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Advice for those with "harsh" instructors.

Specializes in Geriatric.

I posted this as a comment on another thread but I feel it's worth making a topic for. Many students get upset when an instructor is less than nice to them and automatically go on the defensive, blaming the instructor for everything, and not taking the time to self reflect or simply confront (professionally) the instructor for an explanation.

One of my instructors was hard on me and I, at first, took it as she was just being a snot and hated me but I talked to her about it and I was enlightened.

She told me she was hard on me because she knew I could do far better than I was doing. I was making stupid mistakes and having far far too many blonde moments during clinical.

After speaking to her I realized she was using tough love to push me to work harder. She knew I was capable of more than I was showing. After she explained that to me, I took her wrath as a serious compliment and stepped my game up.

Patient safety is the most important aspect of nursing and performing consistently on an average level isn't good enough when you have someone's life in your hands. If you don't show them you can excel at simple tasks such as a full head to toe assessment they will not feel comfortable allowing you access to medications with potential life threatening adverse reactions.

You are working under your instructors license. Once you graduate and pass that nclex you will understand how important superior care is when it's your license on the line.

So if you ever run into the problem of being on the receiving end of your instructors wrath, take a step back and thoroughly evaluate the situation calmly and don't be afraid to speak up and ask why they are treating you that way. It's a valuable learning experience on perspectives.

shan409, ASN, BSN, LPN, RN

Specializes in Geriatric, Postpartum, Mother/Baby, Community Heal.

Communication is key in any relationship (personal, business, educational, etc...). And always remember that all personalities do not and will not get along, so just stay respectful and keep the communication lines open.

Edited by shan409
Missing words

I'm a older student. And my first career was executive chef. Did culinary school. At le cordon bleu in Paris France. When I started cooking chefs would speak to u in a way that would have HR head spin off! And I myself have still had moments when I train someone.

It's not to belittle someone it's to get the best out of them.

Personally I hope for a harsh instructor. As a nurse we are watching over someone and their life can be placed in jeopardy over a simple mistake.

Just have to have thick skin and and know they are teaching not trying to hurt you or your feelings


Specializes in None yet..

Marvelmom, there's a powerful subtext in your post: don't run away from criticism. I'm impressed that you walked up to the lion's roaring mouth to ask, "What's going on?" Many, many students would react as you've described, break into little groups to badmouth the instructor.

Scully4174, what a refreshingly skillful attitude you have to put yourself in another person's position! And to ascribe a positive motive. It's always helpful to realize there are at least 99 ways to tell a story and not one of them is the absolute truth.

Shan409, thanks for reminding me that it's always about communication. One person can always change the dynamic.

I feel that I've fallen into a refreshing pool of sane thinking! Thanks, everyone. Your tips are useful not only to students; they will help me as I head off to work today to deal with a varied cast of characters (including myself.) Thanks for reminding me that every situation can be a learning situation.

NurseGirl525, ASN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

I know of people who every semester have a bad instructor. They go to the dean and report this instructor who is awful in their eyes. They spend so much time complaining about instructors which is time they could be studying. Those people drive me up a wall and I avoid them at all costs.


Specializes in ortho, hospice volunteer, psych,.

Before I became a nurse, I got a writing degree (mostly used in editing) and had a professor that I had heard nothing but great things about. Students just raved about him. I immediately signed up for one of his courses. I learned from the first class that he was obnoxious, opinionated, LOUD, and had his favorites. Or so I thought.

When I returned to my room after my final class for the day, I found a note saying that he wanted to see me the next day in is office at 10:00 am. Needless to say, I didn't sleep well that night! I had never received anything less than an "A" in English, on any writing assignment, or lit assignment -- that is until this guy and now he wanted to see me.

I dragged myself to his office where he invited me in with a smile on his face. :cautious: When we had talked for about ten minutes, I finally realized something or the first time. He actually thought I was a good writer with the potential to become much better! He was being so hard on me because he thought I had talent! After that, I relaxed and did well and took every class he taught.


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