"Maybe you shouldn't be a nurse"

  1. Hey everyone. I'm finishing up my first semester of nursing school (finals next week :uhoh21 and today we were doing skills pass off. Well, through the course of the day we had about three people leaving the skills lab sobbing, apparently after being told they were not going to be passed off on a particular area. We've also had a couple of instances throughout the semester when an instructor has told someone they "probably shouldn't be a nurse". This doesn't seem right to me. I understand that it is in the instructors' best interest to produce intelligent, competent nurses...but is it necessary to tell someone they aren't "cut out" for the job in their FIRST semester?
    What do you think? I just wanted some opinions.
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  2. 62 Comments

  3. by   leslie :-D
    to me, that is abusive.
    and there is not 1 acceptable excuse for such a comment.
    i had an instructor who told me i shouldn't be a nurse.
    the next day, i arranged to have a little talk w/her.
    in that conversation, i reminder her of my rights as a paying student to obtain the best education possible;
    reminded her that although i could handle her comment, others may be victimized by the self-fulfilling prophecy;
    and if she ever made such a comment again, i wouldn't hesitate to file a grievance against her, and make her life extremely difficult.
    i wasn't emotional, but told her the way it was.
    she just stared at me, not saying a word.

    i can't advise as to how one fights their battles.
    all i can tell you, is that is unconscionable and irresponsible behavior.

    hoping this works out for your friend...

    leslie
  4. by   jmgrn65
    are you given ample time to practice your skills prior to check off? If so, then if you are prepared then it should not be that hard, except for that you are a nervous wreck. Instructors get slightly perturbed when it is obvious to them that the person did not even look at the skill they are trying to get checked off on, and yes there are students that do that.
    Unfortunately you do need thick skin for nurses, because there are times you are treated very poorly, by patients, their family, fellow nurses and doctors. So even though it may seem harsh to be told that 'you shouldn't be a nurse' wouldn't you rather hear it before you spend thousands of dollars?
  5. by   cc_nurse
    I hate to say it, but get used to it :uhoh21: and welcome to nursing school. My school started weeding out students in the first sem too.There were a lot of people that we lost along the way, but if you keep in mind that NS is just something to be endured you will have the strength to hold on till the end.

    Good luck!
  6. by   leslie :-D
    there are many ways to weed them out, w/o getting personal.
    the intensity of the program alone, weeds enough of them out.
    unrelenting instructors, who push and push and push, is enough to weed some out.

    i think it's important, starting in ns, to teach our students that verbal abuse is to be expected, but should not be tolerated.
    then provide tools to deal with these stressors.

    leslie
  7. by   BlearnRN
    I agree that that is an abusive statement. I have heard of this happening to people when I went to nursing school. I get annoyed when I hear that told to people. I had a similar event in HS. A bunch of us were lined up after testing for aptitude in front of the counselor's office. I remember the girl in front of me was told that she was very intelligent, that she would go far in a University, et cetera... Then when it came to me, I was told I was "fairly intelligent" and that I should consider going to a community college. I think people can go as far as they want to go. Being told that a person should not be a nurse based on skills is maddening to me. Skills can be learned. Critical thinking can be learned. It just takes time for some people but, that does not mean they should not be a nurse.
  8. by   NurseNature
    I wouldn't let anyone else in the world ever talk to me the way a couple of instructors have during my schooling experience. I'd rather take their verbal abuse than fail the program for standing up for myself in clinical situations. Probably not the most noble thing to do but if it's what I have to do to graduate... I can take it for sure! It is really hard to see how it can tear other student's self esteem down to nothing or ruin their chances of passing simply b/c your clinical instructor has personal issues and communication difficulties.
  9. by   Rage
    First of all let me say that I'm 52 years old and was 50 when I started nursing school after retiring from 2 jobs. Now I'm one semester away from graduating, I have been told that I shouldn't be a nurse as well. What I told that professor was that I have been told that I couldn't do stuff all of my life.......then after making spec ops in the military, VP of Operations and owning and selling my own successful business, I think I'm a better judge at what I will and will not be.

    The first step to servitude is acceptance................ and accept only what you KNOW to be true. And remember opinions are like rectums.....everyone has one and most of them stink.

    yours truly,
  10. by   Tweety
    I'm torn.

    As you say it's the instructor's job to bring out the best and most competent nurses. I think it's important to nurture students through the rough patches, they may be nervous, entirely new to nursing, and just need a bit of encouragement and time. I don't think harsh judgements are necessary, especially that first semester.

    Is it abuse? This is where I'm torn because some people are a waste of time and energy and need that "come to Jesus" moment where they need to think real long and hard if they really want to give 100% and be a good nurse.

    Working in a teaching unit, I see students daily that I just want to say "please leave and turn in your scrubs now. You shouldn't be in nursing." But of course I can't lest I be accused of eating my young. Eventually most of them go on to be nurses passing NCLEX, but they still don't meet my high standards....LOL

    Obviously, as Leslie points out, they can be way off base and should exercise caution in how they approach people.
    Last edit by Tweety on Oct 12, '07
  11. by   DaFreak71
    Quote from jmgrn65
    are you given ample time to practice your skills prior to check off? If so, then if you are prepared then it should not be that hard, except for that you are a nervous wreck. Instructors get slightly perturbed when it is obvious to them that the person did not even look at the skill they are trying to get checked off on, and yes there are students that do that.
    Unfortunately you do need thick skin for nurses, because there are times you are treated very poorly, by patients, their family, fellow nurses and doctors. So even though it may seem harsh to be told that 'you shouldn't be a nurse' wouldn't you rather hear it before you spend thousands of dollars?
    Even if the students are given ample time (one semester does not seem ample enough to have full mastery over anything), that is no excuse for an instructor to make such a rash judgment on a student. We students are paying consumers. If the nursing program was only ONE semester, I could see the value in making a statement such as the one that the instructor mentioned. But even an ADN program is two years. You get two years because you aren't expected to get things right on the first, second, sometimes even third try. Some people are slower learners than others and that does not have any impact on the quality of nurse they will become, if given a supportive environment and instructors who are more interested in nurturing abilities rather than making snap decision about who's going to graduate and who isn't IN THE FIRST SEMESTER. Now by the last semester....well I guess that's a whole other topic.
  12. by   Zookeeper3
    i can honestly say, even though it was years ago, that no instructor ever said that to me. i had book smarts and no idea how to be a nurse after i graduated, if anyone, i should have been told that.

    i had no idea how to communicate with patients or their families. which is um, very important, i stuck myself with a needle twice in check offs because i was shaking so badly... on and on.

    but, i did get all a's, i was aways way over prepared for clinical and i knew how to do each skill (as much as a student can demonstrate anyway) but again, it was my instructors who helped me through, not tore me to pieces i turned out to be a very successful nurse that precepts all the newbies.

    now that i've experienced it, my only suggestion would be to respond... "and how is that comment supposed to help me improve and succeed?"

    how terrible, suggest your friend be prepared, professional and turn negative comments right back on the instructor as i've suggested... "ok, now how about some constructive feedback for improvement instead of the negative". not everyone has the skill set to mentor:angryfire
  13. by   jjjoy
    I agree that it's unprofessional for an instructor to tell a student "you probably shouldn't be a nurse" no matter how poorly a student performs. If the student doesn't pass, then the student won't become a nurse. If the student improves their performance, then they have what it takes. Being told "you probably shouldn't be a nurse" doesn't give a student any useful information, such as what they need to work on or what exactly it is that concerns the instructor about their performance. If the student isn't performing up to standard, then the instructor can fail the student.
    Last edit by jjjoy on Oct 12, '07
  14. by   lsyorke
    I had an instructor like this..told me I would never be a nurse. Went on to graduate after recieving two clinical excellence awards in school( the look on her face at those ceremonies was a riot!) and 24 years later still a nurse!!! Don't let them get you down. Do the work, learn the skills and get out in the real world of nursing!!

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