The life of a nursing student comes in phases. First is the excitement of getting into nursing school, the exhilaration of starting clinicals, and experiencing hands-on patient care. And then the countdown to graduation starts.
But as it begins to loom around the corner, some students seem to be afraid of leaving school—all for different reasons. Here are some of them:
Reality bites and is knocking at your door.
For many nursing students, this will be their first professional job and reality really sinks in. You’ll begin to realize how good you had it with study dates at the coffee shop with friends and post exam celebrations that lasted all weekend. Now, you’re starting to be concerned about grown-up responsibilities.
You didn’t pay attention.
There is so much to learn in nursing school and so many tests to take along the way. Unfortunately, once you pass the test, the information also disappears. Students begin to realize they should have paid more attention to class, even though they didn’t like the topic.
You are afraid you will not find a job.
Although anxious to start your chosen career, students are often fearful they will not find their dream nursing job. As the job market sways, so do job opportunities. Locally, new graduates are finding jobs, but not necessarily in the areas they had hoped.
Fear of the unknown.
Starting any new job is scary. Personally, I think the nursing profession has its own set of uniquely scary aspects. It is a lot of responsibility to care for someone in need. Most students begin to have this realization as they approach graduation. They know the safety net of their instructor and/or peers will no longer be there to support them.
Leaving your (nursing) family.
Nursing school is a very unique and intense experience. When you go through it with the same group over the course of a few years, it’s hard to say good-bye. Even though you did not always get along, just like any dysfunctional family, you stick together. It’s always hard to say good-bye to family.
Yes, graduation can be scary. But most things that seem scary at first are always worth it in the end. You are not the first nursing student to graduate and will not be the last, so rest assured. The next chapter of your life is waiting for you—go get it!
By Joan Spitrey, RN, BSN, CCRN