Instructors: do you ever get used to being the enemy? - page 2

by ProfRN4 | 2,125 Views | 15 Comments

I have been teaching for three years now. I love my job. From the time I was in my ADN program, I knew this is what I wanted to do. I attribute this to a couple of the instructors I had. They weren't' all sugary sweet and... Read More


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    As a nursing instructor I feel my first responsibility is to help the student gain valuable knowledge that they will need to be successful in practice. There are some students that take a while to get it. Some of these students might even say that I am "out to get them." But, in the end, when they walk across that stage and graduate and come back to me and say, "thank you for all that you taught me." I know at that very moment that my approach is right. Yes, there are times when I get disappointed with a student's performance and there are times when I a ready to boot the student right out the program. But I know in the end that learning these skills and science based materials is agonizing for many students coupled with the responsibility of family, work, etc. Some of the folks are under some real stress and pressure. I remember how much pressure I was under when I was in my ADN program. A single father, raising 3 kids alone, work and school. Don't know how I did it, but I did!

    I think as long as we teach and we teach with integrity and with the sole purpose of helping these students become nurses, then we are doing our job to the best of our ability. A part of teaching professional nursing is teaching our students to take responsibility for their successes and learn from their failures.
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    Here's my view if you want it. Some of my instructors were definitely out to get me and I and all the other students knew I was on their hit list. That doesn't do much for your confidence especially when you have others skiting that they'll get through because such and such likes them. I had some excellent lecturers and facilitators though. The one I remember though was straight talking but would go out of her way to enlighten me when I wanted an honest answer. She even came to see me on one of my other pracs to support me. She wasn't as pretty or swreet as some of the others but she was an excellent lecturer, a hard marker and every one who I spoke to, liked her. There was no false flattery but she was fair and straight. When I knew she was my preceptor for my last clinical I knew I'd get through. I mean after all, throughout my clinicvcals and subjects if I passed a prac, they'd fail me on the assignment. They wanted me to give up and go away quietly. I had failed one subject abysmally just because of the assignment but had done really well in the prac so the next semester I just did the assignment and got a credit plus, a failure in another subject, the same subject next term was a distinction. If the content of the assignments wasn't that different wouldn't you say that you knew they were trying to break you? I was older, 56 when I finally got through but I made it because every time they failed me I dug the heels in further and refused to give up. I had never asked for an extension except when my mother died and my mother on law died. I finally got through with a distinction over all , prac, assignment and exam. My degree took me forever and was worth the heartache, the tears and sleepless nights. One woman saw my potential and gave me a chance.
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    Every instructor I have had so far have ranged from good teachers to excellent. The number of students that have thoughts such as the instructors are out to get them. or have had negative experiences with them are definitely number in the minority.

    So all i have to say Kudos to you, for being one of those instructors too.

    I just have a response to some of the comments, that the younger students are more likely to place the blame of their low grades on the instructors. I don't think thats true at all. In my program, the few that don't take responsibility for their own actions range in all ages. In fact the whiniest one I have met is in her 30s.
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    if nurse educators self policed, and removed the conniving ********, things would be better.....and this is coming from one of the oldest posters here.....
    Last edit by sirI on Apr 6, '08 : Reason: TOS
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    Most of the instructors I've had in nursing school were all around good teachers in general and even though some of them were "known" for giving out difficult tests that many of the students complained about, I always knew there was a good reason why, it wasn't because they were out to get them, nursing is a tough profession that comes with a lot of responsibility and it's absolutely vital that we know our stuff...I never had that feeling the instructors were out to get me in the "theory" part of the program.

    On the other hand during my experience in nursing school, some of "clinical" instructors seemed to not be interested in teaching the students, and there is a few of them that I can think of off hand. One example, the instructor would get very irritated(could tell by the tone of their voice) when asked a question. So ever since I had that experience of irritating the instructor, I was afraid to ask questions which did hurt me the long run in the clinical area but I won't even go there. So I don't believe that some of these instructors are necessarily "out to get" students, I just think that they forgot what it's like to be a student and/or have low tolerance for patience. They need to understand the level of anxiety some of us students have especially when facing the situation of having a difficult instructor. You can't learn under anxiety, and many instructors are known to cause it in many students(again based on my experience). Some of them are the total opposite of being nice, I understand you can't be too nice but that's my take.
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    Thank you very much for the reply-I did not think in terms of things learned in calssroom v/s real world nursing. Things do not and cannot go by the book when taking care of actual patients, and I think sometimes my students do not fully understand this. I will take your advice and put it to practice-thanks


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