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‘I feel like I’m being pushed into progressing too soon’


Can you advise this student nurse?

“I know we are a bit bottom-heavy in terms of the mix of skill levels we have, so we really need student nurses to move up the ranks as quickly as possible.

“But I feel like I’m being pushed into progressing too soon and don’t feel like I’m ready to take on the new responsibilities that are being handed to me. I’m really nervous about taking on more before I feel ready, but I also don’t want to disappoint anyone.

“If the higher-ups feel like I am ready, shouldn’t I just trust them?

“I’m just worried about not being ready for what’s laid out in front of me and want to make sure I’m prepared. But then again, I want to do my bit and help out in any way that I can, and I certainly don’t want to upset or disappoint anyone who thinks that I am ready. Any advice on what to do?”

Please use the comments section below to share your advice


Readers' comments (2)

  • It’s fine to feel a little nervous. As a newly qualified nurse I’ve not long left my student days behind me. Depending on where you are in your training should sort of determine what you are being asked to do. I found that in my first year I was mainly observational but still doing basic nursing skills. Towards the end of that year, I began to feel ready to try more skills. In my second year I became a little more hands on, but still stayed within my skill set, however was encouraged to take on more responsibilities. In my third year I was expected to manage my own patient load as by this point I was nearly ready to become a Staff Nurse. However this does not mean that if you don’t feel comfortable you can’t say so, you should never be expected to do more than your level of training permits, nor should you attempt this if you are not happy to do so. Talk to your mentors and explain your worries or concerns, or your link lecturer if you are having difficulties with placement.

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  • It’s a difficult one. You have a lot to learn and three years isn’t a long time in the greater scheme of things. At the same time, it’s nerve racking to do things you feel are out of your depth, and part of being a nurse (which includes a student nurse) is to recognise your abilities and “work within your own scope of practice”. The main thing seems to be that you don’t feel fully supported whilst you’re learning these new skills - that you’re having new responsibilities thrusted upon you without the ability to turn round and ask for help if you struggle and that’s understandly worrying for you. I think it would be a good idea to sit down with your mentor, or if not them then your student link nurse or personal tutor. Explain how you feel, and try to allow them to see it from your point of view, and listen to what they have to say in return. I have encouraged students I’ve worked with to do things they were afraid of doing because I knew they could do it, and just needed the support of having me there to fall back on if they were unsure - and they felt so proud of themselves afterwards. However if you feel what’s being asked of you is something that is way beyond your capabilities to a point where it would be dangerous for you or your patients, speak up.

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