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Nursing student in need of some advice!!

Posted

Okay, I'm currently in my 1st semester of nursing school. Just started clinicals. And out of nowhere I got the feeling that nursing isn't for me. I'm giving a feel because my friends keep telling me I will pull through and find something I love in Nursing other than the traditional bedside nursing. But I find myself feeling anxious and nervous all the time! Dreading going to clinicals and constantly worrying about what will I do when I graduate? Am I over thinking this? Ive had so much time and money invested in Nursing that it's hard to just drop it all. Does anyone have any insight and advice? Please and thank you

Many people feel very, very nervous when they first start clinicals. The first year of your job will consist of a lot of learning as well. You're on the tip of that iceberg. If you genuinely don't like the work, that's one thing. But if you're considering quitting because you're afraid, then you'll never accomplish much of anything. Study, listen, ask questions, and do your very best. You're a student. You're not going to know everything--sometimes you're not going to know anything. Give yourself permission to say "I don't know, but I'll look that up". Give yourself permission to be a student.

RunBabyRN

Specializes in L&D, infusion, urology. Has 2 years experience.

What is it that makes you feel so suddenly like nursing isn't for you? Like SoldierNurse22 stated, many people get this anxiety in their first semester, but for a few, it's a genuine, "WOW, this is SO not what I want to do for my career." Now, be aware that one of the great things in nursing is that there are SOOOO many directions you can take (I'm a new grad, and I've applied to hundreds of RN jobs so far, including teaching phlebotomy, working as a part time school nurse, assisting a medically fragile girl to and from school, doing health fairs, and working in a community clinic, just to name a few non-bedside positions). Bedside nursing is the foundation of nursing, but that does NOT mean that one must spend any paid time doing it, if they have no desire to do so.

I have classmates that threw up or cried before clinicals every time. I think more people than not are anxious in clinicals, especially if they've never worked in patient care before. Nursing school and clinicals ARE scary! You're caring for real people, and it's overwhelming, especially at first! These are your opportunities to learn under the watchful eye of an instructor and a nurse. Ask, ask, ask, and watch, watch, watch. Remember that you have two eyes, two ears and one mouth for a reason- take it all in. Then you can learn to apply it outside the hospital setting.

Have you thought of non-bedside nursing positions that might interest you?

Bedside_Life RN

Specializes in Surgical Intensive Care. Has 3 years experience.

Okay, Iwant to first of all say Congratulations for getting accepted into your nursing program and I also want to share with you some information (lets even go so far to call it an assessment-remember we as Nurses are always assessing) of why nursing makes people feel the way you are feeling.

Probably the first and foremost rationale is related to the fact that you have been a student working towards your acceptance into a program, and now you are entering into a much more formal educational experience. In addition to this you are entering a Profession. Nursing is no longer considered a "job" like it has been in the past. It requires and enables you to make educated decisions based on information learned from evidence based research, use of the nursing process, patient specific care, etc. You are transitioning into the professional clinician that is "in charge" per say. To give you a better understanding of what I mean by this, I want you to think about what comes to mind when a CNA says to you, "the pt. in 111 says that they haven't been able to quit shaking since bedtime last night" or a family member asks you if her dad with altered mental status can have a drink that she brought from home? Or something as simple as a man requesting a shave because he has family coming to visit. I would imagine you would say something to the effect of "Let me ask my instructor" or "Let me ask the nurse". And I am sure by this point the nurses reading this are already geared up and in full speed of critical thinking lol. But in your case, just like all new nurses, these simple questions can be extremely scary.

Now, remove your instructor and/or the nurse caring for these patients, and place yourself IN CHARGE. You are the one with the answers now instead of the one asking "what do I do?".

The role you have now been placed in is the role of a Professional; the one expected to KNOW. This is where nursing is completely different than any other career. Most other careers require you to follow a set of instructions or directions (much like what was required of you in your pre-requisite classes), while nursing demands you to critically think.

I would imagine that it is because of the unknown and ever changing environment in nursing that causes students and new nurses to stress out. They are used to following exact guidelines, that have been spelled out for every situation. Nursing is not that type of career. The instructor or Nurse in charge of caring for these patients have not been given a secret book of solutions or keeping information from you. They are using the Nursing Process, in addition to H&P, Medications, recent procedures, and many other objective and subjective data to come to a decision, or plan.

This does not mean that the decision is always right though. You will see the results of wrong decisions when nurses stop thinking or get in a hurry. They have simply skipped the questioning attitude of practice and have not asked themselves "Why?".

With every decision you make, ask yourself "why?". Why is my patient here. why am I giving these medications. Why would some options be better than others. Why should I choose this treatment option? With everything you do in nursing ask yourself "why?" and even MORE IMPORTANTLY, have an answer. These are the questions doctors and family members are going to ask you on a daily basis and how an auditor will be thinking if you are ever audited.

If you are not the type that enjoys having to make judgement calls to acute changes numerous times a day. Then maybe you need to be in a more structured environment in nursing or another field with less daily variability.

Now that we have talked about the scary, lets discuss the good. I think you need to have a true answer to the question of what makes you want to be a nurse and what would your dream job be. This can tell you a lot about your current situation if you are honest with yourself. Also, remember that when you are in nursing school, they are exposing you to as many areas of nursing possible. This is to allow you to decide either "I really enjoyed that rotation" or "I would not work with pediatrics or hospice".

Going back to those answers that you eventually get to after your instructor has asked you "why" a hundred times, causing your critical thinking lightbulb to go off (isn't that a rewarding feeling), you have to consider clinical days to be the same as being trained for a new job. Although you are learning, you are basically in training for those days. With this you have unlimited time to ask questions, learn resources, and become confident in yourself. Don't be scared to share feelings or questions. Most nurses are type "A" personalities anyway and jump at the opportunity to share why their way of thinking is best. Also, share your opinions and thoughts with the Doctors, Nursing staff, Pharmacy, PT, and other care providers. This will open up the perception of you from others that "I am curious and motivated to learn".

In general, you will not often walk into work (as a nurse) and know, "This is exactly how my day will go". For the most part, it is not a low-stress environment (unless you are providing poor and unsafe care, in which case we do not need this type of person in nursing); it is demanding mentally and physically (when done correctly) but a true nurse finds that the rewards outweigh the stress by 10 fold. You can tell these nurses apart from "show" nurses because they will be the ones rushing with their hair falling down and on the phone with the MD verifying orders for a new patient while handing the CNA an enema bag for a patient that is not even theirs and has been requesting it for two days (b/c no one has followed up on it) while walking past the nurse with the starbucks coffee cup that says "Nurses Rock" who is leaving 20 minutes early because all of their documentation is done but rapid response has to be called 5 minutes later, WHY?, because she quit thinking!

So I guess my advice to you would be to commit to what you have started with this first semester. Finish it, and finish it knowing that you took care of your patients like they were family. Even if it is just for the fulfillment of knowing that you advocated for someone in need. And if at the end of the semester, after putting that much effort into nursing, you still find yourself feeling this way, step back (and going back to the Nursing Process) re-evaluate your progress and more importantly your happiness.

Becoming a nurse has been the most rewarding and humbling experience of my life. It has also, at times, been the most stressful and difficult experience. It is a lifestyle; to provide, be compassionate and to selflessly advocate for those in need because they are simply that, in need.

Idk if this helps with your decision but I wanted to weigh in on the real world of this profession. You have posted a very good topic, but I am not sure that anyone will be able to give you a concrete answer. Good Luck!

Okay, Iwant to first of all say Congratulations for getting accepted into your nursing program and I also want to share with you some information (lets even go so far to call it an assessment-remember we as Nurses are always assessing) of why nursing makes people feel the way you are feeling.

Probably the first and foremost rationale is related to the fact that you have been a student working towards your acceptance into a program, and now you are entering into a much more formal educational experience. In addition to this you are entering a Profession. Nursing is no longer considered a "job" like it has been in the past. It requires and enables you to make educated decisions based on information learned from evidence based research, use of the nursing process, patient specific care, etc. You are transitioning into the professional clinician that is "in charge" per say. To give you a better understanding of what I mean by this, I want you to think about what comes to mind when a CNA says to you, "the pt. in 111 says that they haven't been able to quit shaking since bedtime last night" or a family member asks you if her dad with altered mental status can have a drink that she brought from home? Or something as simple as a man requesting a shave because he has family coming to visit. I would imagine you would say something to the effect of "Let me ask my instructor" or "Let me ask the nurse". And I am sure by this point the nurses reading this are already geared up and in full speed of critical thinking lol. But in your case, just like all new nurses, these simple questions can be extremely scary.

Now, remove your instructor and/or the nurse caring for these patients, and place yourself IN CHARGE. You are the one with the answers now instead of the one asking "what do I do?".

The role you have now been placed in is the role of a Professional; the one expected to KNOW. This is where nursing is completely different than any other career. Most other careers require you to follow a set of instructions or directions (much like what was required of you in your pre-requisite classes), while nursing demands you to critically think.

I would imagine that it is because of the unknown and ever changing environment in nursing that causes students and new nurses to stress out. They are used to following exact guidelines, that have been spelled out for every situation. Nursing is not that type of career. The instructor or Nurse in charge of caring for these patients have not been given a secret book of solutions or keeping information from you. They are using the Nursing Process, in addition to H&P, Medications, recent procedures, and many other objective and subjective data to come to a decision, or plan.

This does not mean that the decision is always right though. You will see the results of wrong decisions when nurses stop thinking or get in a hurry. They have simply skipped the questioning attitude of practice and have not asked themselves "Why?".

With every decision you make, ask yourself "why?". Why is my patient here. why am I giving these medications. Why would some options be better than others. Why should I choose this treatment option? With everything you do in nursing ask yourself "why?" and even MORE IMPORTANTLY, have an answer. These are the questions doctors and family members are going to ask you on a daily basis and how an auditor will be thinking if you are ever audited.

If you are not the type that enjoys having to make judgement calls to acute changes numerous times a day. Then maybe you need to be in a more structured environment in nursing or another field with less daily variability.

Now that we have talked about the scary, lets discuss the good. I think you need to have a true answer to the question of what makes you want to be a nurse and what would your dream job be. This can tell you a lot about your current situation if you are honest with yourself. Also, remember that when you are in nursing school, they are exposing you to as many areas of nursing possible. This is to allow you to decide either "I really enjoyed that rotation" or "I would not work with pediatrics or hospice".

Going back to those answers that you eventually get to after your instructor has asked you "why" a hundred times, causing your critical thinking lightbulb to go off (isn't that a rewarding feeling), you have to consider clinical days to be the same as being trained for a new job. Although you are learning, you are basically in training for those days. With this you have unlimited time to ask questions, learn resources, and become confident in yourself. Don't be scared to share feelings or questions. Most nurses are type "A" personalities anyway and jump at the opportunity to share why their way of thinking is best. Also, share your opinions and thoughts with the Doctors, Nursing staff, Pharmacy, PT, and other care providers. This will open up the perception of you from others that "I am curious and motivated to learn".

In general, you will not often walk into work (as a nurse) and know, "This is exactly how my day will go". For the most part, it is not a low-stress environment (unless you are providing poor and unsafe care, in which case we do not need this type of person in nursing); it is demanding mentally and physically (when done correctly) but a true nurse finds that the rewards outweigh the stress by 10 fold. You can tell these nurses apart from "show" nurses because they will be the ones rushing with their hair falling down and on the phone with the MD verifying orders for a new patient while handing the CNA an enema bag for a patient that is not even theirs and has been requesting it for two days (b/c no one has followed up on it) while walking past the nurse with the starbucks coffee cup that says "Nurses Rock" who is leaving 20 minutes early because all of their documentation is done but rapid response has to be called 5 minutes later, WHY?, because she quit thinking!

So I guess my advice to you would be to commit to what you have started with this first semester. Finish it, and finish it knowing that you took care of your patients like they were family. Even if it is just for the fulfillment of knowing that you advocated for someone in need. And if at the end of the semester, after putting that much effort into nursing, you still find yourself feeling this way, step back (and going back to the Nursing Process) re-evaluate your progress and more importantly your happiness.

Becoming a nurse has been the most rewarding and humbling experience of my life. It has also, at times, been the most stressful and difficult experience. It is a lifestyle; to provide, be compassionate and to selflessly advocate for those in need because they are simply that, in need.

Idk if this helps with your decision but I wanted to weigh in on the real world of this profession. You have posted a very good topic, but I am not sure that anyone will be able to give you a concrete answer. Good Luck!

Wonderful advice from all of you, thank you so much. That is what I have set in my mind, finishing this sesmter and then deciding whether or not to keep going. I'm passing my classes with flying colors and at clinicals I try to be as involved as possible, but I do feel that anxiety and I question myself every time I'm at clinicals if I really want to be a nurse. I think it's normal in the beginning but I feel strongly about it! I don't like the work. But it's a super hard decision to make - I think it looks so bad to drop out of nursing school. So much money and time invested into it! I was also thinking of non bedside options I can pursue if I keep going but I wasn't sure of what options those are....dont jobs always want someone with bedside experience anyway?

What is it that makes you feel so suddenly like nursing isn't for you? Like SoldierNurse22 stated, many people get this anxiety in their first semester, but for a few, it's a genuine, "WOW, this is SO not what I want to do for my career." Now, be aware that one of the great things in nursing is that there are SOOOO many directions you can take (I'm a new grad, and I've applied to hundreds of RN jobs so far, including teaching phlebotomy, working as a part time school nurse, assisting a medically fragile girl to and from school, doing health fairs, and working in a community clinic, just to name a few non-bedside positions). Bedside nursing is the foundation of nursing, but that does NOT mean that one must spend any paid time doing it, if they have no desire to do so.

I have classmates that threw up or cried before clinicals every time. I think more people than not are anxious in clinicals, especially if they've never worked in patient care before. Nursing school and clinicals ARE scary! You're caring for real people, and it's overwhelming, especially at first! These are your opportunities to learn under the watchful eye of an instructor and a nurse. Ask, ask, ask, and watch, watch, watch. Remember that you have two eyes, two ears and one mouth for a reason- take it all in. Then you can learn to apply it outside the hospital setting.

Have you thought of non-bedside nursing positions that might interest you?

The "WOW. I really feel like I dont wanna do this" is how I feel. But then again I have thought about all the other directions I can go, which is what keeps running through my mind. I really dont want to do bedside nursing. It's a sucky feeling! It makes me question everything.