Feel like I’m too dumb to be in nursing school and that it was a mistake that I got in

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I’ve really been struggling with maternal and infant. I also have a test on Monday which I have been studying for every single day a little bit but whenever I study with classmates or do practice questions online related to the material sometimes I get them right but sometimes I get them wrong and I always feel like I don’t know enough even though I feel like sometimes I do know enough. I felt like a complete idiot and advanced Sim lab today and I feel behind my peers. Because of these feelings along with other factors I’ve been having a lot of depression which I’ve contacted a therapist about because I haven’t had any of these thoughts in a long time. However I still have been able to focus on studying which is good especially today I got like four hours straight in. But sometimes I feel like even though I understand the general concepts I don’t understand is enough and then it’s gonna hurt me and that maybe I’m not smart enough to be here and that it was a mistake. The only positive thing is that I lost 70 pounds in two years and I graduated with my first bachelors degree before getting accepted into nursing school and starting a month ago. I feel like I know what to do but nobody else can really relate to my situation because they’re too intelligent to understand where I’m coming from but I don’t know I’m really trying but maybe I’m just not good enough sometimes I feel like I’m good enough but others I feel like I’m too dumb and I don’t understand enough like I should be and I don’t pick up on stuff fast enough I wish I was more intelligent. 

Sorry if this came off as a rant or a negative but I’m just trying to vent how I feel. 

Music in My Heart

Specializes in being a Credible Source. Has 12 years experience. 2 Articles; 4,098 Posts

Vent away, my friend.

But lighten up on your feelings, brother... feelings are just that... not logical, not predictable, not rational, not reliable... your feelings are getting in the way of your rational mind.

Take this statement, for example:

Quote

but whenever I study with classmates or do practice questions online related to the material sometimes I get them right but sometimes I get them wrong and I always feel like I don’t know enough even though I feel like sometimes I do know enough.

You always feel like you don't know enough but sometimes you feel like you do know enough... Let's flip that into something actionable and data based... certain topics are challenging and your performance on predictors is not as high as you'd like it to be... figure out what are those areas and focus on them... read up on effective study skills (resources abound) and apply them.

Sometimes you get the questions right... and sometimes not... isn't that true of all of us? I'm pretty dang smart and an excellent student but I've only finished one class with 100% or greater (thanks to a curve) and have only a handful of exams where I didn't miss anything.

Therapy for your thought processes and study skills.

Here's the thing... one needn't be all that smart to be a successful nurse. Average intelligence is sufficient for most nursing roles.

MoonRose

Specializes in RN Student. Has 1 years experience. 10 Posts

It is not just you! Remember you are good enough.

I start clinicals next week and am super nervous. I was a waitress most of my life I was great with people but now being home for the last 4 years I feel like an awkward alien. Even though I usually ended up being one of the best at my past jobs I always started feeling like an idiot.

I have pretty good grades have been on the Dean's List the last 3 semesters and I feel the same way as you often. I don't think that everyone else is so much smarter. I just think you realize how real this career is and your doubting yourself. Yes, it is alot the catheters, injections, all the information.

Most of the students at my school are stressed out and nervous also. I have a friend that wasn't always the best at school and has been an RN for the last 4 years. If you study, try your hardest, and really want this I believe you can do it.

Yes there are a few geniuses that will get everything right on the tests but it is not all about the tests. There is so much more too it.

Once you get hands on experience and the routine down you will feel so much better. You are not the dumbest nor an idiot I can assure you because if you were you wouldn't question yourself so much.

You are just stressed and being hard on yourself which I think is absolutely normal as I have had the same thoughts myself. I am 32 so I can't even imagine how stressful this is for younger students.

Put that energy into learning all that you can because you have every resource available for you to succeed. Have faith in yourself. Use your nerves to prepare and touch up on the concepts you may be struggling with.

Make sure to also make time for yourself and try to eat healthy. Get in some sort of exercise; doing this has always helped to build my confidence.

I can promise you the students at my school feel the same way and there's no way that everyone is too dumb to make it or we'd never have any nurses graduate and working in the field.

You are not alone. You can do it!

MoonRose

Specializes in RN Student. Has 1 years experience. 10 Posts

Also there are so many different avenues in nursing. Maybe maternal and infant won't be the area you want to work in. That information is not necessary for the other areas you know. Just do you best to get through it we all have the areas we do better and worse in. Don't fluster yourself just keep calm and try your best to learn what you can.

Honyebee, CNA

Specializes in Customer service. Has 1 years experience. 420 Posts

Read your assigned chapters or pages. Of course, you won't know EVERYTHING even though you've been a nurse for 100 years. I have some classmates who question the credentials of our teachers who can't answer their questions. I don't fret out if a nurse doesn't know my question. Of course, some of our instructors are indeed knowledgeable and be able to tell you at the clinical level. That's impressive. They can also tell you in and out of anatomy and physiology. That makes you wonder why they didn't become a surgeon. Some people are just smarter and better than me, but I don't feel lesser or smaller. It's good for us that there are those who are gifted. I just hope that they aren't evil. 

Just wanted to say that this sounds like anxiety. The way I often experience it is the way you describe feeling. It’s -for me- a mess of everything feeling more extreme and overwhelming and therefore struggling with mental processes. When my anxiety is way up I cannot remember basic stuff. 
 

Also wanted to share that often people “fake it to make it” and from the outside looking in at them it just seems like they have it all together -and they don’t! 
 

Wishing you all the best. Do calming exercises, cold water on the face, exercise, healthy foods (not too much caffeine) and get good sleep and believe in yourself (along with all the study tips and tricks others are/will share with you). *I am just starting my prerequisites (in hopes of being accepted into a Direct-Entry MSN) -I just have life experience to share at this point; no nursing school experience.

neuron

Has 5 years experience. 537 Posts

On 2/12/2022 at 2:28 AM, FutureMaleNurse9722 said:

I’ve really been struggling with maternal and infant. I also have a test on Monday which I have been studying for every single day a little bit but whenever I study with classmates or do practice questions online related to the material sometimes I get them right but sometimes I get them wrong and I always feel like I don’t know enough even though I feel like sometimes I do know enough. I felt like a complete idiot and advanced Sim lab today and I feel behind my peers. Because of these feelings along with other factors I’ve been having a lot of depression which I’ve contacted a therapist about because I haven’t had any of these thoughts in a long time. However I still have been able to focus on studying which is good especially today I got like four hours straight in. But sometimes I feel like even though I understand the general concepts I don’t understand is enough and then it’s gonna hurt me and that maybe I’m not smart enough to be here and that it was a mistake. The only positive thing is that I lost 70 pounds in two years and I graduated with my first bachelors degree before getting accepted into nursing school and starting a month ago. I feel like I know what to do but nobody else can really relate to my situation because they’re too intelligent to understand where I’m coming from but I don’t know I’m really trying but maybe I’m just not good enough sometimes I feel like I’m good enough but others I feel like I’m too dumb and I don’t understand enough like I should be and I don’t pick up on stuff fast enough I wish I was more intelligent. 
 

sorry if this came off as a rant or a negative but I’m just trying to vent how I feel. 

Study how your instructors ask questions and then train your mind to think like that. 

Phoenix94

28 Posts

Hi!

I'll be honest, you're describing exactly how I'm feeling. What's more is that it's hard to gauge how the entire class is feeling without anyone talking, let alone disclosing their true feelings and performance. Our perceptions of what it seems like versus reality do not always align. However, I would like to propose a shift to your thinking.

First, gauging with peers can be helpful to encourage ourselves to do better, but if it starts to illicit fear, anxiety and other negative thoughts, that's the time to step back. (This thinking helps but I have to admit some days are harder than others, but I think with extra practice will make this behavior natural). Compare yourself to motivate you to keep studying. Talk to your peers about what they do to study. This is a daunting and intimidating task but as the saying goes, fortune favors the brave. So far my performance has been considerable better thanks to this. 

Second, look at how you are studying and the tools you are using to study and compare your practice questions to those the professor asks. Try to figure out where the gap is. It can be the vocabulary, a refresher on the pathophysiology, and so on.  

Third, space out studying. This includes skimming readings before lecture, taking mini notes and then adding more information on top of what you already saw. It seems tedious but it helps in the long term and allows one to focus on doing many practice questions instead of rereading notes. Research active recall for better assistance.

Fourth and equally important, give yourself some grace. As someone who is a perfectionist and an overthinker, it is important to take breaks to allow the mind to calm down and remind yourself that you are doing your best. Some days some things will stick while others not so much. Nursing school is more challenging and requires constant adaptability. Not all classes are learned and understood in the same way. As such, the study method is not always consistent. By the same token, study methods are not the same for everyone and everyone has to adapt to the new changes. There is a high chance others feel overwhelmed and frustrated as you do. Once we reach out to others, we begin to realize we do not feel alone. In fact, you are seeing that just now with your thread alone.

Also, no worries. This isn't ranting. It's called "catharsis". 

Good luck! I have faith you will pull through. Persistence, resilience and discipline are key.

subee, MSN, CRNA

Specializes in CRNA, Finally retired. Has 50 years experience. 3,679 Posts

On 2/12/2022 at 3:28 AM, FutureMaleNurse9722 said:

I’ve really been struggling with maternal and infant. I also have a test on Monday which I have been studying for every single day a little bit but whenever I study with classmates or do practice questions online related to the material sometimes I get them right but sometimes I get them wrong and I always feel like I don’t know enough even though I feel like sometimes I do know enough. I felt like a complete idiot and advanced Sim lab today and I feel behind my peers. Because of these feelings along with other factors I’ve been having a lot of depression which I’ve contacted a therapist about because I haven’t had any of these thoughts in a long time. However I still have been able to focus on studying which is good especially today I got like four hours straight in. But sometimes I feel like even though I understand the general concepts I don’t understand is enough and then it’s gonna hurt me and that maybe I’m not smart enough to be here and that it was a mistake. The only positive thing is that I lost 70 pounds in two years and I graduated with my first bachelors degree before getting accepted into nursing school and starting a month ago. I feel like I know what to do but nobody else can really relate to my situation because they’re too intelligent to understand where I’m coming from but I don’t know I’m really trying but maybe I’m just not good enough sometimes I feel like I’m good enough but others I feel like I’m too dumb and I don’t understand enough like I should be and I don’t pick up on stuff fast enough I wish I was more intelligent. 
 

sorry if this came off as a rant or a negative but I’m just trying to vent how I feel. 

Please - it's the 22nd century and time to get rid of the Male Nurse designation.  It insinuates that you specialize in taking care of males.  You are are on your way to being a Registered Nurse.  You already have a BA so you already have the chops to complete the nursing  curriculum.  Please go to student health and get evaluated for your anxiety and ways to  modify your stress.  I'm sure some of your classmates are going through the same feelings.

John2018

Specializes in Occupational Health Nursing. Has 4 years experience. 102 Posts

Same here! I struggled with maternal and child...It's too broad for me plus I am a visual learner so reading books is not enough for me to perfectly comprehend the subject matter, I think but that didn't stop me. Remember that you have a lot more options for resources now. But first, get into the roots of your problem and work your way up. 

lifelearningrn, BSN, RN

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 8 years experience. 2,522 Posts

I literally felt this way the ENTIRE time I was in nursing school. I managed to graduate with over a 3.0 and a BS degree. That was 8 years ago.  Women and infants doesn't always come easy to young men. That's okay! The course I struggled with was assessment!  We all have our weaknesses. You've got this. 

2BS Nurse, BSN

Has 9 years experience. 592 Posts

Once you start your job you'll realize there is a diverse range of intelligence among staff. Most nurses display average intelligence. It's most important that you are a safe nurse, pay attention and think through things (are not impulsive).