Graduate School Anxiety

Whether you are just beginning your program or are mid way imagesthrough it (like me!),
you’re going to have anxieties about the upcoming semester.Being that I just got done with my fourth semester and I only have two weeks before my next semester starts, I thought I would discuss nursing graduate school anxieties that we grad students feel at the end/beginning of a semester.

Anybody who wants to succeed while getting a masters (or doctorate) in nursing will at some point have a psychotic level of unreasonable and nonsensical anxiety about their upcoming classes or clinical. Sure it only may only happen once or maybe even twice a year, but it does happen, that’s the way our species is as nurses and there’s really nothing we can do to change it. It’s quite funny really. As nurses we tend to over exaggerate and freak out about nothing. We tend to put ourselves through so much stress and anxiety over things like a Foley insertion or putting down an NG in undergraduate, and then we get into our practice, look back and think, wow, “I can’t believe I stressed about that.” We put the weight of the world on our shoulders, when it’s really not necessary (WHY!!!).

I hate to say it but the past two weeks I had been having this unnecessary, silly, anxiety. For me, my anxiety extended from the beginning of a year of non-stop clinical. Why now you ask, after a year of school already? Well now the fun really starts! I’m training in a bigger nationally known hospital, managing patients with a higher acuity than I am used to, and trying to juggle and stand on my head, both at the same time (okay not really on the last one, but that’s what it feels like). I’m afraid that I will make the wrong call, draw a blank (or choke), or as stated in a previous blog post, second-guess myself and say nothing. Like many graduate school (or undergraduate) nurses, I fear that my preceptor is going to wonder how the hell I got into this masters program or even function as a working nurse (seriously, they’ll be wondering how I keep anyone alive).AnxietyThe point of this post is not to make anyone feel bad, but acknowledge those feelings that we do have as graduate students and then have our break through moment when we realize, it’s all in our heads and is not as bad as we thought. This past week during our clinical orientation we got to speak with some seniors, that just graduated, about our upcoming year. They reassured and terrified us for fifteen minutes, making us ask ourselves “what were we thinking going back to school?” After the discussion they reminded me that once we get into it, we’re going to be fine. Graduate school is a LEARNING time; we’re not expected to know everything, nobody is, that’s why we’re going back to school. To expand on knowledge that we already know and learn new concepts we don’t know. Once the semester is over, we’re going to realize that our experience was a lot of fun, we learned so much, and that we’re not as bad at being providers as we thought we were going to be.

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