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Nursing school has pushed me to the edge. Anyone else?

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by misskayy misskayy (Member) Member

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I have to get this off my chest, but it doesn't seem like a common problem with nursing students. I grew up with strict parents who instilled good habits and values in me. I always listened to my authoritative figures, did things on time, followed the rules, got high grades, was very competitive, and was basically a perfectionist. Then nursing school came along... that was a shocker. Their expectations are so unrealistic that I have just given up on trying to be a good student. I do have time for myself, but not enough. My mental health is suffering. I feel like I'm treated like a child by my clinical instructors and the school in general. I've hit my breaking point. My grades are mediocre now. I've been late to clinical so many times. I skip lecture if I can. I do the bare minimum, but enough to pass. My clinical instructors annoy me with their "advice" which are usually just insults. I feel so bad saying this, but it is what it is.

The way nursing programs are set up is a shame, in my opinion. I think they purposely make them chaotic to prepare us for the real world and make us better nurses, but it's had the opposite effect on me. Anyone else?

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120 Posts; 1,564 Profile Views

I had some similar experiences/feelings in nursing school. School hired an adjunct instructor from hell for clinical that I wound up having for 2 clinicals. The absolute worst. Grown women (nursing students) crying, her threatening to fail all of us, she did try to fail me for a minor infraction. Nursing director told her that wasn't gonna happen.

I'm a type A over achiever and I was beat down but it came to pass. My best advice, don't take it personal, keep your head down and nose clean, fly under the radar and don't stand out for the wrong reasons. Stop being late and skipping lectures. Don't give them a reason to fail you. Study like crazy because it's for your own good. Get the good grades that you're capable of. Don't try to psycoanalize the nursing school experience, just go thru it as a means to an end. Before you know it, it will be a memory.

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8 minutes ago, Wlaurie said:

I had some similar experiences/feelings in nursing school. School hired an adjunct instructor from hell for clinical that I wound up having for 2 clinicals. The absolute worst. Grown women (nursing students) crying, her threatening to fail all of us, she did try to fail me for a minor infraction. Nursing director told her that wasn't gonna happen.

I'm a type A over achiever and I was beat down but it came to pass. My best advice, don't take it personal, keep your head down and nose clean, fly under the radar and don't stand out for the wrong reasons. Stop being late and skipping lectures. Don't give them a reason to fail you. Study like crazy because it's for your own good. Get the good grades that you're capable of. Don't try to psycoanalize the nursing school experience, just go thru it as a means to an end. Before you know it, it will be a memory.

Did you go back to being a type A over achiever after it was all done? And how quickly did it happen?

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120 Posts; 1,564 Profile Views

I am what I am, always been a type A, still am. I wasn't the best clinical student but I was a very good test taker student and worked hard. I think I earned some respect for that from some of the instructors for that reason. Like the example when the clinical instructor wanted to fail me the nursing director knew I was a serious student trying my hardest. 

I was shamed by the previously mentioned hell instructor, told I couldn't cut it. Ignored by her at times because she told us in group that she didn't have time for some of us that were deemed not good enough and she would therefore be spending her time with the "good students". But that didn't stop me from trying and learning. If there was a chance to be able to do a procedure my hand would always go up. I'm stubborn enough not to let other people like that define me as a nurse or as a person.

 

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1 hour ago, misskayy said:

 I feel like I'm treated like a child by my clinical instructors and the school in general. I've hit my breaking point. My grades are mediocre now. I've been late to clinical so many times. I skip lecture if I can. I do the bare minimum, but enough to pass. My clinical instructors annoy me with their "advice" which are usually just insults. I feel so bad saying this, but it is what it is.

 

If you have been late to clinical "so many times," skip classes, and ignore the advice of your clinical instructors, yet are still passing, I don't know what you are complaining about.

Perhaps you are being treated like a child because you are acting like one. Your behavior sure sounds like teen aged rebellion to me.

In most programs, doing the things you have admitted to would have gotten you thrown out of the program early on. Count yourself lucky, but don't count on continued tolerance of your behavior. If you graduate and get a job, you may be working with supervisors/preceptors who will not put up with tardiness, absenteeism, and ignoring their clinical advice. 

Maybe some introspection is in order? This can't be all the fault of others.

 

Edited by Horseshoe

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ThatChickOmi has 0 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Med/Surg.

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I'm kinda on the same page Horseshoe is on.

 

Nursing school can be tough no doubt, it can be harder for some than for others. But you keep saying you do the bare minimum, you're consistently late to clinical, you skip lecture, and you're acting surprised that you're being treated in ways you don't like? In my program, I think anything more than 2-3 tardies will get you clinical probation or whatever. I don't know exactly what they call it. But it's not good. Some students have problems adjusting. Some students need to leave their egos at the door as well. I had a clinical instructor second semester and I had a feeling she did not like me. But I just went with it. In life you realize you're not gonna be liked by everybody and that is fine. I passed. I'm fine now. Don't have to deal with her again.

Edited by ThatChickOmi

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ruby_jane has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU/community health/school nursing.

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It is true that nursing school is a beat down, even for those of us who are "good students." Because friend, at this point you're likely in the room with some of the BEST students and not every student is coming in first. I learned three months in that I did not have to make an A in everything.

It is also true that you are not accepting the criticism coming your way. Whether it's valid or not - in nursing school you need to accept constructive criticism humbly and without reacting. 

Nursing school is not the rest of your life, but if you are removed from the program for being late and skipping lecture (or worse, not passing), that's pretty much your life. Does the program have a counselor you can talk with? 

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kbrn2002 has 25 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Geriatrics.

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If there is somebody you can talk to please do. Even a very trusted friend or family member you can vent to is better than keeping those feelings bottled up.  Because it is obvious affecting your schooling negatively.

Now for the tough love part.  Skipping lectures and showing up late for clinical can and very likely will cause you to be failed if it continues. The mediocre grades I am not as concerned about as long as you are maintaining a passing grade but be careful to not let them slide much more.  School is a relatively short period of time when you look at it in the context of the time you will be putting into your career.  

One last reality check for you. Yes, school is hard with high expectations. It should be if you are going to graduate with the minimum skill set required to work as a nurse.  The first year or even two of work for a new nurse can be brutal so the stress you are feeling now might not be less  when you do graduate, pass the NCLEX and start working.  So if you are going to succeed, and you can please talk to somebody to help you through it.

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direw0lf has <1 years experience as a BSN.

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Listen in the nursing real world after you graduate, you need to be FLEXIBLE. There's gonna be a ton of crap flying at you at once, and you need to adapt fast and think on your feet and get used to things not always going the way your type A wants, nor are you going to like how your managers, coworkers, and patients treat you all the time.

I'm not trying to be cruel or insulting here, I feel like I am definitely a perfectionist who wants things ordered and in MY organized way or how I think is organized. When I see those meme's about ICU vs ED nurses, I'm like "yep I'm that ICU one" with the cords all perfectly coiled and untangled, and the ED nurse's cords a tangled ball 😆

I also got offended at first when one of my preceptors would tell me the most basic things, and I felt like maybe she thought I was dumb and had never had an A in my life. (that's not how they feel, btw).

I'm a new nurse. But I have learned, how I wanted things to go, really can't go that way. I had this whole plan of how my day would go with my assessments, meds, and charting. I was wrong!

I'm telling you all this because I want to help you! YES u can change. You can learn not to react with anger at people you think are treating you like a baby, as you wrote. You can control whether you skip class or show up on time, for the most part. This is your choice, and in nursing real world, it does not get different, it gets more intense. Up to you whether you want this or not. But don't put blame on your upbringing - YOU control your life's direction now, not your parents or teachers. Rise to the occasion.

Edited by direw0lf

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llg has 42 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

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My experience as a student many decades ago was a "beat down," as they say.   I just didn't fit into the culture -- especially with my junior year clinical instructor. (Yes, I had the same clinical instructor for my whole junior year! -- and she decided after 3 weeks that I just wasn't cut out to be a nurse.   That was the worst school year of my life.)

Anyway ... I survived.  I hated it: it wasn't pretty, etc.   But I got through it and went on to be a very good staff nurse and charge nurse after graduation.  I was hesitant to go back to school because I had such a terrible undergrad experience -- but I turned out to be a terrific grad student (x2).   I was made to be a grad student.  I "ruled" the grad school world.   And in the end, I have had a successful career.

So if a nursing career is what you want -- keep your head down and survive.   Get psychological help if you need it.   Then move on with your life.

 

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pedi_nurse has 5 years experience and specializes in CPN.

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I too had a clinical instructor who tried to fail me for little reason. Nursing school was one of the hardest times in my life and it's now one of the things I am most proud of. And it's not the work, really; it's the culture and the doubt that others cast upon you that you start to absorb. Nursing school is rough and needs revision, but it's what we have right now and if you want to be a nurse, it's what you got to do.

I'd encourage you to look at nursing school as what it is - practice for actual nursing, which affects the lives of real people. The grades don't matter so long as you are passing. What matters is whether or not you are learning. Find a little bit of time for yourself, for sure, but you should also be learning for your patients. To quite literally save their lives. Not for grades or for being a perfectionist.

Nursing school is awful, but it can help you develop your ability to handle nursing in the "real world." We don't get to work at Utopia General, and there are a TON of little, tedious things that seem ridiculous and might very well be. Staffing is rough, patients can be rude and abusive, the hours are long, sleep is often minimal, and your coworkers could potentially not be so great to work with. Learning how to put your best foot forward (attitude wise) and to promote a change in culture while you are in school is only going to help you do so as a nurse. And it's needed. There is so much more growth to be done within the profession of nursing.

So definitely feel frustrated and acknowledge that nursing school is trying to tear you down. But don't let it. If you want it, keep pushing. Not for anyone's sake except your own and your patients. 

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If you are a sensitive person (empath) you will percieve things stronger than most and you will have to learn how to protect yourself from feeling over-whelmed by all of the emotions you will encounter from people working in the nursing field. You will have to be able to handle the patients emotions as well. 

Edited by Workitinurfava

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