Quote from DNS on the go
Yesterday, in post conference a student asked me is he 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 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.
The students in the class are second degree BSN candidates. The saddest part is that when we had our introduction on the first class it was apparent that most of then were "failures to launch" i.e. they never got started in their respective first career choice and where now in nursing because they perceive it as an area with opportunity. I do not understand how or why they have the perception that nursing is a leadership or decision making profession.
In previous classes, the majority of the 2nd degree BSN students had been in other fields and wanted to make a change to nursing. Most entered nursing because their first career did not pan out or they did not have what it takes to succeed in their first career choice. A few wanted to really be a nurse but passed it up the first time around they went to college.
My concern is that these students do not understand the healthcare system or the role of the nurse in the system. Many times I wish I had the courage to be blunt with then. I am honest with then and try to deflect them by telling them about NP training but I feel that our schools admission department should have screened out some of these students for their own sake.
Adding to the irony of the situation, a significant percentage of them have serious academic difficulties including poor writing skills (and these are all college graduates!).
Any advice or ideas on how to address the students on the issue of unrealistic expectations about bedside nursing practice.
Well, I will buck the trend and say that I empathize with you. I hear what you're saying!! My last teaching job was in a traditional, pre-licensure BSN program, and I found the students to have v. unrealistic, lofty ambitions and expectations of what becoming an RN would mean. They could hardly be bothered to learn the stuff they would need to know as an entry level RN, because they seemed to feel those tasks and that knowledge were beneath them and should be someone else's job. But it wasn't clear to me what they thought they should
be doing as an RN. And many of them seemed to have v. little in the way of basic nursing knowledge or even common sense to "back up" their pretty entitled attitudes (these were senior year students, about to graduate). This was v. frustrating to me as an enthusiastic, experienced nursing educator. And I don't know where these ideas and attitudes are coming from. But I know that many of the instructors in that program (not just me!) were sincerely puzzled and worried about how these people were going to manage to function in an entry level RN position. But our concerns were not shared by the doctorally-prepared professors who ran the program (but didn't
teach or interact directly with the undergrad students).
I'm afraid I don't have any good answers for you. My
answer was that I left that job. I must say I've had better experiences teaching ADN students than I have BSN students. Maybe that is something for you to consider. However, for myself, I will probably never consider taking a teaching job in nursing again -- I'm much too unhappy about the current state of nursing education (and nursing students). I'm not saying that I'm necessarily right
about that -- just that I'm not willing to engage in the system any more.