Anxiety can become crippling in nursing school. Learn how to manage anxiety and excel.
First of all, you are NOT alone. In fact, 42% of NURSING.com users have anxiety - with countless success stories.
"Anxiety is - significant and uncontrollable feelings of anxiety and fear such that a person's social, occupational, and personal function are significantly impaired."
It is clear why nursing school (and school in general) is so difficult for those with anxiety.
There is so much to learn and it feels like everything is at stake. This is true for all nursing students, but for those with anxiety - the feelings become so strong that functioning becomes impaired.
My anxiety in nursing school became so great that I ended up withdrawing prior to my final semester. I took an entire YEAR off before returning to finish my nursing degree.
Sadly . . . 😢
I was not diagnosed with anxiety disorder until a couple years OUT of nursing school when finally I had the courage to speak with a professional about my struggle.
During the struggle of nursing school I felt extreme anxiety and feelings of impending doom surrounding my schooling, the profession, and life in general. Unfortunately, I managed it very poorly - which led to withdrawl.
Anxiety can become debilitating . . . but you can learn to manage it.
Eventually, I completed by degree, passed the NCLEX®, took a job in the Neuro ICU, became a charge nurse, and started NURSING.com.
It hasn't always been easy and there have been times when the anxiety was so great that all I could do was stay in bed . . . BUT . . . it can be managed.
This is YOUR SUPERPOWER 🦸♀️ 🦸♂️
Understanding how some people struggle to learn - can be your strength as you take care of vulnerable populations.
Having an ability to see around the corner and anticipate risks is also a strength of the anxious nurse. Being slightly on edge while working in the ICU helped me to prepare and set everything up . . . just in case. When sh*t did hit the fan - I was calm and collected because I was prepared.
This CAN be your strength.
The VERY first thing I want you to do is to go talk to a mental health professional. This is the first step in your journey with anxiety.
This is the hardest step. But I want you to overcome the stigma and talk to someone.
It literally took me YEARS to talk to someone and when I did, do you know what they said?
"Thank you so much for trusting me enough to tell me that."
For years I'd been suffering and afraid to talk.
Once you've spoken to someone and have a diagnosis, you can work with your school to get the necessary accommodations. This is critical.
Accommodations are intended to create learner equity. Believe it or not - there are students who do not have the feelings of impending doom that you feel. It's true. What you are feeling is beyond the range of normal. Accommodations can help you to have the time, location, setting, etc required to learn with your diagnosis of anxiety . . . it is NOT cheating.
Okay, so those are the first steps. Here are some more tips:
These are my personal tips - many of these have helped me and other nursing students tremendously and I hope they can help you.
Many students with learning differences have come before you and successfully graduated, passed the NCLEX®, and are now practicing nurses.
I want to share one story in particular of Kelly who is a member of the NURSING Family here at NURSING.com. She has struggled with anxiety - she recently passed the NCLEX® and is now a practicing RN.
Tips Kelly shares that helped her pass nursing school with anxiety:
Your learning difference is simply that . . . a difference in HOW you learn. At NURSING.com, we believe strongly in learner equity. Because of that, we've designed our platform to enable all nursing students to achieve success - and we understand that for some - that might mean adjustments for how they learn differently.
Specifically, our videos are clear and concise - most videos are under 10 minutes and get right to the point so you can get the "meat and potatoes" without sitting there for hours. Lessons are also highly visual with world-class practicing nurses drawing the entire time.
Lesson outlines are bullet points instead of tons of text - making it easier to digest.
We even built an NCLEX® simulation to help you see and feel what the real thing will feel like. This can help reduce anxiety on exam day.
This visual platform carries over into beautiful images and cheatsheets that call out the critical details. Even the practice questions have videos and image rationales.
Here is how Elle used NURSING.com to study for Med-Surg:
You CAN do this!