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I feel like nursing school didn't prepare me for work

Posted

Has 1 years experience.

Hello, I am new here to allnurses. I wanted to express my frustrations. I am a new grad LPN. I just started working in a speciality clinic a week ago, and I am really feeling like all nursing school did was prepare me to take the NCLEX. There is so much that I feel like I dont know or forgot or only have a vague understanding of. Its sad and its making me question my decision to become a nurse.

Has anybody else felt like this? Am I over reacting?

YES I got my license 5 years ago and I felt like I learned 95% of my skills and knowledge on the job. I felt like nursing school prepared me for taking NCLEX, but not for working as an LVN. It took me probably 1 1/2 years and 2 jobs as a med nurse until I felt like I was proficient as an LVN. The sad thing is I felt like I had to make so many mistakes, and that is how I truly learned how to do things. Good luck girl, hang in there, you're not alone! :)

loriangel14, RN

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

That's exactly what prepares you for. Passing the NCLEX. No amount of school could teach you everything. Nursing is a lifelong learning process. Hang in there and once you have a couple of years under your belt you will feel better. You can always go back and review or do some independent study on areas that relate to your job.

Gem1984

Has 1 years experience.

That's exactly what prepares you for. Passing the NCLEX. No amount of school could teach you everything. Nursing is a lifelong learning process. Hang in there and once you have a couple of years under your belt you will feel better. You can always go back and review or do some independent study on areas that relate to your job.

Thank you, I have definitely been studying, and I know it wouldn't completely prepare me, but I just feel really unprepared. I will try to stay positive so I can make it over this hump and make it a couple of years like you said.

Thanks again.

Completely normal to feel that way. Nursing school teaches you about 10 percent of what you need to know to be a competent nurse. The other 90 percent you learn on the job.

LadyFree28, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma. Has 10 years experience.

You can always go back and review or do some independent study on areas that relate to your job.

Agree.

Most of my professional post-licensure career was filled with self-studying and learning on the job in order to create my nuri and practice-a lot of rookie mistakes were made, but I kept plugging away; I also take advantage of educational opportunities that come along.

loriangel14, RN

Specializes in Acute Care, Rehab, Palliative.

I once read nursing school just teaches you how to not kill someone.

I felt the same way! I learned how to pass the NCLEX & how to not kill someone in nursing school and I learned how to BE a nurse on the job. The stories and experiences that my teachers shared with our class was helpful as well. HANG IN THERE! You'll get it. I'll be employed as a nurse for 2 years this August and it does get better, the longer time goes on and you learn new things. Nursing IS a lifelong learning experience! :yes:

quiltynurse56, LPN, LVN

Specializes in LTC and Pediatrics. Has 3 years experience.

As you can see, we all have felt that way. During school, we are taught about things and in clinical, we are under the direction of a clinical instructor. It is when we get that job that shows us how much we didn't learn in school. It is a lifelong process. It takes time to feel more comfortable in our role.

I agree with the previous post. I've felt the same way. Took me 2 years bei fee I felt comfortable. Nursing school paints a black and white picture. Real life nursing is more grey. Mistakes are part of the process. I've made them, beat myself up over them, it you better believe I never made them again! Hang in there. It gets better.

Gem1984

Has 1 years experience.

Thank you all for your words of encouragement. I'm trying to stay positive, its just been really hard. I suppose if I could deal with the stress of nursing school and make it out, I can deal with this new grad time and make it through one to two years!!!

What we learned from school is very limited and most skills we acquiring actually learned from practice. Thus do not worry about the things you don't know and always keep curious about the unknowns.

chacha82, ADN, BSN

Has 3 years experience.

Many of us will feel this way. Every facility you work at has its own environment and set of rules. As you move on, take the best lessons with you that served you well. The rest you learn and adapt as you go.

One thing to remember (and I am no expert, have only been a nurse since June) is that school is school. WORK is not at all like school, and the test is definitely not like work. If you feel there is a disconnect, there is! You want to strive for the ivory tower nursing but reality sets in. School is not work but you CAN be a safe and prudent nurse even if you feel like it isn't like school. If school was like work no one would come back :D Take a breath, you passed your test, you will do fine. Ask for help and always be careful. Stick close to your mentor and in time you will get the "flow" of your clinic. Good luck!

amoLucia

Specializes in LTC.

I think what the biggest disconnect is that new nurses see those 'OTHER' older experienced nurses and all they see is the CONFIDENCE that experience delivers and is exhibited by those 'OTHER' nurses.

Then the newbie nurse sees him/herself (WITHOUT the experience) and just doesn't see that it's not an equal comparison. Newbies are NOT experienced, but the newbie just doesn't see it. YET!!! Only the disparity/difference. NOW!!! And boy, it's a MAJOR discouragement and HURT.

OP, I think this is where you are. Very hard NOT to measure yourself against the others you work with. Nursing is a career-long effort in ongoing learning. Some 40+ years since graduation, I'm still learning neat new things almost daily. (I love google!)

Hang in there! The worst thing is not knowing to know to know to know. You're halfway there - you DO know. Good luck!

djh123

Specializes in LTC, Rehab. Has 5 years experience.

Yes, yes, yes - I don't feel like nursing school only prepared me for the NCLEX, but a) I didn't learn 'everything' (which is nearly imposible, and especially in the timeframe of school), nor b) do I remember everything I did allegedly learn. :dead: But, what I do - and I'm sure every conscientious nurse does as well (probably more than me) - is to try to learn whatever I can at work, do at least some CE's that will help at work, and occasionally look up meds/side effects, procedures, diseases/conditions - whatever (and it happens often) makes me think 'now what was THAT again?'. I don't mean it to sound like I spend all of my time trying to improve my nursing skills - I don't, and I still don't know everything by any means, but doing the above a little at a time will slowly make you better & feel more competent.

Gem1984

Has 1 years experience.

I think what the biggest disconnect is that new nurses see those 'OTHER' older experienced nurses and all they see is the CONFIDENCE that experience delivers and is exhibited by those 'OTHER' nurses.

Then the newbie nurse sees him/herself (WITHOUT the experience) and just doesn't see that it's not an equal comparison. Newbies are NOT experienced, but the newbie just doesn't see it. YET!!! Only the disparity/difference. NOW!!! And boy, it's a MAJOR discouragement and HURT.

OP, I think this is where you are. Very hard NOT to measure yourself against the others you work with. Nursing is a career-long effort in ongoing learning. Some 40+ years since graduation, I'm still learning neat new things almost daily. (I love google!)

Hang in there! The worst thing is not knowing to know to know to know. You're halfway there - you DO know. Good luck!

Thank you for your words but I am definitely not there! I completely understand the difference between myself and an experienced nurse! I am just simply realizing that I didn't have enough clinical experience to feel even 80% confident, I feel like if I hadn't had years wearing many different hats (but predominately patient care related) in healthcare, I'd be completely drowning at work. I think its just the nursing school that I went to. I truly feel like you should be atleast 80% prepared for the job because the other 20% is of course dealing with the real world issues that nursing school cant teach you etc.

After reading the replys from people on here, it has allowed me to realize that I need not worry about what I cant control, and just do the best that I can and not harm anybody.

Thanks again for your response, despite the fact that it doesn't describe me!! 😊

SarahRN2013

Has 4 years experience.

Even with 2 years of experience, there are many skills at which I am not truly proficient and make me nervous if I have a patient requiring that skill. On my current unit (a cardiac progressive care unit), many of the nurses are nervous to manage PCAs or to care for post-op orthopedic patients with their various braces, but both of those skills sets were a daily experience in my previous job on an orthopedic med-surg unit so I help them out with those and they help me with skills that aren't second nature to me. Six months in on the CPCU and chest tubes no longer stress me out and PEG tube feedings are becoming less stressful. When I have a patient who requires a skill that I haven't used much (if at all) in the last 2 years, I just ask for help. I go home and read up, jot down applicable policy numbers (with "my" keywords and the weird ones the hospital actually used) and maybe even watch a couple videos to reinforce the skill that I "relearned". You'll get it. You just have to give yourself some time!!

NickiLaughs, ADN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Trauma, Critical Care. Has 12 years experience.

I had to bust out books and use google almost nightly the first year I was a nurse. There is extensive on the job learning after. It gets better :)