Nursing Student Wants to Quit

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by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Good afternoon Nurse Beth,

 I am a nursing student in an accelerated nursing program. I began the program right as Covid-19 hit. Thus, everything went to an online (Zoom) format. I was stuck at home (full of distractions), was feeling burnout by staring at a computer screen 10+ hours day, and could just not keep up.

I decided to take a leave of absence from the program. I would like to return this January because I have had a few months to regain my energy and focus. I want to return, but I am not sure if nursing is actually for me. During the first semester of nursing school, I hated everything. The material, the clinical beside shadowing, the charting, everything. IDK if this was attributed to burnout and Covid-19 or the career path itself. Would really appreciate some advice. I need to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel before I return to the program. I don't want to be a bedside nurse and I understand that the first year as a new grad nurse is extremely hard. I choose this career path because it is related to the medical field, is an impactful career, and is flexible. I need to speak with nurses who love their job and why. I need some insight from someone who has been there. Thank you.

Dear Hated Everything,

You accomplished a lot to get where you are. Pre-requisites are not easy, and then you applied and were accepted into the nursing program. You owe it to yourself to give it your best shot. 

It's hard to say how much of your experience was due to Covid, but this time in, you have a better idea of what to expect.

The reasons you chose nursing haven't changed. It is very flexible, with tons of opportunities. Sometimes people have an impression of nurses that's limited to the bedside. Once you are established, you can teach, sell, audit, work in informatics, become a provider, do research, work in the legal field......the options are too many to list. Wherever your interests and aptitude, there is a role in nursing.

Nursing is challenging and can make you a better person. It's rewarding. There's a lot of gratification in helping others at their point of need.

There's more to being a nurse than meets the eye. Best wishes on your decision,

Nurse Beth



Hoosier_RN, MSN

Specializes in dialysis. Has 29 years experience. 3,311 Posts

Realistically, you will need to spend some time at the bedside before you can advance to other levels. The first year is hard, but others do it every day. You can too!

0.9%NormalSarah, ADN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 3 years experience. 232 Posts

I have a very good friend who realized she hated nursing in her first year of school, but she plowed ahead and works clinic jobs now. She’s good at it and gets some enjoyment from it, but ultimately she works to enjoy the rest of her life. I know there are so many out there like this. You’re obviously smart and driven if you can manage to get into an ABSN, perhaps keep it going and explore the different areas. Maybe the virtual learning and less than ideal clinical has been rough for you, I know I would have hated that and would second guess my choice if I had to go through that. But yeah, the first year sucks like Hoosier says. But I think it has little to do with the overall profession once you get past that hard time. Also I still love my ICU career at 2 years in because it’s exciting and I get to learn every day, but I still complain about it heavily at times. 😉


6,091 Posts

Personal opinion: Not liking the material would concern me. Spend some time reconsidering the material and deciding how you feel about it. 👍🏽