Instructor Woes :-(

  1. [font=Arial Narrow]Hi Everyone,

    [font=Arial Narrow]I am a new nursing student. A total neophyte. I have no prior medical experience and I'm totally learning the medical jargon etc. and the groundwork for becoming a good nurse. I began in March of 2004 and so far I'm doing good in my classes except for one, which I'd like to do better.

    [font=Arial Narrow]The dilemma is that this is a Fundamentals of Nursing class. This is the most if not one of the most important courses I have. And my grades are not what I want them to be. I read my chapters, I dedicate the same amount of study time as in my other classes etc. But I never feel confident when I sit down to take a test or demonstrate in practicals.

    [font=Arial Narrow]Here is the thing. I know that the instructors are there to only facilitate. But, mines is not even doing that. She digresses a lot and goes off on tangents and irrelevant info and the meat of what we should learn or focus on is not elucidated. We are deluged with readings and it would be helpful if she could just home in on certain facts and points (like the other teachers do). But, she doesn't. Additionally, when we go into the lab there is no structure. There is no initial demonstration and then breaking off into partners to practice. Lab time is disorganized and a free for all. I am so frustrated because all that I learn is basically from classmates who are either CNA's or care takers in their own home and have experience.

    [font=Arial Narrow]If, I were the only one feeling this way then I'd reevaluate myself. However, the majority of the class feels the same way. Additionally, we all agree that our grades in the Fundamentals class prove the deficiency in comparison to what we get in other courses.

    [font=Arial Narrow]We have grumbled and sought advice informally. However, no real solutions are evident. I've even considered seeing if I could go sit in on another Fundamentals class on my own time (if it is free) and see if I would benefit that way. Of course, I don't have that kind of time, but I would try to do it.

    [font=Arial Narrow]The teacher senses our frustration. She is very kind and sweet, but can become threatened and impatient and shows it.

    [font=Arial Narrow]What would you guys do in this situation? Grin and bear it? Formally, collectively let her know what WE need? Complain to the heirarchy? Chalk it up as our own personal problem?
    [font=Arial Narrow]I NEED HELP and all your suggestions will be copied and forwarded to my class.

    [font=Arial Narrow]Thank you in advance.

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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   Encephala
    Instructor Woes :-(
    [font=Arial Narrow]Hi Everyone,

    [font=Arial Narrow]I am a new nursing student. A total neophyte. I have no prior medical experience and I'm totally learning the medical jargon etc. and the groundwork for becoming a good nurse. I began in March of 2004 and so far I'm doing good in my classes except for one, which I'd like to do better.

    [font=Arial Narrow]The dilemma is that this is a Fundamentals of Nursing class. This is the most if not one of the most important courses I have. And my grades are not what I want them to be. I read my chapters, I dedicate the same amount of study time as in my other classes etc. But I never feel confident when I sit down to take a test or demonstrate in practicals.

    [font=Arial Narrow]Here is the thing. I know that the instructors are there to only facilitate. But, mines is not even doing that. She digresses a lot and goes off on tangents and irrelevant info and the meat of what we should learn or focus on is not elucidated. We are deluged with readings and it would be helpful if she could just home in on certain facts and points (like the other teachers do). But, she doesn't. Additionally, when we go into the lab there is no structure. There is no initial demonstration and then breaking off into partners to practice. Lab time is disorganized and a free for all. I am so frustrated because all that I learn is basically from classmates who are either CNA's or care takers in their own home and have experience.

    [font=Arial Narrow]If, I were the only one feeling this way then I'd reevaluate myself. However, the majority of the class feels the same way. Additionally, we all agree that our grades in the Fundamentals class prove the deficiency in comparison to what we get in other courses.

    [font=Arial Narrow]We have grumbled and sought advice informally. However, no real solutions are evident. I've even considered seeing if I could go sit in on another Fundamentals class on my own time (if it is free) and see if I would benefit that way. Of course, I don't have that kind of time, but I would try to do it.

    [font=Arial Narrow]The teacher senses our frustration. She is very kind and sweet, but can become threatened and impatient and shows it.

    [font=Arial Narrow]What would you guys do in this situation? Grin and bear it? Formally, collectively let her know what WE need? Complain to the heirarchy? Chalk it up as our own personal problem?
    [font=Arial Narrow]I NEED HELP and all your suggestions will be copied and forwarded to my class.

    [font=Arial Narrow]Thank you in advance.
  4. by   EMTtoRN
    I have always said that my success in a class if ofton times influenced by the professor. The one class I did bad in <got a C> was my intor to sociology class. The proff was OLD and his teaching was monotenous and horrible. As much as I study\ied and read, I still scored poorly. The same thing in high school,,there were some teachers that were helpful and some that were not.

    If your class as a whole has issues I would suggest seeing the dean of your department. You never know, this may be a thing that they are aware of. Make a cummulative list of the issues and most of the times the dean will "pop" in to take a look.


    Let us know what happens!
  5. by   chris_at_lucas_RN
    Are you in M****, Texas? Sounds like my old school. I heard about an alternative, and opted for that this past fall. I have never regretted it, not for one minute.

    However, most of my former classmates toughed it out (some transferred to other traditional schools) and maybe half of our original class are graduating this week.

    Here's what we did (I did succeed those first three semesters!):

    1) As much as possible, become a cohesive group and help each other. Schedule time to meet outside of class and discuss the topics you are covering. Be prepared to look stuff up in your books and notes, so that everybody gets a good clear shot at the info, and you don't learn something wrong because you accepted somebody's word for it without checking it.

    2) Use your syllabus--and study questions if you've got them--and develop and outline of the information. Divide it up and have it be "due" a week before your exams--some of your classmates aren't going to get theirs done. You'll have to make up the slack, and you'll have to decide whether you are going to let them have the info the others worked hard to produce.

    3) We developed a Yahoo group website for notes and info to be posted on. That got a lot of flack from the administrator, who suspected we were using it to cheat. (I'm not sure how that was thought to work! But it was an interesting in vivo example of paranoia in action.) Eventually our system broke down, but before it did, it helped a lot of people get enough of a grasp on the basics that they survived those early classes and made it to the later semesters. Some people graduating next week were openly grateful for the help they got from the notes on that yahoo group. (It made putting up with the administrator almost worth it!)

    Good luck. I probably made it sound awful. I didn't mean to, necessarily--when people say it's not easy, they don't always mean it's because the material is complicated. Set your eyes and your heart on your goal (graduating) and focus on today. Don't cut class, do take notes. Share what you have learned with others, it cements it into your own head.

    Almost forgot! Nursing questions are different from exam items in other courses. Be sure, for example that if the question asks for what would be done in the evaluation phase, you select THAT answer, even if it's not a very good evaluation technique. Sometimes there will be great assessment and great intervention choices, and only a mediocre evaluation choice. If you pick one of the "great" choices, your answer will be wrong, even if it was a better action.

    This is probably a lot more than you are looking for, but I hope some of it is helpful.

    I wish I had known about allnurses (and the Yahoo groups!) when I was a student.

    Good luck!!! And let us know how it goes! And don't stop asking questions!
    Last edit by chris_at_lucas on May 7, '04 : Reason: forgot something important
  6. by   nightingale
    Encephala:

    I have moved your thread to the Student Nursing Forum. I think you will get more feedback that is supportive to your delemma.

    Personally, I would button up, work as hard as possible, and moved on to the next class. You will have MANY different kinds of instructors; try to work with the system. It is not up to the teacher, it is up to you and what you can do with the material. Yes, continue to work with the instructor but make it a win-win; keep your language I focused and take resposnsibility for your learning.

    Good luck and let us know how you are doing.

    night
  7. by   Used and abused
    Let me tell you what I did. I almost flunked out. Then I discovered the glory of looking at the outline, looking for it in my text books, going to student study groups. MAN those are the things that got me through it all. Ask your instructor questions that are in your outline. If you have to keep redirecting her, do it. That's her job. She might start to understand.
  8. by   nightingale
    Excellent point Used and Abused. I would have flucked out of many a class were it not for my study group. I remember many a conversation geared towards understanding what the teacher was looking for. I learned so much in studying the course outline FIRST. Study what you need to know.

    night
  9. by   Tony35NYC
    Hello,

    Don't be discouraged. Many of us had similar experiences during the fundamentals course. I had an instructor who spent half the class cracking jokes and most of the other half talking about her personal problems. Her exams hardly had anything to do with the material covered in her lectures, and she certainly taught me a thing or two about how to learn independently.

    My suggestion would be that you keep asking your instructor questions about the topics in the program outline whenever she begins to go off on her tangents, and also try to learn as much as possible on your own. The important thing is to stay focused and to learn everything you need to know to pass the class and move on. Get the course outline and study all the chapter materials indicated. Make a list of all the stuff you don't understand and ask the instructor a lot of questions about them in class.

    When you study, don't just try to memorize definitions. Make sure you understand the concepts. Always think about the bigger picture (i.e. what are the nursing implications; what type of interventions are indicated or contraindicated, and why; how the nursing action impacts the agency, the patient, etc.) Nursing exams are mostly critical thinking and nothing at all like exams for other courses. Therefore, you can't study for them the way you normally study for other types of exams. Get a book with NCLEX type questions to practice with, and be certain to READ all the rationales for the answers given. After you've been practicing these questions for a while you'll get better at reading and understanding them and also at choosing the MOST correct answer from a tough multiple choice list. Ergo, you'll feel more confident about sitting the exams, and you'll get better grades.

    Get a clinical skills book and use it as a guide when you're practicing in the lab (i.e. Clinical Nursing Skills and Techniques by Perry and Potter). This is an excellent book because it gives step-by-step instructions with photo demos for pretty much every clinical skill. You can also check whether they have the nursing videos that cover these skills in the lab or in the reference section of the school library.

    Finally, find a steady partner or a small group to study and practice with until you feel comfortable and confident with your skills. Get the study guide that accompanies your textbook and use it to help you focus.


    Good luck!
  10. by   purplemania
    Study group (limit number and restrict everyone to talking about subject at hand and being prepared or don't attend). Also, pay attention to objectives in text and in syllabus. Remember, this too shall pass.
  11. by   HyperRNRachel
    Look at the objectives and know the who, what, why, where, when, and the most important nursing intervention for each topic. If a study group is not an option than say all information out loud and ask yourself questions. Always have a mental picture of all detail from begining to end in your mind, at times when you cannot think of the answer it will help you to see it. I know my fundamentals book had procedures, pay attention to information in italics. Also, look at some of the flashcard web-sites, I used flashcard.com while taking health assessment, fundamentals, and clinical skills. I think the reason the flashcard sites help is because you are re-writing notes. I think the one thing is realizing you have to devote an enormous amount of time to these classes if you want the grades you are use to. And when all else fails use this web-site to keep you motivated.

    Take care and good luck,
    Rachel
  12. by   HyperRNRachel
    Oh about definitions....remember if you cannot explain it to a five year old, than you do not really know it. That is what I was told by an upperclass mate and I try to remember that while I am studying.
  13. by   Ned the Red
    I'd add one more suggestion. I never hurts to get to know people who've already taken the class. They can be invaluable sources of info on the direction the prof takes in exams.

    And, Chris, I REALLY like your suggestion 3. I just finished A&P I in night school. I live way north and the class was way south so never could "hook up" with anyone to study. Wish I'd thought of your idea - it would have helped all of us.
  14. by   Havin' A Party!
    Quote from Ned the Red
    I'd add one more suggestion. I never hurts to get to know people who've already taken the class. They can be invaluable sources of info on the direction the prof takes in exams...
    My first thought.

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