Are you a nursing student? Does this post title sound familiar to you? If not… are you even in nursing school? LOL. Let me tell you about a recent breakdown I had…
First, let me tell you that I have anxiety (I mean who doesn’t) and I take medication for it daily. I have had it since high school. Sometimes it really gets the best of me and I overthink sometimes… and by sometimes, I mean ALL OF THE TIME. Nursing school is FREAKING HARD. I have asked multiple friends who have a Bachelor degree in something else from a university, and they agree that an Associate’s Degree nursing program is the hardest this they have ever done. I am seriously not exaggerating. (But don’t let this steer you away if you are in the beginning stages of getting into a nursing program… it is so worth it).
So along with the many breakdowns I’ve had throughout this whole program, I had one just the other day during a shift for preceptorship. My preceptorship is on a cardiovascular unit, which is the floor I requested to be on because I have a fascination for the heart. I don’t like to toot my own horn, but I am pretty good at reading ECG rhythms and knowing about different heart diseases. So, you would think I would be on top of my game, right? WRONG. Preceptorship has made me doubt myself because I am so used to knowing how to do things the “nursing student” way. It is TOTALLY different when it comes down actually performing as a NURSE, and taking on a load of patients (with the help of your preceptor of course).
So my preceptor asked me a couple pertinent questions that were super important to know being on a cardiovascular unit. I unfortunately couldn’t answer her questions because I had forgotten to do important tasks (a.k.a, knowing my patients’ heart rhythms at the beginning of the shift). Let me also add that this was a very CHILL day, and there was a low census on the unit, so we only had 2 patients and one admission.
My preceptor and I went into the medication room, where my preceptor started telling me advice to get through my day… but my brain just said, “do it… cry like you always do”… and well… out came the water works… I really hate crying in front of other nurses. I didn’t want to seem weak and that I couldn’t handle the career choice of being a nurse. Then 2 more nurses came in, and the water works turned into rivers down my face. Fortunately, the nurses knew where I was coming from and they made sure to give me their advice and that they had been in my shoes once too.
So… why was I crying? I wasn’t crying because I was overwhelmed by the patients. I was overwhelmed because I didn’t feel READY. I graduate in the middle of May and that day just made me feel like I was not ready to graduate and pursue jobs. All because I didn’t know the answers to a couple questions my preceptor was asking me. I felt like she couldn’t rely on me to “call the shots” when I got further into my preceptorship. I had the knowledge of a nursing student but not as a nurse who can think for themselves. I felt out of control, and one thought after another just turned into being overwhelmed and I could NOT STOP CRYING FOR THE LIFE OF ME!
Fortunately, my preceptor took the time out of her day to talk to me outside of the hospital and to help me realize that I am not expected to be perfect and I am not expected to know everything when I get my first job as a nurse. That is why there are New Grad Programs. She helped me realize that many nurses before they started working had the same realization and overwhelming day I had. I was in the same shoes as many nurses were before they began their journey. She also told me to not be hard on myself and that she could see that I am an overachiever; which I totally am… I hold myself up to certain standards and I get upset when I don’t stay up to those standards. I am super hard on myself and I just want to be that perfect nurse… which I know is never going to happen. No one is perfect but that is just how my silly brain works.
I stopped crying after about an hour or so. I know… I am ridiculous… I just couldn’t stop crying. I tried so hard!
Next time you find yourself having a breakdown… know that it is completely normal having those feelings. Most people want to be this amazing nurse they have always dreamt to be.
Not everyone is going to be as emotional as I was, and that doesn’t determine how much you care. Just that drive to want to do better and to attempt to be the best nurse you can be, shows that you care and have ambitions to provide the most amazing care to your future patients.
I hope whoever is reading this can take something from this post. I hope you know that you are doing great. If you are feeling down and don’t know who to talk to, please email me. I am here to help because I have been in your shoes.
I hope you have a fantastic day, and always do your best. 🙂