Anyone unsuccessful in nursing school but excel as a nurse??

  1. I am currently in nursing school and I am not doing as well as I have hoped. I am the type of person that takes longer to learn things, but does extremely well once things are learned. I am a hands on learner.. note taking and reading isn't as easy for me. I've had to retake 2 classes, but so did about 10 other of my classmates.

    I am just wondering if there are any nurses that struggled in school, but excelled once you got into the real world and started working? I just need some encouragement!
    Last edit by Jess__ on Feb 15
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  2. 26 Comments

  3. by   Meriwhen
    Before this becomes another "A students/book-smart vs. C students/street-smart" thread, as I'm sure it will at one point...

    • There are nurses who did lousy in school but who excelled at nursing on the floor after graduation.
    • There are nurses who did lousy in school and who also did lousy on the floor.
    • There are nurses who did great in school and who also excelled on the floor.

    and

    • There are nurses who did great in school but who did lousy on the floor.

    Yes, you could end up being a great floor nurse...or you could end up being a lousy floor nurse. The moral of this story is that what will determine how you end up after you graduate is what YOU put into developing yourself. Because your nursing education doesn't stop once you pass the NCLEX.

    So yes, you could excel as a nurse after graduation. Depends on how much work you want to do in order to make that happen.

    Best of luck.
  4. by   roser13
    Your title is misleading. You have not excelled as a nurse because you are not yet a nurse. A nurse is fully educated, both in the classroom and in hands-on patient care.

    You are not simply in a situation where you're doing "lousy." You are in a situation where you are failing essential classes. You cannot use the excuse that you are "a hands on learner, not book." It simply doesn't work that way. You must either figure out a way to become a student who is able to learn in the classroom (study groups, tutoring, etc.) or figure out a way to change your life goals.

    Because nursing is considered a "caring" profession, it is easy for folks to assume that if they just care​ enough, they can be a nurse.
  5. by   Extra Pickles
    I like what Meriwhen said, but with one caveat. Students who do lousy in school don't graduate school to become nurses in the first place. Lousy implies awful, and awful students fail, they don't graduate. Marginal students, sure, there are marginal students who go on to become great floor nurses and marginal students who go on to become awful floor nurses. Lousy in school, well, no, I don't see that person getting into position to become any kind of nurse as a license is required to practice at all.
  6. by   Extra Pickles
    Quote from roser13
    Because nursing is considered a "caring" profession, it is easy for folks to assume that if they just care​ enough, they can be a nurse.
    honestly this is the part that gets me, when I see posts that say "I'm a nurse in my heart" or "if I could just pass the NCLEX on my XXth try I'd be an awesome nurse". Licenses don't exist in someone's heart. Desire doesn't make it so. Nursing school is not the equivalent of an astronautical engineering education lol so it's not like it's an insurmountable goal for most. But not all, and that should be recognized.
  7. by   Meriwhen
    Quote from Extra Pickles
    I like what Meriwhen said, but with one caveat. Students who do lousy in school don't graduate school to become nurses in the first place. Lousy implies awful, and awful students fail, they don't graduate. Marginal students, sure, there are marginal students who go on to become great floor nurses and marginal students who go on to become awful floor nurses. Lousy in school, well, no, I don't see that person getting into position to become any kind of nurse as a license is required to practice at all.
    I do admit that I based it on the premise of lousy-but-passing students, i.e., the C students, or whatever grade is the minimum passing grade in a specific school. Marginal is a better descriptor.

    There is no judgment in that statement against those who have gotten Cs--I have a whole transcript full of them from my first degree. But to be technical, if your performance is barely meeting passing standards, lousy is one term that could describe it.
  8. by   AliNajaCat
    Quote from roser13
    Your title is misleading. You have not excelled as a nurse because you are not yet a nurse. A nurse is fully educated, both in the classroom and in hands-on patient care.

    You are not simply in a situation where you're doing "lousy." You are in a situation where you are failing essential classes. You cannot use the excuse that you are "a hands on learner, not book." It simply doesn't work that way. You must either figure out a way to become a student who is able to learn in the classroom (study groups, tutoring, etc.) or figure out a way to change your life goals.

    Because nursing is considered a "caring" profession, it is easy for folks to assume that if they just care​ enough, they can be a nurse.
    I CANNOT LIKE THIS ENOUGH! Bravissima!!
  9. by   FutureNurseInfo
    OP,

    From what I have read, I see no indication that your performance is "lousy" the word that you never used in your post; meanwhile other posters have used this very same word. Moreover, you said you did not perform as well as you had hoped. What did you hope for? Did you hope to be an A+ student, and now you are a B student? Not knowing what your benchmark for excellence is, it is hard to say if you are indeed not performing as well as you hoped. My guess is, you are doing quite well; it is just you are being hard on yourself or see other students do better, and feel that you DO underperform. In either case, you may be doing much better than you think.
  10. by   roser13
    Quote from FutureNurseInfo
    OP,

    From what I have read, I see no indication that your performance is "lousy" the word that you never used in your post; meanwhile other posters have used this very same word. Moreover, you said you did not perform as well as you had hoped. What did you hope for? Did you hope to be an A+ student, and now you are a B student? Not knowing what your benchmark for excellence is, it is hard to say if you are indeed not performing as well as you hoped. My guess is, you are doing quite well; it is just you are being hard on yourself or see other students do better, and feel that you DO underperform. In either case, you may be doing much better than you think.
    You are quite the optimist! Please do tell - on what evidence are you basing your "doing quite well" assessment?

    Oh, and for the record, *IMPORTANT TO NOTE* the OP has edited out the part where he/she is failing courses. That piece of information is essential in evaluating subsequent posts.
    Last edit by roser13 on Feb 14
  11. by   TheCommuter
    I am sure there are great nurses who started out as mediocre and/or borderline nursing students back when they were attending school.

    In general, these types of nurses favor task-orientation: they place heavy emphasis on how well they perform procedural skills while de-emphasizing the theory and rationales behind each task.

    Task-oriented nurses also display intense pride in their ability to "run circles" around other nursing colleagues when providing care.
  12. by   Volley88
    I was the C+ borderline student in my class.
    I took the ATI (or HESI) "practice boards" exit exam twice prior to graduation.
    I took the NCLEX 3 times and passed at 93.

    I got a job right away with my "in-hospital" connections (off topic: but it was a matter of 'who' I know to get a job)
    I have been working on my own for a year in a Med/Surg unit AM shift.
    I was just awarded RN of the 2016 Winter Quarter.

    IMO, live-experience is different than theory. You learn and adapt, much better compared to sitting down listening to lectures.
    Again, this is my own personal experience.
  13. by   nurselife247
    Some people are tactile learners. I have been a LPN for 15 years and I am struggling in my last semester of RN school right now. The fact you made it in the program itself sets you apart from being "lousy" . Nursing school is stressful and can make the very best of us feel like we don't know anything at times. The truth is getting the basics down in school is what is important because once you graduate, pass boards and land your first job you will learn everything you need to know for whatever specialty area you decode to go into. Most hospitals now offer New RN Graduate Residency programs which is an extensive orientation in the area you chose to work. Don't be so hard on yourself ! Some people ARE more book smart and some just learn more by doing - doesn't make any one of the two any better.
  14. by   Jess__
    Thank you for this! Im glad to hear you have done so well! There was 13 out of 17 of us that didn't pass our med surg II class, including myself. We just had a mental health exam that 2 passed out of I think 30 people.. so I've been really discouraged lately.

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