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Should I quit?


First off, I'd like to explain that I am not and have never been a quitter. I worked full timebhours all through high school and my pre reqs, and am very head strong. I was positive I wanted to be a nurse, absolutely positive. I researched and went on this website everyday making sure that this was the choice I wanted and for the most part it.is a perfect fit. I am extremely comfortable with patients\residents, ADLs and all the bodily fluids that go with them are no issue for me, and I've been a PCA for years. I even got over my issue with needles pretty quickly and easily gave my first injection. I love caring for people, angry and mean or happy and sweet, and always have. My only issue is meds. I'm comfortable with the common medications, but I am terrified of hurting somebody by giving them the wrong dose\med and I do not want to be responsible for it. My instructors will ask the class general questions and I always feel clueless. If I have the information in front of me I am comfortable but I cannot remember it off of the top of my head. All I ever wanted to do was help people(cliche) but I was originally interested in fire fighting and other fields such as that. I want to care for people, but I feel.like I cannot do anything right in this program. I've missed one clinical and one lab class because it was.switched to a mandatory rather than open lab last minute. I simply want to help.people, but I don't want to.be responsible for possibly hurting them with medication, and as much as I still want to be a nurse, I have decided that at this point in my life I do.not want to dread getting up everyday with no.life trying to get through school feeling like I am doing nothing right. The advice I'm seeking is, should I leave? Is this a sign that i was wrong.and am.not cut out for this? If so, do you know.of any similar fields that I could.be involved in patient care? Any advice would really be appreciated, I feel pretty lost at this point. I never wanted to be in a competitive field, I don't want a big career or to get my masters. I just wanted to wake up, go to a job where I can care for others, and thats that. Please let me know what you think, thanks so much for your time.

Along with the ability to give medications comes the responsibility to do it correctly. That said, it's pretty common for students to feel overwhelmed at the beginning of their studies, and the pressure of getting it all exactly right can be crushing. This doesn't mean you aren't cut out for nursing, it means you've got a conscience and a healthy fear of hurting someone. Frankly, those who DON'T have this fear.....well, I fear for their patients.

If you truly do not want the responsiblity that goes with being a licensed nurse, there are other ways you can be helpful to the nursing profession. Certified Nursing Assistants are worth their weight in gold (when they're good!) and can have very rewarding careers helping to take care of the elderly and infirmed. They do not give medications, but of course they DO work very hard for significantly less financial reward. More responsibility equals more money, so.......how do you feel about that?

A typical CNA course is 6-10 weeks, depending on where you take it. What do you think about something like that?

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

In one place of your original post you say that the only problem you have is with meds -- and you list lots of other stuff that you have no problems with. Then in another place, you say "but I feel.like I cannot do anything right in this program." They can't both be true. Which is it?

The fact that you contradict yourself suggests to me that your emotional response to having some problems with meds is being blown out of proportion. You expect yourself to be great at everything, and now, when something is not going right ... you are letting your emotions run away with you and dominate your thinking.

Take a deep breath and make a plan to improve your performance with meds. Talk to your instructor, get some help, etc. as appropriate. Then you will feel better.

anh06005, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Cardiac, Home Health, Primary Care. Has 6 years experience.

If I had to guess how much I knew about meds before I started working as a RN with ONLY my knowledge from school I'd say it was about 10% of what I know now. I know SO much more after practicing for a few years. It is impossible to know much about meds in school besides the basics. There's too much and you're trying to cram med knowledge in with skills, patho, assessment, etc.

You get a bit more comfortable with each med as you work with it more. I was petrified on the floor the first few times I managed heparin drips, gave amio bolus, lidocaine (only saw a couple of times), etc. There is so much you learn on the job.

Your job as a new nurse isn't to know everything. IT'S TO KNOW HOW TO FIND THE ANSWER. Drug books, policy books, protocols, senior nurses, pharmacists, respiratory techs, doctors, etc. I can promise you ZERO nurses graduated knowing and feeling comfortable with medications.

Sorry for the confusion, I feel like I cannot do anything right in the program regarding meds, considering the main focus is medication.. I am second guessing whether I feel comfortable with possibly killing someone with one mistake for the rest of my life. Thank you for your advice I.will try to do so. To the first poster, thank you for your help. I of course have considered CNA, I was also possibly looking into Medical Assistant, I really do want to be a nurse but I want to be in a career that I am confident that I am somehow helping someone, not constantly scared that I am hurting them with medication administration. It just appears that the job is so reliant on memorizing all medications and documentation, and I am worried that I will not be able to do that. Thank you for your advice!

anh06005 I have to say that your answer has relieved me quite a bit ha. If that is the case I would feel much more comfortable pursuing this.

anh06005, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Cardiac, Home Health, Primary Care. Has 6 years experience.

anh06005 I have to say that your answer has relieved me quite a bit ha. If that is the case I would feel much more comfortable pursuing this.

My issue with nursing school was they expect you to know everything for the test which does get you to studying so that's good. The reality of nursing, though, is every med room has a drug guide and med info available for reference.

Don't give up. I Think you are overwhelmed. Take it day by day. Stay for tutoring if it is available. You have to build self confidence. You can do it. Nursing school is hard. To be honest you learn more in the field then in nursing school. They only cover the basics. Hope this helps. Wish you the best on your endeavors.

My new doctor asked me if I was comfortable with him using a med guide in front of me to look up info one time. I assured him that I had no problem with that as that is what med guides are for, and that I use one myself on the job! Don't be so hard on yourself and don't expect everything to be easy as a breeze this early in the game. Give yourself time to grow and look at the whole picture again when you have a better experience quotient to make career decisions. Good luck.

Let me really enlighten you on what the problem is. Here is your problem. You are afraid that you are going to kill someone. Yes, nursing involves a lot of gonads, meaning you need to have a lot of bravery to make quick, life-altering decisions. You will be the prime target by admin, management, other nurses (yes i mean your fellow co-workers), patients, and doctors if you screw up. It's a dog eat cat world, and yes you are technically the cat. Or you can think of it was David vs. Goliath. Lets just say, you are up against tough odds. The biggest dealer breaker for nurses in my humble opinion is the stress level. Can you handle stress well? Can you work fast and efficiently? Only you can answer these questions.

Lena, I am a nursing student as well, and have a few suggestions/comments to offer. First of all, other commenters are right in saying that it is healthy AND understandable for you to have a fear of giving a medication. Pharmacology is very powerful, and screwing up can meaning the difference between life or death. Any intelligent person will have some fear of this, because they consider all the benefits and consequences of giving a medication. This is an asset, if you can learn to control your fear.

How do you control your fear, you might ask? The hallmark of accurate medication administration is the six rights. Right drug, dose, route, patient, time, and documentation after witnessing the administration. No doubt your instructors have drilled this into you, and for good reason. If you perform this check list when verifying the MAR, gathering your meds, preparing the meds, and then finally administering, you are on your way to a safe medication administration.

Another main component of safe medication administration is patient assessment. Even with the 6 rights and assessing allergies, it is possible that the medication is not appropriate for the patient at that particular time, and needs to be held or verified (e.g. holding a beta blocker w/ low BP or heart rate). This type of knowledge comes with time. Before we acquire this knowledge, us students are reliant on data mining at our clinical sites, constructing med cards with this kind of essential info, and then referring to the drug guide if we still dont know the answer, and then to our instructor. Pharm sounds like your hardest subject, so block out extra study time to review your medications and prepare for clinical. Clinical knowledge takes time to acquire! And remember that nurses work together as a team. If you assess something in your patient and are not sure about whether to withhold a med or call the physican, ask your colleagues! :)

Do you have access to a simulation lab? If so, ask your professors if they could go over medication administration. The more you practice in a safe environment, the better. And the more you have down the rote tasks (e.g. scrub the hub, IV flushes), the more you can focus on the medications you are giving.

I hope, as a fellow nursing student, that my feedback helps you feel less anxious. Your personality description strikes me as someone who would make an amazing nurse! Conscientiousness, diligence, and worrying about your patients well-being are great traits to have as a burgeoning nurse, as long as you can keep these anxieties in check and not let them overwhelm your practice.

Last thought: do you have a faculty member that you admire and seems open to office hours? If so, it might be worth emailing them with your concerns and requesting an appointment. Not all office hour visits have to be about course content! Faculty want to see you do well and can often help alleviate your anxiety. Good luck to you and I wish you well in your clinical practice, whatever that might be.


Has 5 years experience.

Nursing instructors want to scare bajeebees out of you-that's their job. Having some healthy fear is a good thing, too much is a bad thing. If you've been a CNA for years you know how things work on a floor. As a student we are dumb (plain and simple). I used to be terrified (TERRIFIED) of some basic skills, but stuck with it and got over the hump and I can do them like a champ. As a student you will never give a med by yourself. You will always double/triple check it with the 5 rights and once your do that 200 times by the end of nursing school you will want to give meds by yourself I promise. Having a healthy fear of something in school is a good thing it shows you care about your patients and it shows your aware of your own limitations. The key is to keep it in check and know that everyone else around you is crapping their pants too whether they admit it or not. Find a friend or a buddy and school to lean on, a nursing school friend is invaluable. You need someone who knows what it's like to go through this stuff. Don't give up yet! Always give yourself one more clinical or one more day and sleep on it.

I just wanted to thank you all for the advice, I really appreciate the support. Unfortunately, this program and the stress of pushing medications has become too much for me, I have become rather unhealthy and have ultimately decided to leave my program. I intend on possibly becoming an LPN if possible, as well as getting an education in wildlife rehabilitation or fire science as additonal income supplementation. Thank you so much for the support, I feel a bit like a failure however I respect patients too much to feel like I am just winging it. I feel extremely comfortable at bedside and with ADL's, however I do not feel comfortable in the position of determing medication use and administration. Thanks again!

There is no shame in knowing when to quit, especially while you're still ahead. You made the right choice for yourself and it was a brave decision.

rubato, ASN, RN

Specializes in Oncology/hematology.

I'm sorry you had to make such a tough decision, but it is probably the right one for you. Good luck with whatever you choose.