Nursing Instructors/Clinical Instructors

  1. do you feel that at a certain age one should not be teaching nursing? my point is, some people i have been talking to say that the "older" teachers are not "in tune" with "todays" nursing. no, not the fundamentalist aspect but the mind set of nursing being one way in the "lab" and a totally different way in the "real main stream of nursing".

    a good foundation comes with those who are "older" but the "younger" instructors teach with the "real" world in mind.

    what are your thoughts?
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   globalRN
    Depends on how you define 'older' and 'younger'
    and 'real'
  4. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I guess it depends on how hard one works to maintain his/her hand on the very pulse of current issues in nursing. I see some folks in their 40s who are stodgy as hell and unwilling to make the tiniest changes, yet others in their 60s who read journals and stay current and don't let contant change freak them out. How is that for a convoluted answer? In other words, how can we put a number on it? That to me, would be very discriminatory and unwarranted.
  5. by   whipping girl in 07
    I think it makes a difference if the teacher is still practicing nursing. One of the "oldest" nursing instructors I had was one of the best "real world" teachers because she was still doing some work besides teaching (a couple of days a week during the summer). She graduated from nursing school in 1951.

    On the other hand, I knew some relatively young nursing instructors who did it the same way they did it when they were working on the floor 10 years ago because besides the 30 days a semester they were in the hospital with students, they were not at the bedside. Makes a difference, IMHO.

    However, just keeping up with the literature and changes in the nursing profession really makes a difference, too, maybe even more than actually working at the bedside. But I just don't think you can effectively teach someone how to be a nurse without a certain amount of current clinical experience.
  6. by   researchrabbit
    Depends on the prof. When I was in nursing school, two instructors retired at the end of the year...one was absolutely fantastic and the other one was only so-so...the one instructor I had trouble with was younger than I am.
  7. by   mattsmom81
    I think some may be misunderstanding the goal of nursing instructors. Their main focus is to get the student nurse ready to be a safe basic practitioner and pass state board exams. Theory based, competent education and mastery of basic skills. This is why skills checkoffs include all the 'steps'...to test their comprehension and learning.

    Does a student really need to crowd their brain with too many 'real world' shortcuts while on clinicals? I don't believe it's particularly helpful, nor is it necessarily a great thing to throw new innovative stuff at them while they're mastering basics.

    I have heard students struggling with all the different 'ways' they see and hear nurses practicing.....it can confuse them and hurt the primary goal (learn competent practice, pass state boards) Some students fail school administered skills checkoffs because well meaning nurses have offered 'new innovative ways' to do it. Students become confused and falter in their demonstrations. They have failed to solidify the base knowledge before trying out 'new' ways.

    A helpful and wise staff nurse asks the student about their school protocol, and helps the student understand it's whys and wherefores...the way THEY are being taught.

    I also believe one's ability to teach has nothing to do with age.

    And I also remember.....after passing boards...THEN the real education began...but ya gotta pass the dam boards FIRST...LOL!
  8. by   semstr
    I don't think it depends on the age, as a few other before me stated here already.
    It only depends on how the instructor is keeping up with new technoligies etc. etc. and that is something she/ he has to do her/ himself.
    But as Matsmom stated, what is the goal of a nursingschool?
    I want my students to know and perform the basics of nursing, so that they won't endanger clients/ patients, they should be able to notice changes in patients, report them and know what to do about them.
    (one of the reasons I find Benners' steps, not realistic for students or "freshly" graduated nurses)
    Now we can start a new discussion of course, what are the basics of nursing? Well.................., yes, that's a long one to catch.
    But back to your question, it depends on the instructor and not on age, how good or bad she/ he is.
    Take care, Renee
  9. by   Love-A-Nurse
    originally posted by globalrn
    depends on how you define 'older' and 'younger'
    and 'real'
    old as in someone being a nurse 15 plus years as opposed to someone young being a nurse 10 years and less.
  10. by   researchrabbit
    originally posted by lpn,future, rn
    old as in someone being a nurse 15 plus years .
    cool!!!! guess that means i'm just a baby!! :d
  11. by   Q.
    Mattsmom - excellent post.

    I agree, nursing education and instructors prepare students to practice safely and effectively. Keeping up on the pulse of the innovations of nursing practice and research is up to each individual nurse once they are practicing. There are some relatively young nurses who aren't up on current practice trends simply by choice or apathy.

    A good nursing instructor, or ANY instructor, is one who stays current in nursing, (or their chosen discipline) regardless of age. Older nurses are excellent to talk to about how nursing has evolved so we can learn from them - but to expect that every prof is a practicing bedside nurse is just unrealistic. Being an educator is a full time job with rigourous demands; to do both (staff and teach) is a big demand. As we age, we all like to cut back.

    Unless your instructor is so outdated she is telling you to not give ice chips to a fresh heart, there really isn't anything more she can do other than prepare you to pass boards.
  12. by   mattsmom81
    Thanks, Susy. Sometimes I get upset at how few 'real life' nursing situations some students are exposed to in nursing school, but I do understand it cannot 'all' be taught in nursing school's short time frame...basics must rule.

    According to several posters, I am ' too old' to teach since I've been a nurse for 25 plus years.

    I contend those of us who have stuck it out for that long are 'survivors' and students just may want to learn a thing or two about that too...(as well as how to pass boards..LOL)
    Last edit by mattsmom81 on Oct 11, '02
  13. by   Love-A-Nurse
    originally posted by mattsmom81
    thanks, susy. sometimes i get upset at how few 'real life' nursing situations some students are exposed to in nursing school, but i do understand it cannot 'all' be taught in nursing school's short time frame...basics must rule.

    according to several posters, i am ' too old' to teach since i've been a nurse for 25 plus years.

    i contend those of us who have stuck it out for that long are 'survivors' and students just may want to learn a thing or two about that too...(as well as how to pass boards..lol)
    let me clarify. the number of years was brought up in comparison to teaching styles, not too old to teach in general.
  14. by   Love-A-Nurse
    thanks for your replies.

    i must say, i like the diversity that each individual instructors gives through universal knowledge, personal life experience and both professional and person clinical experiences.

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