Critique of nursing school - page 5

Having seen so many pitiable messages thrown up on this board from desperate students barely surviving nursing school, I wanted to give my two cents worth from a less immediate and frazzled perspective. Let me say that I... Read More

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    Wow, I did not know you went to my school. Oh wait, it was almost 2 decades ago that I got my degree. It could not have been the same school. While I agree with you, there is a problem with this thinking. Let me explain.

    I do believe it is a multifaceted problem. Precepting those coming out of schools, it is apparent that many were not taught critical thinking. This is a problem that goes back to high school. Forget critical thinking, we were not taught to think. It seems obvious that we all know how to think but as a professional, do we really.

    Once when managing, I saw a patient with pain in his contracted hand, most likely arthritis as it only appeared when it was raining. The relatively new nurse in a SNF, on being told of the pain, drew up some acetaminophen. On asking why, she indicated that it was all that was ordered. On asking if she questioned the doctors orders, she said no. Forget questioning the doctors orders, even questioning whether acetaminophen even worked (three studies show placebos work better) was the bigger issue.

    A quick call to the MD and on his request, a suggestion, (yes, become an expert at something and doctors will ask your opinion), we put the patient on a combo of siniment and baclofen. It worked. I learned this because when things did not work, I started asking what would.

    Here is the problem. How did some of us get to the point where we are even though we went to the same schools. At some point, it is up to us as students. Although I did have a pilot program called Critical Thinking in High School, there are others nurses who went to the same nursing schools and in spite of the school,became incredible clinicians. They learned to think.

    How did they / we do it, in spite of the school.
    stronginchrist, tyvin, and LadyFree28 like this.

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    There are no mindless papers; only mindless writers.
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    Wow so many emotions, experiences and disappointments have been shared amongst the original post and replies. I too felt a lot of these issues during my PN program. Since I am not a "spring chicken" I feel I might be a bit more discerning than some of the younger students who have fewer life experiences to draw upon for comparisons of professionalism. I will not continue with the same school if I decide to complete an RN program even though the ADN instructor is the only one in the department with any actual teaching talent. There was too much contradiction between lecture and text that I felt the instructors hadn't prepared for class other than reading the slides. They didn't even value questions trying to lead them to correct their contradictions between the text and what they said. Fortunately I had one compatriot student who kept reminding me to keep my mouth shut. I felt their requests for questions were insincere when I realized they didn't know the answers.

    I enjoy learning and don't mind the difficulty, however when the instructors claim we needed to cover certain material on our own (more than one instance) I felt the program was not very thorough. I paid for this program and expected it to be complete. If there needs to be more classes/hours then the program should be modified, especially since my school prided themselves on their NCLEX pass rate. It is not the school's pass rate since the students were advised to follow-up with other programs i.e. Kaplan, Hesi, ATI, NCSBN Learning Extension, etc.
    Some of these NCLEX prep programs cost a lot of money. The one recommended by our school was a good review covering some of the material left out as previously mentioned, but the practice testing section had pitiful rationales (if any at all), circular explanations for "Test Taking Tips," and expected the student to be a mind reader of where the question was leading. This same program cited sources none of which were more recent than four years old and some 10 years old.
    Also during my PN program we learned of the phenomenon of "nurses eating their young." This was vehemently discouraged as an approach in future practice, however, I felt it in regular treatment from our instructors. This was not the case with other nurses during clinicals. I wonder if this falls under the category of "this is how it has always been done." Well, that is one of my greatest pet peeves-life is about what happens, growth, learning, experiences, change. We change our underwear, hairstyles, diets, cars, you name it life is about change. Why can't nursing education change to include compassion for students as human beings or to advocate more of what is taught - like therapeutic communication. Why are students less deserving than patients? Why do we not tell a patient "everything will be fine" whereas more than one instructor has given false reassurance.

    I have many more emotions resulting from experiences during my PN classes including a few positive ones. I originally came to allnurses.com this evening to find support for a different issue but NormaSaline's post caught my attention. Now I feel some relief.


    adnstudent44, vintagemother, and Jl8708 like this.
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    wow grandmabutterfly! Did you go to my school? It sure does sound exactly like the program I went to! It was a total complete disaster... and people (including the board of nursing) act like these situations don't even happen... haha... figures!
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    I have to say, the nursing boards were a breath of fresh air. The tests were grammatically correct. I was done with the LPN in the minimum number of Questions. A few months later when I sat for the RN (I did classes back to back where I could) it ran me through all the questions. I thought I had aced it but the questions kept coming. We were told that a percentage of tests would be automatically the full number. I passed either way. Those tests were the only bright spot for me.
    adnstudent44 and Jl8708 like this.
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    Quote from adnrnstudent
    But your MSN instructors sure can write a mean paper in APA format. Nursing education (both ADN-BSN and MSN) needs to be revamped to EXCLUDE mindless paper writing.
    Yikes.
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    Huhh. I had a very similar experience to that of NormaSaline and ChemStickPro, only in PA school. It was to put it nicely, a horse and pony show. You know something is wrong when resident instructorS (plural) say "I don't know what you need to learn. I'm just here because they told me to." Or when a professor teaches something only after reading an intro book and cannot answer of your questions because he himself is a novice. Anyways, I'm just venting.

    Don't pick a school based on some rating from US News! Just because a program is old and established doesn't make it good. Pick a school because of it's good reputation from those that have been through the program. Speak to faculty and students who are able to provide constructive criticism in addition to praise for the school that pays their salary or hands them a degree. Speak to the director of the program! If something doesn't feel right get on the web and ask questions.

    Your money. Your time. Your well-being and sanity. You future ability to be a good clinician are on the line! So choose carefully.
    Jl8708 and LadyFree28 like this.
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    I definitely agree with the original poster on the part of the nursing prep industry. It goes to show you how capitalism has eroded the educational system and allowed these private corporations to profit from standardized testing.

    My problem with the prep programs like Kaplan is that many of them actually freaking work. But unfortunately they are obscenely expensive especially for working class students. It's a travesty!
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    I think APA format is for those instructors wishing to publish letting the student perform the research. Then, if they like your work, they use your source instead of performing their own research. I have more humility that I don't need to see my name in "print" for posterity while letting the plebes do the work.
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    As an instructor I want to comment on a few things.

    -finding experienced nurses with Master's (now doctorates) who are not only knowledgeable, but also good teachers, is extremely difficult. This is not an excuse. To me this is where the real shortage will reveal itself. I took a 20K pay cut for this job. In my experience, there are faculty the colleges want to terminate, but they have no one to replace them.

    -the admission process in nursing school sets students up for failure (in some cases). Relying on numbers (GPA, entrance exam scores) does not reflect a student's potential for success in nursing. We take students who have done well in black-and-white science classes and expect them to do well in the gray-area which encompasses nursing school tests.

    -the schools are expected to maintain a certain percentage of NCLEX passing, to the point where their jobs, their program, their reputation relies on it. Kaplan and the like have exploited that.

    -I have a lot of clinical experience and I am a very good clinical instructor. The classroom is an entirely different beast. Although I have excellent reviews from students, I constantly worry if I do enough. As an instructor, you have to be willing to learn what you don't know (because you will be expected to teach it). You have to be willing to say "I don't know, but I will find out." I can't know everything. It is impossible. But for some students, the second I admit I don't know something, I have lost all credibility with them (back to that black and white thinking). Others will respect it.

    -unrealistic expectations. I do want to comment on this. The x number of clinical hours a student has in school is not sufficient. The diploma programs had a much better set up. Students will do better if they work as techs or student nurses. There is so much more to be learned those first two years after graduation. There is a limit to what I can do clinically with 8-10 students in a day. I do my absolute best, but it will never be enough.

    It is not a perfect system. We are seeing a new generation of faculty now as many retirements are taking place. I believe this is where we can see real change. I believe the majority of instructors I know are committed to doing their best and we kill ourselves striving for perfection. It sometimes feels hopeless because there is very little appreciation for this work. Sound familiar?
    stronginchrist, Jl8708, Everline, and 3 others like this.


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