Nursing students who do not understand what nursing is about - page 2

by DNS on the go 8,486 Views | 69 Comments

Yesterday, in post conference a students asked me when are they going to learn "real" nursing. Each student had done med pass on one or two patients that day. When I asked the student what he meant he stated that nursing is not... Read More


  1. 8
    I think nursing is a profession where you have a leadership role and a role in advocating for your patients....but thats something that comes with experience. As a student you need to learn the basics (and just because something is delegatable to a CNA or LPN doesn't mean its a non-RN task!) and gain the experience that is available to you. And how is assessment not an RN task???

    I think it's ok to be blunt with them. Tell them that they need to master the basics before they can expect to be able to to the advanced tasks. Start verbally quizzing them on the implications of the vitals they are bringing back in relation to the patient's condition, labs expected, teaching they should be doing with the patient, medication action and side effects and potential interactions. Expect more from their care plans.
    jelly221,RN, sharpeimom, Chin up, and 5 others like this.
  2. 24
    while i cannot differentiate betw adn and 2nd degree students, i have steadily and earnestly maintained that the bar needs to be raised on entrance exams into nsg school.
    this is my overall impression, and not targeted towards any select subgroup of nsg students.

    many are disillusioned, haven't done their research, and are now stressed that they can't find nsg jobs today.
    i knew approx 3-5 yrs ago, the nsg market was oversaturated...despite what cc's/universities were marketing.

    that said, i have read the op's posts... all of them.
    s/he sounds like an intelligent, realistic, experienced professional, who is also frustrated with the quality of nsg students and nurses these days.
    anyone who denies this reality, is indeed deluding themselves...
    that there are some incredibly mediocre and < nurses currently working, and it scares the begeebeez (sp) out of me.

    the only way to fight for quality and respect within our profession, is to personify it in the first place.

    op, as to dealing with unrealistic students...you need to keep on educating, just as we would with our pts.
    tell it and show it like it is.
    the rest is on them.

    leslie
    jelly221,RN, not.done.yet, casi, and 21 others like this.
  3. 1
    I think many pursue nursing because they think guaranteed employment, and with shows like Grwy's Anatomy, the medical field is "McDreamy." (Dont get me wrong, I love the show!) Sadly, they don't realize what "real nursing" is. Nor do they try to find out before pursuing the education! I will be starting school in August 2012. I have been a CNA, I passed meds in Assisted Living, and I will be shadowing a nurse midwife shortly. It irritates me to no end that several of my peers behave as you describe. And don't get me started on how poorly EVERYONE writes these days. I think our entire education system is flawed. I don't view this post as bitter, or the students described as "meaning business" A nurse does NOT prescribe medications, dictate care- a doctor or NP does! How do they not know that? A nurse DOES provide care, compassion (hopefully) and administers meds. No diagnosing and planning treatment.
    jmiraRN likes this.
  4. 0
    Umm, no disrespect to OP but that's part of your responsibility to education, teach, foster these students into a learning environment where you educated and correct the student's perception and, if needed, basically say to them, this is the real deal, this what you will be doing; no easy way out. And if you don't like it, there's the door, other students are waiting to be where you are.

    I'm a student and I've seen many educators who are just there to do the do - doesn't help me nor the professor.

    ..##IJS!!
  5. 12
    I agree w/ Elk and OCN. I too used to teach in a (ADN) RN program. I left b/c, frankly, the students were dumb as a sack of hair for the most part, entitled and uncooperative. I wanted to fail at least half of them, but the school wouldn't let me. I was told to remediate to success (no doubt so they could keep collecting tuition). Most of them didn't have what it takes, but the school is going to push them through, they will pass the NCLEX b/c it is written to the lowest common denominator, and voila, new nurses that will make all us look ignorant and lazy. If I couldn't work with students I could be proud of, I couldn't do it. I blame the schools, they just have set the bar too low. And don't tell me I ought to read the OPs other posts. I don't have the time or enough interest to try to profile and psychoanalyze other posters. Dissecting and teasing out secret motives is for people with more time on their hands than I have. I take each person, and each post, at face value.

    OP, I feel for you, I really do. All I can suggest is that you play it straight and tell him (and others like him) that he has made a grave mistake if he thinks the role of the nurse is to "make decisions about the patient care." Assure him that you will do your best to teach him the role of the nurse and how to meet the role expectations, but he doesn't get to define it for you, or for himself. If all else fails, refer him to your state's practice act and the Essentials of Baccalaureate Nursing Education document for further clarification. If it isn't what he thought it was, he should cut his losses and not waste anymore of anyone's time.

    Good luck.
    jelly221,RN, Cat_LPN, GHGoonette, and 9 others like this.
  6. 7
    Quote from DNS on the go
    When I asked the student what he meant he stated that nursing is not about vital signs and passing pills, hanging IV's, etc.

    He wanted to learn "real" nursing.

    I explained to the group that the responsibilities of the nursing include medication administration, patient assessment and documentation. He then stated that those were jobs of the aide or the LPN and that he wanted to make decisions about the patient care.
    Quote from onaclearday
    OP, if you cannot bring it, you better get out. As a second career nurse with over 20+ years of total success in my previous career, I challenge those who teach me to be more knowledgeable than I, on every single medical topic covered in my nursing edu. I have no problem with a simple, "let me get back to ya on that one point". Making excuses for your lack of ability is not acceptable. Most people paying for a second degree don't intend to waste one single buck. We are not doe-eyed babies. We mean business. We also follow up on evaluations and recs to administration/state naturally as that level of business is where our comfort level is... so, advice to you OP, is to step it up. I am flexible to a point. Then it's over.
    I feel like we're not all reading the same post. I read this and what sticks out to me is that this student doesn't think some pretty key responsibilities are going to be his responsibility as a nurse and that basic patient care is for the "grunt" staff.

    The OP also said that previous classes of the second degree students seemed more on the ball too, so I didn't take it as a slam on second degree students in general (and I was a second degree student who didn't really have a first career to speak of).
  7. 2
    The solution to many of the problems noted by the OP and others would be to require licensure of a prospective nursing student as a CNA before allowing him/her into a nursing education program. After all, it's not like "House" where doctors perform intensive bedside care, leaving RN's free to gad about in the background!
    jelly221,RN and msn10 like this.
  8. 8
    I'm with the OP. Second year students are still learning assessment skills, and the hierarchy of the hospital. You have to learn to walk before you can run. Nursing is about advocacy and working within the team, but you can't do either if you don't have your background knowledge down cold.
    GHGoonette, nursel56, imintrouble, and 5 others like this.
  9. 4
    To the OP - I am sorry that you are having a negative experience with this crop of students. I am currently a MS teacher, and isn't it interesting how each new group that comes through has its own personality/feeling?

    I am also a pre-nursing student, currently taking a CNA certification course and looking forward to starting pre-reqs in the fall. I am not leaving my current profession due to lack of success - I think most of the parents of my current students will be surprised and disappointed when I resign - but because I am feeling burnt out and feeling called to explore a different field where I can use my strengths in a different way. I was valedictorian of my HS class, graduated college with something like a 3.5 GPA, and I feel that I have pretty good writing skills. I guess what I am trying to say is that not all nursing students are this clueless and unprepared.

    If we ARE clueless, please just take the time to clue us in. I have been TRYING to research what nursing is REALLY like, but have not been able to shadow a nurse yet due to my work schedule. I am hoping that CNA clinicals will give me a realistic perspective. I am not afraid to do the "grunt" work, and I think the student you mentioned needs to be repeatedly reminded that these things are part of actual nursing. I am heading toward nursing with a servant's heart, and I hope that you will find some students who have this type of attitude, as well, rather than the "entitled" attitude that you seem to be describing.

    I guess I am rambling but I wanted to respond! Not all pre-nursing students are entitled jerks or poor writers! I hope it gets better for you.
  10. 4
    I have to say that my favorite nursing educator left teaching because she felt the quality of the students was declining. Can I point out that was in 1982? I have heard all these complaints before.
    JacobK, Chin up, miss81, and 1 other like this.


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