It is only human to question what you are doing with your life. Most of us would like to make some small difference in the world. Becoming a nurse means making a huge difference in the world one patient at a time. But what happens when the pressure of nursing school feels so heavy that you just want to give up? I was there and would love to share with you what I wish I could say to my student nurse self 15 years ago.
Nursing school is not without challenge. There are many hurdles along the way. The intense amount of studying required is your first challenge. For me, the theory was easy. I had to study constantly, but taking an exam was not the big challenge. The challenge for me was translating the theory into clinical and finding the confidence in myself in clinical. The thing is that facing challenges in nursing school will only make you a stronger individual and a better nurse.
Look forward to the freedom you will be awarded when you graduate, when you find your first job, and when you receive your first paycheck. On those tough days when you are ready to quit, look to the finish line. Dig as deep as you can to finish that care plan. Take one challenge thrown at you at a time. Joining the profession allows you freedom to make both professional and personal changes in your life. Dream of traveling? Get your time in and soon enough you can make traveling a part of your job.
Becoming a nurse means having a stable job for the rest of your life. If one area of nursing is not working for you, there are dozens of other areas waiting to be explored that ensure the same stability. You will never suffer losing a job as long as you practice in a way that is congruent to the profession. My first job was waiting for me when I graduated. My dream job was in the NICU and it just so happened that the manager was a regular in the café I worked in. She kept her promise when she told me to see her for a job after graduation.
Becoming a nurse means having the flexibility in your life to make necessary changes, whether financial or personal. You might find that in the beginning of your career it is you that needs to be more flexible. You may have to work night shift though you wished for the day shift job. You may not start your career in your dream unit or may find that your dream unit is not what you thought it would be. What you will find after a little experience is that you have flexibility to work when, where, and how often you want. Your skills and knowledge will be in constant demand. Passing your boards and gaining experience awards you this luxury.
Anyone that seems to breeze through nursing school easily is part of a minority. Avoid comparing your struggle with others. Your experience is unique. Just remember that what lies on the other side of graduation is a wide open world. Your career can take you anywhere, literally. Stay strong!!
Lori is an American nurse and yogini living in Gothenburg, Sweden. She contributes regularly to Mighty Nurse, AWHONN, American Nurse Today, and has been featured in The Huffington Post. Follow her adventures through her blog, Neonurse, or on Instagram.