Thinking of quitting with only 4 months to go because of clinical anxiety

  1. Has anyone been through this? I have "only" four months to go before graduation and I'm thinking (again) of quitting. My clinical anxieties have gotten so bad that my doc has doubled my meds and I feel like a zombie. Academic grades are excellent, clinical average about 92. But... I owe 6 clinical makeup days where I can only get a maximum of 85 on each day, and min. average of 85 is required to pass, so there's not much room for error here. The 6 clinical absences were a result of "meltdowns" where I was so freaked out over clinical that I couldn't go and was even then on the verge of quitting. Everyone says don't quit with only 4 months left, but to me it's 4 months of absolute hell, at least in my mind. Any input?
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    About Diane M

    Joined: Aug '04; Posts: 16; Likes: 1

    25 Comments

  3. by   marcialpn
    Quote from Diane M
    Has anyone been through this? I have "only" four months to go before graduation and I'm thinking (again) of quitting. My clinical anxieties have gotten so bad that my doc has doubled my meds and I feel like a zombie. Academic grades are excellent, clinical average about 92. But... I owe 6 clinical makeup days where I can only get a maximum of 85 on each day, and min. average of 85 is required to pass, so there's not much room for error here. The 6 clinical absences were a result of "meltdowns" where I was so freaked out over clinical that I couldn't go and was even then on the verge of quitting. Everyone says don't quit with only 4 months left, but to me it's 4 months of absolute hell, at least in my mind. Any input?

    I have been in your position to at least a certain extent. I had a lot of anxiety going through nursing school and especially clinicals. There is a lot of anxiety because it I think it needs to be to help us become better and conscious nurses. Do you know why you are anxious? First search that question and maybe that will help you decide. Do you feel that nursing is not for you? I am not sure how other nurses feel but I felt that way many times throughout my program. It was nip and tuck for me for a while, too. My advice is to hang in there; you have come so far. And you should applaude your self and give yourself a hugh pat on the back. Let me know if I can help with this further. Incidently I have been a nurse for almost 20 years!
    Good luck,
    Marcia
  4. by   denles
    I'm sorry to hear that you are going through this. I know of a few nurses who had this difficulty. Their passion for nursing kept them in the program, but I have to say...they quickly found that it followed them into the work field.

    I know of one out of about 4 that still is working as a nurse and like you said, is needing medication to get her through the shifts.

    I think that sometimes, what we want and what we can do is two different things.

    I mean no intention of discouragement, but please re-evaluate the situation and put yourself and your health at the top of the list. Maybe a less hands on career but still in health care is the answer. Have you considered Unit Management (HUC)?

    Just a thought.

    good luck..we are all praying for you.
  5. by   goddess66
    I've been right where you're at. My first practice med pour was accompanied by tears, and only my fellow students and the instructor were there. I too have four months to go, and I'm entering a maternity clinical this weekend. I'm scared, but EVERY nurse has to do something for the first time. If you are unsure about some of your skills, ask an instructor to allow you to practice in the lab. I had to draw up 2u of insulin recently, and I attemted to draw up only the 2u at first. My anxiety was through the roof! The patient was waiting, my instructor was watching, and I kept getting air bubbles! Later that week, I went to the lab and did the right way. We all make mistakes, That's to be expected. That's why we have the "5 rights" and an instructor watching every move, until we demonstrate proficiency. ASK FOR HELP! Show up at clinical even when you don't want to go. Explore why you are anxious. Maybe nursing isn't for you. Nursing isn't for everyone, and we often don't discover it until we're actually practicing in clinical. Only you can make that call. Best of luck to you.
    Quote from Diane M
    Has anyone been through this? I have "only" four months to go before graduation and I'm thinking (again) of quitting. My clinical anxieties have gotten so bad that my doc has doubled my meds and I feel like a zombie. Academic grades are excellent, clinical average about 92. But... I owe 6 clinical makeup days where I can only get a maximum of 85 on each day, and min. average of 85 is required to pass, so there's not much room for error here. The 6 clinical absences were a result of "meltdowns" where I was so freaked out over clinical that I couldn't go and was even then on the verge of quitting. Everyone says don't quit with only 4 months left, but to me it's 4 months of absolute hell, at least in my mind. Any input?
  6. by   LPNer
    Quote from marcialpn
    I have been in your position to at least a certain extent. I had a lot of anxiety going through nursing school and especially clinicals. There is a lot of anxiety because it I think it needs to be to help us become better and conscious nurses. Do you know why you are anxious? First search that question and maybe that will help you decide. Do you feel that nursing is not for you? I am not sure how other nurses feel but I felt that way many times throughout my program. It was nip and tuck for me for a while, too. My advice is to hang in there; you have come so far. And you should applaude your self and give yourself a hugh pat on the back. Let me know if I can help with this further. Incidently I have been a nurse for almost 20 years!
    Good luck,
    Marcia
    I know it is so easy for us to say, calm down, hang in there, etc etc etc.
    BUT! Do hang in there, you know the material needed to apply to clinicals.

    You need to sit down and make a list of why you are freaking out so bad. Is it, fear of making an error? fear of not being good enough? fear of interacting with strangers? whatever, you need to make that list and then think of ways to deal with each stressor.
    Everybody makes errors, but if you are knowledgeable (your grades are good, you are knowledgeable) and you think through what you are doing, your errors will be few and minor. Like putting ice in the pitcher when they prefer room temp H2O. An error yes, but oh so unimportant.
    Don't worry about the possibility of not being good enough, we all have those feeling once in a while and we always find out we were more than good enough. If we weren't we wouldn't be there! You are going to be a great nurse if you want to. And, I believe you want to because you have managed to get this far with this much stress.
    Trouble interacting with strangers, just remember, pts need you and will quickly accept you as their guide and assistant through their time of need. You are the knowledgeable one, they need you. Just be kind to them and do not judge them, they will be very thankful you are there.

    Whatever you find on your list, most of us can give you at least a zilliion examples of why you should not be stressed over it. Give it a try, you might just find out you belong in nursing!
  7. by   hoolahan
    You have gotten great advice above. I can't add to that.

    What I would suggest is that, if the above measures don't work, see if you can get a Leave of Absence from the program for a few months. In that time, work as an aide in the hospital. You will gain a lot of experience in just being in the environment, interacting with pt's, other nurses, docs, and you will absorb info by osmosis, but not have the clinical pressure. yes, you will have your own pressures as an aide, but not the same level of fear as nurses I think.

    If, by working as an aide, you are still feeling very nervous, and hate the experience, you can save yourself the additional grief.

    Good luck to you. Let us know how it works out.
  8. by   truern
    Diane, whatever you do don't dig yourself into a deeper hole by missing even more days. Maybe it's the knowledge of knowing how many you already have to make up that's making you so nervous.
  9. by   Diane M
    Do you know why you are anxious? First search that question and maybe that will help you decide. Do you feel that nursing is not for you?
    Marcia[/QUOTE]

    Marcia, I think the reason I am so anxious is that I'm a perfectionist. I was top notch in my 28-year career as a legal assistant to a trial lawyer, very detail oriented and saved my boss's butt many times. I hate feeling so incompetent now. I really come down hard on myself and am not forgiving of myself at all. My biggest problem is time management. It's just my style - I go slow until I feel really comfortable with what I'm doing, but this program isn't going to wait for me to speed up, as we all know. My CI is constantly breathing down my neck.

    As to whether nursing is for me or not? I LOVE working with the patients, they're my favorite part of it all. That's not where the anxiety comes from. However, the anxiety from clinicals has made me question whether I could work in a hospital setting and I now feel maybe I would be calmer working in a doc's office ...... BUT THAT'S NOT WHY I WANTED TO BE A NURSE! My goal was to do in-home Hospice nursing, but I'm told they usually want you to have at least a year of hospital experience before you can do that. If I'm going to settle for a doc's office where I basically do height, weight, temp and BP, I might as well go back to my old career and fulfull my need to help others by doing volunteer work where I can spend as much time as I like at the patient's bedside.

    Sorry for rambling. Thanks so much for your input.
  10. by   Diane M
    [QUOTE=denles]I'm sorry to hear that you are going through this. I know of a few nurses who had this difficulty. Their passion for nursing kept them in the program, but I have to say...they quickly found that it followed them into the work field.

    I know of one out of about 4 that still is working as a nurse and like you said, is needing medication to get her through the shifts.

    I think that sometimes, what we want and what we can do is two different things.

    I mean no intention of discouragement, but please re-evaluate the situation and put yourself and your health at the top of the list. Maybe a less hands on career but still in health care is the answer. Have you considered Unit Management (HUC)?


    Denles, I have re-evaluated my situation until it's coming out of my ears, nose and every other orifice. As much as I love working with the patients, I do have fears as you suggested about this "following me" into the work field after graduation. As I replied to Marcia, I've even thought that those fears following me would compel me to settle for working in a doc's office rather than pursuing my goal of in-home Hospice nursing. (Please don't anyone take offense to that. It's not that there's anything wrong with working in a doc's office and I don't mean to belittle anyone who does that - that's just not the reason I wanted to be a nurse).

    And you're so right about putting my health first. I have a great family and every other aspect of my life is wonderful, but this anxiety is casting a big shadow over me right now and I'm just so beaten down and tired of it. I keep asking myself why I'm putting myself through this and having to take all these meds.

    I think the only thing that keeps me going is that I've come so far it would be a shame to throw it all away now. Just get the piece of paper and take the boards and THEN decide what to do with it. Many people have told me that it's different after graduation. However, like you said, sometimes what we want and what we can do is two different things. I'm just not sure if I can tough out the next four months and get to the point where I can give this profession a try without a clinical instructor breathing down my neck.

    Thanks for your concern. Every bit of input helps - it gives me something more to chew on!
  11. by   Diane M
    Quote from truesn
    Diane, whatever you do don't dig yourself into a deeper hole by missing even more days. Maybe it's the knowledge of knowing how many you already have to make up that's making you so nervous.
    This is true. I can't miss ANY more time or I'll be moved to the part time program and it'll take me another year or more to finish. I keep thinking what if I get sick or what if my car won't start, etc. etc. etc. Anxiety is such an amazing, destructive thing - it just keeps feeding on itself and getting bigger and bigger as I feel that my self-esteem is getting smaller and smaller.

    Thanks for your reply. This site is a big help.
  12. by   Diane M
    Quote from goddess66
    I've been right where you're at. My first practice med pour was accompanied by tears, and only my fellow students and the instructor were there. I had to draw up 2u of insulin recently, and I attemted to draw up only the 2u at first. My anxiety was through the roof! The patient was waiting, my instructor was watching, and I kept getting air bubbles! That's why we have the "5 rights" and an instructor watching every move, until we demonstrate proficiency. .... Nursing isn't for everyone, and we often don't discover it until we're actually practicing in clinical. Only you can make that call. Best of luck to you.
    Goddess66, I think the biggist part is the clinicial instructor breathing down my neck. I know he/she has to be there, but I can't help feeling that I would function so much better if I could just be turned loose, or if I could shaddow an experienced nurse for a shift to see how she manages her time. I've requested that, but of course, it just isn't done. Thanks for your reply!
  13. by   Diane M
    Quote from LPNer
    I know it is so easy for us to say, calm down, hang in there, etc etc etc.
    BUT! Do hang in there, you know the material needed to apply to clinicals.

    You need to sit down and make a list of why you are freaking out so bad. Is it, fear of making an error? fear of not being good enough? fear of interacting with strangers? whatever, you need to make that list and then think of ways to deal with each stressor.
    Everybody makes errors, but if you are knowledgeable (your grades are good, you are knowledgeable) and you think through what you are doing, your errors will be few and minor. Like putting ice in the pitcher when they prefer room temp H2O. An error yes, but oh so unimportant.
    Don't worry about the possibility of not being good enough, we all have those feeling once in a while and we always find out we were more than good enough. If we weren't we wouldn't be there! You are going to be a great nurse if you want to. And, I believe you want to because you have managed to get this far with this much stress.
    Trouble interacting with strangers, just remember, pts need you and will quickly accept you as their guide and assistant through their time of need. You are the knowledgeable one, they need you. Just be kind to them and do not judge them, they will be very thankful you are there.

    Whatever you find on your list, most of us can give you at least a zilliion examples of why you should not be stressed over it. Give it a try, you might just find out you belong in nursing!
    I have thought about what freaks me out. I think the biggest part is the clinical instructor grading me like I'm a 10 year old elementary school child, when I'm a 50-year old woman who was very competent in her former career. I'm a perfectionist and really beat myself up when I feel that I don't perform well. Yes, it makes me so frustrated that my academic grades are so good and my critical thinking is really good too - it's just applying it in a timely manner that gets me.

    I have no problem interacting with the patients. They don't frighten me - I love them! That's what's so frustrating. If I could overcome this anxiety, I think I would be a good, caring nurse. I sometimes wonder if my time would be better spent as a volunteer, then I could sit all day at the patients' bedside and hold their hands and be an ear to listen to them. Some of the patients need that just as much, if not more, than the nursing care, don't you think?
  14. by   Diane M
    Quote from hoolahan
    You have gotten great advice above. I can't add to that.

    What I would suggest is that, if the above measures don't work, see if you can get a Leave of Absence from the program for a few months. In that time, work as an aide in the hospital. You will gain a lot of experience in just being in the environment, interacting with pt's, other nurses, docs, and you will absorb info by osmosis, but not have the clinical pressure. yes, you will have your own pressures as an aide, but not the same level of fear as nurses I think.

    If, by working as an aide, you are still feeling very nervous, and hate the experience, you can save yourself the additional grief.

    Good luck to you. Let us know how it works out.
    Hoolahan - actually, one of my classmates suggested the same thing. I don't know if all LPN programs do this, but in ours, you get your CNA license in the second month of the program as part of the course. (I call it my $8500 CNA license :chuckle ). She suggested that I take a leave and do CNA work to get a rhythm and a routine going with my hands-on patient care to help with my time management problem. I thought about it, but the thought of having God knows how many patients assigned to me as a CNA is equally frightening! It is something I will consider, though. Thanks!

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