Why there is a shortage of nurses.

  1. [SAs luck would have it I missed my name and ended up at the end of the list. As I sat on the cold floor I tried to stay clam. As girls rushed by in racking sobs and the men tried to show no emotion it finally got to me. My hands had started to shake. The girl next to me was white as death and I tried to calm her but we were to close and could still hear all the sobbing and sickness of the ones that went before us. For some reason a movie popped into my head about the Jews being chosen for the train to the concentration camps and families were being separated. I can't recall the name of the movie but the sobbing is what reminded me of it in the first place. I tried to shake that thought after all we are in America and atrocities like that don't occur here. We have learned from history never to give one person the power to destroy others lives.
    It was my turn and I started to run the other way but this had to be done. How bad could it be I had passed every test? Loved my time at the nursing home and had done a good job. There was no way I could be kicked to the ground now. I opened the door and sat down. A sheet of paper was handed to me. As I scanned the numbers everything looked okay and then I saw the 73. What is this? It is your pharmacology grade. I remember saying no, and the rest is a blank. Out of instinct I made it home and the realization of what had happened did not hit me until hours later. I was not to be consoled. I wept as though I had just lost a loved one. For three days I could not sleep. There had to be a mistake. As I wept and begged for mercy I was told I had missed a math problem and that was why I would not be allowed to continue on. This is not your average nursing school but one where the decision of one person decides your future. One person that lacks the ability to choose the best person but chooses instead the person she personally is impressed with. Nursing actually has nothing to do with it. I had to learn that the hard way.
    I had seen others bring gifts and food to the school. That I would not do. I felt that doing something so obvious to get the teacher to like you was below the standards of what a professional should do. I had taken several of the younger students under my wing and advised them not to purchase expensive gifts for the instructor. Did I tell them wrong? Did I rob them of a career? I am still filled with doubt and guilt. One of "my girls" had a 95 average and failed the same course as I. What is going on? This is 2002; prejudice is not a factor when it comes to nursing. Surely an institution that taught nursing would not be prejudice and seeking favors from an instructor was out of the question.
    How this institution came to be run by only one individual is something that I still do not understand. She single handedly got rid of over 50% of my class. Of course there were some that were not serious and would never make good nurses. Overall though we were a dedicated bunch and after the time we spent at the nursing home we knew nursing was what we were meant to do.
    I gave all I had and because of math error I am no longer able to continue with my dream. Why is there a shortage of nurses? From where I am I can honestly say that one woman singly handedly got rid of some very caring and compassionate women and men who were striving to attain our goal of helping others. Would they have made caring professionals? Yes they would have. I was there and I witnessed students that never acted unprofessional, never missed a class and made excellent grades. As I said before we were a determined and dedicated bunch! How can one woman decide the fate of other? I have no answer to that question neither do I have the answer how a girl with the highest average got kicked out of the program.
    Many have decided not to pursue a career in nursing, I am still uncertain myself. Being a single mom I can't afford to buy expensive gifts and it is below my standards to forgo knowledge and be passed on what favors I have done. Yes I am bitter and yes I feel cheated not only for myself but all the others as well. We are still not able to condole each other our emotions are too raw our souls to bruised.
    It breaks my heart to hear of nurses having more patients than they should have on a shift, I gave all I had to be with you and help relieve your burden. Because I made a mistake on a math problem my future is on hold. I don't want pity, yes math is important in nursing I understand that. I also understand why we have a shortage of nurses and why patients are the ones suffering. We should never allow one person to have the power to decide the fate of others. Is that person knowledgeable, prejudice, easily swayed by a gift? The problem is not that we do not want to be good nurses the problem is in our schools where grades, dedication, and knowledge have nothing to do with who gets to pursue their dreams.


    Nikita

    - In no way did my experience compare to the suffering and heartache of the Holocaust. The halls echoed with the sobbing and it reminded me of a heartbreaking movie I had seen.
    - After I asked for mercy and a review of my scores by three others my grade suddenly went from a 73 to a posted term grade of D.


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  2. 32 Comments

  3. by   renerian
    Nikita can't you try again? I sucked at math and had to try twice. I was so scared I would not be able to do it. We could not use calculators either. I did old math. They taught new math and told me get with the program. I hired a tudor to help me.

    Don't give up?

    renerian
  4. by   2banurse
    I had to actually read it twice, as I had a little tough time gripping it the first time. I feel that if I was in this situation, I would try to get together with these other casualties and if it is a situation where it was favoritisma and not ability (i.e. those students who were scholastically ahead in the class), I would possibly go to the dean of nursing or some other head of the college. If I was doing poorly in math, I would say that I don't expect a walk, but I feel that this situation if not corrected may backfire on the nursing program. I don't think I would be able to keep quiet, and if nursing is my goal, which it is, I would fight to get into a good program.

    Good luck!
    Kris
  5. by   Nikita007
    It was clearly unfair. I tried to get a meeting with the dean of nursing, my clinical instructor and this teacher but was refused. Actually I had the pharm answers correct she said that the set up was wrong. We as a group have not yet decided what to do. Some of the younger girls have given up. As for myself I will be a nurse. That is all I have ever wanted. I am now looking for a decent school that would allow me to enroll before August. Did you ever just know in your heart what you were meant to do in this life? Well that is how I feel about nursing. It is what I am here for. I will make it I just had the foolish notion that we all would be treated fair and our grades would be what counted most. I enrolled at the wrong school!! I will make a better choice next time. I just hate the fact that there were so many in my class that would make really good nurses. I am not just saying that. I watched all the love and care they showed while we had a chance to work in the nursing home. There were about six that did not seem to care very much, but every group has a few that are not really interested. Out of 53 students 19 were allowed to continue. Out of the 19, maybe 10 will make good nurses. The rest are not really serious about it.
    Pray for me and wish me luck!!
    Nikita
  6. by   DIPLOMATICRN4HIRE
    If one error is the problem
    then consider this
    That Med error was on a patient and the patient died.
    That error is terminal, it is very important that you know your math, and you understand how IMPORTANT it is to know it like the back of your hand, and you can reason why with yourself why your giving the drug and if the dosage sounds right to you.
    It appears that others failed the test, so its not like you were singled out at all. If you want this bad enough then you will have it, I dont condone buying any gift for an instructor No one needs a suck up there are enough in administration now, but the other things I dont condone are Inability to calculate when it comes to someones life.
    I hope you understand my words and use them to take the test again and do a perfect score. When I went to Nursing school we had to take a test once a week and if you didnt make a 90 on it you had one chance to make it or you were out. No excuses.
    If you feel this instructor has it out for you then transfer to somewhere you feel comfortable and are able to achieve your goal on your merits and now on butt kissing.

    Just my thoughts
    Zoe
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    ahh I feel awful for you. I can relate. Where I went to school, our pharmacological math test came and you had to score 100% to pass---period. If not, you were given one more chance to try. If then, no 100% you were outa there. Yep, our attrition rate was greater than 50%....it was unreal. The pressure was incredible and literally made some of us sick. I would not care to repeat the experience. I am sorry....it is true, your math must be impecable when it comes to medicating patients.......I always double check things with another RN when and if in doubt. I agree w/the others who say to find another school. One thing my school did not have was butt-kissing as a way to pass. So I was able to live with the outrageously standard....but it tooks its toll. I see you wish to become a nurse desperately. GOOD! Don't let this stop you....move on and find another way to get that education. I wish you lots of luck and am sorry for what you are going thru emotionally.
  8. by   Nikita007
    I totally understand what a medication error could do. That is why nurses are allowed a calculator and we were told to never give a calculated med without someone else checking our math. We were also taught that when giving a med we needed to look it up in a drug guide so we would be aware of all reactions.
    Nikita
  9. by   -jt
    If you were a medical student in medical school & failed a test, you would have your professors circling around you too -- not ready to move in for the kill like those nursing professors, but to hold you up & help you reverse that failure.

    If you were a medical student, all available resources would have been thrust at you to help you do better. You even would have been forced to use them. Youd have had a mentor, a tutor, personal service to show you where you went wrong & how to improve, and a schedule adjustment to give you more time to study. If you had an obligation cut the lawn at your grandparents house every Tuesday, your school would find someone else to do it for you so you could hit the books more & come back from that failure. And youd get another chance.

    Doctors dont LET medical students fail. They support them, help them, & give the the opportunity to do better. But nurses cant wait to "weed out" the student nurse "failures".

    And then they stand in front of their classrooms & preach about "professionalism". Its just sickening
    Last edit by -jt on Dec 23, '02
  10. by   rebelwaclause
    Dust yourself off, and TRY again. I know its not that easy, and I AM NOT minimizing your pain.

    It's just that we DO need wonderful nurses out there, and one hideous woman should not EVER deter your dream. Her face should make you even more determined to....

    Dust yourself off and try again....
  11. by   Flo1216
    Nikita-I am sorry about your grade but you will have to try again. In order for us to pass our pharmacology test we had to have an 85 or above and I think that is fair. However, we were not kicked out of school if we did not get an 85. We had to take the test until we passed and we could not give meds until we passed. But every school policy is different, I guess. I mean, after all you when you are out on the floor, a med math error can cost a patient his/her life and it HAS happened. If you are serious about becoming a nurse, you will be diligent and keep trying. Cheer up! I was once a performance major(vocal) at a big university and I was dismissed on the basis of one person's judgement. I felt very much like you do now. I thought my world was over. It sucked but as I look back now, I realize that I was not working to my potential and that I could have done better. You can, too. Good luck!
    Last edit by Flo1216 on Dec 23, '02
  12. by   MishlB
    We lost a few from our program due to poor grades. Not because they were singled out, or victims of prejudice, but becasue they could not pass at the required level. One person does not sit at a desk and pick and choose names off a list out of pure evil. You need to take responsibility for your mistakes, and move on. Study harder, ask for help, but do not blame a shortage on not passing a math test.
  13. by   Nikita007
    I woud like to thanke everyone for taking the time to read & respond to my post. This was the un-revised edition and the revised will be printed in a editorial. I have not given up hope, I will be a nurse. I hope I get through the program before I turn 50 and that will not be long~~
    Out of the 21 that passed I am predicting 9 will graudate. There were some that did not care and others no one needs for a nurse. We had 67 in our class and I hope this set back will not keep them from going to school.
    Have great new year and God bless,
    Nikita
  14. by   Cafe
    The point is, why are nursing programs full of instructors that feel there job is to weed out and intimidate? We go to school to LEARN and we PAY for that education. There job is to teach, to mentor, to enlighten. They were nurses at one time and know it can be a stressful profession. There goal should be to teach and realize the different methods needed to teach. Grant you, it is then our responsibility to study but I know some nurses and many of you could say the same, that you wonder how they got through tests. In this time with such a shortage, schools should be pressured into increasing the amount of instructors and mentoring where needed. There are still waiting lists out there for programs, but they don't have enough instructors to handle it. There are many things wrong with how our profession is treated and respected, but first we need to teach those so they can be professional nurses.

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