Need advice from experienced RN's...


hi everyone!! I am going back to school and majoring in Nursing (RN) and i cannot explain the happiness & joy i am feeling!! I literally jumped up & down when i found out i got accepted for a loan to go back to school. I want to be a pediatric nurse, but I do need a few pointers. First of all, one thing i am a little weary off, is handling death. Its going to be a struggle for me to leave my emotions at work and not let that effect my own family. So, does anyone have any tips they could give me on how to overcome that? I've worked in Accounting before and found that I got depressed because I felt I wasnt achieving anything or giving back to the community in any way. I want to make a difference in peoples lives. I am very ready to give nursing school my all and am more than willing to work hard to get there, but i also am a little scared of nursing school. I know I want to do this, but I keep second guessing myself wondering if I am making the right decision. Is this normal for nursing students to experience? If you have any other suggestions or advice for a newcomer to the nursing profession, feel free to let me know!!


Whispera, MSN, RN

3,458 Posts

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

I think it's normal to be scared, at least a bit, about something you want alot. Give yourself a hug and take it one day at a time!

Flare, ASN, BSN

5 Articles; 4,431 Posts

Specializes in school nursing, ortho, trauma.

It's totally normal to feel a bit anxious when you go from a career such as accounting into nursing. I'm not knocking accountants - but it's pretty rare that an accountant would save a life or be responsible for sensitive medical interventions in a day's work. You deal with fragile people who don't always survice their injuries or illnesses. In learning to handle death and your emotions - it just takes practice. It takes the mindset that some people - even children - are notgoing to survive. This doesn't stop us from doing everything that we can for them - we just have to know that sometimes it's out of our hands.

study hard, keep up your sense of humor (trust me, you'll need it) and never be afraid to ask for help. You have thousands of friends to turn to on this forum.

JB2007, ASN, RN

554 Posts

Specializes in LTC, Med-SURG,STICU. Has 5 years experience.

I work with the elderly, so I see people die often. The first couple of times was rough. Then I began to look at it as a blessing for many of my patients. As a nurse the best thing that I can do for a patient that is at the end of their life is keep them as comfortable as possible and allow them to have dignity. If I was able to do this for my patient I feel that I did my job to the best of my ability.

I feel that watching someone suffer needlessly is worse than death in many ways.

Jolie, BSN

6,375 Posts

Specializes in Maternal - Child Health. Has 37 years experience.

Your concerns about sadness and death are justified, but shouldn't overtake your excitement or enthusiasm. While human suffering is a part of our profession, it is not ever-present.

I don't believe it is possible to prepare yourself in any particular way, except to perhaps examine your beliefs about life, death, fulfillment, spirituality, religion, etc. When you find yourself in a situation of helping a patient and family to cope with death, you will have the support of co-workers and clergy who will guide you and serve as role models. You will develop your own communication skills with time.

Good luck on your journey!

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.


Congratulations on your acheivement - we're so glad you will be joining us. I can vividly remember the very first patient death I experienced - 40-ish man after an MVA. It hit me pretty hard, especially since I had to deal with his wife, children & other family afterward. But now, I really feel that 'bearing witness' to the important life events of others is the most rewarding aspect of nursing.

As a nurse, I am committed to provide care to the best of my ability, but I have to accept that the ultimate outcome is dependent on a higher power. Many times, I have seen "DNR" patients surprise everyone by coming back from the brink & relatively healthy people whose lives end unexpectedly.

I am not into organized religion of any sort, but I do consider myself a spiritual being. I have come to believe that the essential spirit of a person is enduring apart from the inescapable physical changes we all have to undergo. Once I recognized that, it became much easier to accept the end of physical life as natural termination of a continuum which begins with birth.I know that there are probably many wonderful nurses who ascribe to athiesm or agnosticism, but it's not for me. I 'know' that we are connected to a much higher power - that no matter how hard we try, we can't control everything.

Congrats on getting into school. Its a very rewarding career. Yes handling death is hard and can be scary. Its those times you turn to your coworkers and clergy. You don't really get used to it, and you do cry, I still remember my first pt death and the daughter was on her way here from colorado yet the family that picked her up from the airport didn't tell her that her father passed away earlier in the day they just brought her to the hospital. I remember her words "he died right when my plane touched down". Its very hard to deal with those things but it is ok to cry with your family, the pts family and coworkers. Its ok to talk about it. It is something you learn to deal with.

Specializes in Pediatric/Adolescent, Med-Surg.

I'm a peds nurse, and I'm not going to lie, it is hard when you have a child die. Different nurses deal with the death of a child in different ways. The more experienced nurses seem to be better as accepting death. As a newer nurse, when pts I have taken care of frequently end up passing, I often do feel sad or cry a bit, even though I know that it's often for the best.

Specializes in OB, NICU, Nursing Education (academic).

I'm a former Level III NICU nurse. When we (the nurses on the unit) lost a baby, we'd cry (oh, how we'd sometimes cry!), and we'd talk; we were each other's support. But there were so many good times, too. And we would remind ourselves and each other of the good that came from what we do...


2,170 Posts

Specializes in OB, HH, ADMIN, IC, ED, QI.

I had a student in a childbirth education class who came to another group's class to describe his experience being present during his baby's birth. He said, "after seeing my baby come from what looked like death into life, I can't imagine that going from life into death could be less beautiful. I fear death no longer".

I've never forgotten what he said, and share it with many people.

Nursing as a R.N. has so many pathways, some of which don't involve death - but having supported many patients on that journey, I wouldn't want to rule out a job just because death was a possible part of the work. You need to experience all that nursing involves, and you may surprise yourself. Be open to change and enjoy transitioning into the greatest mission there is. People have asked me why I didn't become a physician, and I say, "Because nursing is what I love. I get to really know people, support them in their hours of need, and be part of all life involves. I know of no greater calling." (That shuts them up!)

No amount of money would induce me to sit in an office, see patients each

for 1/4 hour (or less), hope that what I thought was their problem and the treatment I prescribed would work; and then go on to the next one. I really do think doctors receive more money, as they haven't the personal satisfaction from their work that we nurses get. Be very proud of your choice!

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