good grades vs. competent nurse

  1. 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?
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  2. 25 Comments

  3. by   futurecnm
    There are so many factors. If you get through nursing school I would think you would be competent. The people who can't do the skills or pass the tests fail out. They make it pretty tough. Obviously, not everyone gets A's. This is hard for some people. In my school, most of the people got all A's in the pre-reqs since it was so competitive to get in. So, not getting A's is hard for some. I am getting a low A going into my final on monday so it is possible to get A's in nursing classes but it is much harder. The percentage you need to get an A is higher, and you must have over 77% to even pass (in my school). I think we will lose a few people after this semester and even more after next. I study more than in my pre-reqs, much more. I study almost daily. I stay up late a lot (after kids are in bed). I am tired a lot of the time (especially test weeks). IT is the hardest thing I've ever done but I love it. You must love it to get through it. Clinicals are a great experience. You can do it if you have the desire and work hard.
  4. by   leslie :-D
    i don't put much emphasis on grades-they don't tell an entirely accurate story.
    if you can pass with b's and c's, yet clearly identify key concepts of nsg care and all it entails, you're doing well.
    i had students in my class that got a's all the time...and i would think to myself that they would not make very good nurses.
    i thought they lacked the people/communication/insight skills that are so important in a therapeutic relationship.
    granted, there's much more to nsg than being warm and fuzzy.
    learning to assess, prioritize and exercise those critical thinking skills are major requisites in nsg care.
    but the bottom line is there are many people who do not take tests well yet it is not a reflection of a lack in intelligence.
    i got a's and b's but also received continuous feedback "you're not going to be a doctor" because i just never learned where to stop studying.
    it wasn't enough that a pt had hypercalcemia.
    i had to find out why; the etiologies; the processes; the implications; and try to understand it all.
    i studied waaaay too much.
    so no, a nurse is not automatically qualified as 'good' based on grades alone.
    it's an art and science.

    leslie
  5. by   mtngrl
    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?
    Don't stress about getting A's so much. And no, getting A's doesn't make a good nurse. There is a BIG difference between remembering knowledge for a test and actually doing clinical skills and using good judgment. I had a 4.0 going into my nursing classes. Then it went down. I finished nursing courses with mostly B's, one A, and even one dreadful C. I still was studying my a** off, and like you, basically ignoring the family. But nursing tests don't even compare to your prereqs. I think what makes a nurse competent is excellant orientation, lots of practicing skills, and confidence. If you have trouble (like me) in being confident in yourself as a nurse it will really screw you up. But that takes time.
  6. by   MsBruiser
    Don't get too hung up on grades. But honestly, I find the classes to be easy to the point of being a little laughable. The clinicals are a lot more challenging for me, as I tend to fall more towards the "clinical" rather than "warm and fuzzy" side. That is the great thing about nursing - there is a home for everyone.

    Here is my two cents about studying and nursing. Nursing school does not necessarily reward the "grinds" who spend hours upon hours studying. In fact, if you are doing that you may be doing something wrong. People who get the As, in my opinion, are those who identify what is important and study those concepts. It requires time - but not a huge amount of time. In order to identify the important concepts, that requires some critical thinking. Think about what is important, study it, but be ACCOUNTABLE if the prof pulls a few extraneous concepts out of their bag of tricks that you didn't review. The good news - the more you progress in nursing school, the easier it is to guess correctly even on concepts you don't know. It all boils down to: a) don't hurt the patient; b) know the really important concepts that you don't need to look up/will have to look up in an emergency; c) don't practice medicine - be a nurse. The NCLEX is remarkably similar, at least in the review questions I do for every exam.

    I found pre-reqs to be a lot more difficult in terms of sheer studying time. But overall, nursing school is easy, but balancing family, clinicals, classes, and externship requires strict time management skills. If you don't put in the right amount of time, the balance gets skewed and you can find yourself in a real bind...
  7. by   Lorie P.
    school is one of the hardest things to do!! the only profession that i know of that what you learn on one day you get tested on in two days and learning new stuff while studying the old.
    i had a 4.0 gpa in core classes, made 2 a's and the rest b's in nursing classes. i studied anywhere form 4.6 hours everynight, drank plenty of coffee and lost much needed sleep.
    no making a's in nursing school does not prove you will be a good or even great nurse!
    you will have days when you want to scream your head off, quit, cry and yes even curse!! . but if you really want it you can do it. don't stress over a's. where i went to school, you had to have 78% to move on to the next quarter. 32 of us started and only 4 made it. this was in lpn school.
    instructors will push your buttons and see just how "bad" you really want to be a nurse. this is not to scare you or bring you down, just the reality of nursing school.
    hang in there and remember patients prefer nurses who know what they are doing and show confidence in their skills, most do not care about book smarts , they want a nurse whom they trust their lives too.
    best of luck to you!!
  8. by   Roseyposey
    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.
  9. by   peds4now
    I agree with the post above. Across the board in my nursing class, the people who get the As are the people who do the best in clinical too. They are the people who apply the knowledge from class. Some students are warm and fuzzy and some are less so, regardless of grades. But therapeutic communication is a learned skill, and warm and fuzzy without it is pretty useless. Getting the concepts, being able to analyze symptoms and think about their implications for collaborative problems does count-maybe more in clinical than on tests. The tests are solidly nursing. On the floor, depending on the kind of work you do, it can get quite medical.

    I would rephrase the old refrain and say "Cs don't make a bad nurse" But if I were a recruiter, I'd rather hire the A student.
  10. by   Wendy_RN
    Good grades do not necessarily = competent nurse. You also cannot compare your grades from prereqs to the nursing courses. At the college I graduated from 90 or above was an A, EXCEPT in the nursing program, where an A was 94-100. Anything below an 80 was failing. There is also no comparison in the testing. Nursing is about critical thinking, and that makes a huge difference when you sit down to take a test.

    There are many factors that go into making a competent nurse. I graduated first in my class and I know that I am a good nurse. (I don't say that bragging, just making a point). One of my best friends really struggled in nursing school. She had major test anxiety, and always rode the line between passing and failing. I had clinicals with her several semesters and was always impressed with her skills. I would not hesitate to have her care for me or one of my family members.

    Good luck in school. You will be fine. Just don't get caught up in the competition for the highest grades. Testing is truly easier for some than for others. It has absolutely nothing to do with determining who is the better nurse.
  11. by   decartes
    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?


    I think all of the above applies in making a competent nurse. Nursing is apparently both a science and an art. Having good grades (accomplished honestly) might indicate that the science part is well established.
  12. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from decartes
    I think all of the above applies in making a competent nurse. Nursing is apparently both a science and an art. Having good grades (accomplished honestly) might indicate that the science part is well established.

    i agree.
    getting a's is not synonymous with common sense either.
    if i were hiring, i know what i'd be looking for in a nurse.
    i probably wouldn't even ask about one's grades.

    leslie
  13. by   DoubleblessedRN
    The famous saying at my school: "A students turn into C students." It is a little bit of an exaggeration; I had a 3.6 GPA when I applied, and it is now about a 3.2. Grades aren't everything. There are some nurses who are very book smart but have absolutely no common sense, and there are nurses who had a C average who have great clinical skills, interact well with patients and their families, and have good judgement. And THAT'S worth its weight in gold.
  14. by   smk1
    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?
    Once you are in the program, you don't need to get all "A's" anymore, so you can let yourself off the 4.0 hook. However, NS is far more time consuming and the tests and work are more subjective (so that makes a bit more difficult). I still go in with the attitude that I want an "A" so I work hard to keep a high average, so that if i get sick or my daughter gets sick I have some room to get a few lower scores on tests etc... First quarter I got a 4.0 second quarter i got a "A","b+" and "b+"... but I made sure that my family had lot of fun this quarter.

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