I think I want out, end semester 1

  1. 0
    The end of my first semester of an ABSN is approaching and I am seriously reconsidering this program and perhaps even the entire profession. I am finding the nursing instructors and a lot of the material to be totally useless. It is Concepts of Professional Practice that is so troublesome.

    I have a Master of Science in Physiology and a Bachelor of Science in Emergency Medical Care. I have been in rigorous academic programs before. I am not stupid and I believe I have a pretty good knowledge of the human body/disease process. I have been a paramedic for eight years and a community college adjunct instructor for five. I am hoping to become a nurse practitioner because as a paramedic there is very little opportunity for any career advancement.

    In this Concepts of Professional Practice, which basically a fundamentals of nursing class, it seems that none of what I study is on the exams. I have tried the textbook, the lectures, study groups and everything. But without exception the test comes around and it seems like the test was taken from another class or another school. I am doing ok in pathophysiology and health assessment. It is not easy, but it is simpler in terms of, if I pay attention in class, take notes, read the chapters, and study the material I can do well. But in this class I don't know what else to do. There also seems to be complete and total lack of consistency in practical skills evaluations. Clinical skills evaluations are something I have done as an instructor for many years, and I find it very disturbing to see one student pass a station and the next student failed for doing the exact same thing.

    I have tried talking to my professor and she frankly was nothing but condescending. She refers to everything as "just a guideline." In many cases she doesn't seem to know the answer herself. She makes outlandish errors in presenting clinical information which could be harmful for my classmates because they don't know any better. We never even had a lecture on careplans. We were basically given a case told to figure it out ourselves. The professor graded it extremely harshy despite the fact we had absolutely no instruction. It seems like something that unique and complex would warrant some instruction. We also didn't get a single lecture on drug dosage and drug calculations, but we had to pass a 25 question exam on the subject to pass the class.

    It seems like so much of this program is unnecessarily esoteric. The instructors, some more than others, seem to pride themselves on complicating even the simplest information as much as possible. Frankly, the concept of this nursing diagnosis seems insulting to my intelligence as student. So many of the faculty seem to be catty for no apparent reason and have a chip on their shoulders the size of Texas. Is this typical? Did I pick a bad program? What should I do?
    Last edit by Katyvent7 on Nov 26, '12 : Reason: typo
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  4. 12 Comments so far...

  5. 1
    I can completely relate to your situation. I just graduated from an ABSN this past May and felt exactly the same way. I found nursing "theory" along with nursing "diagnoses" absurd and bizarre concepts, which are not based in reality. Esoteric is a perfect word for it. They use 15 words to describe something that could be described in five. They create their own nursing terminology and phrasing, which to me, just sounds like bad English. By the end of the second semester, I realized that it wasn't me - I just think logically and much of nursing education seems to ignore logic. I think it stems from an inferiority complex that nurses have. For years, our culture has seen them as inferior to physicians and in response they have created a world for themselves in academia where they can demand respect. The problem is that they're over-thinking it. They are trying to create philosophies and theories when they aren't needed. They make simple concepts confusing and convoluted. It took me months to understand what the hell a nursing diagnosis even was..Why make it so complicated?

    Don't get me wrong, nursing itself is important and difficult work and requires great intelligence to do well. I mean no disrespect to nurses, and technically, I am one too. But, I encountered a lot of nursing instructors who I did not feel had the right to be teaching because of their absolute inability to be articulate or to write a clear/fair exam. I argued dozens of test questions and wrote way too many letters in protest. I barely made it through my program because it was so emotionally exhausting. Not because I couldn't do the academic work (I graduated w/ a 3.84, magna cum laude) and not because I couldn't do the clinical work (I worked hard and passed all my clinicals without a problem). The worst part was dealing with the incompetence. I did have a few good teachers, and a couple great ones, but most of them were terrible lecturers and wrote exams which did NOT reflect the material. I would re-listen to lectures, read all the textbooks and handouts and still see material on the test that was completely foreign, badly worded, or worse, totally wrong!!

    I made it through it because I want to be a nurse midwife. I knew becoming an RN first was the only way to reach my dream. I worked really hard, fought my battles when I had the energy and tried to let the injustice slide when I could - just to save my energy. It's BS, but I think this is just how it is. I went to a program which is highly regarded in NYS - I've had many nurses say how impressed they were that I attended that program…which always baffled me because I thought they were a pretty big mess. I'm planning on starting midwifery school soon and do not plan to ever work as a nurse. If you really want to become an NP and know that it's work you'll enjoy and could tolerate a year of working as a nurse (or find a masters program that does not require nursing experience first), then I'd encourage you to grin and bear it. It's rough, but it does go by quickly. If however, you're not 100% sure about being an NP, I'd warn you that nursing school does not necessarily get better, and floor nursing can be really rough. Most of my classmates are miserable in their nursing jobs. Either way, you're not alone in your experience. The most important thing is to look at your overall goal. If becoming an NP is important to you, than don't let the bs of nursing school discourage you. It was one of the hardest years of my life, but I made it, passed the NCLEX and am now applying to midwifery school. I'm glad I didn't let their bad teaching scare me away. Good luck!
    Last edit by midwifetobe85 on Nov 26, '12
    WantToBeMidwife likes this.
  6. 0
    Quote from Katyvent7
    The end of my first semester of an ABSN is approaching and I am seriously reconsidering this program and perhaps even the entire profession. I am finding the nursing instructors and a lot of the material to be totally useless. It is Concepts of Professional Practice that is so troublesome.

    I have a Master of Science in Physiology and a Bachelor of Science in Emergency Medical Care. I have been in rigorous academic programs before. I am not stupid and I believe I have a pretty good knowledge of the human body/disease process. I have been a paramedic for eight years and a community college adjunct instructor for five. I am hoping to become a nurse practitioner because as a paramedic there is very little opportunity for any career advancement.

    In this Concepts of Professional Practice, which basically a fundamentals of nursing class, it seems that none of what I study is on the exams. I have tried the textbook, the lectures, study groups and everything. But without exception the test comes around and it seems like the test was taken from another class or another school. I am doing ok in pathophysiology and health assessment. It is not easy, but it is simpler in terms of, if I pay attention in class, take notes, read the chapters, and study the material I can do well. But in this class I don't know what else to do. There also seems to be complete and total lack of consistency in practical skills evaluations. Clinical skills evaluations are something I have done as an instructor for many years, and I find it very disturbing to see one student pass a station and the next student failed for doing the exact same thing.

    I have tried talking to my professor and she frankly was nothing but condescending. She refers to everything as "just a guideline." In many cases she doesn't seem to know the answer herself. She makes outlandish errors in presenting clinical information which could be harmful for my classmates because they don't know any better. We never even had a lecture on careplans. We were basically given a case told to figure it out ourselves. The professor graded it extremely harshy despite the fact we had absolutely no instruction. It seems like something that unique and complex would warrant some instruction. We also didn't get a single lecture on drug dosage and drug calculations, but we had to pass a 25 question exam on the subject to pass the class.

    It seems like so much of this program is unnecessarily esoteric. The instructors, some more than others, seem to pride themselves on complicating even the simplest information as much as possible. Frankly, the concept of this nursing diagnosis seems insulting to my intelligence as student. So many of the faculty seem to be catty for no apparent reason and have a chip on their shoulders the size of Texas. Is this typical? Did I pick a bad program? What should I do?
    I really think that coming into nursing school with a significant amount of knowledge in A&P and patient management makes things even more difficult. And on top of that you are in an accelerated program and may have a bad teacher. That being said...

    My sincerest advice from someone who went down the road is check the ego at the door and be open minded; if you don't you won't learn, you will get frustrated and struggle in both didactic and practical. Remember that despite the patient management, being a nurse (RN or NP) is a drastically different approach than a medic.

    Part of ABSN programs is that they expect a lot of you starting out ( like medcalc) and have limited time to teach everything (like care plans) rather they assume you can read and figure some things out on your own.

    All I can venture to say about the incorrect clinical information and skill checks is that, though you have some knowledge, perhaps there are subtleties you are yet trained enough to notice. That or the teachers just made mistakes (as we all do).

    Best of luck, I hope you stick it out. You may find the NP education more rewarding if that's what you eventually want to do: it's markedly different from pre-RN.
  7. 0
    Welcome to nursing school. I see it hasn't changed much in the last 23 yrs. If you want to be a nurse you just plow through it and have to let go of all those other considerations (most of which I totally agree with and experienced myself long ago). If you can't do that then this is definitely the time to cut your losses.
  8. 11
    I completely sympathize with the OP and agree with midwifetobe85. I went into my BSN program in my 30s with combined 6 or 7 years of both CNA & EMT work under my belt plus a previous BA & 5 years work in the IT field. Plus both my parents are professors and I grew up in academia.

    I STRUGGLED with the BSN program MIGHTILY. After the first 2 semesters I was ready to drop out -but luckily I was chained to a strict scholarship contract. I went to a private, fancy-pants women's Catholic college with a "prestigious" nursing program. What a joke. I barreled into the program with the 19 & 25 year olds, my critical thinking skills and life experience pretty well developed, and for the entire 4 years I felt like a bull in a china shop.

    I would loudly question their pedagogy, argue and criticize nursing theory, and regularly challenged & denounced "nursing diagnosis" as totally useless in any modern framework of patient care. I hated every second of studying their bloated, obsolete curriculum that prepared students to be blowhard philosophers instead of skilled nurses!

    Sure, I coulda kept my mouth shut and nose to the grindstone, but I figured as long as I was trapped under a contract I might as well get good grades AND let my voice be heard. I also wrote a lot of letters and spent many hours in the Dean of Student Affairs' office ranting and raving. I graduated magna cum laude but probably because they were afraid of me at that point.

    Nursing needs a hard return throw to its roots as a technical trade. I believe theory IS important, but not nearly AS important as BSN program directors think. The NCLEX is in dire need of a makeover, and curriculum needs to be designed around reality. That would be a good start.

    I am in an MSN program now for Nursing Education, because I don't get mad.....I get even.
    PinkCupcake, LexRaven, Esme12, and 8 others like this.
  9. 1
    Quote from mclennan
    Nursing needs a hard return throw to its roots as a technical trade. I believe theory IS important, but not nearly AS important as BSN program directors think. The NCLEX is in dire need of a makeover, and curriculum needs to be designed around reality. That would be a good start.
    This!
    Esme12 likes this.
  10. 0
    Quote from Szasz_is_Right

    This!
    Most of the research seems to contradict it though.
  11. 1
    Quote from de2013
    Most of the research seems to contradict it though.
    Guess who is doing the research?
    Esme12 likes this.
  12. 2
    Quote from Szasz_is_Right

    Guess who is doing the research?
    If its a well-designed study does it matter?

    I don't see any evidence to suggest that the RWJF or the IOM is disreputably biased, let alone any of the independent research. Do you have a specific example of flawed research studies?
    Last edit by BostonFNP on Nov 27, '12
    llg and HouTx like this.
  13. 4
    Quote from midwifetobe85
    I found nursing "theory" along with nursing "diagnoses" absurd and bizarre concepts, which are not based in reality. Esoteric is a perfect word for it. They use 15 words to describe something that could be described in five. They create their own nursing terminology and phrasing, which to me, just sounds like bad English. By the end of the second semester, I realized that it wasn't me - I just think logically and much of nursing education seems to ignore logic. I think it stems from an inferiority complex that nurses have. For years, our culture has seen them as inferior to physicians and in response they have created a world for themselves in academia where they can demand respect. The problem is that they're over-thinking it. They are trying to create philosophies and theories when they aren't needed. They make simple concepts confusing and convoluted. It took me months to understand what the hell a nursing diagnosis even was..Why make it so complicated?
    Glad to see I am not alone! I envision a committee sitting around with thesauruses coming up with a bunch of BS. My favorite from the Ackley Nursing Diagnosis book is Disturbed Energy Field.


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