Nursing School

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I am a sophomore nursing student, and I have wanted to be a nurse all of high school. I am doing well in all of my classes and enjoy them. We started clinical a couple of months ago though, and I am horrible at it. I get so nervous I can't even talk in a patient's room and forget everything I had learned. I prepare for hours for clinical and practice with my roommates. My clinical instructor probably thinks I do not prepare for them at all. I am not sure I am cut out to be a nurse after all, I am quiet and it seems to be having a huge effect on my ability to be around patients. Can anyone give me words of advice? I felt like a complete failure after our last clinical.


Specializes in PP, Pediatrics, Home Health.

Honestly I have the same problem as you!I got so nervous around patients or I would forget everything.Be patient with yourself.Take deep breaths and if you have to write stuff down on cue cards to help.It is what I did.Every time I forgot something or needed help remembering steps I would pull my cards out of my scrub pockets and get the information that way.Don't be afraid to let patients know that you are a student and still learning.I did and my patients appreciated it.Also don't be afraid to afraid to ask for help from class mates.I think that you will be a wonderful nurse.Don't let this discourage you!


Have you discussed this with your clinical instructor. I remember my first injection. I was scared witless. She told the patient to excuse us a minute and we went out to the hall. I said "Miss P. I can't do this." She said "You can and I will be right there helping you."

I held the syringe and she put her hand just on top of mine gently while I gave the shot. That was all it took, her having confidence in my ability. It sure took all I had in me to tell her how scared I was. From then on and to this day I thank Miss P. (silently) if I have something new or difficult to do.

It's OK to be nervous. It is NOT OK to quit without doing your best.

Specializes in Pediatrics.

You'll get over it. I was the same way my first semester in nursing school. Each new procedure or task you complete will boost your confidence. I started volunteering to do all the procedures, like if a nurse told the teacher they had a fowley to put in i'd ask to do it. The more things you do, the more confidence you will have in yourself and that will show when caring for your patients! Hang in there, it gets better!! Good Luck

Working with patients comfortably is just as much of a learning experience as the actual class work part. To some it comes naturally, but others may have to learn it through lots of practice (and building your own confidence in your abilities). Give yourself a break, you're just a student and this is your time to make mistakes and learn, and no one expects you to be perfect. Keep in mind too, that others may be struggling with classwork but excel at clinicals. So you're not alone, maybe just in an inverse situation. All I can tell you is that if nursing (or anything for that matter) is your passion and it makes you happy, you shouldn't let anything stop you! Good luck ;)

Specializes in Neuro/NSGY, critical care, med/stroke/tele.

I don't have much to add that hasn't already been said BUT I think it's this phase of questioning yourself & feeling this initial pressure that is going to make you an even stronger nurse when you come out the other side. :-) You understand the responsibility that comes with caring for someone, you don't take take your position/knowledge/skills for granted and you are dedicated to improving and growing. These are definitely great qualities to have.

I wouldn't worry about being "quiet" or what your instructor is thinking. I'm sure they have enough experience to know that people have different levels of nerves when first starting out practically, and that it's not a reflection of their actual ability -- and also that the quiet ones are usually the ones taking everything in!! With time/exposure/experience, the nerves will calm. I get the same way sometimes, and don't feel like I can contribute because what if I say the wrong thing/people don't think I have the knowledge to know what I'm talking about... you just have to remind yourself that you have been through the exact same process as everyone else, you DO know what you're talking about, and your voice/contribution is just as valid & valuable!

Hang in there, keep us posted & good luck!! We're all rooting for you!

Specializes in Med Surg/ Rehabilitation.

I would definately discuss it with your clinical instructor. They are you best friends and are there to help you. I know what has really helped me compared to last semester is that my clinical instructor now makes us discuss with her outside of the patients room the skill we are about to perform. I get extremely nervous as well, but for me this has helped so much. She makes us tell her step by step what we are about to do and will address anything that's needed. I did my first foley a couple weeks ago and I wasn't near as nervous as I thought I was going to be and I think it is b/c I was able to work out all the kinks with my instructor before even going into the patients room.

Just a suggestion. You may see that you can relax a lot more. Good Luck

Wow Thanks for posting this I think I may encouter this a bit and reading the encouragement everyone is giving you is very helpful. I get nervous when people are watching me at times and even in lab I get nervous when my classmates are watching me practice procedures or I have to speak in front of everyone. And I dont know where this is coming from because I am usually very confident, outspoken and talk freely but maybe because I havent gotten my rhythm down it is taking me off my game. Good luck.

Specializes in cardiac, ICU, education.
I am not sure I am cut out to be a nurse after all, I am quiet and it seems to be having a huge effect on my ability to be around patients

Don't loose hope because you are quite. You sound like you would be a fabulous hospice nurse or another specialty were patience, reflective thinking, and a soothing personality is key for patient care.

I am an instructor and my first words of wisdom would be to talk to your own instructor. Since they know you better, he or she should have some helpful words of advice. When I get a real quiet student, I like to pair them up with another nurse to shadow so they can get comfortable in the patient rooms first. Usually when you shadow, you don't have to talk at first. After you get your barrings, then you can converse more. Do not give up because you are quiet. You probably will learn a lot more than your fellow student who doesn't know when to stop talking.

Specializes in Rehab, LTC.

I used to get really nervous in patient rooms. I felt like I didn't know what to say to them or something. I got a PRN nurses aide position and it has made all of that nervousness go away.

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