Questions for Nursing Students

  1. I would like your opinion on some questions, so I can get a nursing student point of view! I am new to teaching nursing students, and desperately want to do a good job. I've received good reviews from students so far, but fresh ideas would be great.

    Please provide me with constructive criticism. I'm sure all of you have dealt with crummy nursing instructors (so have I), but don't think of them, when you answer the questions. Think about the ones that really helped you and made a difference.

    1. What have your clinical instructors done to enhance your learning during clinicals? Especially clinicals that didn't offer much in the way of practicing skills ( such as low chance for IV's, dressings, etc).

    2. What techniques have your teachers used to help lecture be less boring, but still provide you with the needed information?

    3. What would you like us (meaning nursing instructors) to know that would help you excel in your learning?

    4. This is just something I have wondered, but never asked any of my students... As you can see from my info, I'm pretty young compared to most nursing instructors and I look younger than what I really am. Someimes I see it as a positive, other times as a hindrance. What would be some of your FIRST impressions of a nursing instructor who was young? Meaning, what things roll across your mind when you walk into that first class or your first clinical and the person who says she is your instructor looks like she barely graduated high school, much less college? I feel very confident in my knowledge level and ability, but I do get some odd looks in the beginning and have always wondered, "What they are thinking?"
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  2. 41 Comments

  3. by   nurse4theplanet
    Quote from scribblerrn
    1. What have your clinical instructors done to enhance your learning during clinicals? Especially clinicals that didn't offer much in the way of practicing skills ( such as low chance for IV's, dressings, etc).
    One thing is make sure you let the charge nurse on the clinical unit know that if any experiences come up on the floor, that you would like your nursing students to watch/participate. Don't limit them to just their assigned patient. Also, spread out skills opportunities evenly. If one student gets the opportunity to do three IV starts but another student doesn't get even one chance, then that isn't fair. If you have really slow days let your students travel through the hospital or go off the floor with their pt for dialysis/CT/Cath lab, etc. Case studies are great to do as a group, verbally to keep down on the perceived 'busy work' but to get them to use their noggin's.

    2. What techniques have your teachers used to help lecture be less boring, but still provide you with the needed information?
    I love Power Points. They are so much more pleasant to read than your typical typed notes. Also, the less notes you have to take in class the more of your attention can be devoted to the instructor and comprehension of material, vs. getting lists of s/sx, worrying about spelling meds you've never heard of, etc. Bring equipment to class when discussing things: chest tube systems, CVP systems, Peritoneal dialysis bags, trachs, etc. Give a mini review at the end of lecture by just quizzing them on what if scenarios or little important facts from the notes. Nobody is asking you to give the test away but reinforcement is a critical part of learning, and nursing instructors tend to shy away from that.

    3. What would you like us (meaning nursing instructors) to know that would help you excel in your learning?
    Sometimes students that are held to such high standards are afraid to ask questions for fear of looking incompetent. Encourage questions and always answer each question with a non judgemental attitude, no matter how basic the concept may seem to you. Also, give positive feedback. A little encouragement can do loads for self-esteem and confidence which can improve clinical performance. A lot of NS know the right thing to do for their pt but don't trust their own judgement and are intimidated by the nursing instructors.

    4. This is just something I have wondered, but never asked any of my students... As you can see from my info, I'm pretty young compared to most nursing instructors and I look younger than what I really am. Someimes I see it as a positive, other times as a hindrance. What would be some of your FIRST impressions of a nursing instructor who was young? Meaning, what things roll across your mind when you walk into that first class or your first clinical and the person who says she is your instructor looks like she barely graduated high school, much less college? I feel very confident in my knowledge level and ability, but I do get some odd looks in the beginning and have always wondered, "What they are thinking?"
    Most of my nursing instructors were close to retirement. I had a few CIs that were in there early thirties. I would be more skeptical of having an instructor who was younger simply because my first question would be, "does he/she have enough experience to adequately train me?" So I can see that being an issue with gaining your students trust. ***This is just my honest thoughts on the subject in response to your question, and in no way am I trying to imply that a younger instructor, or you specifically, is not competent enough to be a nursing instructor*** Just be kind and firm. Don't blur the lines between the student teacher relationship even if most of your students are your age or older. Don't let students push you around or make you upset. Be professional at all times.
  4. by   Rosa2Little
    First of all, thank you for asking!

    Question 1:Be available. Most of us are nervous -- particularly during the first clinical. There is always something to see/learn. When all else fails, spend time with the student during the assessment of the patient. I know that on my first clinical, the students had only done assessments on each other in lab - all normal. Being in the hospital allows you to see lots of things out of the normal range, but we are all so new that even when we listen to something abnormal we are still not quite sure! Probably boring to an experienced nurse, but something like adventitious breathe sounds or a heart murmur/abnormal beat is a thrill (no pun intended).

    Question 2: Tell us more about patients you have cared for. It makes it real.

    Question3: We know that we are inexperienced. Truly be open to questions -- I know that I have asked some really stupid questions that I knew the answers to, but because of being nervous the answers completely escaped my brain! The minute it was out of my mouth, I knew I probably sounded like a moron. Thankfully, my clinical instructor never treated me that way! Let your students feel like they can come to you with any question. They will love you for it.

    Question 4: As you can see from my profile, I'm an older student. It would not bother me in the slightest that you are younger than I am. Be professional and caring & knowledgeable. When all is said and done, what matters is not our ages, but our ability to work together.

    Thanks for deciding to teach. Best wishes!!
    Last edit by Rosa2Little on Dec 10, '06
  5. by   Eirene
    wow, what a refreshing post!

    my first clinical instructor was 2 years younger than i was; 28 years old. when i first saw her i thought "thank god". my thoughts were that she was a recent grad (less than 10 years) and would be more empathetic toward us as students. i was right, she was an amazing instructor. she was so patient and always gave us constructive critism. (i really enjoyed her.)

    if i were a clinical instructor, i would know what they are teaching in theory lecture and try to teach along those lines. for example: a patient is presented with a stage iii pressure ulcer, he/she would ask: what does tissues does this involve? what dressings would you use? why would you use them? go along with the theory lecture and use examples from the clinical text. that would be soooo helpful!

    what has helped my learning is when my instructor asks (drills) us about why we're using a specific technique. what exactly does a calcium channel blocker do? have the students explain what it actually does in the body, not just what med books tell us. make them remember back to physiology. it's so helpful. i didn't know a specific answer to a question and my instructor told me where to go and find it. she didn't tell me what the answer was. boy, i'll always remember the answer to that question!

    it sounds like you're going to be an amazing instructor, good luck!
  6. by   colleennurse
    I am not a student anymore, but I only graduated last May, so it was not that long ago.

    1. If there wasn't much going, she would have us shadow a nurse or watch a procedure. I always liked the shadowing thing because you saw what it is actually like to be a staff nurse, with a full pt load.

    2. Most of our learning was during conference hours, It was your clinical group, so only 9 or 10 people. We would get case scenarios and have to go around the room and talk about it.

    3. My fav instructor used to not make it a big deal if you needed her to walk you through something, she did not make you nervous. She would just walk you through it. I had a few instructors that expected you to know every step of everything. I think it is hard to know all those skills when some stuff you only get to do once or on a dummy.

    4. I do not know how old you are, but my fav instructor (the one I mentioned above) was young. I thought it was great, when I first saw her I was not intimidated and I thought it might be cool to have someone younger who can relate better than someone twice my age who has been a nurse for 40 years. I did not question her abilities or knowledge at all. I learned a lot from her.
  7. by   scribblerpnp
    Sounds like I am on a good track, because I try to do what most of you are mentioning. Whew!

    I would like some more opinions on the power points (but please keep posting about the other stuff too). I too love power points. The positive is that it gives you something to look at, see the correct spellings etc. The downside I feel is that if my lecture is on the power point so the students don't have to write, I get complaints like "She reads the lecture notes out loud to us." OR (which is worse) I get the dead eyes and drool in the corner of the mouth. I know that when I was a student (which wasn't that long ago), whenever I had the power point all laid out for me, it was very hard to pay attention in class and I was bored. I also believe that the act of writing something down involvew more senses and hence helps retention. I now do an out line of the power point for the students, but still expect them to take notes. SO instead of writing 100% of the stuff, they write 60%. So far it seems like a good compromise. But you can't please all of the people all of the time!

    Oh, I'm 27 by the way. And sometimes I will get carded if I go to an R rated movie! (So that gives you an idea of how I look. Sometimes I think if I wore my hair in pigtails, someone would try to stick a pacifier in my mouth! I know I will be grateful for this in 10-20 years, but right now it is just down-right annoying! Especially when I see pt's when I'm working as an NP!
    Last edit by scribblerpnp on Dec 10, '06
  8. by   nurse4theplanet
    Your right about that! Can't please everyone. I love PP's because they are usually in list format with lots of Pics, etc. You get the pertinent information in an eye-pleasing format and it makes it easier to study. Don't read your power point word for word, just hit the highlights. Our PPs handouts are normally three slides with the area for notes to the right for each page. I can jot down extra tidbits or things that are emphasized, but still be able to pay attention. Yes, I learn alot more when I write things out rather than just listening and that's fine...for a history class, but in nursing with all the meds/procedures/terminology...sometimes its frustrating to write so much and not be able to keep up with the lecture. There is an overwhelming amount of lecture to cram into our short programs. It is up to your students to make flashcards, re-write portions of their notes, study, etc. Don't take that all upon your shoulders.
  9. by   Daytonite
    I've been done with nursing school for a L-O-N-G time. However, I've precepted a lot and I'm back in school--again--learning something new. Students, in general, hate PowerPoint presentations, I have noticed, if they are basically just printed off, passed out and read off. I have a number of instructors in health information management that do this and nobody likes it. One of the best professors I ever had would stop in the middle of a lecture and just change things up, have us play games in class, get the whole class up and go outside and sit on the lawn for the rest of the lecture. You never knew going into his classes what was going to happen. It was a blast. I've found over the years that some students are afraid of instructors and see them as authority figures. They can't get over that and so they lose that close colleague relationship that could exist. I also tried to keep things light and inject as much humor as possible whenever I was in a learning situation with another nurse. I read many years ago that our memories tend to retain things that are connected with strong emotions. It's true. The things I recall from very long ago all are connected to something emotional (sad or happy) that was happening at the time. I opt for happy whenever possible and try to project boundless energy no matter how tired I am. It's infectious. When I taught medical terminology I had the students making their flashcards in class (because they weren't making them at home) and playing a number of different memory games in class with all kinds of snacks for prizes.
  10. by   nurse4theplanet
    and another thing....stories, stories, stories. Find lots of stories in your experience that relate to the topic at hand. I remember my instructors personal experiences alot better than verbatim facts and clinical manifestations. Telling a narative gets your students to visualize what is going on and they maintain that visualization when they go back to study. Use humor whenever possible, nobody enjoys a dry lecture!
  11. by   BROOK9960
    i am currently a student nurse. i adore both of my instructors, although i have one instructor who is very young. she has a tendency to be very unapproachable, and i believe this is due to the fact that she feels intimidated by us non-traditional students who are quite a bit older than she is. she can be extremely moody at times (which again, i believe is due to her age) and at times i feel she delights in students failing. when she is kind and approachable, she is one of the best teachers i think i have ever had........but when she is in "one of her moods", she is the worst. just remember, that the students are your customers........they pay to be there...........they pay for your salary. treat them as such. don't forget that they are your customer and start believing that they "owe" you something, they don't. They are there for themselves, not you, and you are there to help them succeed.
  12. by   scribblerpnp
    [quote=asoldierswife05;1964087]and another thing....stories, stories, stories. Find lots of stories in your experience that relate to the topic at hand.quote]

    I know! I am always surprised at how students will use my stories in class to help answer test questions, sometimes for other classes. Of course, I was the same way when I was in nursing school. Now I try to get a story out of anything! I have resorted to "borrowing" other people's or making them up sometimes to get a point across. Humor does work. It also helps that I am able to teach a class and clinicals in which I have loads of experience. I'm not sure if students are aware, but often-times with there being a shortage of nursing faculty, we are expected to float to clinicals or teach classes in which we don't have a lot of experience, and at the last minute too. That can be very difficult to do at times. But then again, some faculty just give boring lectures.

    BROOKE9960, I think I'm the oposite. Non-traditional students are my soft spot. I love them! I think I must have an old soul, because for me, sometimes it feels easier to get the point across to them, and they bring so much to the clinical experience. They seem more laid back to me, but at the same time they work harder, and they WANT to learn, and are more detailed-oriented vs some younger students who see college as an extension of high school. You will notice I said SOME younger students. Obviously not all younger students are like that and I am generalizing (which I know is very bad).
    Last edit by scribblerpnp on Dec 10, '06
  13. by   AnnieOaklyRN
    Quote from scribblerrn
    I would like your opinion on some questions, so I can get a nursing student point of view! I am new to teaching nursing students, and desperately want to do a good job. I've received good reviews from students so far, but fresh ideas would be great.

    Please provide me with constructive criticism. I'm sure all of you have dealt with crummy nursing instructors (so have I), but don't think of them, when you answer the questions. Think about the ones that really helped you and made a difference.

    1. What have your clinical instructors done to enhance your learning during clinicals? Especially clinicals that didn't offer much in the way of practicing skills ( such as low chance for IV's, dressings, etc).

    -- A couple of my instructors were nice enough to "hunt down" procedures for us even if it was not one of our patients. They would also ask US what we needed as far as skills that we had not done or wanted to do more of. It also helps when you have instructors that teach you additional information rather than just going in a standing over your shoulder and watching. I also like instructors who learn to trust students over time and provide less babysitting. For example my instructor this semester ( 3 of 4), if our patient needed a procedure that was within the scope of nursing practice, she would ask if we had done it before and if we were comfortable and if we were she would let us do it on our own (not counting injections and IV meds of course). She would also just check our meds and send us on our way. I realize it is your licence that students will be working under so it is your level of comfort that will dictate what you allow students do on there own, just keep in mind 1 instructor to 8 students will stretch you thin around med time so it is important to allow for some independence. This obvioulsy will also depend on where your students are in the program, I just finished semester 3 of 4 so we obvioulsy were allowed more independence then students in their first semester.

    2. What techniques have your teachers used to help lecture be less boring, but still provide you with the needed information?

    -----A couple of our instructors have done role playing to make things more interesting. Most of the time it is just power point for 3 hours a day :trout: which as you can imagine is VERY boring! If you do choose to use power point and you are able to upload your presentation(s) to black board or something similar do it, it makes taking notes A LOT easier for those of us who prefer to use a lap top during lecture to type them.

    3. What would you like us (meaning nursing instructors) to know that would help you excel in your learning?

    -----Well it helps to have a down to earth instructor who is not on a power trip and who understands we are students and are learning. Provide teaching during cllincal practice without making the student feel like they are far beneath you. The more you the more we get nervous and the more errors that occur.

    4. This is just something I have wondered, but never asked any of my students... As you can see from my info, I'm pretty young compared to most nursing instructors and I look younger than what I really am. Someimes I see it as a positive, other times as a hindrance. What would be some of your FIRST impressions of a nursing instructor who was young? Meaning, what things roll across your mind when you walk into that first class or your first clinical and the person who says she is your instructor looks like she barely graduated high school, much less college? I feel very confident in my knowledge level and ability, but I do get some odd looks in the beginning and have always wondered, "What they are thinking?"
    ----What is this youngster going to teach us? :uhoh21:

    -----well good luck with your teaching and remember to always treat your students with respect! Oh and also do not let personality conflicts with students interfere with your ability to treat them fairly!!


    swtooth
  14. by   cherokeesummer
    1. what have your clinical instructors done to enhance your learning during clinicals? especially clinicals that didn't offer much in the way of practicing skills ( such as low chance for iv's, dressings, etc).

    provide quick ojt like showing where things are, finding opportunities for us to watch (procedures, etc.). discussions.

    2. what techniques have your teachers used to help lecture be less boring, but still provide you with the needed information?

    thus far (i'm finishing out my 5th of 6 semesters) the best instructors i've had have been the ones that have had stories to go along with lessons. for example - a story about dig toxicity or a story about a med side effect. bringing real life events into the lesson plan has helped me.

    3. what would you like us (meaning nursing instructors) to know that would help you excel in your learning?

    take breaks at regular intervals so we can rejuvenate, give tips on things that require more attention than others, offer sample nclex questions at the end of lecture - something that keeps us thinking.

    4. this is just something i have wondered, but never asked any of my students... as you can see from my info, i'm pretty young compared to most nursing instructors and i look younger than what i really am. someimes i see it as a positive, other times as a hindrance. what would be some of your first impressions of a nursing instructor who was young? meaning, what things roll across your mind when you walk into that first class or your first clinical and the person who says she is your instructor looks like she barely graduated high school, much less college? i feel very confident in my knowledge level and ability, but i do get some odd looks in the beginning and have always wondered, "what they are thinking?"[/quote]

    i am glad that you asked this b/c it gets me to thinking! i have had two nursing instructors that i can tell are younger than i am and i am one of the youngest in the class, i'm 30 and they are probably mid twenties. i am amazed and impressed with their ambition b/c they obviously knew what they wanted to do and did it bc they are where they are at a young age. i do feel weird having a teacher younger than me, but that's just b/c i'm so used to being the young one (though now that i'm 30 that is not the case anymore lol!). i think that as younger instructors they may have a different view of teaching b/c they have not been out of school for a long time so they may remember what its like to have mean ones. but i also wonder sometimes that maybe the younger instructors might feel like they need to be stern bc they might not get taken seriously? i have not experienced that though, both of the ones that were younger than me have been excellent and just as great as the older instructors. i think its about having confidence like you said!

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