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"Book Smart, No Common Sense" Is nursing for me?

by LittleLibra LittleLibra (New) New

Hi everyone-

Before I go any further in the nursing program, I wanted to ask the veteran nurses what REALITY looks like after graduation for someone like me. Bluntly, is there any place for people who are really book smart but sometimes fumble on the playing field? I am that person. I think it's a self-confidence thing; when I'm nervous / being watched by the nursing instructor, etc., I get clumsy and start making mistakes. (I was a terrible waitress, a terrible bartender. I memorized drink recipes like a pro and have a 4.0 in my pre-reqs, but I was terrible behind the bar, and so far in my Fundamentals labs just working on mannequins, I am not a rock star). I WAS great as a first responder, and in one-on-one situations with the injured. No fumbling there. Anyway-- I don't look at this as a flaw anymore, but as a piece of me that needs to find a good career fit.

I already know Med-Surg is not for me. I have a feeling the hospital in general probably won't be for me. I have a prior BA in French, and have just started the nursing portion (2 years to go) of my BSN. Should I stop NOW before investing more time and money, or do you think there will definitely be a niche for me somewhere-- with just my BSN because I'm not willing to invest in more schooling at this point. I am really scared of spending more time and money, and finding out at the end that my BSN and personality type are going nowhere together!

Thanks for any advice before I continue down the wrong path / quit the right path.

I had a similar experience in nursing school. Straight A's, knew all the content. But in clinicals I was awkward, self-conscious, etc. Nursing school is stressful. If you could handle yourself as a first responder, you can certainly make it through school and become a good nurse. That's a difficult, stressful job.

So, the hospital might not be for you. It wasn't for me either, and I found my niche in critical care transport. I'm a flight nurse now. If you enjoyed pre-hospital work, that's something to consider in the future.

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience.

Well it depends on how much of a chance you give yourself to learn the performance part of nursing.

Your degree was in French. Then you probably understand that learning the reading part of French is a different skill than actually speaking the language with another person. Did you decide French was not for you with your first error in speech?

Nursing is a performing art, and you have to be willing to put in the time and effort to make it work. This means the ability to stick with something even when it is hard, even if there is no instant gratification, even if it means having to pick yourself up over and over. A lot of nursing is learning by doing.

hooliebug, BSN, RN

Has 1 years experience.

I'm in my last semester of my senior year (accelerated BSN program) and I can safely say 90% of the people in my class (myself included) are bumbling, awkward, and self-conscious when it comes to many aspects of nursing. The practical skills we learn in school aren't mean to put us on some grand pedestal of higher knowledge, they create a foundation on which we can build ourselves up. Based on my conversations with various preceptors and nurses I've shadowed over the last year, I get the feeling confidence (and "common sense") comes with time and practice. I think nursing draws more caring people than super self-confident, go-get-'em people.

There are a ton of avenues to explore in nursing that don't involve bedside care if you find yourself utterly hating it, but a lot of those avenues require bedside care experience. I guess you need to sit down and reflect on why you chose nursing in the first place and decide if you can stick it out for a few years while you explore other potential opportunities. Either way, good luck. And remember you're not alone in feeling the way you feel.

RotoRunner- My jaw fell open when I read this, because being a flight nurse is exactly what I would want to do for a dream job!! I know it's super competitive for a tiny number of open spots, and takes a lot of experience. Kudos to you on such an awesome accomplishment, and your reply made me feel 100 times better after my crappy day in lab!

RNperdiem- You're right. I get the stuffing knocked out of me sometimes, and I start questioning myself too much. If anything, I stay committed to things for TOO LONG instead of bailing when I should have; so I appreciate the feedback that everyone fumbles, and not everyone is cut out for bedside / hospital which is ok because there are still other avenues.

Edited by LittleLibra
consolidating my replies

Hooliebug- THANK YOU! Yes, it's caring about people and the desire to connect with them on a meaningful level and help them that drew me to nursing. Lab so far has been so "clinical" and robotic and awkward and clunky with where to put my hands (as a nurse, not as an EMT which is a whole different world), how far to slide the pt across the bed before rolling them (I pretty much dumped my mannequin over the edge on my first try), and so on. And while I was carefully repeating back my demonstration step by step, my instructor made kind of a snarky comment about my ability to memorize things not carrying me through having basic common sense-- so it all kind of got to me that day.

I really don't think I want to work bedside in a hospital... at least, not any more than I have to for other avenues to open up. I'm going to find someone I can talk to about those avenues and figure out exactly what I need to do to get there-- then I'll decide 100% to continue or not. Thank you for your reassurance that everyone is all thumbs at first!!!

Edited by LittleLibra