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‘I can’t stop worrying’


Can you advise this student nurse?

“I can’t stop feeling massive waves of anxiety whenever I’m on placement.

“Then I go home at the end of the shift feeling even more worried if anything, wondering if I’ve done or not done the right things. I wake up in the night convinced a patient will have died due to some unknown mistake I’ve made.

“Weirdly, I seem to be getting worse. I had this in my first year but could usually talk myself round but I’m in second year now so even though I’m more used to nursing, I have more autonomy and more opportunity to make some terrible mistake.

“I honestly don’t think I’m cut out for nursing. I do well academically and my mentors are always happy to pass my placements but the thought of the responsibility that comes with being a qualified nurse terrifies me.”

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Readers' comments (2)

  • I could've written this myself (I'm a first year student) and I've said the same things over and over in my head with regards to responsibility and being terrified.

    Try to voice your worries, do you have a personal tutor that you have a good relationship with? If so, try them as a first port of call, they're not going to be surprised to hear that you're feeling so anxious and in my experience uni tutors are very supportive of students in this situation.

    If you don't want to talk to a tutor, what about your uni counselling service? They'll have heard these things before, so they're not going to judge you and sometimes it's easier to talk to someone that doesn't know you personally.

    It's good that you've identified your worries, my advice is get hold of those worries now and deal with them, don't allow things to get worse, there's no shame in asking for a bit of support and reassurance.

    Good Luck!

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  • I'm heading into nursing as my second career, and will start my course this coming September.
    What I can share is that I felt like that at the start of my first career; I felt sick and had terrible IBS. I would lie awake worrying about the next day. I didn't feel able to make changes so carried on.
    By persevering, and seeking support from friends and family (and occasionally, colleagues), I overcame those nerves, developed confidence, skills and eventual enjoyment in work.
    That experience will assist me as I head into nursing, but I also take comfort in the level of support and teamwork modern nursing needs. Take full advantage of that, and if there is something in particular you do not feel prepared for - be candid about it. That way help should be forthcoming to ease the load.
    Remember, everyone want Nurses to succeed.
    If anxiety persists, I agree counselling could help. For example, it with your fear of patients dying.

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