I Tutor Nursing Students - You Can Too!
Teaching nursing students is both challenging and rewarding. If you ever wondered whether you are cut out for teaching, this article gives a comprehensive overview of how one nurse approached becoming an educator by tutoring students. You'll learn how easy it is to carry the torch to the next generation of nurses by becoming a tutor.
I recently decided to continue my education with an RN-MSN bridge program, and my enrollment advisor asked me if I wanted to pursue nursing education or an administration and management track. It was a tough decision, but as soon as I tutored my first student, I was convinced teaching was for me! I actually tutor from the comfort of my home by tutoring online.
The truth is, any nurse can do this. The tutoring interfaces are very easy to use. I just plug in my headset and enter into the interactive room, sort of like a chat room. There's a white board, but we don't really use it, we just talk.
I spend the majority of the time reviewing approaches. I ask students to tell me all about their challenges, what resources they're using, and how they're currently studying/preparing, and then I help them create an individualized plan to approaching the material. Sometimes they're just not committing themselves to the material. I can relate; I was this way also when I was a student! In that case, we break down their obstacles (or excuses) and revamp their schedule, and then I tell them to text me every day after they study to hold them accountable. If they have had many failures or serious life situations, I talk about how discouraging that can be, build up their self esteem, and then give them links to motivational videos.
Most students think that preparing for the boards is all about cramming, when it's really all about answering hundreds of practice questions. Learning how to approach questions is critical. I teach students about the Kaplan decision tree and how to triage after disaster; how to prioritize patients and which patients are appropriate to delegate to other nurses, LPNs, or CNAs; and, how to use ABCs and Maslow's hierarchy of needs – but I remind them that, while nursing school may have drilled in the physical and safety needs, they have to be able to recognize normal. If a patient is physically well and safety needs are met, it's okay to pick the caring response. Finally, we talk about second-guessing. Some people are good second-guessers, but the only way to know is to start keeping track of how many are right vs. how many are wrong during practice tests and then over time they can see a pattern. Then they'll be more confident about either going with their gut or listening to their shoulder angels.
For reviewing specific content, I reference a lot of resources for lessons, including my old nursing school notes, notecards, and textbooks, and I also pull questions and material from several NCLEX prep books. If a student asks me about a topic that I can't confidently respond to it, I look it up. Talk about keeping things fresh! As nurses, we're committed to a lifetime of learning, and I love that this role allows me to solidify and expand my personal knowledge. I can also put this on my resume. This is great practice for me as a future nurse educator. It's super convenient for me because I schedule lessons from 8-10pm, after my two little boys go to bed, and I can (and do!) tutor in my pajamas. Lastly, let me tell you about the first time I got feedback from a student. It was the most heartwarming feeling. Knowing that I made a difference for a student is truly rewarding.
Now I know I gave away all my secrets here, but I'm really just trying to convince you that this is the easiest job in the world. I'm really passionate about swelling the ranks of tutors because I think if there were more of me, then maybe nursing students wouldn't feel so lost and overwhelmed! I remember exactly what that felt like - you go through all the challenges of nursing school and then there's this beast (the NCLEX) standing between you and the rest of your life. Teaching students how to crush that test is something I think we can all appreciate having been there ourselves. So... are you up for the challenge? Give tutoring a try and see if it's for you!
About Jennifer.pursell, RN
Jennifer Pursell is a registered nurse in the sunshine state.
Joined: Aug '14; Posts: 13; Likes: 29
from PA , USDec 11, '15Hi, thanks for this article . I am presently pursuing my MSN in education. I will like to know how to land a tutoring job just like the one you mentioned in this article. Any suggestion will help. Thank you!Dec 14, '15Hi Jennifer, I am a pre nursing student and I am wanting to apply a RN program at one of my local community colleges starting in Feb 2016. I would like to know how can I get in contact with you when I do become a Nursing student? I know I would need some tips/help on studying and learning the techniques that are used during nursing school. Thank youDec 14, '15Congrats on finding a role that makes you happy. I currently teach billing and coding students the A&P side of things, and enjoy that as well. I too feel a calling for teaching and love to see that spark when someone finally understands a concept they have been struggling with.Dec 15, '15Wow, I'm so glad I found your article. Although I am entering my last semester of my BSN program, I have always wanted to teach. So I will definitely take the education route when I start grad school in a few yearsDec 16, '15Just Google tutoring NCLEX or nursing, there are a few different fast-growing websites that will give you the opportunity to put yourself out there. Good luck!Dec 16, '15Shonta, thank you so much for asking. Please never stop asking for help when you become a student and a nurse. It's the only way to succeed! Get connected with great resources, and make lots of friends with your peers and study together. You'll hold each other accountable and teach complex concepts to one another, solidifying your understanding of the material.Dec 18, '15Quote from Jennifer.pursellThank you!Shonta, thank you so much for asking. Please never stop asking for help when you become a student and a nurse. It's the only way to succeed! Get connected with great resources, and make lots of friends with your peers and study together. You'll hold each other accountable and teach complex concepts to one another, solidifying your understanding of the material.Jan 6, '16This sounds like a wonderful opportunity for nurses with disabilities. I will be sharing widely!Jan 13, '17Thank you for writing this. I am thinking of tutoring and this article has been very helpful.Jan 31, '17Hi, and thanks for an excellent read. What and where did you obtain the interface software that you use? How do you find your clients? How did you decide what to charge? Do any of the textbook companies allow you to purchase "teacher resources and or textbooks? Has your clientele decreased with the influx of people doing the same thing for free on Youtube?
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