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Is nursing right for me?


Well, here I am in my second semester of nursing school. It's a 3 year program for accepted transfer students with prerequisites completed. I am taking Med/Surg 1 (Acute Health) this semester. My first semester (Fundamentals) flew by. I did well in lecture by my grades and in clinical based on my evaluation from my clinical instructor, but deep down I don't feel I did as well as I wanted to. My simulation lab was probably the most dreadful. I was always so shy and timid and never wanted to participate. We were recorded during the simulation, and it was played back for us to review and reflect on the performance. In clinical, I was soft-spoken and afraid to interact with my patients. I always felt extremely awkward and with every motion I was trying to do things perfect but looking an absolute mess. My CI assured me I was doing well and to just relax as it was Fundamentals. As I stated, here I am enrolled in Med/Surg 1 and suffering in silence in a way. My anxiety is starting to go through the roof and I am dreading each school day. I don't feel confident in things I am doing, or the content I am learning. It's like I am so stressed with school and the anxiety I am dealing with makes it so hard for me to focus and concentrate on anything else. It's just like a constant brain fog and almost depressed state that I am so desperately wanting to get out of. (Personal experiences have also contributed to this but NS has made it more difficult). Sometimes it takes me so long to do an assignment because I just can't focus. Then I realize how much time I've wasted and how little time I have for other assignments. The amount of work including 10 papers, care plans, concept maps, presentations, and a hell of a lot more that is required this semester is daunting knowing how poor my time-management skills are. I enjoy helping and taking care of others, but the way I feel is making me second guess my career path. I would love to be a great nurse one day and I feel I worked so hard and waited so long to get here. Then again, I feel like my shyness, anxiety, and poor skills is going to ruin this opportunity I have. Critical thinking is such an important factor in nursing and sometimes I cant even do that. All of these feelings are making me less motivated and feeling like giving up NS. Is this the wrong field for me?

I also have added pressure as I feel people are really counting on me in my family. I am the first one in my immediate family to be on the path to obtain a degree. I don't want to let anyone down. Then there is my partner. He is the most supportive person in my life I could have ever asked for. He helps me with purchasing school supplies, and he even pays some of my bills so I can work minimal hours to focus on school. At times, he leaves himself with absolutely nothing just to make sure I am taken care of. We talked about me changing my career path and he says I need to do what is best for me. He said I will be a quitter though and I am making excuses like I usually do. He is putting his career goals on hold while I go to school to help me, so when I graduate our roles can switch.

I know nursing isnt for everyone, but I wish I could make it work for me. I have my interest in wound-care or perioperative nursing. I don't see myself as a typical floor nurse, and prefer working in something more of a specialized, specific field. I can't make it there if I do not make it through nursing school. I feel so lost at this point. I see everyone else in my class extremely confident in patient interaction and content. Then, I ask myself if nursing is truly where I want to be? Can I get over the fears I am having and my personal conflicts within myself?

The only other career that I have an interest in is pathology assisting which was my 1st career choice. It's unrealistic for me at this point being that a BS is required for application, GRE exam is required, and there are only about 10 schools in the country offering this program. I am unable to get up and move halfway across the country at this point in my life. Might I add employment opportunities may be limited.

On a better note, I found out my school offers personal/mental health counseling that addresses stress, anxiety, problem-solving skills, career advancement, etc. I scheduled an appointment for next week. Ugh. I'm just mentally exhausted. Any advice/direction is appreciated. 😓😥😢

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

This is why med/surg I is sometimes called "med/purge". The content and workload get more complicated and heavy, fast. If you make it through, med/surg II and critical care might seem less strenuous, by comparison. Not because they are, but because you've fallen into a routine and are building on concepts that have already been introduced to you.

I was very glad to read at the end of your post that you are going to seek some counselling from your school. Because when you do make such a big decision re: if nursing is the career for you, I hope that it wouldn't be made in the peak of all the anxiety and pressure you are feeling. At the end of the day you are the only one who can decide if nursing is for you. Nursing is definitely a hard job and it isn't for everyone. Try to make your decision based off of whether deep down you think you can do this job, and really you might not even be able to answer this question until you are actually practicing because real nursing is much different than school. My advice would be to not let the pressure you feel from your family be the deciding factor, because they are not the ones who have to get through school and then work in this profession. It sounds like you have a very supportive partner who will be there for you no matter what you decide to do.

Lastly, I just wanted to say that I had a friend in school who struggled with sim lab. Our instructor literally told her she needed to go see which of her credits she could transfer to another degree because she wouldn't make it through nursing school. Although this was very devastating feedback for her, she carried on and finished nursing school. She has had a very successful career since, working in her specialty of choice. Like you, she was also very soft spoken and a bit awkward with the sim patients. I think sim lab can be quite difficult for people like this because in addition to interacting with strangers and trying to make small talk you've got someone watching and critiquing you.

Davey Do

Specializes in Psych, CD, HH, Admin, LTC, OR, ER, Med Surge. Has 41 years experience.

After reading your other thread, I must say that I admire you for your soul-searching and problem-solving processes, MSTLUV!