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‘I’m unhappy’


Can you advise this student nurse?

“I wasn’t sure even when I applied if I wanted to be a nurse. I wanted to go to university and didn’t really know what to do, but I enjoyed being a carer in my gap year and thought I’d give nursing a go.

“I never really made up my mind and now I’m in third year and not only am I unsure if I even want to be a nurse, but I’m just plain unhappy all the time.

“It’s not that I’ve had particularly bad placements (although some of them have been awful) or that I find the work too hard, I just don’t enjoy it.

“I dread going to placement or lectures and seem to be the only person who doesn’t get butterflies at the thought of answering the phone and saying “staff nurse speaking”. I hide it well but I really don’t want to be a nurse.

“I don’t want to waste the work I’ve put in but will I be wasting another year staying on the course? I genuinely don’t know what to do – any advice appreciated!”

- Anonymous


Please use the comments section below to share your advice


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Readers' comments (5)

  • I think you've answered your own question: "I really don’t want to be a nurse."
    Despite the fact you would regret your decision to stay on the programme and register as a qualified nurse if you are deeply unhappy academically and professionally, think of the patients who will require the care of a nurse who does not want to be a nurse. Surely you can see this is not in the best interests of the patients and ultimately, yourself?

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  • I have just finished my Mental-Health nursing degree, having been seconded (previously a band 6 non-professionally affiliated clinician for 8 years). I must say that I found some of my placements all but unbearable and that none of them were up to a standard that I would have expected. For what its worth I would suggest that you give some thought to the enormous variety of roles that a qualified nurse can fulfill. It is a varied profession and I would be surprised if there isn't something that you would find rewarding and satidfying. Equally, with two years of study behind you it would be a shame to waste the opportuniy to complete your degree......even if you never take a nursing role (some people never do). Try talking with your programme lead or personal and professional development tutor to work through your experience. Also, you would have nothing to lose by accessing student counselling. It would be a shame to abandon your studies now then regret it later. Best of luck to you.

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  • I agree with J Johnson, that there are so many specialties in nursing to explore. I myself was disenchanted with the medical floors, as I believed the nurse ran around like a crazy person doing a version of assembly line care. When I became a senior, I took a part time weekend job in a step-down ICU. It developed into a full time job as an RN, but then I became tired and disenchanted there and took a position as a child psychiatric nurse. There I found my passion, and ended up getting my Master's in Psychiatric Nursing. I have worked as a mental health nurse, a psychiatric nurse manager in units for children and adolescents, then applied this experience to home health, and later, hospice nursing. Currently I am happily employed as a school nurse. Nursing has been an amazingly broad education for me, and opened many doors that I hadn't expected.

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  • I personally think it's so much of a waste to give up now when the end is in sight. Why not finish the degree, so you have a qualification behind you, and then look at something else? Either a different area of nursing, like a care home or school/community, or something completely different.

    It's also a little bit selfish to be honest. How many people, desperate to get a place, would have been turned down?

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  • Anonymous | 9-Oct-2014 2:03 pm

    personal feelings are what they say they are and not selfish. This student is expressing what many students and nurses of all ages may feel at some time in their lives and careers. many go through periods of self doubt which is part of the human condition and perfectly normal. this young person should be admired and thanked for her openness and honesty in bringing up a subject which many may wish to explore but have not dared to do so in public.

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