Challenging your Instructor - page 2

I was recently told by my instructor that I displayed rude behavior in class towards her. She claims because I said "are you sure about that?" that I was being rude. The two times in which I... Read More

  1. by   moongirl
    Change your wording. Next time say "I am really confused, could you clarify this for me?"
    and yes, they DO rule the Universe, yes they CAN get away with whatever they want, they can be rude, uncooperative, unpleasant and you smile and say " thank you for your help and time, I appreciate it" even when in your mind you are saying "&*@! you"
  2. by   Clarise
    Quote from llg
    As BSNtobe2009 suggested, the problem may not have been that you asked a question... the problem may have been in the way you asked your question. Learning how to question the statements of others so that you don't offend them is an important skill you will need throughout your career.

    Whether you call it "tact," "courtesy" "respect" or whatever, you will frequently find yourself with a question or doubt about what someone else has said and you will have to use that skill to resolve the situation. Giving up and simply not ever asking another question is NOT the right approach. That's the kind of reaction that hurts the patients when the nurse doesn't question an incorrect order or when someone blindly follows a policy they know should be changed. That type of retreat in order to protect yourself is often a terrible response and one that can cause great harm.

    You'll need to work on your communication and interpersonal skills in order to handle these situations productively in the future. You'll need to learn to question physicians, your boss, your preceptors, your senior nurses, etc. You might as well start now learning how to speak with your faculty. That's the professional way to handle it.

    llg
    I would expect this type of a response from an Instructor No, I will not be asking anymore questions in class. Nursing school has become more about survival than a learning experience. I know how to talk to people, how to ask appropriate questions, how to use tact and I give respect to all of my instructors and patients. I am a great nursing student. I have worked with people my entire life and have excellent interpersonal skills. I would of course question an incorrect med order. To think otherwise is absurd.

    It seems like you have been out of school for quite a while and have forgotten the power dynamics of nursing school.
  3. by   moongirl
    I think what llg is saying the way you said it.." are you sure about that" instantly put that instructor on the defense. Afterall, SHE has the MSN behind her name, not you. You were, with that statement, not only questioning her theory, but her as a whole. Like I said, state things carefully and with respect. "What you are saying is..." "what if..." "could you explain that to me please"
  4. by   llg
    Quote from Clarise
    I would expect this type of a response from an Instructor No, I will not be asking anymore questions in class. Nursing school has become more about survival than a learning experience. I know how to talk to people, how to ask appropriate questions, how to use tact and I give respect to all of my instructors and patients. I am a great nursing student. I have worked with people my entire life and have excellent interpersonal skills. I would of course question an incorrect med order. To think otherwise is absurd.

    It seems like you have been out of school for quite a while and have forgotten the power dynamics of nursing school.
    Regardless of what You think of your communication skills, your instructor interpreted your questioning as rude and inappropriate. You yourself referred to them as "challenging" in the title of this thread. I'm just trying to give you some friendly advice by telling you that preceptors, charge nurses, managers, doctors, etc. that you will have to work with throughout your career may feel the same way. To succeed in the workplace, you'll need to learn to "challenge" in a way that doesn't offend the other person.

    It's friendly advice given by someone who works regularly with students and with new employees. Yes, I graduated a long time ago -- and have learned a lot since then. I am trying to share some of what I have learned with you in order to help you succeed in your career long-term -- not just take the easiest route through this one course.

    I see other posters giving you similar advice on sharpening your questioning skills. You can ignore it or try it and learn new skills. It's up to you.

    Good luck with your career,
    llg
  5. by   locolorenzo22
    I'm with everyone else. I've had to question statements, but you do it either after class or on break and ask "I thought....but you said......., can you explain if I'm just off base or....?" When you put the word you and sure in the question, then they will get offended.
    My CI seems to have it out for myself this semester, and after first 2 weeks I made a vow to keep my head down, nose clean, and just do what I KNOW is correct and not question anything she states unless i'm 100% right.
    Some instructors seem to relish having the power to say, this is my way and I am LAW. We all know real-world will be different. Just stick for yourself and then you'll be done in no time.
    BTW, I don't have CI again until 4th semsester. Maybe then I should be a little more confident.
  6. by   cardiacRN2006
    Quote from Clarise
    I would expect this type of a response from an Instructor No, I will not be asking anymore questions in class. Nursing school has become more about survival than a learning experience. I know how to talk to people, how to ask appropriate questions, how to use tact and I give respect to all of my instructors and patients. I am a great nursing student. I have worked with people my entire life and have excellent interpersonal skills. I would of course question an incorrect med order. To think otherwise is absurd.

    It seems like you have been out of school for quite a while and have forgotten the power dynamics of nursing school.
    Gees!
    I can see why your CI might have mistaken your comments.

    The advice here is all the same from everyone who responded. You say you have excellent interpersonal skills, but they sure don't appear in this post!
  7. by   Megsd
    I think llg's assessment of the situation was very accurate. It was a poor way to phrase your clarification, it put the professor on the defensive, in public, and he/she probably was flustered at this and clammed up. The answer is not to quit asking questions... that would not solve the problem with the instructor and really it would only end up hurting you because you will have uncertainties about information that your instructor may be able to clarify.

    If your instructor clams up about questions in class (and some of them do), what about shooting them an email later in the day saying "I was reviewing my notes about X and from what I understand Y is true, but I believe in lecture this morning you said Z was true. Can you help me understand this better?" You're still asking a question, but in a way that puts the focus on you and your confusion about the topic, not on the professor and their lack of knowledge.
  8. by   Daytonite
    Clarise. . .I think you're forgetting something that is very important in interacting with other people. That is that it is not only what you say to people, but how you say it. The tone of your voice, the inflection you give your words, your body language. Other people pick up these cues instantaneously while we are often unaware of them. So, while the actual words you said may seem innocuous to you, how can you be sure your body language wasn't saying something else that offended the instructor at the time? Communication is a very complex matter. Also, when someone is trying to express their feelings and perceptions to you, the sensitive person doesn't just poo-poo and ignore them. A sensitive person acknowledges the other persons feelings and perceptions. They don't belittle them. What will you do if a patient tells you that you are rude? Because I can almost guarantee that something similar is going to be said to you at some time in your nursing career by an angry or confused patient. It doesn't matter if their perception is right or wrong, but how you handle it.

    And, no, you don't dispute instructors openly, in class, during their lectures. That is rude, disruptive and arrogant. Unless you had textbook and page references right at hand to prove your challenge at that very moment, then disputing something that is being told to you by an instructor who has control over your grade and evaluation is about the same as committing suicide. I don't know if you can do any damage control to correct this situation. My advice would be to sit quietly in class and just listen to the lectures for the remainder of the term. If you disagree with something being said, find proof first. That is the scholarly, educated way to handle the situation. Then offer it to the instructor in the privacy of their office, one on one, but not publicly. In any case, I wouldn't do anything to aggravate this instructor any further.
  9. by   RNsRWe
    Clarise, both llg and Daytonite are offering you some significant wisdom here. I realize you are coming from an emotional stance right now, and in the heat of the whole thing you are naturally defending your position in the situation. However, since those of us who have read your posts are NOT emotionally charged or too close to the situation to recognize problems, please heed the advice given?

    I have been out of nursing school six months, so I can absolutely guarantee I have not forgotten "how it was". Actually, I still get the shivers when discussing my "time served"...! That said, I can also tell you that NOT asking any questions is not the way to truly succeed in school either. You really do have to be certain what an instructor wants fed back to her as "correct", even if you don't happen to agree. You do need to be sure what her expectations are on any subject, and that will probably require clarification from time to time. Clarification, and not direct challenges, are the way to succeed.

    Instructors love students who are paying enough attention to ask questions, provided they are framed in the correct and professional manner they expect. And your job at this point is to learn how to frame those questions so they elicit the information you need WITHOUT setting your instructor on the defensive. Frankly, there will be times when you will be frustrated with what is taught, because you probably WILL know/believe/think it's wrong. Not every instructor is 100% up to date on everything, and much of what is taught is subjective and slanted toward whatever agenda is prevailing. But that's life, isn't it?

    Good luck to you!

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