good grades vs. competent nurse - page 2

I am having a little anxiety about nursing school. I have a 4.0 in pre-req's but my advisor told me not to expect A's in nursing classes. I worked VERY hard and spend a lot of time (ignoring my hubby... Read More

  1. by   clee1
    You got your A's in pre-reqs..... to get into the program.

    NOW, concentrate on the skills and attributes that make a good nurse - grades aren't it.

    Remember that C's + NCLEX = NURSE
  2. by   live_crow
    Working as a nurse tends to make a competent nurse, regardless of your grades (as long as you pass). A students still end up as "new grads" and feel like they know nothing. A serious dash of common sense and empathy helps.
  3. by   nurseangel47
    Good grades does not necessarily a good nurse make! I'm a living example.
    Struggled through nursing school. Didn't even know "how" to study at first!
    Had to find my own way to memorize things, etc. But I made it. I lived through it. The "A" students are sometimes the ones who cannot even relate to people they are so smart or on another planet, altogether.
    Common sense, decency towards other humans, able to empathize, those are the things that help shape a great nurse. Not grades, necessarily.
    Try not to be such a perfectionist. It looks good on paper, but....
    Does the confused and wandering patient looking for their lost loved one in the LTC facility care if you made A's? Will the postop surgical patient needing their breakthrough pain relieved mind if you didn't make it on the dean's list every semester? You bet your a** it will not matter in the slightest....
  4. by   llg
    I certainly won't say that good grades necessarily means a good nurse.

    However ... bad grades don't necessarily mean a good nurse either.

    Don't let those with poor grades tell you that all those people with good grades are going to make lousy nurses. That's just not true. Learning the material and being able to demonstrate that learning gives you an advantage over those people who struggle to learn and/or demonstrate that learning. Anyone who says the opposite is in denial.

    I just taught a course this past semester in which I failed a couple of students. Some of those students had reading comprehension skills and writing skills that would not have allowed me to pass the 8th grade! I can't imagine how they passed their pre-req's. Does that make a difference in their abilities to be a good nurse? You bet. Nurses need to be able to read and understand the professional (college level) literature -- able to read and interpret hospital policies --etc. If they can't read a few book chapters and write a paper, how can I trust them to interpret the professional literature and policies correctly? Would they even bother to read such things once they are out in practice?

    That said, some very good nurses got poor grades ... and some lousy nurses got good grades. That's life. Get over it. Focus on doing the best that you can do in school and the being the best nurse you can be -- in all aspects of nursing, not just the ones that appeal to you most.
  5. by   raekaylvn
    In our orientation, the directors were pushing for good grades from us. Saying that patients would rather have a 95% nurse than an 80% nurse.

    My school is stupid. They hate my class and are trying to get the majority of us to quit.

    There are people who are going to get all A's in class, but struggle in clinical (I'm one of those people). Then there are those who'll get B's and C's and pass clinicals with flying colors (I wish I was one of these people!). We all excel in different aspects of the program. What makes a competent nurse is a student who can pull it all together and gain the most knowledge from theory and clinical. The student who knows about the meds, diseases and conditions, wholistic patient care and has good people skills... there is your competent nurse.
  6. by   CHATSDALE
    good grades are good for the ego, those 'DANG AIN'T I GOOD we all need that sometime
    but you are going to school to learn to be a nurse, skills are best achieved by hands on work
    be the best that you can be in class/clinicals,everything will fall into place
  7. by   smk1
    Seriously though, we all have our strengths and weaknesses. Work diligently to improve the areas that you know need work and that your teachers think you need work on. Getting straight "A's" probably is no longer necessary, but don't go in with the attitude that "passing is all that matters". This can get you into trouble if you start just "scraping" by. Whenever possible, always build up a grade buffer. Nursing school is busy and difficult and one bad week can drop your grade significantly. Another thing to remember is that "clinical" performance is based on a number of different things. Just because you may have trouble with one aspect of the clinical experience it doesn't mean you will be a "bad nurse", just as having trouble with certain concepts and units doesn't necessarily mean you will be a "bad nurse". Working on your weak areas is key.
  8. by   Otessa
    Quote from natrgrrl
    i am having a little anxiety about nursing school. i have a 4.0 in pre-req's but my advisor told me not to expect a's in nursing classes. i worked very hard and spend a lot of time (ignoring my hubby and kids) to get a's. is that same time and energy going to get me through ns? i'm scared.:uhoh21:
    so, i guess i need to know what makes a nurse competent?
    passing nclex?yes
    grades in ns? not so much
    knowledge gained?yes
    ability to apply knowledge?yes
    people skills?yes
    other things?
    i had a's & b's for my 2 years of pre-requisites.
    2 years of nursing college b's and the rare c-worked full time(nurse intern very valuable!) and the classes were difficult to say the least.....
    i passed nclex the first time.

    there were some who didn't work and got straight a's and didn't pass the nclex the first time......
  9. by   Gennaver
    Quote from natrgrrl
    I am having a little anxiety about nursing school. I have a 4.0 in pre-req's but my advisor told me not to expect A's in nursing classes. I worked VERY hard and spend a lot of time (ignoring my hubby and kids) to get A's. Is that same time and energy going to get me through NS? I'm scared.:uhoh21:
    So, I guess I need to know what makes a nurse competent?
    Passing NCLEX?
    Grades in NS?
    Knowledge gained?
    Ability to apply knowledge?
    People skills?
    Other things?
    Hello,
    While a 4.0 is always a nice reflection upon your ability to master the requirements for a grade I think that your advisor may have been telling you to avoid making it a reflection of your own self worth or ability.

    Sorry for the run on sentance!
    edit to add:besides, do you really want to continue to forsake your family for a grade?

    Several people in my program are at 4.0 going into the last six months until graduation. Our program requires a minimum of 86% or else you are dismissed and in order to earn an A minus you must reach 92, a straight A doesn't happen until you earn 94.
    Last edit by Gennaver on Dec 16, '06
  10. by   nursemike
    Quote from JKCMom
    It is possible to get A's in nursing school. I get so tired of people making generalizations that anyone who gets an A must be a horrible nurse - book smart but bad with patients. I have gotten the only A in my class for three semesters now. I also do very well in clinicals, and get praised at my job as an LPN quite a bit by the doctors and other nurses. It is possible to be a kind, compassionate person with good common sense who gets along well with patients as well as gettting good grades in school. I have seen plenty of people earning C's in nursing school who are awful with patients. It all boils down to the individual.
    I totally agree! Good grades don't make bad nurses, and bad grades don't make nurses at all. Nursing school is very hard, and it's much better to shoot for an A and fall short than to aim for a C and fall short. Several of my friends in school made straight A's, and I was close. I did find, though, that I had to reevaluate my priorities. At one point I was close to failing clinicals while making straight A's in class. I had a horrible time with care plans. So I put more emphasis on careplans and less on the things that came easily. I wound up with a B in Pharmacology, but passed.
    Funny part is, of my entire class, probably no one is more convinced than me of the value of care plans. I hated them, but they did help me learn to think more holisticly, like a nurse.
    The actual patient care part of clinicals wasn't nearly so tough, and it's usually the easiest part of my practice. Some skills are harder than others, but time management is the biggest challenge. IMHO, the hard work it takes to make good grades in school is an advantage, there. The first key to time management is not being lazy. The second is being willing to listen to nurses who know more than you do. Those tend to be helpful skills in school, too.
    I will agree that you shouldn't stress too much over grades, as long as they meet the minimum required. C=RN is a dangerous attitude, but a C on one test or a B in one class is no disaster.
    Finally, admission to NS is usually very competitive, which is miserable when you're trying to get in, but once you do get in, it should be a comfort. If you are good enough to get in, you're good enough to get through. And if you're good enough to get through, you have the ability to be a good nurse.
  11. by   Tweety
    Good responses from everyone.

    I think your instructor was just being honest.........there are very few of us who make through to the end with a 4.0 and if you're not one of them, don't be devastated because you will be be a good nurse. I wasn't privy to everyone's grades but I'm relatively sure only two in my class of 60 graduated with a 4.0. I made a 3.8. That's probably all she was saying, no need to read too much into it. The reality is that nursing school is tough and it's a different way of testing and learning because it's geared towards NCLEX, which isn't cut and dry or black and white, and the overwhelming majority of us don't make 4.0's all the way through. The student in the post above illustrates this point, she is the only one who has made A's three semesters in a row. It definately isn't impossible.


    Just continue to try to do your very best and learn all you can, including those things you aren't graded on, like people skills, conquering fears, etc. Let the grades be what they may, if they are A's, then that's awesome, but don't make the A your highest priority to the detriment of other things like family, mental health, etc. Some people are too grade focused that they loose their perspective.

    There's anything wrong with striving for A's. As a student this is what I naturally do, I can't help it, but I realize that's part of the equation and life doesn't end with an A- or a B, as long as you're learning and moving on towards NCLEX and nursing.



    Good luck!
    Last edit by Tweety on Dec 16, '06
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Who says you can't be both?

    I know people with 4.0 who were also very competent and caring nurses.

    I also know people who carried Cs who were outstanding, and As who were scary.

    No need to worry what others think. Strive for your best academically and in the clinical area--- that is all any of us can do.
  13. by   piper_for_hire
    I second that. Strive to do well both clinically and academically - they compliment each other. There will always be people that will encourage you to do less than your best, just ignore that advice. Plus - doing well academically will buy you the option of advanced practice in the future - should you decide to travel down that road someday.

    -S

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