Helping a classmate

  1. 0
    I'm in my second quarter of nursing school, and doing way better than I ever imagined. Today we had our third test of the quarter, which is considered the hardest test thus far, and I came out of it with my best grade yet. As excited as I want to be about my grade, I'm upset because a friend of mine in the program isn't doing nearly as well. The last two tests she's failed by a small margin, and this test today she failed by over 10%. We are in the same study group, she gets all the same information as I do, and yet she's really having a hard time.

    Basically, I'm not sure how to help her. I can't imagine nursing school without her, considering we were accepted together after taking all our pre-reqs together. She is such an amazing person, great with patients and people just adore her.

    I need some advice on how to help her get on track. I realize I can't carry her through NS, but I can't just sit back and watch her fail another test.

    I already recommended she try and get a tutor, but I'm not sure what else to suggest to her. I succeed with study guides and flashcards, and apparently that's not her learning style. Anyone have any ideas?

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  3. 14 Comments...

  4. 9
    RUN, RUN AWAY! Srsly, you are about to be sucked down into the abyss of neediness.

    As you move further along, you may begin to notice that some poorer students have a knack of quickly 'friending' the higher performing students. This is a normal part of their MO for school survival.

    She may be a wonderful person, but you didn't take her to raise. You are not accountable for her educational success. It's time to begin distancing before she becomes permanently attached. I'm not saying that you can't still be friends, but you need to establish boundaries before you find yourself spending more time on her never-ending needs than on your own studies. This will also eventually erode your friendship if she becomes more resentful of your success. It's better for both of you to point her in the direction of academic resources provided by the school.
  5. 1
    You're doing all you can but your education comes first. It sounds cut throat but I thought I was darn mother Theresa helping folks and I think I could have made better grades. She needs to find out what her learning style is. Maybe she's not a group studier. My closest friend in nursing school and I quickly discovered we didn't work well in a study group. After that we studied side by side but not together. Good luck. You're a good friend, but as the other poster said, don't get sucked into someone else's trap. You might regret it later.
    GrnTea likes this.
  6. 1
    If she complains or expresses worries about her performance, your only responsibility is to put the question to her: "What are you going to do about that?"

    If there's anything about you in her answer, gently say that you are a nursing student, not a tutor, and redirect her to the resources the college already has in place for her. You can be a friend, but you are not responsible for her education or her success.

    This is a situation you'll encounter as a working RN, too. Someone will be a good friend on your staff, but will be doing a poor job of being a nurse. You can only do so much; it'll be the management's job to see that she's hooked up with the staff educator, has extra orientation time, they put her on probation with an improvement plan, or whatever they deem appropriate. They've seen it before. She will have to come to the table; you will have your own work to do.

    So too here. She will have to do what she has to do, and the faculty does what they have to do.
    pmabraham likes this.
  7. 1
    You know what, I give up. I left allnurses a while ago because everyone was so negative, and I'm beginning to realize that coming back was a mistake.

    My classmate is my friend. She was my friend before NS and she'll be my friend long after. She didn't seek me out because I'm a good student and she's never come to me to try and drag me down with her problems. In fact, I had to pry her test grade out of her, because she didn't want to bother me with it.

    The RIGHT thing to do is try and help someone whom you've been in the trenches with, not run away because something suddenly gets tough. If, as nurses, our montra is to help others... telling me to "run away" is the very essence of failing that creed.

    So, yes, I give up. Close this topic. I won't be coming back. Everyone here seems out for themselves.
    makingstrides likes this.
  8. 0
    I can only imagine how you must feel. I had a good friend I made through school back during our pre-reqs who failed at the end of our 2nd semester and I felt terrible but couldn't do nothing to help her once it happened, after she had struggled and failed a few exams also. She applied and got into another program and then failed again. She is such a hard worker and a fabulously sweet lady but, school is difficult for her so the nursing program has proven to be even harder, but she is planning to apply a third time and I hope she makes it. I also have a best bud that I study with all the time so I can empathize with how you feel you and that you don't have to help her but want to, because she is your friend and your close. I hope it works out for her but even if she can't pass this time, she might do better with her studies and exams if she has to repeat this semester. You will still be friends and be there for each other, but perhaps you may not be able to graduate together. All you can do is encourage her as you have been to try different studying techniques. Also some students find that NCLEX style books really helped lay out some of the material better than lecture did, which muddles information sometimes.. Good luck to you and to her and I'm sure you still be friends no matter what happens.
  9. 0
    I know the responses seem negative. I think the wisdom to take from them is do what you can, but if you "want this more than anything in the world", you MUST be careful that you do not put your own studies aside.
    Apart from that- is it possible that your friend relies a great deal on studying with you? Not in a way that she expects you to solve her problems- but that maybe she is relying too much on group study.
    I personally made that mistake in the past. I had to repeat a semester because of it. I studied with a group- and members of the group were successful- so I made the mistake of allowing the groups methods and materials to make up for what I didn't completely understand. I am glad I repeated, because I was so much more confident and knowledgeable after that.

    Perhaps she is not studying adequately on her own and equating the actions of the group with the success of it's members.

    But it is hard to advise if no one be critical of the situation.

    I honestly think GrnTea's advice is very sound.

    If she complains or expresses worries about her performance, your only responsibility is to put the question to her: "What are you going to do about that?"

    If there's anything about you in her answer, gently say that you are a nursing student, not a tutor, and redirect her to the resources the college already has in place for her. You can be a friend, but you are not responsible for her education or her success.
  10. 4
    Please, keep an open mind. I know the advice you’ve received seems harsh. I received similar advice several months ago, however, and I sincerely regret that I did not follow it. I am currently a senior in my Baccalaureate program. Throughout my program, I have been an A/B student. During my junior year, I befriended a fellow nursing student. We became very close, and when she began to struggle with the coursework, I was eager to help her succeed. I devoted countless hours of my time assisting her with her studies. But, it hurt both of us in the long run.

    When we progressed to senior year, our work load more than doubled. I tried my hardest to maintain my GPA while continuing to help my friend. Eventually, I began to experience panic attacks. I was spending so much time helping her grasp the material and complete her projects that I scarcely had time for myself. I ended up turning in projects and papers late, and which did not adequately reflect the quality of work that I am capable of producing. My exam grades began to slip. I tried to distance myself from my friend so that I could bring up my grades. But, her requests for help were relentless and I felt obligated to support her.
    I did manage to maintain my GPA that semester, but I had to bust my ass near the end in order to make up for lost time. I am now in my final semester. The work load is as intense as it’s ever been. I had to cut my friend off completely because I could not help her with her studies and keep my head above water at the same time. I referred her to the school’s tutoring program. But, she is now performing worse than ever on our exams. Why? Because she relied so heavily on my assistance that she never developed the critical thinking skills necessary to succeed. Nursing isn’t about rote memorization. You have to develop a knowledge base and be able to apply it to clinical situations. Your friend has to develop her own knowledge base. You won’t be there to hold her hand during N.C.L.E.X. And, you certainly won’t be around to help her make clinical judgments when she starts practicing as an RN.

    It is natural for you to be concerned for your friend. Many people are drawn to nursing because of their caring natures. Not everyone, however, will make it through nursing school. It isn’t your job to be responsible for anyone else’s success – ensuring your own success as you proceed through the program will be difficult enough.
    Jill2Shay, P B and J, GrnTea, and 1 other like this.
  11. 2
    Quote from TheAmazingMrsA
    You know what, I give up. I left allnurses a while ago because everyone was so negative, and I'm beginning to realize that coming back was a mistake.
    I've read the previous posts and don't believe that any of them had anything negative to say about your situation. In fact the opposite is happening here. The posters are concerned that you will give up too much of yourself for another student (friend or otherwise) and put your own academic pursuits at risk.

    I don't know what advice you came on this thread to receive other than what was given to you. It sounds like you have done all that you can and now it is up to your friend to search out new resources. If your study group isn't helping her than she needs to find one that does. You can still be friends and help her (no one here is saying that you can't be friends) but part of that friendship is knowing what your limitations are and when to refer to the experts. There is no shame in asking for help from the staff at the school that is placed there for this exact reason.

    Good luck to you and your friend.
    GrnTea and Hygiene Queen like this.
  12. 0
    I'm in my first semester myself so I dont too much advice however, I have found that utilizing concept maps are helpful. I world's pass the advice of different study techniques along (concept maps, earlier studying, seriously planning out scheduling out time) but she has to implement these changes on her own......what's the saying, "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink."....sort of world's here. Give suggestions but dont utilize much of your personal study time to solve all these issues.

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