Should I quit nursing school?

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I am currently in my second semester of nursing school, and I think I want to drop out and switch majors. 

A little background: In junior year of high school, I took some classes at a health career center, which I really really loved and enjoyed. I'm not sure if it was because I genuinely enjoyed it or I liked it because I made good grades. During my time here, I was quite ambitious and felt like I wanted to do Pre-Med in college, however once I became a senior and graduation was creeping up on me, I decided to go into nursing after hearing from a friend that she wanted to do that. I was afraid I wasn't capable of going to medical school, let alone be Pre-Med, so I settled on nursing. Once I was accepted into my school's nursing program, I was ecstatic. I work my butt off to be accepted, and now I was officially a nursings student! Though it was extremely overwhelming and stressful, I enjoyed nursing school until COVID hit. No longer being in a classroom setting, I had to study from my home and I found that to be extremely difficult when it came to staying motivated. During this transition to online school, I lost motivation and started failing my Pharmacology exams. Once the semester came to an end, I found out I failed Pharm by 1 point. That was extremely discouraging, knowing I had to retake that class and that if I were to fail one more course, I would be asked to leave our school's nursing program. Though I am currently only in my second semester, I feel burned out. I didn't even know it was possible to feel burned out before actually becoming an RN. At this point, I dread absolutely everything related to nursing. I don't want to study for my exams, attend lectures, do my assigned readings, and I especially do not want to go to clinicals. 

I've also always been a very creative person, and the reason why I never pursued writing or film is because I thought I wasn't good enough at those things and that it wasn't a career that was stable enough to support me in the future. However, having these thoughts lately has made me realize that it is unfair of me to not even give myself the chance to pursue those other interests of mine. 

Being in my junior year of college, it is so daunting to even consider changing majors this late in my academic career. I have been exploring other degrees lately and psychology and/or english have piqued my interest. I am feeling so lost and scared. What should I do?


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Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC.

In my opinion, you're not burnt out on nursing, you haven't even gotten to the real nursing stuff. You're dealing with a very much less than ideal education set up and it's hard. You're burnt out of school, the unknown of the current situation, and maybe you don't like nursing, but it's really difficult to tell.

You're still so young, making changes now are really no big deal at all the big scheme of things. Would you rather change your degree now and maybe need and extra semester or two, or would you rather finish a degree you don't even want and then try to get completely retrained years down the road.

Good luck with your decisions. 


6,657 Posts

Speak with an academic advisor; more than one if possible. You need some official guidance here, not just opinions that are likely to take the general form of either nursing is great/you can do it or nursing sucks/don't do it.

I don't know you but it might not hurt to speak with a counselor/therapist about things as well.

It probably isn't great to get into a career solely because it's the path you're already on, but at this point it sounds like it's unclear to you whether you actually don't like healthcare/nursing or you're just having a sort of apathetic phase or some type of uncertainty for a significant reason that you should heed. Lots of possibilities.

I wish you the best in seeking help and advice. ???

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hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

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Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life).

I'm going to go off on a tangent but bear with me. On the evening before my first marriage my maid of honor said to me "If you have any doubts don't do it." Canceling would not have been a big deal as it was a Vegas wedding with only a few guests. I had lots of doubts but forged ahead and got married. That marriage last a year and my ex is currently serving a lengthy prison term for various crimes. 

What I learned from that experience was that all big decisions need to be looked at objectively. If nursing is your passion then go for it but if you are having doubts you should step back look at the facts. If you find that your doubts exceed your passion it may be time to change your major. Many colleges offer aptitude testing to help guide you in your career choices. Another option is to take the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Test). You don't have to enlist to take it but you have to see a recruiter who will administer the test and give you the results for free.

If writing is a passion of yours then start doing it. Take an elective in creative writing and start writing. Write a page a day no less. You can write more but no less. There are all kinds of ways to self-publish these days that make it fairly easy to get your work in front of readers. 

There is another thread currently that has the OP wondering if they should quit nursing and pursue an engineering degree/career. In responding to him I quoted my favorite inspirational writer, Ralph Marston...."If you cannot connect what you’re doing to a good, personally meaningful reason, you’re simply not going to be able to focus on it or find enjoyment in it.”

 Good luck with your endeavors



116 Posts

I agree with one previous post that you are not burned out on nursing, just nursing school and specifically your situation. My girlfriend is currently finishing up her last semester of nursing school and is in a similar situation. It is possible that nursing may not be the field for you, but I certainly wouldn't judge it based on school, especially currently given covid and what not.

I disagree with the other post about pursuing nursing only if it's your passion. Nursing certainly wasn't my passion. I went back to school at 26 because it seemed like a pragmatic decision, not one I had any kind of "calling" for. I had a passion for music and felt like I was betraying that part of myself. I spent every semester doubting that I was doing the right ting and questioning whether I would go back the next semester. But it ended up being one of the best decisions of my adult life. I have loved the field and it has provided me with so much experience and opportunity.

Part of that too though was that I was older, had some "real life" experiences with other jobs, and knew what else was out there. I didn't have any delusions of grandeur about what nursing was, nor did I beat myself up for not having the illusive "calling" you hear nurses talk about.

I would say that if you're in your junior year and this close to finishing school, then put your head down and give it your best shot until the end. Then give the nursing field a shot and if you realize it's not for you then at least you will have a steady job while you figure out a better direction for yourself. Just don't allow yourself any delusions about the field. It is a job like no other, but it's still a job. Also don't allow yourself delusions about other careers, or any "grass is greener" syndrome. No job is perfect.

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

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Specializes in school nurse.

Whatever you decide to do, don't do it impulsively. Make use of professional advising and/or counseling, advice from people whose opinion you respect, and maybe check in with your school peers...

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hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

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Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life).
On 2/28/2021 at 12:24 PM, SansNom said:

 But it ended up being one of the best decisions of my adult life. I have loved the field and it has provided me with so much experience and opportunity.

nor did I beat myself up for not having the illusive "calling" you hear nurses talk about.

 Just don't allow yourself any delusions about the field. It is a job like no other, but it's still a job. Also don't allow yourself delusions about other careers, or any "grass is greener" syndrome. No job is perfect.

@SansNom Pretty much summed it up. In my earlier post I was not saying you had to have a "Calling" or a "Passion" per se . In fact the only calling that I originally had with re: to nursing was the calling for a steady paycheck.

Like this previous poster I have no delusions about what nursing is. It a job that pays well and that I enjoy doing but like SansNom I was older (38) when I started my nursing career. I just meant that if you had doubts think carefully about what those doubts are telling you.


Sour Lemon

5,016 Posts

Think of school as an investment. Is "film" a good investment? Is "writing"?

Unless you have unlimited financial support, I'd suggest that you go with something more marketable- nursing or otherwise. You can pursue creative avenues at anytime as a hobby ...and if it goes somewhere, you'll be luckier than most.

Emergent, RN

4,188 Posts

Specializes in ER.

I agree, talk to a guidance counselor. I like the wedding analogy/comparison. Nursing school is like being engaged. You're not married yet. Don't commit if it's not right, and don't be afraid to bail, it's not a failure to realize it's not right for you. 

Specializes in Burn, ICU.

Many schools are allowing students to take time off without penalty right now...can you take a semester off to think about things (and maybe when you come back, in-person classes will have restarted and you might feel less alone?). Definitely talk to a guidance counsellor about your might not be all-or-nothing. When you're at the point of dreading everything about school, though, it sounds like you at least need a break.

Can you get a part-time health-related job? My hospital hires people with no healthcare experience to be patient safety sitters and basic care aides. It's not the same as being a nurse but it might help you see more of the nursing world...and either you will confirm your feelings that it's not for you, or you'll relieve some of the anxiety over "unknowns" about doing clinicals. (Even if you don't want to be a hospital RN, that's where your clinicals will probably be.)

Or, if you decide not to take time off entirely from school can you take time off from the nursing program? Focus on other classes (writing, management for the arts, etc...) to get a little more exposure to these areas? If you're in a BSN program maybe they can count as electives?

I came from working in the arts (with a BA) for a decade before going back to school for nursing. And then after working for a few more years I got my BSN. I don't regret my path but it involved a lot of redundancies (who needs 2 bachelor's degrees??) and extra work. In my part of the country a nursing degree and licensure is probably one of the fastest routes to a solidly middle-class salary with many opportunities for diverse employment with a few years of experience. I know that's not true everywhere, and I also know that money isn't everything. But the older I get, the more I see that money and job security make a lot of other things easier. Could I have convinced myself of this at age 21? Probably not!

Good luck with whatever you decide. You can go back to school later if you change your might involve more hassle, but you can do it!


718 Posts

I completely agree with people upthread who pointed out that school, as it's currently taught in a pandemic, is not very effective in lighting a spark in most learners.  People are slogging through as best they can, but it's not ideal, and it's not a representation of what nursing is as a profession or what nursing school should be.

Moving on.

Creative stuff is great.  Seriously.  I'm glad you have a spark and hope you nurture it, and don't lose it. The reality, though, is that those creative jobs are few and far between. You are right to think you probably wouldn't be able to support yourself in them, but it's not about talent. It's about the incredible imbalance between supply and demand. Lots of people love creative things, and would love to have jobs creating art. But there are not nearly enough of those jobs. It's talent, but also connections, and lots and lots of luck. 

So all those millions of people who are hoping to break into the industry of their choice need to support themselves with a more practical job.  If they have a BFA in whatever their passion is, that more practical job probably waitressing, bar tending, Uber driving, etc.  It's a grind, often barely squeaking by, and doesn't really leave much time or energy for art.

English and psychology are interesting majors, but they don't really translate to jobs with just a BA. You could teach English, but you'd have to go back to school for education credentials. What would you want to do with a psychology degree? Jobs like counseling usually require a graduate degree and/or extensive clinical training. 

But nurses?  Nurses have flexible schedules.  Nurses make a living wage, even a comfortable wage.  Nurses get benefits like health care. 

My advice is put in a few more years - get your BSN, pass the NCLEX, work a nursing job for a year or two until you're marketable.  Then pursue whatever creative field sparks your joy.  Nursing is portable and flexible. You can work in whatever city you want. You can go back to school for film while supporting yourself.  You can take writing workshops while still fully employed.  And you don't necessarily have to be a professional to find personal fulfillment in creative hobbies.

Plus, I can almost guarantee that the creative majors are having just as hard a time as you are. They're not getting to interact with their professors or fellow students the way they normally would, either. Zoom is not better suited to creative courses; in fact, it's probably worse. 

Specializes in Physiology, CM, consulting, nsg edu, LNC, COB.

Two thoughts.

1) When you're going through hell, it's best to keep moving forward.

2) You might want to slide on over and read the thread on wanting to leave the bedside and the angst the OP is expressing. A large number of the replies tell her how well they've transitioned to other jobs in and out of hospitals but that those jobs were open to them because they already had nursing degrees. Bear that in mind. Heck, I had a classmate who never worked a day in a hospital, acted on a new interest and went to graduate school in ethics, and is now prominent in her field.

Your degree in nursing is a ticket to far more than a hospital bedside job. This is hard for students to see when pretty much everything they see and study is related to bedside care, but trust us when we say that it's just the door-opener. Don't be afraid to prepare yourself to open that door. Even having had the experience of overcoming fears and doubts is going to be a great asset in your future.

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