Nursing Classroom Education: The big bang of powerpoint slavery

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    I have recently graduated and having a fair amount of time on my hands (jobless, thousands of applications filled out and resumes polished) I wouldn't mind giving an open, honest opinion of educators and the practices.

    There was a point in my college career that I loved soaking up knowledge. I would read extra books and take more time on many subjects. I loved to learn. Particularly, I enjoyed spending time with Anatomy, Physiology, and other human sciences.

    I finally get accepted to the nursing program. Suweeeet. I worked so very hard and now I'm in. I start to settle in the first semester with all the rules, regulations, unique tests, clinical, and other stuff. As I go through the first semester, I notice a chilling pattern in my instructors. I had 3 instructors teach the Nursing Fundamentals class. While each one was slightly unique in tone, and delivery, they all were teaching verbatim from the book (I'll come back to this). I have to say we were given the occasional patient story. "I remember this one time or this one patient really..." the instructors said. Most stories were interesting and insightful at the time. In our program, we were given hand-outs. Lectures consisted of power point 99.9% of the time. Most teachers had the hand-outs posted on our college website prior to the next lecture. Some didn't. No big deal.

    So there I am, lecture after lecture, having this annoying monkey on my back. I kept thinking, "This is incredibly boring. I'm being read to. Everyday, I listen to a college professor point and read from a powerpoint. Oh god, I'm literally losing my mind." Where's the real world connection? Where's the excitement? This goes on and on. I finally decided to write a letter to the faculty. I'm the type of guy that is pretty open with my opinions. I try to be professional with the delivery in this case. I write a story about how I enjoyed my education at one point. The information was exciting and neat to the listen to. A sociology professor once told my class that, "I went through my master's having been read to. I don't want the same for you." She didn't. The class was engaging.

    The overall point I'm trying to make is that I absolutely despise the powerpoint when used improperly. It was used improperly the entire program. It extremely difficult to stay remotely engaged to a lecture when I could stair at my desk and read it from the handouts or I could stay home, skip lecture, and teach myself. Nursing is a very hands-on profession as of you all know. This is no hands-on approach. The current nursing education approach seems to be like, "How much information can we shove down the student's throat in the shortest amount of time and bore the h*ll out of the them?" Truly, the nursing education is exraordinarily boring. Now, this is coming from a person who LOVES school. I don't find it to be a chore or an annoyance. If I feel this way, how do you think the people feel who despise or don't like school feel?

    I write the letter to the faculty. There were some meager changes but as a whole, nothing. I get a big dose of nursing med-surg non-sense in the intracerebral route daily. Guess how much is retained and is actually useable. Minimal. I'm not trying to slander nurse educators. Believe me please. I'm trying to wake you all up. Of course, this may not apply to most of you. But, look at your current method of teaching. Do you rely heavily on the powerpoint like I describe. If so, there is likely some folks in your class that feel the way I do but aren't willing to fess up about it. Do you see people texting? Doodling? Not paying attention? I think each subject can be approached with enough pizazz and interest to, the bare minimum, keep people looking at you, engaged, and awake.

    What happened to your love for teaching? After all, isn't that love the reason why you entered education. I hope so and not because you want to fall back on your masters or higher education. It is apparent to students if you have done so. There is no excitement, no creativity, no pizazz, or no uniqueness. We can see at the bottom of the powerpoints that are provided by the big publishers such as, "Mcgraw-Hill or Evolve." I see the convenience of using those. But, being an educator and having a "body of knowledge", I would assume one could muster up, at least, personally created powerpoints or lectures.

    I don't know when THE BIG BANG OF POWERPOINT SLAVERY occurred but it's highly overrated. If powerpoints were Jesus, nurse educators seem to be the apostles following. Well, I'm Judas and narking on Jesus. Just showing point here (not trying to be sacrilegious or offensive). Tap your creativity again, brush off the dust, and attempt to keep your students excited. How often do you get students rushing in your office door saying, "Wow. Your fluids/electrolytes lecture was fascinating. Or, I've never heard it explained like that. Now I understand. Or, do you have extra books on this subject because I'd like to read more on that." Wouldn't that be awesome?! Try new and interesting methods. There is research out there saying that the current method of classroom learning and teaching is ineffective as it is. Lecturing for endless hours is on the bottom of the totem pole of effectiveness. Ineffective Airway NANDA says? Well, "Ineffective Teaching", Andrew says.

    For instance, so I don't seem to talk the talk. I sat here for a couple of minutes thinking of an interesting way to keep people engaged.

    How about this:

    You are lecturing about CHF.

    Try starting the class with a patient report you would give to a co-worker. For instance, about a basic CHF patient. Give assessment data, medical orders, daily tests and labs, etc. A real clinical situation.

    Then lecture about this condition for 30 minutes and then quickly discuss the patient report after having talked about the cardiac theory.

    You'd be connecting theory with a clinical setting. Practice having students hear patient reports. Exposure to medical orders. And, using the nursing process. Enhance collaboration amount students to develop a quick care plan and plan nursing management. Many Benefits.


    Or....You could read S/S of CHF...pathophysiology...nursing assessments...interventions...outcomes...THEN move to next disease...S/S of cardiomyopathy....etc...etc...etc...ZZZzzz.

    Just a thought. I don't though. I'm not a teacher. Overall, the point is to quit reading to us verbatim what we can read ourselves. Lecture isn't a party but it isn't a funeral. Keep us engaged. Please don't rely on powerpoint like it's the bible. Use other strategies. Please.

    Again, I don't want to offend educators. I'm hoping to shake some out of their routine a bit. Try some new things. I'm not mad or resentful because I'm graduated (How could I be).

    Here's an honest, broke, and jobless ex-student that has too much time on his hands, spends too much time on AN, and just wants to help out. Take care.
    liebling5, WineCountryRN, Joe V, and 9 others like this.
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  3. 48 Comments so far...

  4. 3
    You bring up good points. I hate being read to myself. I use my power points as guidelines. I do not read them. I also use case studies and discussions etc. I think my students enjoy my classes. I hope so. I want them to learn and to enjoy learning. If its fun they will retain the info.
    But I too have sat in those classes you described. I would rather stay home than be read too.
    Thanks for sharing your experiences. Educators- take notice! Engage your students. I want to graduate nurses who are passionate about their education!!
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    The instructor who taught us several of the heavy, heavy theory courses knew her material inside and out, and it showed in how she taught. There were readings of course, but the classes were not a rehashing of the text. She taught from her own knowledge base and that really made a difference in our own learning of the material. It was supportive of the text, and an expansion as well. When that instructor later became the program administrator and stopped teaching, students from years behind me had vastly different experiences in those courses that she used to teach.
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    Quote from lepew
    You bring up good points. I hate being read to myself. I use my power points as guidelines. I do not read them. I also use case studies and discussions etc. I think my students enjoy my classes. I hope so. I want them to learn and to enjoy learning. If its fun they will retain the info.
    But I too have sat in those classes you described. I would rather stay home than be read too.
    Thanks for sharing your experiences. Educators- take notice! Engage your students. I want to graduate nurses who are passionate about their education!!
    I appreciate your thoughts. I have a feeling that all educators want the students to become good nurses and enjoy schooling. I also understand that there are forces at work that cannot be ignored. I know that educators must find a way to present mountains of information in a short time which hinders progress, change, and one's desire to teach in an exciting way. Nonetheless, I hope we can find a middle ground. And, imprison the person who created powerpoint.
    liebling5 and Sisyphus like this.
  7. 0
    Quote from SaoirseRN
    The instructor who taught us several of the heavy, heavy theory courses knew her material inside and out, and it showed in how she taught. There were readings of course, but the classes were not a rehashing of the text. She taught from her own knowledge base and that really made a difference in our own learning of the material. It was supportive of the text, and an expansion as well. When that instructor later became the program administrator and stopped teaching, students from years behind me had vastly different experiences in those courses that she used to teach.
    Vastly different as in negative? Or, positive? I appreciate the teachers that know their stuff. Also, I think a person can present material in an engaging way even not having a super expert knowledge base. Just my thought.
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    I could have written your whole post. Omg! Me and my friends talked about this! Everything is power points! Some students actually don't show up to class, go home in the middle of 'lecture' or just fall asleep. And the teacher gets offended!
  9. 1
    Quote from pookyp
    I could have written your whole post. Omg! Me and my friends talked about this! Everything is power points! Some students actually don't show up to class, go home in the middle of 'lecture' or just fall asleep. And the teacher gets offended!
    Honestly, I'm not surprised about the response of any of your classmates. We can't be toooo hard on educators. It's everywhere. The powerpoint fetish is viral. I believe it's time for a change. Now, as far as sleeping, well, I think I fell asleep once. I can't do that. But, I have left during breaks because I didn't want to sit there any longer. Anyway, there are people out there that understand what you went through.

    Are you currently a student?
    Sisyphus likes this.
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    Quote from Floridatrail2006

    Vastly different as in negative? Or, positive? I appreciate the teachers that know their stuff. Also, I think a person can present material in an engaging way even not having a super expert knowledge base. Just my thought.
    Totally agree with your thought! These students reported negative experiences, because of both the lack of familiarity of the instructors with the material, as well as not teaching in an engaging way. I can't fault them for not knowing the material well. The former instructor had taught those courses for years. The ones who took over were already part of the faculty and had pretty big shoes to fill (as opposed to being hired on for the specific role of teaching those courses)

    Your post made me recall a teacher of mine from highschool. He taught "social studies" which is politics, history, and current events all rolled into one theory-heavy class. While he certainly knew the material, he made learning it painless with all kinda of different exercises, even showing Saturday Night Live clips that related to the day's topic. This same teacher taught law classes and ran mock trials with a jury of students chosen from outside the class who deliberated a verdict based on how well the class presented their arguments.
    liebling5 likes this.
  11. 0
    Quote from SaoirseRN
    Totally agree with your thought! These students reported negative experiences, because of both the lack of familiarity of the instructors with the material, as well as not teaching in an engaging way. I can't fault them for not knowing the material well. The former instructor had taught those courses for years. The ones who took over were already part of the faculty and had pretty big shoes to fill (as opposed to being hired on for the specific role of teaching those courses)

    Your post made me recall a teacher of mine from highschool. He taught "social studies" which is politics, history, and current events all rolled into one theory-heavy class. While he certainly knew the material, he made learning it painless with all kinda of different exercises, even showing Saturday Night Live clips that related to the day's topic. This same teacher taught law classes and ran mock trials with a jury of students chosen from outside the class who deliberated a verdict based on how well the class presented their arguments.
    Nifty. I like the uniqueness of your teacher's style!
  12. 0
    My nursing program LPN was a year of crap! A revolving door of instructors who had no clue how to cover the massive amount of information in 6 short weeks. We would have 4 hours lecture per subject 2 days a week, then 2 days a week clinical/skills & a random 1/2 day on Friday for whatever class was "required". A seasoned instructor got thrown into teaching our gerontology course. She randomly lectured about whatever she fancied, listening solely to her own voice, reading, not relating to students. No assignments were given, no reading assigned, no required attendance.... not even a quiz or final. She gave all students a blanket 3.6! It was really hard to respect the faculty after that introduction to our education as nurses. Instructors would routinely complain to us about the lack of funding, how they didn't earn much, worked off hours... etc. To justify that they couldn't teach to expectations. & this was a state accredited program! We were taught, by PowerPoint & handout just enough to pass what they would test on our finals. When students failed a course, they could beg for extra points to pass or just take a retest. It was really disappointing to be an exceptional student over looked & seen just as my tuition payment.


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