What I wish my nursing students knew...

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    A brief summary of what nursing instructors wish their students knew. Written by a nursing instructor the day after graduation.

    What I wish my nursing students knew...

    Last night, my first class of nursing students graduated. It was a momentous and beautiful moment that really got me pondering the challenges and triumphs of being a nursing instructor. I decided to sit down and write out all of the things I wish my students could know, so without further fanfare…

    1. Our greatest wish is for you to succeed.
    It is a common misnomer that nursing instructors have it out for students. We really try to give you all of the tools you will need to become successful. It pains us greatly when you fail.

    2. No, we cannot be friends.
    Right now, I cannot be your friend. I am here to help shape you into a conscientious, critically thinking nurse. I would be doing a grave disservice to you (and possibly, your future patients), if I am easy on you. My job is to teach you and evaluate you on the concepts and skills that you have learned. One day we may be peers and that relationship will be different but right now, I have a job to do. I promise it does not mean that I do not like you.

    3. Everyone has a unique and often difficult story.
    I know that you work full time during the day, your car can barely make it here, and there is no one to watch your child. My heart really does go out to you, and I will help you in any way that I can for you to be successful. If you put 100% in in my class, and I know it may be hard, I will always be in your corner.

    4. Respect is earned and reciprocated.
    You are going into a noble, yet physically and psychologically difficult profession. Take it seriously. Take nursing school seriously. Respect your peers, respect your patients, respect your nursing instructors. It is a two way street with me, and I will hold you to your side. Insubordination is absolutely, unequivocally never okay, ever.

    5. I see you texting.
    Listen, if it is a special circumstance and you absolutely need to text or call, that’s fine- outside my classroom. You may use your phones for research purposes not involving texting, Snap Chat, Instagram, Kik, Facebook, etc.. I know sitting still for often three and a half hours is difficult and tiring, but please save the texting and phone surfing for your break.

    6. Do not bother to cheat.
    I am a mother of boys, I have eyes in the back of my head. Aside from that, you can’t cheat the NCLEX or for that matter, life. Just don’t do it. If I catch you, and there is a good chance I will, you will be expelled. It’s not worth it, besides, you do have it in you to pass the right way.

    7. Please ask me questions.
    I am here to tell you what you need to know, and if I do not immediately have an answer, write it on the board and I will find out for you. It’s my pleasure to answer your questions and explain the rationale as to why we do things the way we do in nursing. Thinking like a nurse isn’t easy, it is often a process and I am here to help you discover that process and help guide you to the other side, so to speak.

    8. I will ask you questions.
    I will absolutely ask you questions at random, often in the middle of lecture. Why? I want to know if you understand the information, and if not, I want to facilitate your discovery of that knowledge. It’s not because I want to embarrass you, or make you look foolish. I want to see and hear that you are learning.

    9. I will hold you to the outlined academic program standards.
    Please don’t ask me to not mark you late, or give you extra points when you haven’t worked towards them. It is not fair to the students who are on time and who turn in their work on time. Also, when you are in uniform, I expect you to abide by the program’s rules that you signed: no jewelry, no nail polish, hair up off the collar, white shoes. Yes, I check. Do not leave the unit floor unless I give you permission, and do not disappear behind the nurse’s station. You need to be with your patients unless otherwise specified. I notice when you are not back on time and where you need to be. Turn in your assignments on time and without a story. Do what is outlined in your program contract and you will be all right with me.

    10. I was once you.
    Yes, it may seem like 1000 years ago (actually, twenty), but I went through the very same program and had the same concerns, complaints, and stressors that many of you do. I get it. Because of this I am secretly cheering and rooting for you. I am really in your corner. When you do well on your test, I am happy for you, when you pass my class, I am ecstatic, and when you graduate, I am overjoyed for you. Words cannot express how wonderful it is to see my students on their very first day, scared and hopeful and to see them all the way through their journey. It is the best form of compensation, ever. When I see my students graduate, I see shades of what is to come- glimmers of the next wonderful generation of nurses in a sea of white caps, all smiles as they venture out into the amazing, yet intimidating world of nursing.

    My students, I only wish for you to succeed and accomplish all of the goals you set out to. I believe in you, I know you can do it!

    Sincerely,

    Your nursing instructor.
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Jul 10, '16
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    28 Comments

  3. by   cupcakeluver
    I managed to read it! I think something got messed up with your colors.

    At any rate.....great post!! I am a nursing student set to graduate in 15 days. It has been a crazy long and difficult journey.

    I have had some amazing instructors and some not so great. I love to hear the instructor's viewpoint! It's good to know that most of you guys are on our side. I think I knew that anyways.

    I enjoyed reading! I'm sure your students know that you are one of the good ones.
  4. by   jifferte
    Quote from cupcakeluver
    I managed to read it! I think something got messed up with your colors.

    At any rate.....great post!! I am a nursing student set to graduate in 15 days. It has been a crazy long and difficult journey.

    I have had some amazing instructors and some not so great. I love to hear the instructor's viewpoint! It's good to know that most of you guys are on our side. I think I knew that anyways.

    I enjoyed reading! I'm sure your students know that you are one of the good ones.

    Congratulations on your accomplishment! And thank you for your kind words.
  5. by   purplegal
    Loved this
  6. by   its_ems
    This!!! This gets me so excited to start nursing school! Thank you for all that you do in the nursing and teaching community!
  7. by   TheCommuter
    We have moved this thread to our General Nursing Student forum so it can be read by current nursing students. By the way, thanks for posting this lovely piece!
  8. by   Lauraingalls
    I love this. Thank you
  9. by   jifferte
    Quote from its_ems
    This!!! This gets me so excited to start nursing school! Thank you for all that you do in the nursing and teaching community!
    Thank you and good luck to you as you start your journey!
  10. by   dd05434
    Not going to lie, this made me tear up a little bit. I'm a second semester BSN student. Thank you!
  11. by   Spidey's mom
    Thank you for writing this.

    The only one I'm shaking my head about, just a little, is the texting in class. When I graduated 19 years ago, we didn't have the same access to technology. I'm finding myself challenged by how people are so tied to their cell phones, the internet, and texting. If I were a teacher, I might think about banning the cell phone during class. And yes, I know I'm online right now on AN (but from home. )

    Which I know would not go over very well.
  12. by   la_chica_suerte85
    Quote from Spidey's mom
    Thank you for writing this.

    The only one I'm shaking my head about, just a little, is the texting in class. When I graduated 19 years ago, we didn't have the same access to technology. I'm finding myself challenged by how people are so tied to their cell phones, the internet, and texting. If I were a teacher, I might think about banning the cell phone during class. And yes, I know I'm online right now on AN (but from home. )

    Which I know would not go over very well.
    I'm in the generation that has the unique privilege of also saying that we didn't have cell phones when we were in 3rd grade (but, we did have video games and VCRs -- kids have no idea what kind of patience had to be cultivated when sitting through a commercial break) and also not quite understanding how people can be so tied to technology. I feel like, eventually, some new psych diagnoses are going to come out about the ill effects of people being so plugged in. That said, I do text on occasion in class but I do make a point of being engaged with the instructor to demonstrate that I am actually paying attention.

    All that aside, I am grateful for the kind words of the OP. As I am 9 weeks from graduation, it really took me back all the way through the last three years to the first day of clinical wondering if I was really even cut out for all of this and thinking about how nurturing, tough and awesome my first instructors were.
  13. by   rsqabxr
    Wonderful. Brought me back to my Nursing School days!!
  14. by   AspiringNurseMW
    This is great! This sounds like each and every nursing instructor at my ADN program. They all have, 20+ years of experience and each and every one of them works at least PRN on top of that and stay abreast of what they teach. They are amazing, patient, and obviously invested. Half of them are graduates from our very program. One of them spoke about retiring last week, and I can't imagine what the school would do without her or ANY of our instructors.

    Thank you for all you do.

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