A note to nursing students

The first day of nursing school. How can those six words
cause so much fear, panic, and excitement in the hearts of nursing students
everywhere? I will never forget my first day of orientation. I sat there
looking around at the seventy-four other students in the room and thought,
“They all look so…. confident. Why can’t I be more like them?” They were
relaxed and talking to one another, while I sat there praying that I wouldn’t
provide the first example of “Dealing with a Code Vomit.” After a few introductions, they brought in a
man from the testing center to give us tips on being Accelerated Nursing
students. One of the first things he said was, “If you are the type of student
who relies on flashcards, you will not make it in this program.” Hmm… where’s the
nearest exit door?! I left that first day in tears, convinced that I would
never return. We were assigned a few hundred pages to read for our first day of
class, so I spent the entire weekend reading, taking notes, crying, and trying
to convince myself to quit. With the support of my close friends and family, I
decided to stick with it for at least two months and then quit if I still
wanted to. Every two months I renewed this little contract with myself, until
finally there weren’t two months left. Now that I am finished with nursing
school, I am extremely thankful that I stuck it out. I’ll be honest, it was not
easy. There were days where I was completely convinced that I had lost my mind.
Other days I thought everyone around me had lost theirs. Looking back now, it
is probably safe to say that I was right in both instances. 😉 I now know that I was definitely not the only
one nervous that first day. We all were. Some of us were just better at hiding
it than others. Every one of us felt lost or alone at some point throughout our
program. So if you are a student nurse and you feel like you are the only one
who just “doesn’t get it,” trust me, you are not by yourself! Find some
classmates you can get along with and be there for each other. Their support will
get you through it.

One of my always-present fears as a student was that I was
going to embarrass myself. Unfortunately, this fear became a reality far too
often. After a few months I grew accustomed to looking like an idiot and found
the strength to laugh at myself. Finding the ability to laugh at yourself is
crucial to surviving nursing school. You are not going to be perfect no matter
how hard you try! You can read about a procedure over & over in your books
or practice with mannequins, but once you are working with real people, things
don’t go as planned. Your quick stop in the room to give a medication can turn
into a huge ordeal if your patient has explosive diarrhea. Or you might be
shaking so badly while giving your first shot that you don’t get the needle all
the way in. Suppositories can be slippery and don’t always go where they are
supposed to (now THAT is embarrassing!).
Always try your best, but don’t beat up on yourself when the end result
is not what you hoped for.

I recommend writing about your experiences in school. Any
time I go back and read my old postings from my first clinicals, I get a great
laugh (see October archives on the right side of my page). It also lets me see how far I have really come. If you need any
encouragement or have questions along the way, leave me a comment in my
guestbook (upper right corner of my site) and I’ll get back to you as soon as I
can! Also, click on the links to PDA Programs or Pharmacology. And if you are a flashcard user, click here. These should
help you with your nursing classes. Good luck! Let me know how I can help you on your journey to become a nurse!



12 thoughts on “A note to nursing students

  1. Hey Katie,I\’ve really enjoyed your blog. Orientation is tomorrow and I appreciate the pep talk. I hope you will keep bloging now that you are out in the real world :)Linda

  2. Big huge CONGRATS to your 2nd feature on MSN!  BTW… are you interested in working in Minnesota?  My SIL is a nurse in the Twin Cities, and she has connections.  (She was also a nurse in Florida, Wisconsin, and New York if you prefer.)  Just say the word!

  3. Profiled again?! Congrats!! I like this blog…And just remember nursing students….if some of those that went before you made it, so can you!!!!
    Jeankfl, RN

  4. Hello Katie!  As you already know, I just started my Rad Tech program last week.  So far I have experienced everything you mentioned above in the first paragraph. 
    I have the same ever-present fear of embarassing myself.  I know in the months to come there will be plenty of times when this will happen to me and I have accepted it as part of the learning process (I say this now but I might have a different opinion when it actually happens :))  We start clinicals pretty early in our program…mid-October.  I\’m so nervous about this!! 
    Anway, I just wanted to let you know that have given some great advice and really hit the nail on the head as far as what to expect.   Thanks!

  5. Katie,
    OMG if you can keep me updated on your fellow nursing student I\’d be forever in your debt!!  The international guidance counsellors don\’t know their heads from their asses here!!  The whole green card thing is VERY intimidating!  I love your blog, I wish I could write like you…but this town is too small and too many people know about my blog! lol

  6. Hey Katie: Four years ago, when I first started considering becoming a Nurse, I would pick any Nurses\’ brain that I would come across.  One Nurse had told me, "Forget about your social life for the entire two years." I remember thinking "Yeah right. It can\’t be THAT bad!"  That Nurse wasn\’t lying!!  But by God, the struggle, tears and sleepless nights were SO worth it!  I\’ll always remember the first day of nursing school as a first year student…I\’ll never forget the pride I felt on the first day of nursing school as a second year student.  Most of all, I\’ll forever cherish the joy I felt on my Graduation Day! I literally was on cloud nine that day – nothing and nobody could get me down.  That was the day I had dreamt about and worked so hard for the entire journey through Nursing School. I truly have enjoyed your blogs.  I wish I had chronicled my experiences throughout the past two years.  Luckily my yearbook captured some of my embarrassing moments!  You\’ve helped me realize that the struggle I was going through is completely OK! Your links to Pharmacology, PDA programs and Cardiac was so helpful.  I hope that you don\’t stop your blog once you start working!

  7. I make a deal with myself every WEEK. This is my first semester, and the nursing home nearly did me in emotionally. The work\’s ok, the depression was too much. But I\’m cheap… I convinced myself I already paid for it, I might as well finish the semester and I can decide to quit later.
    I\’ve saved your blog to look at later during my moments of weakness. I started writing about nursing school in my Myspace. if you want to be \’friends\’ its /bjolsen.

  8. wow! In nursing orientation, I felt the same way. I looked around the room and it seemed like everyone knew what they were doing. I\’ve done okay in my science courses but i dont know if i can follow through with nursing courses .I\’m completely freaking out about my clinicals this fall. What can I do to best prepare myself? What kind of studying technique works best?
    ps I am sooo a flashcard person!

  9. Thanks for your story. It really is helping me out at this moment. I was shaking so bad when i gave an injection the other day and have been beating myself up for it. I think that by reading your story i can kind of lighten up.

  10. Hi Katie.Your story was very interesting.Ive always wanted to be a nurse but didnt get enough points in my leaving cert.This year I have applied to do it.Im from Waterford,Ireland.Where is the best place to study nursing and could you tell me a bit more of your experience with nursing.My email address is hazelnutoc@yahoo.ieThanks for your help.Keep in touch,Hazel.

  11. hi Katie! I just stumbled on your blog today because I was searching for more information from actual students about Accelerated Nursing programs. I am right now considering the program and I was wondering how old were you when you did the program? Right now I am 21 getting a bachelors degree in a non-nursing major, and I am at the point where its too late to turn back, so I am thinking that once I complete that degree, then I will start the Accelerated program. Does that sound silly? From reading a lot of your blog entries, I would appreciate anything you would have to say. Thanks you so much!! My email is bunnyblu33@hotmail.comI hope you are having a wonderful summer so far!- Michelle

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