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PurplePens PurplePens (New Member) New Member

Overwhelmed in my last semester.

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I feel like I've come a loooong ways away from when I first started using this site. I'm now in my fourth and final semester of nursing school, and I feel almost sick with how busy the semester is. I started marking dates in my planner, thinking that would help ease my anxiety, but I think it's making it worse. There's nothing like being prepared, but I just wonder how I'm to do it all? Between practicum, assignments, studying, and exams when am I supposed to wind down or sleep? In the last two years of nursing school, I don't think my anxiety has every reached a peak like this one.

Tbh, I think it's my practicum that's freaking me out the most. I am in the ED, and I just don't feel comfortable there at all, which is good because I think I'll learn a lot and be forced to hone certain skills, but I'm still a nervous wreck. My home and heart was in the ICU, Telemetry, and Med Surg floors, and this feels like a totally different ball game. The upside is that my preceptor is a sweetie; I had her as semester during my clinical ED rotation. I guess I'm just nervous about looking stupid. 

😞 Please give me any advice that you can. Classes start mid next week, and I feel so lost when I should be excited. Thank you for reading.

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I admit I have some envy because I’d be in my last semester and looking forward  to (or freaking out about) my preceptorship; but I’m repeating Med Surg II, so December grad now.

Particularly in ADN (and I assume in ABSN) programs I’ve heard the last semester is a bear.  Because so much of what you do in your core nursing classes builds on prior knowledge and training, the demands and expectations have to be greater every semester, building the foundation.  Fourth semester comes and they throw everything at you necessary to pass the NCLEX and hopefully be minimally ready to set foot into your first real nursing job.  By contrast, in a traditional BSN program they can spread things out a bit more.  They can also go more in depth. 

So, I realize this isn’t very encouraging on getting through this last semester.  I’d say make the most of your assignment.  My SIL is an ED doc and speaks highly of the nurses and their competency.  If your facility is the same way, it sounds like a great learning opportunity.  Know that you will have to focus and manage time better than ever.  I was already making adjustments in scheduling and cutting out distractions to prep for 4th semester, and I'm just continuing with them now so I make sure to get there.  

Biggest thing, you've made it this far.  You can cross the finish line.  One semester to go and you've got it.

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It is just 16 weeks. In the long term picture of things, that really isn't very long. You'll be so busy it will be over before you know it. 

I believe you are very smart to get organized and everything into a planner. That will help keep you on track. Concentrate on sleep, eating well, and exercising for the next 16 weeks. Social life can wait. BUT, if it is too overwhelming, it doesn't hurt to treat yourself if you need it.

 

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Stepping out of your comfort zone is one thing but if it is overwhelming you, maybe it isn't the right place. Why the ED anyway?

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From the ED:

You can do it! It's a great place to get in there and take some chances. There are plenty of skills to work on, but also many, many general medical/trauma/psych conditions to which you may be exposed!

Keep up a good rapport with the nurse/preceptor, show interest/be enthusiastic, ask questions. Keep a quick list of the conditions you encounter and review them briefly after each day/experience.

They will NOT expect you to know everything. Or much of anything. The main thing they will expect is that you will operate in a safe manner and bring a positive and inquisitive attitude.

Enjoy!

👍🏽

Edited by JKL33

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I completely relate to this. I am also in my last semester and the amount of obligations is overwhelming. My advice is to keep in mind the big assignments due for the week, but focus on what is due today. Otherwise, you will only make yourself more anxious. Thankfully you have a great preceptor in the ER so make the most of that experience. 

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I can appreciate your candor and anxiety about what this semester holds.  Many of us were right where you are.  I did my preceptorship in oncology and was very nervous.  It worked out because I didn't know a thing which pushed me to learn even more (Yes, more...) and I found myself getting involved in every aspect of the patient care and meds, etc.  More so than I even expected.  And you know what? I ended up really enjoying the work.  We don't always give ourselves enough credit for learning on the go but you will learn a lot and it will be over before you know it!  You've made it this far, now you're just putting more "meat" on those bones you've been growing all through your degree program.

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Have confidence. You sound very aware of who you are. Hush those voices telling you, you can't handle things because you can. Use some of that anxiety for the good and get rid of the bad. I studied well and double checked things really well when I was towards the end of my program. Stay organized, rest, eat and try to go for a walk.

Edited by Workitinurfava

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Reading these comments brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for your wonderful, encouraging and motivating responses. I didn't know I needed to hear some of the words that were said, and I'm grateful for the time you guys took to write them. My first practicum clinical went well. I spent a majority of it learning how my preceptor navigates through the ED, so that I could emulate it to eventually find my own way. I don't want to be a scared student nurse forever because that will make a terrified new grade nurse, so thank you guys again for tipping my chin up when I really needed it. :) 

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