makes me more happy in life than to help individuals in need. With that being said though, I just feel so incompetent. Honestly, half of the time when my classmates are talking about the Pathophysiology of diseases, or nursing interventions/priorities.....I don’t even know what they’re talking about half of the time. I just listen in awe as to how intelligent they are. But then reflect back on how little I know about the SAME subject that realistically all of us should know about. 
 

I'm struggling. Hard core. Every bone in my body knows that nursing is the only career out there for me that would make me happy. Yet, every bone in my body also thinks that I’m not intelligent enough to be a nurse. It’s terrible. It’s like having the loveee and passionnn of wanting to do what’s good...yet not having a brain to back you up on it. I just feel so lost & all I want to do is cry. I just feel so dumb. & I also don’t like how faculty may potentially only judge you based on how you’re doing IN nursing school......honestly, things like Med surg don’t even interest me in the slightest bit. Yet I feel like professors judge you just bc they’ve seen how you are on a Med surg floor for example......in the end of the day, my heart is in aesthetics or women’s health. 
 

does anyone have any success stories of HATING nursing school & feeling like a complete failure while you’re going through it.....yet are totally crushing it career wise?! 
 

is how I’m feeling normal? I just feel so lost. 

Secret tip....every floor of nursing, facility, or school you work in requires some form of nursing! I hated mother/baby but did it enough to pass and move to my emergency med surge and peds another area I didn't like to graduate! No nurse is smarter or better than you unless you put your mind set in that way! Make friends with those other nurses and ask about studying tips! Ask to start a study group! Make a FB private group for your class! Get everyone involved! 1st step is got to you instructors and go over what you missed on your tests, they will only engage you if you come to them first! 

Take me for instance when I was failing Peds, I went directly to my instructor and asked what was my problem and not doing good on my first 2 tests she literally told me I was 2nd guessing my self on my exams and stick to my first answers, after that I gained about and avg of 6 points better on my test from 73 to 79~. Made an 92 on my comprehensive final and needed and 76 to pass the class!

Graduated in 2017 and became a Staff nurse on Physical Rehab, In FEB of 2018 I was offered a PCC (Patient Care Coordinator, just below nurse manager) position and declined it because I didn't think I could lead a staff of Therapists with Masters and Doctorates as well as nurses with way more experience than me and I refused! Again in April they asked did I want the position and I refused! Late in May they asked again and by this time the other nurses talked me into doing it, especially since I was an Tech Sgt in the Air Force, they said it couldn't be any harder than that, so I accepted the position! Be in that position since then getting nice raises every year and have a high morale on my floor because I work with an awesome staff!

I have had nurses in my class with near perfect or perfect GPA's who couldn't cut it on an Acute floor and Facility, so they are in MD's offices or schools where they dont have to take on a huge role. I know a few C's get degrees nurses who have moved to PICU/ICU/ER trauma 1 hospitals and are killing it on the floor! Its how you apply your self and willingness to learn! 

I never hated nursing, I just built upon my failure in school! If you ever saw my HS transcripts you'd probably laugh at me! I never focused in school and just concentrated on sports and just got by without any effort at first until my 9th grade World History teacher pull me aside and knew I could do better than that! She said I had intelligence and was doing better than her gifted students and persuaded me to take up technologies gifted class and I did. It was probably the best life changing thing a person has ever done for me! Love you Mrs. Gaskins where ever you are!

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On 5/23/2020 at 8:16 AM, Nursing_1011 said:

Like literally I don’t even know how to start the machine...that’s how bad it is.

I'm a COMPTIA A+ Certified IT Technician, I got certified in 2008, that just graduated nursing school.  So it's safe to say that I'm kind of a computer expert, and minimally qualified to get licensed as a nurse... I can't start an IV pump without someone telling me what buttons to press to get to where I put in the volume rate and time and then the button to make it start.

If I'm struggling with a piece of computerized equipment while being qualified to diagnose and fix that piece of equipment, you have nothing to feel about about if you're having trouble using the machine.  As an expert in computers, the pumps tend to have an AWFUL interface that desperately could be more efficient and standardized across different companies.

Edited by TheDudeWithTheBigDog

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534 Posts; 2,380 Profile Views

And if you got this far, you understand more than you're giving yourself credit for.  Here's what helped me.  Stop looking at the diseases from the perspective of a doctor.  You're learning to be a nurse.  Your expertise is symptoms and risks and getting rid of them.  So much of what you have to know is just basic concepts you learned in your fundamentals class.  Just look at how they all connect.  As long as you understand the primary problem of a disease, then it's just looking at the avalanche of other problems that would come from it.

LONG (incomplete) EXAMPLE OF WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT

Take pneumonia as an example.  You have fluid in your lungs where there should be air so that O2 and CO2 can be exchanged.  So, when every breath you take exchanges less O2 and CO2, how is your body going to compensate for that?  More breaths, right?  But your diaphram is a muscle so what's going to happen when that gets tired from working harder?  Then now that you're breathing less and already exchanging less gas with each breath, what's that going to do to your labs and vitals?  So, what very basic things do you do to help them breathe easier, and maximize the amount of oxygen that actually makes it to their lungs?  What kind of things are you going to see from someone who is having trouble breathing?  Is your brain going to want you completely alert and able to compose a symphony or is it going to be like "you go to sleep and stop wasting our energy that we need oxygen to create on thinking about about stupid stuff?"

Then you're getting less O2 in your blood so it's not making it to your organs, so if each beat is getting less than enough oxygen to your organs, what's your heart going to do to make sure that oxygen gets to your organs?

Then all these organs that blood is going to, some of them interact with your blood, right? Like the kidneys for example.  So now all of these things are getting extra blood to get the same amount of oxygen, so are there any labs for those organs that reflect that?

Then all of this takes energy.  So your body is going to conserve it where it's not needed to make sure the stuff you need to be alive is working.  So is your digestive system REALLY needed in the short term?  You go hours without eating.  Some people go days for their religion.  So what hormones are going to slow your digestive system and cause you to give more energy to your more immediate vital systems?  Sounds like your fight or flight response, right?  So you're in survival mode, your body doesn't know the difference between conserving energy because of pneumonia and someone having a gun pointed to you on the street.  So in that survival mode, what would you expect to see on yourself being in that life or death situation? And then all this extra energy has to come from somewhere.  Chemical reactions, remember?  What's the one common waste product in ALL catabolic reactions?  If you forget it starts with "h" and rhymes with eat.  So with extra heat being produced by your body, which way is your temperature going to go?

Now, you're using all this extra energy to fight this virus and compensate for the infection it caused in your lungs, you're not going to be giving much energy towards getting up and walking around.  So what very basic risks does everyone on bedrest have?  And what very basic things do you do to stop them?

Then all of these problems and compensations, they all have their own risks.  Every complication can get worse.  So what complications can come from fluid in your lungs?  There's 2 very specific ones.  One you can prevent, and the other you can't but have to know to watch for (you might not have learned about this one yet).  What complications can come from your tachycardia and possible hypertension?  What risks come with being running so heavily on your sympathetic nervous system?

Every system in your body is related.  But because of learning to look at everything as that kind of disaster that comes from catching a cold, school got insanely easy to me.  Now it's just simple: You lost too much blood?  This is going to happen to compensate.  Then you're going to get tired and this is going to happen.  If there's not enough blood, what are we going to do to temporarily fix it until we can permanently fix it (and how)?  Everything about hypovolemic shock is summarized into 3 simple concepts.  How does not having enough blood volume cascade into eventually a complete disaster that kills you?  What's your body going to do to try to prevent it?  How would you fix it?  All the rest is your fundamentals class.  You can apply this to almost anything. The hardest part is identifying the disease and what it primarily affects, and knowing that paradoximal symptoms that kind of go against the normal chain of how this problem is trying to kill you.  And remember that typically, after a medical diagnosis, the goal is to cause the opposite of the symptom, and avoid making the symptom worse.  Sometimes that can be tricky where a symptom can look like something less serious and fixing it can cause damage.  But that's why the idea is always assess, then communicate.  If diarrhea is coming with absent bowel sounds, it's a little obvious that something is wrong there, that needs a doctor to diagnose before you try to treat it with the PRN anti-diarrheal medicine that's ordered, right?

Long post, but hopefully it helps you look at every disease as how it affects your entire body, and makes you way more confident in being able to understand the diseases.  It's really a lot of basic stuff, but it's presented in a very overcomplicated way.

Edited by TheDudeWithTheBigDog

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