4 weeks...(venting)

  1. Hello all,

    I usually don't post often, but I guess for some reason I felt compelled to do so just to let some of my frustration out. I am currently in week 4 of my first semester of nursing school and I hate to say but I'm starting to feel like maybe nursing isn't for me. I've tried to stay positive in my outlook and remind myself to stay determined.

    I just really want to know if anyone else has experienced the up and down feelings while going to school. Some days I feel confident in my knowledge of procedures and how to take care of the patient, then others I feel like screaming "What in the world am I doing?!?"

    Our lab requires us to do 23 bp's before doing a checkoff of our skills with our instructor. I did my 23 felt confident in what I did was right and when I perform my check off I find that I was off by 10, some of the procedure I did wrong. For one, 2/3rds of the class wasn't doing the two step method and secondly how do we know if we are doing it right when performing it on other students who do not have the experience either?? Being the first one in there for check offs of course I was embaressed all to hell because you have to take a fellow student in with you for the assessment. So by the end of the day everyone knew I screwed up and what I screwed up on. Doesn't help with the self-esteem much when that happens.

    We are allowed 3 chances for check offs and if we cannot do it we are out of the program. I already have one strike against me, so I have two more chances to get it right. What is mostly nerve wracking to me right now is the what if's. What if I can't do it and I'm wrong again for the next two times at check offs. I have just wasted 4 yrs of schooling to be kicked out because I'm not within +/- 4mm of the bp. I have practiced so much on my husband over the past week that his poor arms are sore.

    Just some days when I leave school I just feel so dumb, hence why I'm posting this. I just had to get this off my chest and hopefully it will help me to just move on.

    Thanks for letting me vent.
  2. Visit lilshamrock profile page

    About lilshamrock

    Joined: Oct '02; Posts: 44
    Full time Mom and Student

    9 Comments

  3. by   sanctuary
    Learning how to take a B/P is the hardest skill in nursing. Think about it. It tales an integration of auditory input, visual input and manual dexterity. It should be a second semester skill, because it takes hours of practice to get it right. Then when you do, you will go to work for someplace with an automatic machine that does it all for you. Be patient with yourself. Use a large soda bottle (1 Liter) to practice the technique on. Then... practice on both arms of any vict..- er, subject, and borrow neighbors as well. Pump up quickly, and release slooowly, while listening for the beats. When you hear the first one, make a mental note of where it was, If you are not sure, stop deflating and re-pump just a tad higher, and listen again. Be sure to let all the air out betweern each trial. Once you get it, your brain will put it in a special B/P storage, where you will never forget it as long as you live.
  4. by   RGN1
    Don't be so hard on yourself, you're only 4 weeks in! Make sure you can palpate where the brachial pulse is after you've put the cuff on so that you can put your stethosacope exactly where it needs to be then follow all the good advice above.

    You can also feel the radial pulse to tell you when you've inflated the cuff enough because you will no longer feel it when you're high enough.

    Once you've got it you really will never forget it!
  5. by   BeccaznRN
    I agree. BP seems to get a lot of students....in fact, toward the end of my first semester a classmate ended up getting completely thrown out of the nursing program because she spent the whole semester not taking a BP but charting values anyway (our program didn't have a check-off for vitals). I guess she figured it was easier than either admitting she couldn't take one or spending a lot of time practicing the skill.

    Also, I remember all too well feeling that way in my first semester. I was so overwhelmed with everything that I really felt like "What in the world am I doing? and "Do I really even want to be a nurse?" I think it happens to a lot of nursing students, and from talking to my classmates it seems like most agree that there was some point in the program they felt that way as well. And I'm sure if you ask around at school, you'll find that you are in good company.

    Hope this helps you a bit. Best of luck and keep practicing.....you'll get it. Promise!
  6. by   Daytonite
    actually, lilshamrock, i understand your feelings and your frustration, but i'm seeing something a little differently than you. i think your fellow students are going to be looking up to you for these reasons. first of all, you had the courage to be the first to step forward to be tested. i'm sure you're not going to hear people saying you were stupid to do that. they're more likely admiring you for your determination, so don't sell yourself short. sounds like you have "potential leader" written all over you. secondly, you learned a valuable lesson. you can be doing a procedure wrong and not know it. so, early on with subsequent procedures, grab an instructor and ask them to evaluate you informally as you go through a procedure and tell you if you are doing it correctly.

    now, here's my story about failing procedure check-offs and feeling bummed and ready to quit before starting. my story starts when i was already an rn for 8 years--8 years, kiddo! to get into the bsn program at the university i was applying to, you had to "earn" the lower division nursing credits by passing a competency exam that the university nursing professors had put together. there were two components: a written test (no problem there) and a test of 4 clinical skills. i flew through the skills we were asked to demonstrate until i got to the simplest one of all: turning and repositioning a patient in the bed. as i was doing it, i was thinking, "this is easy", since i worked on a stepdown unit where we had comatose patients we turned and repositioned all the time. i was failed! i was devastated! talk about a nose-dive in self-esteem! i wanted to quit right then and there. i was told that i would be given only one more chance to do just that particular skill and pass it and the date for the next testing. embarrassed? to say the least! after a lot of crying and anger i decided to at least give the re-test a try to say i did all i could to get into this bsn program. when i got to the retesting, it turned out there were what turned into 2/3rds of what was to become my class who had also been failed at the same skill! the problem, and i've written about it before on the forums, was the professor who had been grading us. she was, and still is because she's now tenured in, a real headache for the nursing department and a screwball, a wing nut. anyway, there was a different professor grading us, we all passed, went on to our bsn classes and graduated. happy ending.

    the point: school is stressful. some instructors are jerks and shouldn't be instructors. you just have to endure them to get to your goal. do damage control as best you can to stay afloat. you only have to put up with them for a couple of years and then you'll never see them again--a small price to pay for a satisfying career. don't give up now. if you do, you'll miss all the good stuff that you've been waiting for.
  7. by   lilshamrock
    Thank you all so much for posting! Normally I'm not the type to let something get me down, usually I just try harder and get it right the next time. I went and asked another instructor to help me and see if I could check her bp while she listened also on the teaching steth. Come to find out I did it perfectly, wasn't 100% on the dot but was only 2 off! That totally boosted my self-esteem. I am just taking it one day at a time and reminding myself of what you all posted. Right now I'm doing what Day suggested and doing dmg control and moving on.

    Thanks again everyone for posting
  8. by   CoolKell10
    Hey...I'm also a first semester nursing student so I know EXACTLY how you feel. Yeah it's awkward trying to take a BP...but just keep practicing and I'm sure you'll get the hang of it. Be confident! You will get it I promise, keep up the good work. G'luck in school
  9. by   NeoNurseTX
    I'm in my last semester and I still have days where I come home crying. There seems to be an abudance of clinical instructors who are there to tear you down and do anything but support you.. so today I decided to go part time. If you're overloaded, it's okay to slow it down - your mental health is more important than graduating on time.
  10. by   lilshamrock
    I wish going part time was a choice at my school but unfortunately its not or I would diffinately be doing that. That would make things so much easier balancing real life and school.

    Things are going much better and I'm trying to stay positive. I sat down one day and just cried it out of my system. I have clinical check offs this week I guess that will be the true test. I found someone who's bp is strong and easy to hear and I have asked him to do check offs with me so that should help tons. I have been doing great in the class room with exams and such but for some reason I'm very scared about lab. Thankfully I have to go to a different teacher for check offs. I don't know why that one particular lab professor seems so intimidating...she really is a nice person.
  11. by   lilshamrock
    WOOT I finally did it! Was 100% on the dot with my BP reading and did great with my other check offs.

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