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Jenn98 Jenn98 (Member)

Terrified...is this normal?

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I start nursing school in a month and a half and I am TERRIFIED. I had orientation last week, and almost walked out. I bawled during break, and just felt so anxious and out of place the entire time. I have a BS already in health education, have a husband and 3 kids, am in my 40s. I have stayed home with my kids for 14 years, and just felt like getting my ASN would be a good fit with my background. I'm worried I will not be there enough for my kids, I'm terrified of clinicals, and also worried I won't be smart enough. Is this normal? It seems like everyone else is really excited, and I'm already wondering if I should just quit!

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Yup. I threw up every morning for the first week.

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Some anxiety about a transition like starting nursing school is completely normal. All out terror, and feeling overwhelmed to the point of wanting to leave orientation is not. If you feel that your anxiety is disproportionately large compared to the transition and jeopardizes your ability to do well in school, I would urge you to consult with your PCP and/or student health/mental health services.

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A little fear? Yes, that's normal. Crippling terror? No, that's not normal and probably not healthy. As a previous poster suggested, you might want to get some counseling for your severe anxiety.

However, you may also just want to think this through carefully. Is this something you really want to do? Are you prepared for the fact that you will probably encounter some difficult challenges along the way to becoming a nurse? Or are you thinking that maybe you might encounter a few challenges and are terrified of them? Are you prepared to live with the fact (not just the possibility, but the fact) that you will not be as available for your family as you have been in the recent past? Is your family prepared for that?

If you are not prepared for some of the possible challenge to become a reality, then maybe you have not prepared yourself and your family for this adventure you are embarking upon -- and maybe you should delay your entry into school until you and they are prepared. If you are prepared, then there is no reason to be overwhelmed and terrified.

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So - I'm in a long term relationship (terrified to get married again), have a kid in college, I'm in my 40s and I start in January. I understand everything you say. I'm freaking out daily because I've started on all the crap I have to do to even be able to show up to orientation. ITS A LOT!!!!

It sounds like you may be experiencing more anxiety than what I would consider normal, but most of what you are saying is just how it is for us. The only thing that concerns me is: "I'm worried I will not be there enough for my kids". THIS... this is most likely a fact. Having said that - there are many single moms that managed to get through this - so its possible. It will depend on your determination and your ability to let your husband help as much as possible - and let some of the smaller things go. Its ok to cook a pizza instead of a whole meal - its ok to get your family to help you study at the table. Its ok to listen to lectures in the car instead of the radio. Its ok to have "mom" time to just study with no interruptions.

As moms our children come first - its just how we are wired. But while you are in nursing school - this may not totally be the case. You have to be ok with rolling with whatever school throws at you. It isn't permanent and you'll be able to go back to being exactly the mom you want to be when you graduate - but you have to be ok with making concessions during school.

Oh - as we get older we realize that we are human and have limitations. We see our shortcomings in a negative light because we know that our lack of knowledge can have serious consequences. People younger than us don't always know what they don't know and it works to their advantage. They are unaware of exactly how much they don't know and they steam ahead full force into the unknown. I'm not sure about you - but I'd rather be aware that I don't know everything and do my best to learn as much as I can.

Good Luck! You can do this!!!

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Normal. I felt anxious about starting and wondered if I was doing the right thing. I know many others who felt something similar. For what it is worth, I have two small kids and have managed to juggle it. You can do it, just the nerves and not knowing what to expect can cause anxiousness.

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Totally normal. I'm in the same age range as you, and I still feel that way 12 months into the program. I have a serious case of "imposter syndrome" (or whatever it's called) and doubt myself every day - and yet here I am, passing the exams and doing well.

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I finished school in Feb. I'm in my 40's, divorced, I have two degrees in addition to my nursing degree, and in a bajillion dollars of debt because of said education. Yet, I go through the day with a smile. You need to get a grip on yourself.

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I was about your age when I went thru nursing school. Yes, it's normal. I cried and threatened to quit all through first semester. It was hard, I felt like fish out of water, but I didn't want to quit so I kept going.

After awhile the time went by quicker and I was graduating before I knew it. You will miss time with your family as you go so be prepared for that. The program keeps you so busy it just demands it. Lots of testing, and then clinicals on top of that.

I thought it would give me some additional opportunities and flexibility. I also have a BS in Accounting which seems like an odd combination with an RN but I've actually met some nurses with the same backround.

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Feeling some anxiety is normal, not sure bawling during orientation is though. Nursing school and working as a nurse are both extremely difficult and stressful. I just wonder what you did prior to your hiatus and why you dont want to return to that line of work (with the BS you already have). It might be less demanding and leave more time for your kids. I would really do some soul searching as to what you want and if the sacrifices will be worth it. Either way, if this is truly your dream then you need to find a way to deal with the anxiety. I wish you well and good luck!

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I would reconsider. At this stage I would think one would be excited to start on this new adventure they've CHOSEN to go through. Feeling completely overwhelmed and ridden with anxiety at the thought of STARTING the program I think warrants a good look at the reasons for doing this in the first place.

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