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'I don't want to return to placements after summer'


Can you advise this student nurse?

“I really can’t face going back to uni in a couple of weeks. It’s not the course or the workload, it’s the placements that are the problem.

“I just can’t stand the stress of being new and having to learn how each placement works and then as soon as I get comfortable having to move on and do it all again. Being at home for the past few weeks has made me remember how nice it is to not constantly be outside my comfort zone and to be surrounded by people who I just feel comfortable with.

“I’m naturally a shy person so when I’m on placement I really struggle even to ask if I can watch staff do something. It takes so much energy for me to overcome my anxieties and ask for learning opportunities and I’m dreading doing it again.

“I know I have to go back if I want to be a nurse but right now I’m so tempted to bury my head in the sand and just not do it.

“No-one close to me has any idea how sick I’m feeling about it so I’m hoping venting to strangers on SNT will help me figure this out!”


Please use the comments section below to share your advice

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Readers' comments (9)

  • I'm sorry you're feeling this way dear. Think everything through carefully...weigh the pros and cos of not going back. I would advise you to return and see how things go this semester, things could change...
    I am due to start in September (1st year) myself and I've been having second thoughts lately after reading various posts from student nurses and what they go seeing everything in the news about how Nurses are under a lot of stress and how they are overworked. It's all getting to me. But I'm willing to give it a go, so I can see for myself how things are and that way I will never have to wonder what it could have been like if I had gone ahead with the course.
    So, dont give up love, keep pressing through I'm sure things will get better and if they dont and you feel that this is not for you, you can leave. There's nothing wrong with quitting I always say, because the last thing anyone should do is carry on with something they're not comfortable with. It only leads to misery.
    Good luck with everything! Wish me luck too lol :-)

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  • If you leave, you will always wonder should I have endeavoured and stayed on? At the moment , it appears that you have two choices- should I stay or should I go?
    How do you feel about going back and also talking to your University support / guidance/ counselling professionals? It should be confidential and give you space to discuss your problems. You may then decide to discuss matters with your tutors.Although, it may appear that at the moment, all the other students are confident and not share your anxiety, underneath many will have similar concerns.
    Please, give yourself as many options as possible.You are not the same person that went into Nursing- you have gone through learning experiences and are growing , and although, you may not realise it, you have changed . The comfortable old familiar of home may appear as a non-challenging place but can end up restricting you and your choices.

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  • I can really empathise with your feelings about returning to placements after the summer. I have been a Nurse for 3 years now and am so pleased I fought through the stresses of the course! I have always been described as 'horrendously shy' throughout my life so bouncing from one placement to the next was a real challenge for me. The advice I would offer you is that it honestly gets so much easier over time. Even as a qualified Nurse you will not always feel self assured, but you need to put on a strong, confident front to make your patients feel comfortable. Learning this skill has helped me not only in nursing but in my personal and social life too. So as much as I felt terrified and out of my comfort zone at the time, I am really pleased now that I stuck through it to the end! I hope this helps and good luck with the rest of your course!

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  • Think about the decision you made when you wanted to be a nurse, I believe like most nurses the reason is that you want to care and make a difference, if that is the case, don't give up yet, all the above comments are good advise.

    When I first started my nurse training a long time ago, I was painfully shy.
    I went through some challenging times, my determination got me through, because thats what I really wanted to do.

    Please seek support from your tutors and have a chat with your mentor, don't be afraid to talk through your anxieties.

    Best wishes

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  • Michelle

    I know exactly how you feel as during university I struggled with my introversion and other aspects of the course too. However I have to say since qualifying I really have blossomed in terms of my personality. I'm still awkward and shy at times, but having a consistent workplace and doing a job I love has helped.

    Have you spoken to your link lecturer or a tutor you're able to open up with regarding this? Also it helps if you're able to be allocated a really understanding mentor in your placement area (easier said than done).

    It may help if prior to each placement you visit the area unofficially just to speak to your mentor and explain your feelings and apprehensions about entering a new placement?

    But don't forget, even though you are understandably feeling tired and exhausted with the amount of energy you put into overcoming your anxieties in each placement, you DO have that ability to overcome it and the energy you're putting in will be worth it. Good luck.

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  • Ibby

    Try to reprogram your thinking. I know how difficult it is, I share your shyness, but try to imagine yourself doing well in your most challenging situations. Think about what success is for you and how you would feel accomplishing that, immerse yourself in that and then try it on placement.

    When you are shy it is so easy to just hide away, so do the hard work while you are alone, once you have a mental idea of how you perceive success you will be able to transfer that into the real life situation. Even if you start with small things, when they go well you will gain confidence, if it doesn't go well reflect on it.

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  • Hey, NT!! I am on this website, paying monthly fee, because I love nursing. There is nothing , nothing so amazing like nursing! Talking to people, making people feel good, exploring their stories, assuring them of passing their requests to the CN/charge nurse, or Dr, and importantly listening to them,.. is immeasurable. I have come to this Great Land with Zero English knowledge, I pushed myself to the limit, started volunteering in the community, doing things no one with " normal status" would do, to help the needy. I did it because, I loved mostly being around elderlies, they have the most powerful stories... However, I got into nursing. Placements have all been tremendous, except one. YES ONE!!! In fact, I always dreaded going on placement, because placement is like " going for a few weeks in someone else house, where you are asked to do all right as if you were the owner..." Impossible?!! Every day you go home with a feeling, you have not done enough. But, keep trying, keep trying because your mentor, associate mentor and others see how vulnerable, and desperate you are. Ask, even when your heart says NO, do it. Do not overdo, just be there, ask, and try... and SMILE, KEEPING YOUR pain in yourself. I have hated it too, but my strength comes from having worked many years in a care home. Please, be courageous, we need more nurses... Keep smiling , everything gonna be just alright!!

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  • Has the hospital got a Practice Learning Team? There will be someone there who is impartial and will be able to talk through your anxieties. It is sometimes easier to talk to them because they aren't ward based staff and they don't work for the university either. They are al nurses themselves or another registered professional, so will understand where you are coming from.

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  • So sorry to hear you feel this way. But please do keep at it, it will be so worth while, I am often described as painfully shy and can find meeting new people very stressful and awkward. I have been sat in the toilet crying, heart racing before going onto the wards at ten to seven in the morning thinking "how am I going to do this?!" But you do and more importantly there is help and support available, don't ever be afraid to ask and be open and honest about how you feel with your mentors, tutors, fellow students or anyone you trust. You will be surprised to hear how many other nurses who may appear confident actually feel or have felt just like you! Stay strong and ask for help, I have found CBT really helpful, you can get referred through your gp and your uni/hospital will have services too, many have a 24 hour hotline so check online! Good luck and keep your chin up I promise it will be worth it!

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