What is the DEAL with all the group projects? - page 3

After just surviving a harrowing experience with a group project in Psych ...I about vomited when I got my syllabus in the mail today for Community. The class is 5 days. 5 whopping days. 1 test... Read More

  1. by   Daytonite
    If you don't learn how to work in a group, how to delegate, how to be a member of a team, as well as being a team leader at times, then you are going to have problems either in the classes where you have to do group projects, on the job or even in your personal lives. Problems come up when some people just don't do what we would expect them to. At that point you have a choice: ignore them, abandon them or confront and do something to help yourself. Do searches and read about the nurses who have problems dealing with team members who don't do what they are asked to do. And, these are often subordinates they supervise and have some authority over! Because these nurses are frustrated and don't know how to deal with these situations many end up quitting their jobs just to get away from the problem because they don't know what to do to help themselves. What have they learned from that? Especially, when the same thing comes up at the next job. Keep in mind that your learning doesn't stop the day you get your diploma. This also extends to your personal life. When you are a parent, you also have the task of teaching children how to be members of the family and society. Each are groups with rules. How well and consistently you enforce the rules of the group is what determines your child's success and enjoyment as a member of the group.

    Grades and paychecks are a fair comparison and I'll tell you why. With grades your "reward", the grade, is pretty immediate but only dependent on your performance of that one particular task. With work your "reward", your paycheck, is something you consistently receive but it involves more than just the performance of one aspect of the job. The thing about school is that it breaks things down into separate modules. Each class, each activity, focuses on one or two small areas of the larger picture. As you get to the end of nursing school, the school is trying to help put all these modules together for you, but it is hard for them to simulate real life experiences for you where many situations require multiple types of skills. Believe me, when you go out into the work world you are going to wonder how you are possibly going to integrate together all the concepts, group behavior included, you have been learning. It is the classic frustration experienced by ALL new nursing grads and it takes some time to adjust and learn to "fly".
  2. by   christvs
    I am an RN who is now in graduate school to become an NP. I just finished my first semester of NP school. So far, we've had three major group projects with 3-11 students. Two of my group projects were fine. The third one was a disaster because of one student who flat out refused to meet any of our agreed upon deadlines and then demanded we all work last minute, which is the way she does things apparently. This same student has also caused problems in another group (this one was not mine) in which she once again refused to come to any meetings, and did not contribute any work and then she proceeded to mark down the other students in her group! She did the same thing with me in my group-me and 2 other students ended up doing all of her work, and then when I and another student informed the professor of what was going on, this problem student graded me very poorly on our peer evals to get back at me. (This is despite the fact that I tried communicating with her non-stop to see what was happening with her, I tried reaching out to her, did everything I could to be flexible and honest, and communicate, etc...and she still stabbed me in the back). I can see the point of doing group work-I really do, because as a practicing RN, I understand how valuable it is to work well with others as a team (and we actually have team nursing on my unit at work). But my problem here is this one student who continues to mess up whatever group she is in. At least a few of the professors are starting to catch on to her now, and are aware of this constant issue with her. But it is not fair to grade me, or any other student down, because of her issues-when we have down everything we could to compromise with her, work with her, etc...and then also informed the prof what was going on. I mean, what else is there left to do?! I still received an A in my class, but that is not the point-I don't think it is fair to have a student, especially in graduate school, be pulling this nonsense with group after group, and making everyone miserable. I don't believe she belongs in our program. Thanks for letting me vent.
  3. by   BoonersmomRN
    When I give my children a task to do together and one of them slacks off....I can tell you this much...the others aren't punished for their slacking sibling's behavior:spin: I don't care how clean the living room is...if kid A didn't participate...kid A isn't getting any recognition for it.

    At least some of you all have peer reviews. So far our group projects have been ALL the professor's decision. We didn't get to grade one another. BOY would I have loved to....although I can certainly see how people would backstab and retailate in the reviews. Ugh.
  4. by   RN34TX
    Quote from Daytonite
    Grades and paychecks are a fair comparison and I'll tell you why. With grades your "reward", the grade, is pretty immediate but only dependent on your performance of that one particular task. With work your "reward", your paycheck, is something you consistently receive but it involves more than just the performance of one aspect of the job. The thing about school is that it breaks things down into separate modules. Each class, each activity, focuses on one or two small areas of the larger picture. As you get to the end of nursing school, the school is trying to help put all these modules together for you, but it is hard for them to simulate real life experiences for you where many situations require multiple types of skills. Believe me, when you go out into the work world you are going to wonder how you are possibly going to integrate together all the concepts, group behavior included, you have been learning. It is the classic frustration experienced by ALL new nursing grads and it takes some time to adjust and learn to "fly".
    This may be appropriate advice for the first-time through pre-licensure nursing student, but what about for someone like me?
    The ADN RN going back to school for the BSN.

    I'm already "out into the work world" and I'm already "flying".
    I have no problems functioning in the charge nurse role in any of the units where I work. I understand group behavior and have understood it long before entering the BSN completion program. The group work in BSN school has not improved this skill, real nursing experience however, did.

    Slacker behavior gets dealt with in the real world where I work.
    Corrective action is taken when needed.

    School, however, not so much.
    Not the same thing at all.

    If school were truely simulating the "real world" of nursing, then as group leader, I'd be able to take corrective action when necessary and no free grades would be given to those who failed to do their fair share of work simply because they got assigned to an otherwise good group who put out quality work.

    A nurse in the real world cannot simply elect to not take any patient assignment during their entire shift, stay on the clock, and collect a paycheck while the rest of the staff takes care of all of the patients.

    A student in a group, however, may elect to do nothing or next to it, and still pull an "A" by leaching off the other group members with little or no consequences.
  5. by   Daytonite
    rn34tx. . .i see your point. to my way of thinking, many instructors aren't pulling their end of the load either when it comes to supervising and mentoring what is going on. i, for one, would be hounding the instructor to death over a lecher, believe me. before a project was over, the instructor would be well aware of my protestations and the lecher's reputation would be shot to hades. but, i think that if anyone is going to do some major complaining, they also need to step up and show that they are doing really outstanding work in connection with the goals and objectives of the project to begin with. this is just one of the responsibilities of leadership.
  6. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Slacker behavior gets dealt with in the real world where I work.
    Corrective action is taken when needed.

    School, however, not so much.
    Not the same thing at all.
    Completely agree.
  7. by   Cherish
    Quote from RN34TX
    This may be appropriate advice for the first-time through pre-licensure nursing student, but what about for someone like me?
    The ADN RN going back to school for the BSN.

    I'm already "out into the work world" and I'm already "flying".
    I have no problems functioning in the charge nurse role in any of the units where I work. I understand group behavior and have understood it long before entering the BSN completion program. The group work in BSN school has not improved this skill, real nursing experience however, did.

    Slacker behavior gets dealt with in the real world where I work.
    Corrective action is taken when needed.

    School, however, not so much.
    Not the same thing at all.

    If school were truely simulating the "real world" of nursing, then as group leader, I'd be able to take corrective action when necessary and no free grades would be given to those who failed to do their fair share of work simply because they got assigned to an otherwise good group who put out quality work.

    A nurse in the real world cannot simply elect to not take any patient assignment during their entire shift, stay on the clock, and collect a paycheck while the rest of the staff takes care of all of the patients.

    A student in a group, however, may elect to do nothing or next to it, and still pull an "A" by leaching off the other group members with little or no consequences.
    :yeahthat:
  8. by   Jules A
    Quote from daytonite
    rn34tx. . .i see your point. to my way of thinking, many instructors aren't pulling their end of the load either when it comes to supervising and mentoring what is going on. i, for one, would be hounding the instructor to death over a lecher, believe me. before a project was over, the instructor would be well aware of my protestations and the lecher's reputation would be shot to hades. but, i think that if anyone is going to do some major complaining, they also need to step up and show that they are doing really outstanding work in connection with the goals and objectives of the project to begin with. this is just one of the responsibilities of leadership.

    prior to nursing school i was self-employed for 18 years so the whole culture was an adjustment for me but this was my biggest shock and disappointment. the director of the program was my instructor for our first group project. we had a total slacker who not only didn't lift a finger but actually made the process more difficult. when i mentioned it during a group meeting with her i got slammed, totally yelled at and blamed for not handling the situation among our group. i was horrified but learned my lession and just sucked it up for the rest of the year until one professor asked us to write a commentary on how the group project worked, lol, she got an eye-full. the slacker in my first group was a student that the staff seemed "afraid of" and he continued on in the same manner. this was yet another learning experience that blew my mind. what ya gonna do? i adapted.
  9. by   Rosa2Little
    Learning to be part of a group -- managing a project, alternately leading and following is an important part of life (I might also add the importance of solid public speaking skills to the mix). As a parent of a child entering college as a freshman in the fall, I would feel her education would be lacking if these these aspects of education were not addressed.

    However, the face of the nursing student is changing. We are often older, with a few more lines on our faces, possibly on a second career, or advancing our nursing practice. We may not have depth of nursing knowledge (at least those of us new to nursing), but we do come to the table with many skills-- often including interpersonal and organizational skills needed for successful group dynamics.

    I received credit for my previous degree, and I CLEP'd out of classes such as Intro Computers and Basic Programming. If only there were a CLEP for group projects -- been there, done that, got all four credits! Now please stop tormenting me with the "learning experience" of a group project!
    Last edit by Rosa2Little on Dec 26, '06
  10. by   Daytonite
    Not as many as you would think are coming into nursing from other careers where interpersonal and organizational skills were already learned. These are skills that are a focus of leadership and management programs and not everyone is coming from those venues. Likewise, many basic nursing programs don't have the time to cover those concepts in depth along with the basic nursing they are teaching.
  11. by   Rosa2Little
    Quote from Daytonite
    Not as many as you would think are coming into nursing from other careers where interpersonal and organizational skills were already learned. These are skills that are a focus of leadership and management programs and not everyone is coming from those venues. Likewise, many basic nursing programs don't have the time to cover those concepts in depth along with the basic nursing they are teaching.

    Perhaps I am being too optimistic as to the skill set of today's student nurses (but I hope not). I will say that for the future of the nursing profession, these skills should be obtained either through previous experience, or because the student rolled up their sleeves and delved into their work. I think on that point we can ALL agree!
  12. by   Plagueis
    Quote from RN34TX
    A nurse in the real world cannot simply elect to not take any patient assignment during their entire shift, stay on the clock, and collect a paycheck while the rest of the staff takes care of all of the patients.

    A student in a group, however, may elect to do nothing or next to it, and still pull an "A" by leaching off the other group members with little or no consequences.
    :yeahthat:
    I'm with those who hate group projects. Every time I've been assigned a group project, there has always (always!) been someone (sometimes more) who doesn't pull her or his weight, but gets the same grades as those of us who did because they are not graded by their individual efforts, but by the final outcome of the project. How is this fair? How does this experience teach us to work well in groups?
  13. by   #1rnstudent
    In my program, group work is in every course in every semester. It sucks because most people like to get paired with me so that they can slack. I had one student who was not a good student and I knew this, so I even offered to work on things with her (we were allowed to work alone or together) and boy that was stupid of me. I thought we could learn from each other and I could help her get a higher grade than normal, boost her esteem etc. She seldom met with me, never had anything we had agreed to get done on time (or ever) and it was awful. I am used to dragging others through the program with the group work projects. I don't like it, but after having done some grading of my own I can understand why the schools like to give out group projects (however unfair and crappy they may be): more work for the students but less marking for the instructor or TA. IMHO students have to work harder with group projects but the instructors don't have as many projects to grade. Thankfully I am almost done with the schooling part of nursing...

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