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Not sure if nursing is for me

I'm a freshman at a 4 year college, and a nursing major. Before going to school, I was absolutely set on being a nurse. I just "knew" that's what I wanted to do. Ever since coming (and more importantly, ever since starting A&P), I've been questioning my decision. Most of it is that I hate A&P, primarily because my professor is awful and doesn't teach. I'm not doing well in the course at all, I never want to go, and honestly, even if I do pass, I have basically no desire to take A&P II because although I used to find the subject interesting, I no longer do.

I was stupid to be so sure because I never had any experience in the field. Over the summer, I had plans to be a CNA so that I would be able to have a better grasp on nursing and whether or not I would like it. It didn't work out though because the nursing home that was offering the class had changed it from 2 weeks full time to 6 weeks part time, and by the time it would be over, it would be almost time for me to go to school.

Now I'm not so sure. In fact, I'm not at all sure. I question whether I could make it through nursing school, or heck, even just A&P, whether I would like being a nurse, and whether I made the right decision or not. I'm getting worried even more now because I have to register for my Spring courses soon, and A&P is obviously a big one, and a necessary one if I still want to do nursing.

At this point, I don't even know what to think, or what to do, and could use some guidance.


QuarterLife88, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Neuroscience.

I'm just guessing, but it seems like maybe the professor you have now, really soured your confidence - I've been there. This is my second time in a chemistry class (and I'm finally getting an A!), but when I took it with a different instructor I was getting an F! In the same material. He was not for me, and I too questioned that if I couldn't even make it through level 1 chemistry, could I even be a nurse? I cried over it. I figured there was no way I could the harder classes either. Now I'm retaking it, along with A&P 1 and doing just great, but I had to shop around for my teachers.

So my advice to you, (and you may not like it) is to take A&P 1 again in the Winter semester. You can go for a better instructor (look them up on ratemyprofessor.com) and succeed this time, and hopefully your passion for nursing will return. One poor teacher can REALLY mess you up. Don't let them. Good luck, I really hope it works out for you.:up:

My school doesn't have a winter session...and the only reason I have the prof I do is that the prof that regularly teaches the freshmen (and is really good) is on sabbatical this semester. What's even worse is that if I have to retake A&P I next semester, the likelihood that I'll have the same prof as I do now is extremely high.


Specializes in Long term care; med-surg; critical care.

It's such a big decision to make as a freshman in college or high school senior- what you want to be for the rest of your life. You're right to question it, but no one can come up with answers for you. Maybe you consider switching to a general studies program and get the prerequisite graduation courses out of the way. Give yourself some time to see what other areas of interest you might have. See if you can volunteer, at college or back at home, in a care setting that will give you a better taste of what nursing's really like. Even just 4 hours a week, which may seem difficult to find, could really help you in making that decision. Just remember, the decisions you're making now aren't set in stone. I've been working for ten years after earning both a bachelor's and master's degree. To start over again towards my nursing degree was a tough decision, especially balancing it will full time employment and a family. But, things work out if you put in the work. Good luck making your decisions. And I'm sorry that A&P has really done in your confidence and enjoyment- maybe you can wait until next year to repeat them when the good professor comes back?

If I switch out, then if I'm accepted to the nursing program again, I'll be on a waiting list...

If I fail A&P I and want to continue nursing, then I would either have to retake it next semester, or take both I and II over the summer. Next semester there's my current prof teaching, and a mediocre prof teaching A&P I. The good prof is teaching A&P II. Waiting until next year would put me behind an entire year because the real nursing starts in the fall of your second year, and, it wouldn't be for sure that I could get the good prof either...so that's not really an option.

I've looked into volunteering around here, but there aren't really any opportunities that would help me decide about nursing because they're pretty much all reception and food service and the like.


Specializes in Interested in hospice.

I wouldn't let your school experiences sour you against nursing. I am not a nurse yet, but I think working as a nurse is probably quite different than being in school. Over the course of your career, you spend a far smaller amount of time in school than you do working.

Is the problem that you can't master the material, or that the teacher is not right for you? If it's the former, then do think about whether or not you want to continue, because it's only going to get harder.

If it's the latter, then I would look at this philosophically. Learning to be a nurse isn't only about the academics and clinicals. It's also about building the psychological toughness to hold your own and power through difficult interpersonal situations. See what you can learn about yourself from this teacher. I'm not saying having a bad teacher is your fault, by any means. I'm just suggesting that valuable lessons can be learned here that will serve you well if, for example, you are placed in a difficult unit on your first job but want to stick it out to get that golden year.

Just a thought. Good luck to you!

One1, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency, Pre-Op, PACU, OR.

I second the volunteering suggestion. Have you inquired volunteering in a hospital? I volunteered in a hospital for a while and saw many young students volunteer among medical staff rather than in food service or retail. Talk to the volunteer coordinators about why you want to volunteer (that you would like to find out if nursing is right for you). You could also try to get your CNA certificate when the course is offered next. Have you looked to see if a local community college offers CNA courses? Even if you might not get much time to actually work as a CNA before classes start, the course itself should give you some insight and experience. Don't let one bad teacher spoil your enthusiasm for nursing, but it sounds like some closer "real life" experience might help you find out if your heart is really in healthcare. Good luck!

A&P lays some groundwork, but it's nothing like your real nursing classes will be. It's just something to get through. I doesn't tell you a thing about whether or not you're suited to nursing or still want to do it. If this is the only experience that's soured you on nursing, I think you can completely discount it.

The problem is the professor. She doesn't teach. She told us on the first day of class that she wasn't going to and that we would have to learn it on our own.

As I said before, I tried to be a CNA, but it didn't work out, and my next opportunity isn't until the summer. As for volunteering, I've looked into that, and all that's available are things like reception and food service.

A&P is my only experience, and that's why it's a problem. I hate A&P. Even if I do pass A&P I, there's still A&P II, and I honestly have zero desire to take that...but it's kind of hard to be a nurse without doing so.

I agree with a previous poster...on the mental toughness part. If the teacher won't teach you, then you're going to have to "outsmart" her and learn it on your own. And when it comes time to do your teacher evaluations (if your school doesn't, then you need to be talking to an advisor) speak up about her...usually it's anonymous. Practical suggestions: Check and see if others in your class have formed a study group, call around campus and see if there is tutoring available. Even if you just buddy up with one other person in your class who wants to get through this too...band together! If the teacher's that bad, there have to be other's feeling the same way you do! Someone on the board has a pinned topic with links to her A&P notes - see if that helps. Ask for help around here. PM me! You're not alone!

As to whether nursing is for you or not...don't let this be your deciding factor. Some colleges (if not yours, maybe others in the area) offer programs to shadow a nurse for a few hours. Keep checking for volunteer openings...be specific about why you are asking and check back, things change.

Good luck to you...and really, I'm not sure either (finishing my pre-reqs to apply) but it feels like a higher calling and I really want to help and make a difference in people's lives. I'm 46 and have lost track of how many "careers" I've had. Maybe ask yourself (and write them down) what are the reasons you had your heart set on being a nurse in the first place. Might come in handy later!


I've decided that I'm going to do my best to pass the class this semester, and take A&P II. However, it probably won't be at my school next semester, it'll probably be somewhere else over the summer because next semester, I'm only allowed to take A&P II with my current professor, and that is something I am absolutely not willing to do. My mom is going to try to get around that and make them let me take A&P II with the good professor, but she told me that if she can't, she understands my not being willing to take another class with my current prof, and she'll help me figure out where I can take the class over the summer, even though that means I'll have to go stay with extended family for the duration because none of the 4 colleges in the area around my house offer an equivalent course.

Something you may want to look into...my college (as I'm sure many others do) offers on-line classes that you can take from anywhere. (http://www.spcollege.edu is their website) For example, the A & P 2 lecture & lab that I'm taking is totally on-line...quizzes, exams, everything. We have many students from all over the country in this class. I just prefer on-line due to my schedule-I live 7 miles from the campus. Even if it required proctored exams, that is something that can be done from afar as well. Just make sure your college will accept these credits. You may pay more for it in out-of-state tuition, but it'll be worth it in the end.

Good luck!

PS - I don't recommend my professor but I know who I should have taken, so ask around or check them out at Ratemyprofessor.com.

At my school, the nursing students have no choice as to who they get. This is why I need to do something different.

My school doesn't do online courses, so that's not an option.

I realize that taking a class over the summer will cost an arm and a leg, but it's better than dealing with my current professor again. My mom said that she's more than willing to do it as long as I give A&P I my best shot which includes repeating it in the spring if necessary.


Specializes in Long term care; med-surg; critical care.

Just be sure that you can take only one part of the A&P series elsewhere. The college that I took them at only gives transfer credit if both courses were taken there.

Just be sure that you can take only one part of the A&P series elsewhere. The college that I took them at only gives transfer credit if both courses were taken there.

People often take A&P elsewhere because the fail the first semester and have to repeat it the second semester making them have no choice but to take A&P II during the summer. Sometimes people even do both I and II over the summer at a college other than mine. All I need to do is find an equivalent course at another college and ask for approval to take it and get the transfer credit.


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