The Student Room Group

Student nurse who is struggling immensely.

Hello, please excuse the length of this but I feel I am at a loss.

So a bit of back story about my nursing degree: I began it in ’21 at the age of 23, and struggled a lot in my first year causing me to have quite a bit of time off placements - a close family member died during my first placement, and my second placement was a mix of me suffering a lot with anxiety and depression, and not feeling welcomed by the staff most of the time, again causing me to have a lot of time off and having to make up hours at the end of the year.

Once I began my second year in ’22, the academic side wasn’t bad, however as soon as I started my first placement of 2nd year, I had a huge mental shut down (only thing I can think to call it), and could only attend one day of placement before I just could not make myself go. I spent a lot of time in bed, and crying, going home for a while and contemplating why I was doing this degree. Consulting with the uni, I decided to take a year out of placement, and only focus on the theory side for the year, and spend the year after doing both the placements (essentially, my 2nd year was split into 2 years).

And fast forward to the present, I am now in that second part of year 2, and at the beginning of my altogether ‘3rd’ placement. It’s not a bad placement, however I have entered into the same mindset again and experiencing a mental shutdown where I mentally and physically cannot make myself go. I believe a lot of this is to do with my debilitating anxiety I suffer from, and my inability to want to put myself in any place I may feel anxiety (avoidance as a method of self protection).

I do not want to drop out of this degree and the thought makes me feel like a complete failure, however I worry so much that due to my mental health capacity, which I have greatly suffered from since I was a teenager and has led to me dropping out of a lot of things including a previous degree, I’m not cut out for a job with such a high stress level and responsibility. It’s not like I don’t enjoy some of the things I do, e.g. taking blood, talking to patients, and I have had good days at this placement, however I do make a lot of mistakes and a lot of the time think I really lack the empathy needed to go above and beyond for patients. Maybe this is because I am so wrapped up in my anxiety, but I spend most of my shifts counting down the hours and my anxiety just completely overrules me.

I honestly do not know what to do, and feel like a complete failure at life being almost 26 and still living at home.
Firstly, seek out some help through uni or your GP. I don't know if you already have mental health support in place, or even if it's necessarily needed, but it might be an idea just to discuss it with some people.

Secondly, I'm not sure if it's having different placements with unfamiliar staff that is the main stressor for you, but you could look into apprenticeships in nursing or associate practitioner? Whilst you would still have to do some rotations to other units for placements, they would typically be with the same employer, and knowing that you have a main "base" may help in managing your anxiety.

Finally, I don't like to tell people not to go into certain healthcare roles, but there's no shame in discovering that a role is not for you. If you still want to be involved in healthcare, but struggle with the clinical aspect, you could use your already held nursing degree credits maybe to get a non-nursing degree with the Open University, and then focus postgraduate on healthcare policy research or public health.

Either way, speak to someone and best of luck! :smile:
(edited 6 months ago)
Reply 2
it does soun like you have an issue with the practice side of your course. what is it that causes your issues
Original post by Licia011998
Hello, please excuse the length of this but I feel I am at a loss.

So a bit of back story about my nursing degree: I began it in ’21 at the age of 23, and struggled a lot in my first year causing me to have quite a bit of time off placements - a close family member died during my first placement, and my second placement was a mix of me suffering a lot with anxiety and depression, and not feeling welcomed by the staff most of the time, again causing me to have a lot of time off and having to make up hours at the end of the year.

Once I began my second year in ’22, the academic side wasn’t bad, however as soon as I started my first placement of 2nd year, I had a huge mental shut down (only thing I can think to call it), and could only attend one day of placement before I just could not make myself go. I spent a lot of time in bed, and crying, going home for a while and contemplating why I was doing this degree. Consulting with the uni, I decided to take a year out of placement, and only focus on the theory side for the year, and spend the year after doing both the placements (essentially, my 2nd year was split into 2 years).

And fast forward to the present, I am now in that second part of year 2, and at the beginning of my altogether ‘3rd’ placement. It’s not a bad placement, however I have entered into the same mindset again and experiencing a mental shutdown where I mentally and physically cannot make myself go. I believe a lot of this is to do with my debilitating anxiety I suffer from, and my inability to want to put myself in any place I may feel anxiety (avoidance as a method of self protection).

I do not want to drop out of this degree and the thought makes me feel like a complete failure, however I worry so much that due to my mental health capacity, which I have greatly suffered from since I was a teenager and has led to me dropping out of a lot of things including a previous degree, I’m not cut out for a job with such a high stress level and responsibility. It’s not like I don’t enjoy some of the things I do, e.g. taking blood, talking to patients, and I have had good days at this placement, however I do make a lot of mistakes and a lot of the time think I really lack the empathy needed to go above and beyond for patients. Maybe this is because I am so wrapped up in my anxiety, but I spend most of my shifts counting down the hours and my anxiety just completely overrules me.

I honestly do not know what to do, and feel like a complete failure at life being almost 26 and still living at home.

Hi,

I'm sorry to hear that you have been finding placements so overwhelming. Speaking as a 3rd year student nurse, it's completely normal to have some levels of anxiety and nervousness whilst on placement however, it seems to be taking over completely for you and making you unable to enjoy yourself or grow in confidence.

I would recommend speaking to your course lead or personal tutor about your current situation and see if they have recommendations as to how best for you to continue with your studies. Placements are heavy going but they shouldn't be making you feel like this.

I would also recommend you contact your GP about getting a referral for some mental health support as it seems like the anxiety is having a huge impact on your ability to partake in daily activities. It may be that you need some counselling to support you through the anxiety and learn healthy coping mechanisms that aren't as overwhelming.

At the end of the day, no job or degree is worth jeopardising your physical or mental health so you really need to consider if nursing is the best thing for you which I think you should discuss with your course lecturers.

I hope this is of some assistance and I wish you the best of luck with your future,

Mary
London South Bank University Student Rep (3rd-year Children's Nursing)

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