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That Time I Dropped Out of Nursing School (7 tips to stay mentally sane during nursing school)

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Caveat: some people (nurses) might not agree AT ALL with what I say here . . . oh well!  I want to share how it really is to give confidence to those struggling.

We literally get hundreds of emails a day from nursing students.

Sadly, a good portion of them are from students that feel like they should quit nursing school altogether.

Here are just a couple recent quotes from students:

Starting to lose motivation to study.


There is sssooooo much information that I don’t know where to begin. I find that often times the instructors are even confused when students ask questions because they are as well versed in the subject matter that they are teaching. Which leaves me to teach myself. Ugh!


I gave up after that and lost my motivation to study.


I keep falling on my face.

Sound familiar?

My Story . . . (uncensored) When I Quit Nursing School

First Semester Nursing School . . . What I Was Excited
First Semester Nursing School . . . When I Was Excited

I started nursing school with high hopes, but after my fourth semester, I dropped out. I quit nursing school.

I knew nursing school was going to be hard . . . I mean the whole point is to learn how to competently take care of a human being suffering from complex heath issues.

I expected school to be hard.

In fact, I had a meeting with the administration of my program at one point and suggested to them that they had made our program too easy and that we were not learning what we needed to know to be competent nurses on the floor.

I attended an Accelerated BSN program of ABSN designed for working professionals interested in a career change.

Basically, the 4 years of nursing school were condensed into 18 months given that we already had a previous degree (mine in Business Management).

Prior to even starting nursing school I made a promise to myself.

I was going to give 110% and learn everything I could to be the best nurse possible. From day 1 I was spending time in the library every day diving deep into the lecture material. . . .

The result . . . 

  • 1st Semester: 4.0 GPA (the first time in my life I ever got a 4.0)
  • 2nd Semester: 4.0 GPA (one of only two students in my cohort to get a 4.0)

I had one thing on my mind . . . NURSING SCHOOL

Taz Haws
Baby Taz in the NICU


At the time my wife had just had our first child . . . Taz.

He was born with a congenital condition that required a two week stay in the NICU and 3 surgeries with subsequent week long hospital stays during the first year of his life.

I will never forget staying up late into the night studying for exams in his hospital room by the light of the Emergency Room signage below then waking up in the early hours with him or going across the street to school and rushing back to baby Taz.

There were times I would bring him up to the school library during his nap time so I could attend a study group while he slept in his stroller.

Life wasn’t easy, but we were happy.

  • We were buried in student debt.
  • We were living on food stamps and WIC.
  • Our newborn was frequently in the hospital for surgeries.
  • We lived deep in the ghetto.
  • I was giving my all (what was left) to becoming a nurse.

The Semester I “Hit My Wall”

Life continued on and I began my 3rd semester.

At this point I was feeling pretty confident that I could take on anything that came at me.

I was wrong.

Things began to build up this semester.  Taz had his final surgery with complications.  We were given a brand new nursing professor that had no business teaching . . . in any capacity . . . ever.  And I really started feeling the pressure.

The professor mentioned above became more and more obtuse with her thinking and was clearly not in the game of educating nursing students but reaping vengeance on some past experience.  She had an utter lack of understanding of education, clinical nursing, and general people skills.

I allowed all of this to weigh on me.

It got to a point that I was completely unable to think about or focus on anything other than the anger and frustration I was feeling.  I wanted nothing to do with this class or this woman yet the anger I felt began to control my life.

That semester I ended with a C in that class.  I lost my motivation.  I hated nursing school and all I could think about was quitting nursing school.

I was ready to forget about nursing altogether.

My wife kept trying to get me to see past my frustrations.  She kept me going at that point.  The next semester I had great professors and experiences, but the drive and motivation were gone.

I was still a good student and loved every minute of clinical but I hated school, my school, so much.  I couldn’t get past the frustration.

The point finally came that I couldn’t help but look outside of nursing for employment.  A job opportunity arose back in Texas (where we were from) and I wanted to jump at it.  My plan was to burn rubber driving out of town and say goodbye to nursing forever.

My wife convinced me to talk with the program and line up a way to “Withdraw” from nursing school rather than quitting.  By doing this I would keep the door open to return to the program within a year and pick up right where I left off.  I had no interest in doing this, but to keep my wife happy I went ahead and did it.  In my mind I was going to quit nursing and nursing school for good and just mark the experience up as another life mistake.

14,600,000 Results in Google for "Quit Nursing School"
14,600,000 Results in Google for “Quit Nursing School”



RELATED ARTICLE: Ep155: Dear Other Guys, Stop Scamming Nursing Students . . . It’s Not Cool


7 Tips to Stay Mentally Sane During Nursing School

So, right before my final semester (yes, just 10 weeks from graduation) I withdrew from nursing school.

You guys know the rest of the story . . . 1 year after quitting nursing school, I returned to complete my degree.  Ending with a 3.89 overall GPA, landing a spot in a Trauma I ICU, precepting, charging, and starting NRSNG.com, and now reaching literally millions of nurses and nursing students each week.

With that said . . . I want to offer you 7 tips that will help you stay mentally sane during nursing school.

Full disclosure . . . I DID NOT do these things during my program . . . and I nearly went insane and that is why I temporally quit nursing school.

They say hindsight is 20/20 and I feel that had I done these things during my program I might not have hated it so much and actually come out a better person.  I do try to implement these 7 things into my daily life now.

So here is the list: 

  • Avoid becoming uni-dimensional
    • You are more than “just a nurse”.  You are a human with varied interests.  Don’t drop everything when you start nursing school.  Make sure to take time to still be you!  NurseBass is a good example of this . . . he runs his YouTube channel for nursing students and he also focuses a lot of time on fitness and working out.


  • Realize that after nursing school is when you begin to learn in exponential leaps.
    • I was stuck on the idea that I had to know EVERYTHING prior to graduating nursing school.  I have since realized that learning becomes massively accelerated AFTER nursing school as you begin working on a floor and become specialized.  I still encourage you to take school seriously and learn all that you can, but give yourself a break . . . you won’t know everything.


  • Develop healthy habits (miracle morning, fitness, exercise).
    • This is obvious, but can’t be overstated.  If you are not taking care of yourself . . . your mind and body will become weak.  One thing I have implemented with great success is something called the “Miracle Morning“, essentially, developing an early morning routine that includes some form of journaling, meditation, fitness, and reflection before anyone else wakes up.  Sometimes just a short walk in the morning with your phone off is enough . . . please try it!


  • You are NOT your grades (dehypnotize yourself, radical acceptance).
    • Sadly, many students, including myself tie their self worth to their GPA or how many questions it takes them to pass the NCLEX . . . this is sad!  Your grades DO NOT define you . . . do not allow them to control your happiness or how you view yourself.  Two books have really helped me understand this better: Psychocybernetics and Radial Acceptance.  If I could force you to read one non-nursing book . . . it would be Radical Acceptance.  If you have a few bucks download the audio book and listen while driving around town.  The book had me in tears and opened up a new world of accepting myself at a level that I had never achieved previously.  I am confident that had I found this book prior to dropping out of nursing school I would have gotten my RN a year earlier.


  • Deep work (set aside focused study time).
    • Deep Work . . . a concept outlined in great detail by Cal Newport in his book by the same title involves allowing youself time to dive into deep mental states and accomplish great tasks by learning to get deep into your work.  Applying this to nursing school, you can learn how to organize your life to allow sessions of deep work into your studies.  One 3 hour deep work session is probably worth more than several unfocused days of meaningless study.  To learn more about the concept . . . listen to this podcast here.


  • Find a good friend or start keeping a journal.
    • You have to be able to decompress and share your frustrations openly.  I have been lucky to have my wife through this journey. I haven’t always been very good at listening to her but having a companion, friend, or family member that you can be 100% open and honest with is so key to mental health.  A friend that allows you to share your frustrations unfiltered without judging is essential.  If you do not have this person . . . buy a $0.79 composition book at Wal-Mart and start writing in it. . . just let your feelings flow.


  • Life is a journey.
    • Lastly, and most obviously . . . realize that life is a journey.  You don’t have to achieve perfection TODAY . . . you have a lifetime to WORK toward it.  You don’t have to pass the NCLEX tomorrow, you don’t have to get accepted to nursing school THIS semester . . . you have a lifetime.  You are in this for the longhaul.  Relax.


RELATED ARTICLE: Ep36: A+ Student to Barely Passing . . . Help!


You Should Dropout of Nursing School

I dropped out of nursing school.  And let me be completely honest with you.  I don’t really regret it too much. Nope, I don’t regret that I quit nursing school at all.

My mind was in such a bad place.  I can’t imagine how tainted, angry, and just plain horrible I would have been at my first job had I started working at that point.

After I withdrew I turned nursing off in my brain.  I didn’t think about nursing at all for about 7 months.  I had no plan to return to school.

Then something happened in about February.  At this point I was ready to go back.  After talking to my school I got everything set up to return and complete my final semester.

This time I was hungry, I was excited, I was in a complete different mental state . . . I was motivated and able to face any challenge to make it happen.

So . . . while I don’t really suggest quitting nursing school . . . I will say that in my case I am glad that I did.  It wasn’t the end of the world . . . remember, life is a journey.

Before You Quit Nursing School – Do These Things . . .

quit nursing school

Listen . . . we need more nurses.

Let me rephrase that.

We need more nurses who give a damn!

If you want to quit nursing school, if you hate nursing school (we all do), if you are thinking about dropping out . . . do me a favor:

Start with those 7 things listed above.  How many of those are you doing daily?  Can you do a better job at some of them?

If you feel that you are in a mentally healthy place and have implemented those 7 tips and you still feel that you need to leave your nursing program please work with your school to withdraw in good standing.  This just means that in the crazy chance that you decide to return to school, the door is still open.

Make sure you sit down with your adviser, dean, and whom ever else and clearly understand any stipulations.

For some the only answer may be to distance themselves for a time.  This is a good thing.  It’s okay.  It doesn’t mean you will be a terrible nurse.  Nursing school is NOT real life nursing.

Just keep that door open.  I was inches away from not becoming a nurse myself.


You will never meet anyone that tells you nursing school was the best experience of their life.  It’s not.  It basically sucks. But you can do it.  If you see no other option and you are in a poor mental health state . . . take some time . . . take some distance . . . see if you can relight that fire.

What I want you to get from this post is to understand that we all struggle, we all have dark moments.  Learning how to handle those darkest moments of our lives is what makes us strong.

For me . . . that portion of life was one of my darkest.

I chose to withdraw from school.

I don’t think this is the best option for EVERYONE . . . but for me . . . I have no doubt that it was.

If you get to this dark of a moment and you feel that quitting nursing is the right option.  Please, do it in the right way so that the door is still open.

We need more nurses who give a damn!

Do you know a future nurse who might be struggling?  Share this message . . .


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drop out of nursing school


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Date Published - Jan 16, 2017
Date Modified - Jun 21, 2019

Jon Haws RN

Written by Jon Haws RN

Jon Haws RN began his nursing career at a Level I Trauma ICU in DFW working as a code team nurse, charge nurse, and preceptor. Frustrated with the nursing education process, Jon started NRSNG in 2014 with a desire to provide tools and confidence to nursing students around the globe. When he's not busting out content for NRSNG, Jon enjoys spending time with his two kids and wife.


  1. Avatar

    Esther J

    So grateful you chose to share your story!
    Not a nurse, but I recently left my job as a FF/EMT in order to get more life experience under my belt before tackling the streets again. I’m still madly in love with the job, and it took a while for me to realize that struggling doesn’t mean you’ve failed; it means you cared enough to do hard things.
    Hearing your struggles, and your return to and ultimate graduation from nursing school gives me hope.
    Thank you!

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      Cindy Torres

      Hey Esther, thanks so much. Hang in there. You’re absolutely right, anything work having is worth fighting for. Keep up the good fight!

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    As a 20+ year ED nurse- I flew through nursing school. Then I got my first job and realized that school had very little impact in the real world. Yes, I got the basics while in school and I was able to apply them, but it taught me nothing about dealing with the things seen in the ED every day, nothing about supporting families on the worst day of their life. So do what you need to to graduate knowing that nursing school is not a reflection of the kind of nurse you will be.

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    Thank you Jon for your encouraging story and tips. I am going through a similar situation. I was going to be starting my 3rd semester Aug 2018. I just had a baby in July 2018. She had complications after she was born that were totally unexpected. She too spent her first week of life in the NICU. That was one of the worst weeks of my life. I mentally prepared myself after we made it over that hurdle that I too can do anything including nursing school. I had only 1 year left. I put her in daycare 5 days a week when she was almost 3 mo. I was nursing her and trying to get the hang of taking care of a tiny human and do nursing school and soon start back at work, which I tried to quit also. I wasn’t making the grades that I normally make to pass and I was becoming very frustrated. I reached out to everyone I knew but my head just wasn’t in the right place. I ended up withdrawing but I knew I wanted to go back soon. I’m still waiting to get back in and finish. I feel like I needed this time off to get my head back where it needed to be to finish school. I’m currently scheduled for an interview to get readmitted. I pray I can get back in and have a successful story as yourself. Thank you again for your inspiring story and tips.

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    Shirley B.

    Hi Jon,
    Thank you for sharing your story! I am super fascinated that you pulled through the hardship you have gone through with your first child. Your story is definitely encouraging and motivating many future nurses to pull through the tough nursing school. My story is very similar to many people here who are in nursing school and have the passion to work in the healthcare field as a register nurse. Exactly, 7 days ago I took my maternity final exam. I am a student with solid b, b+ grades until I failed my maternity course. I have to stay that I found my self struggling throughout this course but I stayed put and tried my best, worked harder, stayed up late. And of course I should mention that I am married and have three children (18, 11, & 9 y/o children). Very upset to find out that I would have to wait until next year 08/2019 to come back again to try to with maternity. And of course, everything that I passed clinical, literature projects, quizzes, etc anything that I had to do for that class need to be repeated as well once I start again next year which I believe it is just unfair and also makes it harder for a student to come back and feel motivated. Besides this, I would have to take a TEAS (3hour) exam that I needed to pass with a 76 as a final score in order to be considered to start again next year. Definitely, to this point I have lost further interest in continuing my dream. I sort of letting go of this dream but sometime I think of all the hard work I dedicated to reach this far and just to give up on it again. But I am so insecure about my ability to make through the nursing school. Please help! I would appreciate any advise you can suggest. Oh, the other problem I am dealing with failing the last semester is that many nursing schools would not take any students into consideration for application to their school since I failed my 3rd semester.

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    Thank you, thank you for this article! My daughter is a 3rd year college student in her first semester of nursing school. She was accepted into the BSN program with a 4.0 and was so very excited to get started after two years of working so hard to decide on a major, get the gen ed stuff done, and then get into nursing school. BUT now that she has started, she HATES nursing school – the hoops they have to jump through, the feeling of moving so fast she can’t learn anything, the feeling that her life is only revolving around studying, the missing out on things, the roommates who don’t understand the demands, and she has lost all motivation to even study. She’s maintaining and even “killing it” at every check off and assessment, but she is so miserable and thinks this could have been a big mistake. Neither my husband or I are nurses so we haven’t been through nursing school, and we just don’t feel like we know what the right advice is or have the right words to help her moving forward. She’s always been a high stress person, but this time it’s different. I am going to share this article with her in the hopes it gives her some insight and some hope – both in getting through it and/or the right thing to do if she chooses not to follow this path. She feels like changing majors would add on more time and money to her schooling, and doesn’t know what direction she could go in with her gen ed and prerequisites based in the nursing path. Again, thank you for your time and effort to do this blog. I’m going to encourage her to poke around and maybe get some inspiration from someone who’s “been there, done that”.

    • Avatar

      NRSNG Support

      If she needs to speak to us directly please let me know she can email us at [email protected]. We are here to help!

      • Avatar


        I literally needed to read this, I quit today. I’m in a burn out but also in the wrong school. My team of instructors are every bit of your 3rd semester instructor. My entire class feel as defeated as I am.

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    J. Bankston

    Been there, done that. Initially got my LVN to see if I really wanted to go into the healthcare field. Enjoyed the work, so I tried the BSN route at a nearby university. Things were going good until I encountered a professor in my Med-Surg class that I clashed with. Ended up flunking out but then applied to a LVN to RN bridge program at the same community college I had obtained my LVN. Got my RN, started work in home healthcare and applied to the RN-ADN to RN-BSN bridge program at the same university where I had flunked out of the BSN program. Excelled in the bridge program, got invited to join the international nursing honor society as a result of my grades – and in the meantime, the professor that gave me such a hard time had been fired from her Med-Surg class for making inappropriate comments to another male student and relegated to overseeing a clinical lab (she quit shortly afterwards). The point is, if nursing is really what you want to do in life, there is always a pathway to achieve this goal – and Karma sometimes plays a part.

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    My nursing RN school has 80% passing grade. Just an ordinary community college. My first tests are in the 60 and 77. I make notes, read my textbooks and watch videos on the tube. Plus, assignments on Passpoint, Docucare and Health Shadow. My instructors do not care, except for one. Some of them do not teach, they just divide our class and we have to do a presentation in front of the class. It means everyone is reading from the textbook – lifespan considerations and risk factors…I keep failing Nclex style questions. I have to withdraw to save my 4.0 GPA. I am seriously considering other nursing professions… Anything I do, looks like I never win….I hate this school!

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    Hi Jon,
    I found your story in search for something relatable to my failure. I got kicked out of Jefferson accelerated nursing and felt throughout the program as if the clinical instructors were rooting for me to dropout (bullying). I felt lost for a couple months since dismissal from the program. I’m waiting for another nursing school to start in 7 months, and all I can think is if I am resilient enough to face the bullying and coursework difficulties. I’m going to try reading radical acceptance, thank you.

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    Nagwa Rizk

    Hey, Jon, I`m glad to listen to your story which made me more enthusiastic as we are nursing team either who working in an academic career or at hospitals with direct contact with the patients, all of us need to support each other and to provide spots on the positive results of our life due to nursing.

    thanks a lot Jon and go ahead

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    Just a Girl

    So I am the odd duck here. I completed my pharmacology and foundations classes with no problems what so ever taking the written tests while my class mates struggled. However, I found the labs and clinicals absolutely dreadful because many of my program’s lab/clinical instructors were “eat your young” type nurses. I learned many of the same things in foundations that I learned in the medical assistant program but always had fun in my medical assistant labs. My last clinical rotation for foundations was the one that was the straw that broke the camels back for me. This clinical was in a busy telemetry unit that overwhelmed me. Needless to say our clinical instructor noticed this and was on to me every where I turned. I was written up for things like being too nervous around a patient. I pulled through by remediating in lab every chance I got and passed, but I was dealing with severe insomnia to the point of hardly being able to fall asleep at all. After that semester I decided nursing probably wasn’t for me, but I have been having second thoughts. This upcoming fall semester will be my last chance to go back because in my program you cannot go back more than a year later. I am still in good standing with a 3.8 GPA and technically still in the program. I’ve thought about going back and giving it another try, but I just don’t know.

    • Avatar


      I have been a nurse for 23 years & have had an amazing career. Just over the last few years I have become involved with nursing education.

      That being said I do still remember the days of Clinical & nurses eating their young. I thought this was a concept that under better control however. It sounds as if your grades and previous clinicals have been outstanding. Unfortunately their will always be an instructor and or floor nurse that has this mentally. If nursing is your passion & what you truly want for your life don’t give up.
      See if you can talk to previous instructors that you did well with. This may help you with confidence. Also if you can connect with others who have had these difficult instructors; this may help you. We all perceive things differently thus someone may have done well with these instructors & have good tips for you.
      I truly hope it works out for you. E

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    Remington Park

    Hey Jon thanks so much for writing this. I am in an interesting situation with my accelerated nursing program. The rules here are that if you don’t pass 2 class you are considered unfit for the program. I did not pass one of the classes my first semester and then retook it and passed. Now in 2nd of 4 semesters I am not passing a class again. I am finding my self extremely stressed to the point of not completely my quizzes and not being able to function with stress and anxiety. I love nursing and I love my clinical experiences, but I find myself unable to accurately do the coursework. I am at a difficult crossroad. Do I take a break and try another school? Or should I try a different degree all together? Any advice from any nurses would be helpful.


  12. Avatar


    John Haw, RN,
    Thank you for sharing your story as encouragement for nursing students. I am currently in an accelerated ADN program with plans on continuing toward my BSN but just two days ago I told my husband I felt like I should take a semester off of school. I am burned out and feel like I’m losing that fire. Life is getting in the way. He suggested I stick it out since I only have 4 classes left. Your story is encouraging in knowing I am not alone; that there are nursing student out there feeling the same way. I will apply the tips you offered and push through. Thank you.

    • Avatar

      NRSNG Support

      You’ve got this! I’m so glad I could help.

      • Avatar


        Well…I just got my Maternal-child Exam #2 grade: 56%
        I am now hold a 64% gradw average (74% passing) Should I withdraw or hope for two 84% in Exam #3 & Final?
        My mentality is : better to fail than quit
        I am conflicted. Help!

    • Avatar

      NRSNG Support

      I always encourage self care first! If that means another school with a more reasonable pace might be better, only they can know that. It’s clear you have a passion for nursing because of how much you love your clinical experiences. Don’t give up on nursing altogether! We need nurses who are passionate! But, there’s no shame in saying “hey, this was a bit too fast for me”. if you can find a school that will run at a pace that suits your learning needs.

      Find What Works!! And take care of yourself!

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    Great information, and I will certainly use all of it when I finally get in. I have retaken all my science courses that were 10-5 years old. I did some research and I meet all the requirements for the ABSN program. So I am trying to get into one now.

  15. Avatar


    I needed to read this so bad..I didn’t pass a class in my first semester of Nursing and now I have to wait until next fall to retake the stupid course again then progress. I feel super down about it and can’t even fathom waiting that long….

  16. Avatar


    Hi Jon, thanks for this article and the wonderful tips! I am in my second semester and will be graduating (God willing) in two weeks, December12, 2017. My first semester of nursing school was great and I passed all my classes with As and Bs. However, this second semester has been a complete struggle and I wonder if I will be graduating in December. I am so sad and devastated. I tried my hardest and gave up everything, and let’s not talk about those sleepless nights, but I am still struggling to get the 78% overall passing grade in two of those classes. One is currently 71% and the other one is 74%. Now I’m thinking I should have dropped out/withdrew. We only have one more test in each class, so even if I get 100%, still wouldn’t be enough to boost my grade up to 78%. I know this stuff but I suck at taking tests. Please, any advice at this point will help. What would you do if you were in my shoe? Please, any advice will help.
    Btw, congrats on your baby and congrats on achieving your dream job. So happy for you.

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    Thank you so much for this, Jon. I having been getting myself into the depression state because I have to withdraw and repeat Level 2 of ADN nursing. I’ve gotten to the point where I am literally thinking I’m not smart enough and not capable of finishing nursing school when I know I will be a great nurse. I’ve also been told by patients that I’ll be a good nurse. I just struggle with test taking and changing my answers often. I am hurting myself and it’s a hard habit to break. I also think my studying habits may not be good enough, which is something I need to figure out on my own. On a side note, I don’t want to be a disappointment to my husband and family, but am very grateful that he’s behind me 100%. So thank you so much for sharing this podcast. It’s definitely bringing me back into the mindset/motivation. I need to find time to myself and husband and to re-focus.

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    Hi Jon, as a nontraditional student, like you, I lasted about 6 weeks into my ADN program before I just crumpled in the reality that is nursing school when you have a family. I didn’t withrdraw, and actually took 2 failing grades because I thought ‘what does it matter?’ Now I’m reassessing and considering a different accelerated program and plan to be candid about my earlier struggles. But it is really expensive and my fears of another repeat failure are haunting me. And my husband, while supportive, said last time “well when you want it bad enough you make it work.” I don’t know how to overcome that kind of mindset.

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      Hi, Amy! I’m in the same boat. I’m struggling in nursing school right now and having to repeat Level 2 of nursing school because I was advised to drop (exam grades were too low and instructor didn’t want me to have an F on my transcript but rather a W and just repeating the class) and complete ADN program. All I can say it, we can do it. I struggle with not changing my answers because I’m not confident with what I know. I talk myself out of the right answers when I think I’m talking myself into the right answers. I don’t believe in myself, when I know I can do it. This is a great way to push each other/stay motivated/talk about our struggles so we don’t bottle everything up. This is what my husband just texted me, “I believe in you” and I believe in you too, Amy! WE CAN DO THIS!!!

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    Kari M

    I withdrew from Nursing School in 2009 at age 23. Like the author, I just couldn’t cope with some hardships in life, and felt I had to get out. Nobody sat me down and said “hey, what’s wrong, or we can get you a counselor and we will work through this together.” It was a very “alone” decision, and I wish I had had an advocate who knew better than to let me throw my future away. I live with regret from this decision most days. It is now 8 years later. I finished a degree in Biology (nearly useless, but so difficult) and have worked many odd-jobs since. I worked under nurses as a phlebotomist for 1.5 years (many younger than me, and they made 4x my salary..). It has been a very humbling and often degrading 8 years of my life. I now work as a secretary and in a dive shop. To go back to school feels like another mountain and so expensive right now. My husband will support me in whatever I do, but I cannot shake the fact that I feel that I ruined my life 8 years ago and there is just no going back without having to start all over again. I cannot tell you how much I have struggled for money and identity. If you are considering withdrawing from Nursing school, for the love of GOD, I hope somebody cares more about you than I felt cared for at the time when I was 23 and struggling with so many issues. I ended up working as a waitress, moving to Hawai’i, surfing, scuba diving, hiking, and adventuring, but I could have done all of those things as a travel nurse and still been able to afford cheese and a car… Life is a journey, but just know that I pay the consequences and live with the guilt of what I could be by now, and what I am not. DON’T MAKE MY MISTAKE UNLESS YOU HAVE GONE THROUGH COUNSELING. DON’T CLOSE THE DOOR, like the author said. A degree in Biology will NOT get you a job paying more than $10-16/ hr unless you get a second degree or are just plain lucky, whereas nursing will always get you a secure job. I choose to be positive with my life and grateful for what I have, but I do not feel at peace about my decision to withdraw 8 years ago. Peace.

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      Afraz Mohammed

      Thanks for sharing that with me.. I am in nursing school and I am having a real bad experience because so much things are going on.. Especially my gf email give me alot of worries and no mind of support.. We argued alot and she seem to care only about her self… I just don’t know how to let go and continue my schooling!

    • Avatar


      I quit nursing school about 5 years ago. I know the feeling. I have days that I think I should go back and finish it. I work with people who make same as me and I have a higher degree (BA in Psych). I ended the school on the good terms, even contacted the school about a year ago and was told I could restart from I left of. Only the issue is money.. I wish it was cheaper..

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      You are not alone, I did the same thing in my seniors year. I had withdrawal from the nursing When my clinical instructor was singling acting heavy on shoulders to fail. And it so hard now to go back to school since there are no schools accepting nursing credits and no financial aids. Four years out of school.

      I don’t know what to do next. Is there anyone interesting to create a organization with me to raise money for nursing students who drop out in nursing. We can do this To help to be able to go back to school.

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    I needed to bump into this blog. I’m currently sitting in psych class as I type this with thoughts of withdrawing today. I realized second semester during mother-baby and med-surg that nursing is not for me. At least not right now. The only two reasons that I’m still here is the time I already put in and the time (1 1/2 semester) left. Academically I’m doing well but mentally I’m sinking. It’s a daily struggle to come to class or study. And the saddest part is I absolutely hate clinicals. Isn’t that the part I should love. I’m highly considering withdrawing now while I still have a B average and would prefer to bow out gracefully vs failing out of the program.

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      wow I’m currently in the exact same situation..

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      I’m curious about this. I quit nursing school about six years ago, thinking about returning, but want to ensure it’s for the right reasons. I too, hated clinicals, but LOVED the classroom part. I attribute this to the fact that I’m a perfectionist and I don’t like not knowing everything about everything, which I’m clearly not going to know as a nursing student. If I go back, my end goal isn’t bedside nursing, and that too, makes me re think the idea. I’d love to become RNFA, but is it worth going through nursing school? I’ve considered surg tech too, but it’s not going to make enough money to support me.
      Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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    Brit Beversluis

    Hi Jon,

    My name is Britney, I’m 25 and I started my educational journey back in 2012. I had so much motivation and passion for being a RN. My first two semesters were solely pre-req general courses. Then the fun started. Thinking back now, hind sight is 20-20. I remember my instructors stressing to us how our lives will change drastically once our first semester started. After this program was done we wouldn’t recognize ourselves and that for the next two years we would eat, breath, and sleep nursing. It was extremely intense for an orientation, but it was meant to be that way to potentially weed out any people who had any doubts. For some reason I thought that I could still live life like normal. I married my husband and went on our honeymoon in the middle of my first semester,I passed, but barely and I swore I would buckle down the next semester, and I did. Then I had a tragic loss in my family. My grandmother passed away a month into the semester and it crushed me (she was one of my foundation blocks for support). I crumbled and fell into a deep depression and I lost all my drive and passion. But I had never accomplished anything significant in my life so the only thing I had left to drive me was stubbornness to quit. I would fail our before I gave up. I pushed through that semester after countless meetings with my instructors who told me I could pass but it was going to be a Hail Mary into the end zone. I didn’t make it that semester. I failed one of my classes with less than 0.5%. With the way the program is set up you only get one redo. So I went back the following spring- a year later. I felt better than ever I found my drive and passion again. But on New Years, just two weeks before I restarted school, I got news that was a huge bombshell. My husband and I were expecting. When I saw that positive sign, I cried. I was devastated, I knew this would ruin everything. In a flash I considered the inconsiderable, just so I could finish school, because I knew that if I put school on hold again, due to the policy, I would have to start over from the beginning because the information from the first semester would be out-dated. I felt guilty for many reasons. But I made the decision to finish the semester, I passed. Then third semester started and with just two weeks into the semester I gave birth to my son. The next month was horrible. I fell into horrible post-partum depression, my grades were sinking by the second. But I was up from dawn till dusk studying. I wouldn’t go down without a fight. I would like to say that I was able to push through and I’m only months away from getting my degree, but I thought long and hard and spoke with family, friends and my instructors and had even more self-reflection and came to the choice to withdraw. That was in September 2016, four months ago. I still think about school everyday. “What if..”? “should I go back”? “Is there another way so I don’t have to lose those credits?” But then on the other hand I often ask myself “Do you really want to go back and start over from the beginning?” “Do you really want to be a nurse?” I can’t answer that with a yes yet. I am sorry it took so long to get to the point which is: you mentioned to shut off your brain just forget about it to give yourself a rest. I have had a lot of pressure put on me by myself and others to finish because of never suceedding in anything and seeing it through before. Please, what are some tips to turn off my mind from nursing so if I wanted to go back I can with full force?
    Thanks for taking time to read this,
    Britney Beversluis

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      Kari M

      In my experience, I still live with the regret 8 years later, with no sign of stopping. If at all possible, I would recommend counseling and talking to your instructor to see if you can still finish. Life with regret will always be harder than a few months of difficulty with the end result being a degree. Once you have that degree, you can always take a few years off. Best of luck, and congratulations on being a Mother.

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    Hi Jon,
    I loved this article so much because j recently went through something very similar. I am a graduate nurse and started my first nursing job on a PCU unit in October. After my intership was over I was feeling very anxious and scared to be on my own, like TERRIFIED. I thought it was too much to handle as a new nurse and didn’t feel like I could be safe on my own. I spoke to management and I was moved to another unit and I am so happy I did that. At first I felt like a failure, like if I didn’t stay on PCU it meant I was a terrible nurse and would never be great. But I’m taking “baby steps” into my new role as a nurse and I’m happy I listened to my gut.

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    Great article. Not only was it informative, but it is very well written – easy to read. I am an RN of 8 years who is trying to stay motivated in my RN to MSN coursework. I will continue to read other posts on your blog. Keep up the great work.

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    wow. I wish I would have found this website and article before. I was in my first semester of nursing school and recently withdrew. I am at a community college and was surprised for a nursing program how I felt it was unorganized and a bit disappointed. The clinical instructor that I had, I too felt that I was being singled out. I thought conversations between us was private but to come to find out, parts of our conversation was “used” against me. At the end of the day, I too have felt defeated, like a failure and “incompetent” when I know that I am not. Is all nursing schools like this? I had nurses in clinical that I learned a lot more than from my clinical instructor who would constantly say she was there for me but in reality was not. I could not do anything right in my instructor’s eyes. I enjoyed my clinicals even though my first day was not the greatest. Do I go back to nursing school? Not sure. Do I go back to the nursing school, I withdrew from (if I didn’t withdraw the clinical instructor would have failed me)? Not sure. Thank you for story and for this website.

    • Jon Haws

      Jon Haws


      Thanks for taking the time to read the article. First of all . . . don’t feel like a failure. Brush yourself off and move forward. If that means going back to school go back 100% . . . if you need some time off, don’t feel bad about that. It’s okay to need a little mental health break.

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    I couldn’t sleep and I typed how to get away from nursing school on Google and I was drawn to your site. I am glad that I did. In my case, it is reciprocal from your experience. I do great in school with test, always on dean list throughout my semester. I hated clinical. The instructors are rude and English being my second language, obviously I won’t be able to speak with them on fast pace, but they find it reason to fail us on clinical. That’s the reason I hated clinical, It is too much pressure to impress them with my skill.

    • Jon Haws

      Jon Haws

      Hey there Lifeyang so sorry that you are going through that. I remember the sleepless nights very well myself. I honestly hope this post was able to provide you with some respite from the stress and some suggestions on dealing with it all . . . it’s tough! Please keep us posted on your success and decisions.


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    Hi Jon,

    I recently resigned from my nursing program. I’m questioning if I should have tough it out. Did I quit too soon? The teachers weren’t supportive at my school and I unfortunately had a teacher who thought I would be better at being a LVN than a RN. She made it her mission to find anything to write me up for and stressed me out so much that I made stupid mistakes that I normally don’t make which gave her things to write me up for. I dreaded coming into clinical because I felt I had to be perfect in everything I did or I would be written up. I talked to the other students and they said they make mistakes but they’re not getting written up. These teachers are nurses, but they show no compassion towards me. I am questioning if nursing is for me. I put so much time, money and energy into getting my nursing degree only to be pushed out by teachers who are mean and petty. I have enough hours to sit for the LVN test, but are there jobs out there for LVNs? I keep hearing and reading reports that LVNs are getting phased out. Why would these teachers tell me to become a LVN, when LVNs are being phased out? I hate the school and the teachers for not being supportive and targeting me. If these are the type of people I have to work around, I don’t think I want to work in the nursing field. I always felt I was a strong person, but being in this program has broken my spirit. Maybe this field isn’t for me afterall. .

    • Jon Haws

      Jon Haws

      Please understand that while there is SO much in nursing and nursing education that needs to change . . . nursing school is NOTHING like real life nursing. I believe the field needs individuals who have struggled with the system and are vocal in order for change to occur.

      Remember. . . you went into nursing for a reason (whatever that is) don’t let people drive you out of the field if you still believe it is the right path for you.

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    I dropped out of nursing school yesterday and I needed to read this. I just could not do it anymore. I slept a total of 5 hours in one week, I was fighting with my husband and begging him to quit his career so that I could have more help. I lost 10 pounds this semester. I stopped working out. I don’t even shower on the weekends. I agree with you…i loved clinicals. I HATED the book work. I hated the fact that people can buy test banks and pass and I would stay up until 2 in the morning studying and still failed the test. I actually am considering coming back as well, but I need to take care of myself and be with my family. I needed to read this. I lost every ounce of motivation in me. If i am going to be a good nurse, I need to get in the right mental state. Again, thank you. I feel like you wrote this just for me……

    • Jon Haws

      Jon Haws


      Thanks so much for having the courage to share your story. Remember . . . life is a long journey. Dropping nursing school for a time does not mean the end of the world . . . or the end of your nursing journey. For me, I needed about a year to clear my head and feel “ready” to get back at it. I do not regret taking that time away. For me . . . it was the right thing.

      There is SO much that needs to change with the way nursing education is delivered. I know we can’t change it all, but I do hope that at NRSNG.com we are inspiring and providing the much needed support many students need.

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    Deana West

    Thank you Jon! This article and the tips were just what I needed to read! I am starting nursing school next Monday! God Bless

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    Jon, I agree with ur 2nd tip/point about knowing everything before being a Nurse and that saddened me a lot before completing my nursing school. It was when I was doing the field work that I realised you really don’t need to be very competent before being on the ward but rather the floor job would teach u the job if only u love nursing. Am a Ghanaian and most Ghanaians enter into nursing because it’s one of the prestigious and lucrative profession here ,so people engage without really being prepared and loving the job and its compounding to a lot of health problems as well as disdaining the profession as a result of poor mental state, lack of interest,lucrativity etc. Although Ghanaians don’t just quit or defer courses at the university they complete and end up not being beneficial to the society in relation to their studied programme or become bad nuts in the system.Your article I think is a great source of inspiration and means of directing nursing students in holding on to successfull completion of Nursing School. Keep it up.

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    Why doesnt my prior comment show. It was appropriate.

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    I have to disagree with you on a few points. I have been an ER nurse/educator for 31 years. Not everyone hates nursing school. Only those who try to squeeze it into their busy lives. I loved it. Attended a diploma school . We had so much clinical. Followed case mother in OB.. We actually worked in ICU and ER , not shadow for a day.. my freshman class had 100 students. After three years we graduated 48. . We were prepared when we graduated. Also you dont get a life when you are in nursing school. These accelerated programs set people up for failure. . Nursing isnt something you can shorten and cram into 18 months because you have a degree .in something else.. There are no shortcuts if you are going to do it right. A lot of new grads are ill prepared. Both my daughters are nurses as well. They worked very little in school because i knew what it took. . School was their job.!. Boyfriends and parties didnt happen until they graduated and that is how they passed..So for those of you struggling i suggest you find a way to make nursing school your first priority not your second or third. Its not easy if you are a working parent etc. But you enlist help. Work part time or not at all. Move back in with parents etc. . It can be done but too many people are jumping into nursing because it is recession proof. I had a student the other day. Asked her what specialty interested her. Her answer . ” anywhere i dont have to work too hard”. This is not an easy profession. We work hard all day and everyday. So if you are looking for a cake job that pays well. U might not want to return to nursing school.

    • Jon Haws

      Jon Haws

      I fear you might be missing my point. The entire point of this article is that I was in a poor mental state. Not because I wasn’t working hard, wasn’t taking school seriously, wasn’t focused, or didn’t want to be a nurse. Certainly the opposite.

      # of parties I attended in nursing school: 0
      # of hours worked at a side job: 0
      # of outside hobbies: 0

      Nursing school was my life.

      The article is intended to provide tips and suggestions to nursing students that find themselves in a poor mental state and give them suggestions on how to avoid my fate.

      I struggle greatly with the mentality that . . “it was hard for me . . .so it should be hard for everyone” . . .

      As I said in the article. . . I do believe that nursing school should be complex as far as learning how to take care of sick individuals. However, to state that it should be hard just because it’s hard is insane in my mind.

      I feel that mindset is what drives nurses away from the field. If someone is struggling on the floor due to a terrible assignment we don’t run away and tell them to toughen up . . no . . we run to their side and provide support, comfort, and aid. We don’t watch them drown because “it’s supposed to be hard”.

      I agree 100% with you in that nursing is a complicated profession. I am proud to be a nurse, hence, starting a blog that reaches millions of nurses and nursing students a month.

      I can assure you that a nurse that would seek “anywhere I don’t have to work too hard” is not part of the NRSNG.com community. That is not what we stand for AT ALL.

      This post is intended to provide help to those that feel overwhelmed and want to quit. There are options for them and it does not mean they aren’t cut out for nursing. If you don’t take care of yourself you can’t take care of your patients.

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        Mr. Haws,

        THANK YOU SOOO MUCH FOR STANDING UP FOR US NURSING STUDENTS!! What a well written and thoughtful response. I thank God for pple like you who share the mentality of aiding nurses in need versus “telling them to toughen up.” Nurses must absolutely stick together and work as a team. It’s not for us, it’s for our patients, dadgum it! Thanks again! God bless and take care!:)

      • Jon Haws

        Jon Haws

        Stephanie . . .thanks so much for taking the time to reach out and thank us! It really means so much to hear our message is resonating with students all around the world.

        Please keep us updated on your success.

        -Jon RN CCRN

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    Hi the same thing happened to me i quit nursing school during the first semester but I left the door opened, I completed a remediation plan and I wasn’t sure if i was going to come back but I finally made up my mind about returning to nursing school. I have finished my second semester and moving on to third semester. I would try to implement those suggestions you gave us. I really hope I make it this time. I decided to drop school but i wasn’t failing i was passing because i felt nursing was not for me. My biggest problem is that When i study i want to know everything. That is my biggest obsession. I want to know what every single thing means. And if i dont know it i get frustrated. Another thing about me is i want to get perfect grades i have always get perfect grades in my life all As and in nursing school i got my fist C grade. I really want to do this. Thank you for your story. It will encourage me to know that you can make it after quitting the first time.

    • Jon Haws

      Jon Haws

      Thanks for sharing your story. I think many of us nurses get so caught up wanting perfect grades. It can really take a toll.

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        Hey jon,

        I made it. I finished nursing school and i just passed my nclex. Im now looking for a job. Your experience helped me keep going. Thank you so much for sharing that experience that help others to persevere in this profession. Keep doing what you’re doing.

        Thanks a lot

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        NRSNG Support

        Congrats! We are so glad to have helped you!

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        Cary San

        My school is LVN thru adult school. We had our director of nursing leave. Our principal leave and one teacher leave and one teacher fired. It always feels like a circus. All my instructors want to be taken seriously when my school is such an obvious joke. They always say things like you were told before (was not). So many different instructors saying so many different things and if I don’t remember or follow I get sent home. I’m at the end of my hours and can’t miss anymore but they want to send us home for not having scissors or a pen light. There’s nothing I can do at this point. If they send me home I am dropped. Now they are saying I can’t come to clinical until I have my TB results. I emailed I have no more hours and they said oh well. Now I either waiting for them to drop me or let me stay??!!! There’s so much uncertainty as a nursing student. Sometimes I don’t even know my clinical site until the day before. There’s so much I put up with but with students they just treat you like a dime a dozen and unimportant or willing to work with you. Oh well wait and see it is for me. What a joke. I should have went private.

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        Cindy Torres

        Wow Cary, that sounds horrible. I’m sorry you’re having to deal with all of that. Hang in there!

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      Now i habe a job. Thanks for everything