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‘I’m dreading returning to nursing after summer’


Can you advise this student nurse?

“Help! I’ve suddenly realised that I’m due to go back to uni in a few weeks and the thought fills me with dread!

“I won’t say I’ve loved first year but I’ve worked hard and was determined to be a nurse. But after being at home and back with my real friends and my family I’m starting to wonder if it’s worth being away from home for another two years.

“I guess what I’m trying to find out is do other people feel this way? I know homesickness is normal but this is more than that, I really can’t face the thought of starting anther placement and being back outside my comfort zone.

“I don’t want to give up but I’d feel so relieved if I did. As hurtful as it would be, I half want someone to tell me that this means I’m not nurse-material and make it ok to drop out!”

- Anonymous

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Readers' comments (7)

  • Don't give up just yet :-) I know it's incredibly hard being away from close friends and family, while at the same time being pushed out of your comfort zone. I experienced a very similar situation 12 years ago when I was 18 and studying mental health nursing. I dropped out as I couldn't deal with the pressure and with being away from loved ones, and hey, the world didn't cave in. BUT in hindsight I do wish I had persevered and had the courage (like you) to ask for help and advice rather than just quitting. I'm no expert, but I would say that if you could make some time to speak to your tutor and tell them how you are feeling, they should give you some moral support?
    And also it's worth bearing in mind that if you keep going, once you qualify you'll be able to return to your old neighbourhood and work there as a nurse, a solid rewarding career, living close to family etc.
    I am now only after 12 years in a position where I can now return to my studies, and am starting uni again in September to try again - and am also apprehensive and anxious that I don't want to 'fail' again. But there is no such thing as failure and whatever you decide to do, it sounds like you have some solid friends and family that will love you no matter what. Good luck with whatever you decide to do :-)

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  • Hi! Firstly you should know that you're most definitely the first person who has felt this way. I have just finished my second year of adult nursing. My first year of uni was a hard one, I too moved away from family and the friends I'd had since childhood and I did not find 'real' friends in first year. I didn't click with my flatmates, nor many of the girls on my course and I had many, many thoughts of giving up and going home. I persevered and started my second year and everything turned around. I focused on the main reason I had started in the first place, I wanted to be a nurse!! The second year of nursing for me has turned my life around. I lived with different people and have founds friends i'll have for life, I went abroad for a placement and made friends with other nursing students who I get on so well with, who I wouldn't have met without putting myself out there. Nursing is bloody hard work and I'm pretty sure that unless you're a nursing student you couldn't possibly understand what we do. The best advice I can give is from experience as someone who nearly gave up myself. Focus on what is at the end and take every opportunity thats thrown at you. You are nurse material, you've made it through a year of doing something so demanding and rewarding!

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  • the next year might be easier or better. know that you can bail out anytime but focus on the opportunities you have and if you give up how much you may regret it later on. Maybe try and finish, gain some working experience and you can always branch out into other areas afterwards and the training and experience you receive you will surely never regret..

    nursing is tough and most of us have been through a career of ups and downs and self doubt - it seems all part of being human but in nursing you get to meet such a broad range of people and make a positive difference to their lives, a privilege you may not have in many other jobs and from which you can derive enormous satisfaction and motivational drive to aim even higher and do even better for your patients as you discover and learn more and more.

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  • sounds like the back to school syndrome, return to work after the holidays or a Monday morning syndrome that some of us experience painfully every time and it can go on for years but must fortunately manage to get over it once we get stuck back in again and find something of interest to engage us and go on to develop successful and highly rewarding careers. if this is not the case and it is far worse than this sometimes we need to talk to others and garner support and maybe even from a GP, counsellor or other to ensure or treat any underlying depression and/or other difficulties with coping mechanisms.

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  • Things are just getting started! First year you're finding your feet and essentially being thrown in at the deep end, but then I found that second year is when everything starts falling into place both academically and practically! In my first year I didn't really click with anybody that I was living with, I was the only person in my uni group to be living over 50 miles away from home, all my friends were starting their last years at uni, and I never really found anybody id consider to be a real friend, not to mention that placements were long and new and demanding. However, second year has been a whole new experience! I am now living with two girls I consider to be my best friends who are also doing my course, all the academic material is finally fitting into place and making sense, and im no longer daunted by placements or even nervous about starting in a new place. I believe that second year is when you really start to get that sense of feeling like a nurse, that "I can do this" epiphany. And if it hasn't come to you yet, it will!

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  • Please please stick with it!
    I had a rough first year when I was training ( in Ireland and it is 4 years there) the summer was amazing long nights, I worked as a lifeguard at the time and a swimming teacher and the thought of going back filled me with dread and fear and I often thought about leaving it and continuing just as I was all year long with the people, the friends and the pool. I hadn't really clicked with my house mates either I was going to be living with friends I had made in nursing (as we could no longer avail of uni accommodation) but we couldn't find somewhere we all agreed on and that soon turned sour, we fell out and that made the fear worse.
    My last placement before the summer holidays had not been pleasant and I hated it, but my mum gave me some great advice, she asked 'Why did you want to do it?''
    I answered because I had wanted for ever, I wanted to help people to support people to give something back, and she said to me
    ''do not let the fear of something prevent you from pursuing your dreams''
    She was right, I returned we did specialist placements and I discovered a passion for two things I never thought I would love!
    6 years later I've worked in critical care in two different countries, traveled the world as a nurse and I am now in infection control and recently married to the man I met on my very first nursing job post graduating!
    Never let fear stop you from pursuing what you want.
    Remember great things never come from staying in your comfort zone!

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  • HCSW

    @ Anonymous | 27-Aug-2015 5:07 am

    Thank you for these words of wisdom!

    It is a real pleasure to read an optimistic comment on this website: 99% focuses only on the money!

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