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Quit nursing school?


hi. i'm finishing my first year of nursing school. i'm not sure if i like it or not. i originally got into nursing because my parents wanted me too, but i was also interested in the subject and patient care. i don't think nursing is right for me. btw, i'm in the rn program. most of my instructors are excellent. i have great clinical instructors. here are my concerns. if anyone can help me, thanks.

1) i ace my classes. i’m book smart, but i suck with common sense in clinicals! i think it’s because i lack a lot of experience. i didn’t even know how to change a diaper until this year! l i won’t mention all the dumb mistakes (really dumb common sense errors) here or else i might be identified. i don’t know what to do in a lot of situations, but of course i won’t know what i don’t know until it happens. then i feel really stupid.

2) i make a lot of stupid errors. i still forget to id patients even though i constantly remind myself to. i think it’s because i work with the same patient all day, so i forget to id them for new procedures. i check the patient information for food and procedures outside of the room, but when i bring it into the room, i forget to id them.

3) i stopped caring. right now, 25% of the time, i love being in clinicals. 75% of the time, i hate it. i don’t know why i stopped caring, but my patients deserve better. i just get through the day now. what i like about clinicals is patient teaching, documenting (weird huh?), and physical assessments. what i hate is giving meds (afraid of errors. i do enjoy learning about meds though!); i think wounds are interesting (ie stage 4 ulcers), but really dry cracked stage 1 or 2 ulcers creep me out (weird again?)!

4) because i stopped caring, i’ll probably make an error and get into a lawsuit. i bet i’ll worry about a possible lawsuit every day of my life.

5) i always feel overwhelmed with information. i used to study so hard, but weeks later, and i forget the information. now i’m slacking off like crazy. i just lost all motivation.

6) i’m afraid of infectious diseases. i can’t remember all the microorganisms and which precautions for what. also, i know this sounds bad, but i’m actually afraid to work with aids patients. originally, i didn’t mind, but now i keep finding random cuts on my hands and arms…

7) i’m shy. i’m always nervous. i hide it, but it shows during emergencies. i’m not good with emergency situations. i guess all that indoor studying made me not have good people person skills. i’m not very social anymore.

8) i think i’m the slowest “skills” learner in my class. i mean, with 3 new skills every day, i never master the previous skills! i practice, but one two weeks later, i forget!

9) i was pretty spoiled as a kid. i don’t even know how to take the bus. therefore, it’s hard for me to be independent now. i’m really trying. (feel free to hate me over being spoiled. i would to, if i were you).

i think i’d make a terrible nurse. i don’t know if i would feel this way if i were in other majors. i probably would because of low self-esteem and confidence. i don’t know what else i’d pursue. i was pretty good at every subject (except science. i sucked at science until i found a passion in it in college. i still think i’m only ok at it) in elementary to high school, but i never pursued one subject to be great at it. so i consider myself an average person now. i think i spent most of my time indoors reading. now i’m that weird anti-social awkward kid. i don’t know what to do… i really hate clinicals. i suck and lack confidence. i don’t know if i should waste my time and money with 2 more years or quit now and try something else.

how often did you think of quitting? do you know anyone that quit? what did they end up doing? i think of quitting every day. that bad. such a shame though. i used to be a bright kid. my school has a good nursing program and is well known for 2 other majors, but it sucks in everything else. if i quit nursing, i’ll feel stuck with a crappy degree from a crappy school. any suggestions? i have not talked to my parents about this. they do not want to hear it (really). my friends outside of the major don’t understand and tell me they think the major’s easy. thanks for reading.

I think you need to do what makes you happy. Don't do something to please your parents because you will never feel satisfaction for your accomplishments. Maybe, take some time off school to figure out what you want to do.

Thanks. The problem is, I don't know what will make me happy. Another thing: I suck at time management. The list goes on and on. Sometimes I hate working by myself, but sometimes I feel uncomfortable working with people. I'm weird.

I agree. I was always a daddy's girl and wanted to make him happy above anything else. I didn't pursue avenues because he didn't approve and the first time I went into nursing it was because he encouraged it. I then had to step back and figure out whether I was doing it for him or for myself. Ultimately, I knew that I wanted to be a nurse as much as he wanted me to so it's a win-win situation. BUT there were several majors that he disagreed with that I sometimes wish I had pursued.

I also understand the booksmart thing, that is one of my concerns as well, that I'll do great in the classes but make errors in clinicals. I know that will be my weakness so I'm going to watch it from the beginning.

I think you need to do some soul searching. You need to figure out what you want. I'm almost 30 and I'm just now able to do that. I was also spoiled, my dad did everything for me so it was really hard for me to get out from under his control and make decisions for myself. I still want people to make decisions for me, at times. I also sympathize with the low self esteem issues, confidence is definitely something that I have to work on. I also question my abilities to do most things, I think that's why it has taken me so long to finally figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

Good luck, keep your chin up, and make the decision for you and no one else.

I am so sorry you are going through this pretty much alone. Talking is the first step in this, it will really help. Heres my advice, get some confidence! You seem really smart and I think if you had some self-esteem, you would ace nursing school. You are getting really discouraged, which is making you feel like you dont care about the pt's and mess up! Everyone makes mistakes, especially in clinicals, which is where it is okay to mess up since it is a part of clinicals and part of the overall learning process. Noone said nursing school would be easy! Nothing is easy in life, and no matter what you decide to do, it will be a challenge. If being a college student was easy, EVERYONE would be doing it right? I am in a nursing assistant program, and I mess up all the time. I lack common sense as well! But I just stick with it and try my hardest and then I eventually start to remember the little common sense things like checking their i.d. bracelet prior to feeding. Its all normal and part of the learning experience. You are already half way there! Dont give up now! No one is perfect, but you have to try and be confident in ANYTHING that you do in life. Plus, you will learn all of your "common sense" skills when you are actually working in the field and get some experience! DOnt give up. Think about yourself, noone else, not ever your parents. This is your life, you have to make the best of it and do what makes you happy. I hope this helps!

TakeTwoAspirin, MSN, RN, APRN

Specializes in Peri-op/Sub-Acute ANP.

Look, I think the only way you can get some objectivity is to have a long, honest talk with one of your instructors. You say that for the most part they are excellent. I think you should pick the one that you like the most and e-mail them and get an appointment for an uninterupted talk. Put everything on the table and ask them to be honest with you. Be brave and print out this posting, and ask them what they think. I know people, in the cold light of day, try to make the best of things, but this is how you feel in your heart right now whether it is justified or not, it's how you feel.

I think that when you are in the middle of NS it can be overwhelming and you can lose objectivity - BIG TIME. I don't think you are in a frame of mind right now to be able to evaluate your own ability. You seem to think you are doing really badly, and I am not sure at all that you are not just expecting too much of yourself. The only way to get a grip on this is to ask someone on the outside whether things are as bad as you seem to think they are.

Trust me, everyone in NS thinks at one point or another that they suck and can't do anything right. Often times they make the best graduates because they are constantly striving to be better than they are. Many people are their own worst critics, and you may well be one of those people. It is quite possible that you are well ahead of the pack (or at least holding your own) when it comes to your performance when compared with your peers. We on this board have no way of evaluating that. We can offer you all the support in the world, but the only people who can advise you on whether this is the course for you and that your perceptions are correct are the people you trust in the program. Lean on them, and trust them.

Whatever happens, I wish you luck and hope that you find some peace with whatever you decide to do.

I truly hope you take some time to examine your life and choices. As much as we would like to always please our parents, sometimes the decision is simply not about them. Choosing a career in the medical field is not a decision one should take likely, as we are dealing with the wellbeing of others. I am not trying to be hard on you, but you must understand the severity of what can happen in this profession if your not fully committed.

:twocents:Also, Life is very short and unpredictable; only you can determine what will make you happy. This is not a dress rehearsel, Every day is your opening night, so make it happen.

Best of Luck in whatever you decide

Please be kind to yourself. The fact that you are able to critically evaluate yourself means you have what it takes to use critical thinking in clinicals. Being booksmart is a good thing, it will help you to develop your crtical thinking skills (if you should decide to continue with nursing). The hands-on skills seem hard to you now because you have not yet done them that many times but once you start practicing as a nurse and start performing these skills countless numbers of times a day you'll wonder why you ever doubted yourself. When you are evaluating yourself, don't just concentrate on the negatives, think of the positives too. Look at yourself in the mirror everyday and tell yourself "I can do this" because you can do it.

I think you're smart enough to realise that suicide is not a viable option and will not give you a chance to start over. If you find yourself getting suicidal thoughts, seek help from a professional (e.g. a suicide help line). If NS has become so obnoxious to you such that you are considering suicide, then maybe it's time for you to take a break from school (a year off or something) and do something else. I hope things work out for you. :heartbeat

I'm not sure if anyone else mention this b/c I didn't read all of the other comments. However, you are very hard on yourself. I would love to hear what you're good at. What are your strengths? What makes you feel empowered?

You need to find someone that you can talk to so you can sort all of this out. Maybe you need to see your doctor too because you may need medicine because it sounds to me like you are depressed. I just put "symptoms of depression" into my internet search engine and a lot of the symptoms describe how you are feeling. I also agree with the previous poster about printing out your posting but instead of showing it to your instructors you should show it to your parents.

I love my children unconditionally. If I as a parent knew that my child was going through such personal torment that they were even thinking about suicide I would do whatever I could to help and support my child through this time. Do you think you parents want you to be a nurse more than they want you to be alive? Of course not! Suicide is a forever punishment for the families that are left behind. Sorry to be blunt but I think you need to start taking control of your life. There is help all around you. You have your parents, friends, teachers and us.

Since you like reading maybe check out these two books. "48 days to the work you love" by Dan Miller and "A New Earth: Awakening to your Life's Purpose" by Eckhart Tolle (Current Oprah book club book) I have not personally read these books but they seem to fit the bill for you and they have high reviews. Take care of yourself.

You sound like you are very methodical and have spent a lot of time thinking over this. One thing I can say is that I was like you in that I am pretty book smart, but never had any medical background and so went into clinicals and was miserable and feeling woefully inadequate. I couldn't even feel a pulse on my very first patient. Then I would read allnurses and people would post about things they did during clinicals that got them either kicked out of nursing school or had everyone writing that they should have been, and I would just worry myself sick asking "would I have done the same?" You have all these people saying "it is common sense", but I would feel just awful for the nursing student. I am almost through my first year and I am starting to feel more comfortable. It takes lots of practice. You can continue to explore what interests you and still finish up the nursing degree. There is so many avenues in nursing, that you will be able to find something that is right for you. There is forensic nursing, operating room nurses, traveling nurses, psychiatric nurses, nurse anesthetists, nurse researchers, teachers, and on and on. You ultimately have to do what it is that will make you happy, but seriously consider getting the degree so that you will have something to fall back on and it will give you plenty of opportunities to explore different options.


Specializes in pediatrics.

Nursing school can be very hard, especially in the beginning when there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel and no end to the clinicals in sight. But there is a light! I am finishing my BSN in May and it has been a long, hard road. My BSN is my second four-year degree and I can tell you that nursing school is way harder than other 4 year programs.

You have to do what is right for you. But with a nursing degree there are so many opportunities- beyond just hospital and LTC work. There is public health, corrections, legal consulting, school nursing, forensic nursing, the list goes on and on. So don't think that just because you're slow to learn IV skills or don't like the hospital or whatever you'll be a terrible RN. We're all in nursing school to learn and it can be really difficult to maintain your self-confidence and self-esteem through it all. After years of clinicals I know, some days I'd come home feeling like the most hopeless, hapless, incompetent person on the planet!

Call a hotline, reach out to a friend, make an appointment with a school counselor or trusted instructor. Taking care of yourself will be the most important gift to yourself- and your future patients!

Gosh, see I didn't even address the major issue in my earlier post. Your feelings like you no longer care, and having thoughts of suicide are very serious and could indicate you are having depression. I would urge you to go to see a doctor immediately. You are the most important person in this situation. Take care of you. From one fellow nursing student to another, here is a hug :icon_hug:. If you ever want to talk feel free to private message me.

Tp the original poster - you sound like a fascinating person. I love the way you write, think, and are so brutally honest with yourself. You just lay it all out on the table.

I agree with someone else who advised you to talk with a trusted instructor. You are looking at this from your own point of view, which to you may be realistic, but to me, seems harsh. I'll bet you have gifts you are too modest to mention - you say you are book smart, but I bet there are many other gifts you possess that we don't know about, because you won't admit you might possess them.

Take your wins! You say you are spoiled, but you didn't get to this honest place without many moments of self-truth and introspection.

I see a lot of talent, critical thinking, common sense, and tons of humor in your post. Please find someone who knows a lot about nursing to see if she can help you sort all of this out. I think you have a lot to offer, and you deserve to discover it for yourself.

Good luck.

First of all, I'm so sorry you're struggling with this during what is supposed to be the best time of your life (college). I'm new to nursing school and have not started clinical yet so I have no specific advice there. But I did have a similar experience that I will share...

I went through the awkward college years when I was pursuing my first degree. I always preferred studying alone with a book... no crowds, no groups, no speaking in front of a group, and definitely no doing things with others watching (and in my mind... judging my every move).

It wasn't until years later that I was able to overcome this by having more confidence in myself. Don't be afraid of making mistakes. It just gives you more material to learn from.

Try to figure out if you've lost your passion for nursing because you're having difficulties - or if you're having difficulties because you've lost your passion.

Have you considered talking to a counselor? I think they could really help navigate you through all of these feelings.

In the meantime, don't be so hard on yourself and I personally would like to see you post at least two things that you do WELL.

I feel like I am in the same boat on some things. Definitely not the spoiled part, LOL!

I am book smart, so I never worry about the tests...it always comes down to clinical. From what you said, you are very interested in nursing...just not the school. I come to dread clinical sometimes myself. I think that is more from the capacity that you are there in...I bet when you start working as an RN you'll feel differently.They expect you not to be perfect...you're student. And they will still expect it as a new grad. The common sense stuff will come to you with experience.! I wish I enjoyed documenting...that's a good thing.

I am also very shy...but I can see a big change from when I started school in fall 2006 to now. I am always very anxious about performing procedures in front of people yet just Wednesday I gave meds through a g-tube in front of 3 RNs, a care assistant (who's in nursing school) and the child's parents. Other that being in a hurry, I wasn't that nervous.

I have doubted myself all along and I'm finally learning to accept that this is really happening and I can really do this. I hope that you can learn not to doubt yourself so much. It makes things so much harder.

Good luck it whatever you decide!

I know this is kind of late. I just wanted to say thanks to everyone for actually taking the time to read and respond. I will talk to a counselor and just get through this quarter. No need to worry about patient harm. I am still careful not to do anything stupid. I haven't made any serious life threatening mistakes yet; I'm just apathetic or sad. I don't know, but gah just a couple more weeks.


Specializes in Telemetry.

First and foremost, take care of yourself. I gather from other responses you have suicidal thoughts (must have been deleted from original post) and please, please see your doctor and get some help. Talk to someone you trust. Don't just tell us, tell someone in your life.

As far as nursing (and nursing school) only you can decide if this is for you or not. There is no shame in realizing its not for you and moving on to something that will make you happy. If its any consolation, I absolutely hated clinicals as well, and made similar mistakes- especially in the first year. Talking to people I don't know makes me nervous, and it has taken me awhile to get over that. I always dreaded going into pt rooms for the first time, but now I don't think twice. I hated clinicals so much that for awhile I questioned if I really wanted to do this, and I've wanted to be a nurse for my whole adult life. I came to realize that I just really didn't like med/surg, and that a big part of why I dreaded clinicals so much was because I had no confidence and hated feeling like I was in way over my head, didn't know what to do, if I was doing it right/well enough. As time went on and I became more used to the setting and what was expected of me I started to feel better. Now (I'm graduating in 2 weeks) I still don't really like med/surg, but I can deal with it. I found an area I love, followed a nurse there for 3 shifts and have a job lined up in that area (ER) and the difference in experiences is night and day. I always dreaded going to clinical, and couldn't wait for the time to pass, but on my 3 ER shifts, I couldn't wait to go, and time was up before I even realized it. It sounds to me that what you are experiencing (as far as nursing school goes) is fairly normal. I've never felt dumber in my entire life than I have in nursing school. There is more information than one feels like they could possibly put in their brain, and it comes fast and furious. There are skills we learned last year that I've not done yet on a person that I couldn't tell you how to do if I tried. But part of being a new grad is learning on the job. The more you practice the easier it becomes.

Its possible that nursing isn't for you, but not because you can't do it or can't be good at it. It may be something you just don't like, and thats OK if it is. Don't beat yourself up about it.

As far as everything else, please seek help right away.

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