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Spread too thin: what would you have done?


I was thrilled to be accepted to a summer externship program. I had the summer ahead of me free to focus on furthering the long transition into this new role, and I got ready by reading up on the area I was going to be working in. I'm a good student, have experience in patient care, and felt confident.

Then a month before the externship began we had a financial setback, and I realized I was going to have to work immediately. I got a job doing overnights three days a week. This would have me away from home from Tues till Friday, with one day off. I had two nurses I could schedule externship hours with, which seemed flexible, so I thought it would be hard but doable. I didn't pencil in room for any events outside of my control.

What happened: Work stuff interfered with my arrival at externship on schedule >> a negative loop developed of acute anxiety in me and silent negative judgement in my preceptors >> my performance was affected and poorly evaluated at the end >> employment at the facility or a good recommendation from them are no longer a possibility.

I learned a lot and it was an overall gain, but it hurts! I took on too much. I thought, "I can do this!" It never occurred to me to sacrifice the externship.

Nurses and students, if in a similar situation, would you have prudently sacrificed the externship? Would you have tried to push yourself?

I would have given up the externship; or I would have, at least, spoken to my supervisor(s) at the preceptorship, explained the situation, and asked their opinions about the best option. I'm sorry this happened to you; best wishes going forward!