RN teacher failing students to "weed" them out?

  1. Here is the situation that has had nursing students, including myself, very upset over this one teacher. I am a first semester RN student, and along with 35 others and we have many complaints about one teacher. Now I am not out to make a big deal about this person, but I feel that what they are doing is very wrong. First, there have been numerous students and ADVISORS who have said that this teacher is trying to weed out some of the first semester students by making the course extremely difficult to pass. I believe this.

    For our competencies (where we perform a task to pass on a dummy), it was using a certain technique. And the lab instructors are the ones who watched us and gave us our grade. Well this teacher, after everyone took the competency, said to us "I am the ONLY person who can determine a final grade, and if I feel that you cannot perform the technique by reading the notes the lab professors put on your paper, I have the power to fail or pass you".

    Additionally, this teacher never posts our grades, power points, notes, content guides, or any of the material we NEED until 2 days before there is an exam when numerous students have asked this teacher to post them, and they said they would, but they still do not.

    I am getting pretty good grades, but I do not feel confident at all when I am the school. I feel really confident when im in the clinical setting. Our clinical instructor said we need to talk to the Head of Nursing, and we all have. I just feel like that isnt enough and this teacher is going to win against us. I really like our teacher as a person, however when they instruct us, I feel like they are looking down on us and trying to fail us.

    I dont know what to do, and Im also worried about my fellow RN students... does anyone think this is right??
  2. Visit xmissxscarlet09 profile page

    About xmissxscarlet09

    Joined: Oct '11; Posts: 6
    Student Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 3 year(s) of experience


  3. by   nurse2033
    If you are serious about pursuing this, you'd better be ready for a fight. It sounds as if unfair practices are being used, but of course, even you don't know all the details. Find out the accreditation of the school and see what you can find out about whether the school is following the practices of that accreditation body. You could also contact them with your concerns. Make sure you have documented all correspondence with the teacher and the director. If they feel you are a threat, you could easily be run out, which is why they have the power to keep doing what they are doing. I would doubt that the rules of the school specify that a certain number of students must be failed. Scrutinize all the policies you can get your hands on. This could just be a lot of students complaining and bellyaching but if you start to look at policies you might get a better idea of whether she is being fair or not. Good luck.
  4. by   Good Morning, Gil
    Now I'm not saying you should do as I would do, but here is what I would do. Nothing. Why? Because said teacher has not caused any problems for you, she has not failed you unjustly or anything. So, I figure, why make waves if it's not really necessary? I would just go in there every day, and do my best, study hard, and pass the lab practicals. You may find that everyone made a mountain out of a molehill, and this teacher ends up being one of your best. The hardest teachers are your best teachers; however, if they are on a power trip, that is a different story, but still, just do your best, and do well, and you will pass. If this teacher gives you trouble or fails you when you believe you should have passed, then deal with that situation as it comes, and report it. For now, just make the best of it.
  5. by   xmissxscarlet09
    I completely agree! That is what I have been doing. I havent treated my teacher in a mean way, and I have studied my butt off!! It was just a concern because I have came this far and I dont want to be shot down. And this teacher truly is on a power trip. But I understand when you say she may be my best teacher. Its just a sticky situation, and I will deal with an issue if it comes. I was just concerned for myself and my other friends who are in the RN program.

    Thank you!!
  6. by   AJPV
    I'm in my final semester of an ADN program. All I can tell you is that every school probably has 1 or 2 of these types of teachers. You just have to make sure your main priority is to do everything that IS within your power to pass the class. Study your butt off. Form a study group if that helps you (don't if it's just a distraction). Set up your schedule so you can devote the entirety of the 2 days before the test to studying. One strategy to deal with her withholding the powerpoints from you...

    If you type fast, take your laptop to class. That's what I do. I am able to type everything on the powerpoint slide and add in her verbal explanations that elaborate on each point. If you can't type fast enough, take a tape recorder, or even better, prop up an iPhone on a desk and record the powerpoint in HD (then you'll be able to make out the words later).

    As far as confronting the teacher or seeking intervention from someone higher up... You really need to feel out the political situation in your school. If you can find a more seasoned teacher who is more reasonable, has been around the school a long time, and likes to advocate for the students, that teacher might be a good resource. Always present positive and productive solutions that deal with specific problems (ie, the teacher withholding powerpoints), not just general character attacks.
  7. by   KeepItRealRN
    Do what you have to do to pass and move on. A few years from now you won't even remember this instructors name. And in school there will be a couple of instructors who will f*** with you. You need to learn to deal with it. If you do what they require you will pass but it might not be easy. When I was in school I had an instructor that I thought for sure was going to fail me as she messed with my head all the time. In the end I was very surprised that I got an A, and that I when all was said and done learned the most from this person because she expected a lot.
  8. by   EmergencyNrse
    Quote from xmissxscarlet09
    I really like our teacher as a person, however when they instruct us, I feel like they are looking down on us and trying to fail us.
  9. by   NamasteNurse
    It doesn't sound like any rules are being broken. Nursing school is hard for a reason. Nursing is HARD! You will encounter nurses just like your instructor. Your 'friends' in nursing school will mostly go their own way after graduation. It's common for 50% of a nursing class to fail. Teachers don't weed out the weak ones, they weed themselves out by failing usually for not following some bs rule or maybe not everyone is smart enough or cut out for this profession. Harsh, but reality.

    Out of an original class of 52 students, 20 of us graduated and two years later only 12 of us are practicing nurses!
  10. by   canoehead
    The instructor being the only person with the power to pass or fail you sounds like usual practice to me.

    If she doesn't give you her notes and slides, she probably wants you to take your own notes, read the text, and not just memorize and regurgitate.

    She probably is abrasive, but not unfair.
  11. by   KeepItRealRN
    If this instructor is violating policy then you have something to go on. If not and she is only tough and maybe thought of as unreasonable, then just buck up and deal with it. You will have deal with many more people who are difficult to deal with than this instructor. You might be learning more lessons here than just clinical.
  12. by   AJPV
    A 50% fail rate sounds excessive to me. My class of 60 has probably lost only 5 or 6 (and they aren't lost forever, just need to repeat a course). Our school has a 94% NCLEX first-attempt pass rate. I think this shows that it IS possible to teach in such a way that there is not excessive "weeding out" and yet all of the graduates are competent. The question is whether or not schools choose to pursue that level of excellence.
  13. by   pedicurn
    Depends when the school weeds them out.
    Either tough entry at the start or fairly open entry where students fail and leave in the first couple of years.
  14. by   RyanCarolinaBoy
    Well, call me mean and abrasive, but I haven't heard anyone say this, and it's begging to be said. Nursing school is "tough" and you may think that this instructor is "mean" and "unfair" but to me, it sounds like a typical nursing instructor. She's not there to be your friend. She's there to teach, and trust me, I've only been a nurse for six years, but i've seen some pretty crappy nurses turning out. Some of them were in my class. To be honest, not everyone is cut out to be a nurse.

    My advise is...go to class, TAKE YOUR OWN NOTES...it sounds like the students at your school expect things to be handed to you. In real life, you wont find a doctor that hands you a powerpoint with what you need to know, you'll be expected to find/retain that info on your own. Keep your head down, do your work, and you'll do fine.