Are nursing instructors really that bad?

Students General Students


I am not in the program yet but I really enjoy reading through some of these threads to keep myself motivated and get an idea of what I am in for.

Something that I noticed and frightens me a little though, is how there are an awful lot of comments about bad instructors that tear you down. Are there really that many out there like that? Do most of you have experiences with these kind of instructors that condem you to a life of unnecessary difficulties and challenges while in the program? Is this really a common occurance among nursing schools to encounter such vile instructors?

Please tell me this is just a one off thing and doesn't happen as often as it seems! I don't think I have enough big girl panties to deal with that much negativity!

Specializes in Psychiatry.

Keep in mind when reading threads on AllNurses, many of them are 'vent' threads. you won't find many that talk about how fabulous nursing instructors are, etc.

that being said, I am a non-traditional student and had absolutely no problems with any of my instructors. They are not there to 'make you fail' they are there to assess your performance, encourage you (hopefully) and make sure you are practicing safely as a student nurse.

Just work hard, practice safely, show up on time, etc, etc. and you will be just fine!! It also wouldn't hurt to seek out additional learning opportunities in the clinical setting.



yesdog, BSN, RN

177 Posts

Specializes in SICU.

All of my instructors were nice. Some of them were more competent than others....but they were all nice and very encouraging.

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

Nursing instructors are no better and no worse than instructors in other disciplines. You see all kinds ...


94 Posts

I think it all depends on the students experience and attitude. We had a teacher who was tougher, everyone in my class complained about her nonstop, I kept my mouth shut because I REALLY liked her. She has an amazing way of showing you how to do something but you end up doing it yourself. People say she's scary but she knows what she needs to teach and what we need to learn and we are taught well.

Figure out how your instructor teaches and you will do fine.

Specializes in Pediatrics.

I have really liked my instructors so far. One she really scarred me during her lectures and I prayed that she would not be my clinical instructor. Well last term she was my clinical instructor and she was great, she challenged me. She also told me that the instructors are not here to trip you up and see you fail. In my experience they really want us to do well and want to train compentent nurses.

Do-over, ASN, RN

1,085 Posts

Specializes in CICU.

Personally, I have liked and respected all my nursing instructors so far. I decide everyday to have a good attitude and learn as much as I can from them. In turn, all my teachers seem to like and respect me.

A positive attitude will take you far - I have learned this the hard way :specs: Stay away from the negative students (they won't be hard to spot) and good luck in school! Enjoy it - I do, everyday!

My experience with nursing school has been awful! I am a career changer and enrolled in an associate's program this spring. Some of the teachers in the program were very nice, unfortunately I drew the clinical instructor from HELL! I realized too little, too late that she was never going to pass and was a master when it came to tearing down people's psyche. She was nasty to everybody but I seemed to get a particularly nasty dose. I think it's probably bc I am guy with an education who reminded her too much of the doctors or some other male figures who had mistreated her. Honestly, it took me a long time to see it, but in retrospect it seems very obvious. Here is my account of the experience from another posting:

I'm a 34-yr-old male who has been working on a nursing degree for about the past two years. This past spring I finally started a nursing program at a local junior college but ended up having to withdraw bc I had a clinical instructor who was clearly going to do everything in her power to fail me.

Granted, she was nasty to everyone but seemed to get a particularly large dose I suspect because I am an overeducated white guy (Not that I can prove it). For instance, during a clinical exam on wound changing she had my sim-man vomit in the middle of it. No one else in the entire program was given this sort of curve ball nor was it ever discussed during instruction. Everyone else simply had to follow sterile procedure. When I went to re-take the exam, she decided to not record the it (a violation of department practice) and also decided to be in the room with me critiquing me all the way.

Like my classmates I was also getting berated for not knowing techniques that we hadn't been taught; sometimes she would blankly walk away and ignore when I was in the middle of a question; at one point she even sabotaged me by giving our strongest student, a paramedic whom she had ordered me with, too much work for us to be able to collaborate. This was the last the straw. It was when I realized she was not going to pass me, or at the very least was going to throw every obstacle possible in my way.

At the same time, she could be a good instructor when she wanted to. She really knew her stuff and took it seriously.

I toughed which much difficulty early on, but was really starting to crack by the middle of the semester. When I finally went to complain to the administration, I got quite a bit of subtle and blatant push back. I was able to convince them to let me repeat the class in the fall (this was there idea of a concession). Normally, I would have had to sit out a semester and reapply to the program. Of course now there is some question as whether they are going to hold up their end of the bargain.

In the end I can say that it was one of the nastiest and most de-motivating experiences of my life. It's odd- I have no doubt in my ability to complete the program; I just feel deflated. The thing is, the more I talk to people the more I hear stories of nurse-bullies. In fact everyone in nursing seems to have had some sort of interaction with a really nasty nurse. It's left me with a frightening insight into the profession: If you're a sadist- someone who really enjoys other people's pain- nursing is great place to hide out; you can be the one who is constantly in control and still live under society's moral cloak as someone who cares for the needy.

I do NOT think all nurses are like that. I do suspect it is part of what contributes a power-obsessed hospital culture that inflicts a lot of emotional damage on those who work in it.

On a personal level it leaves me posing the question of whether I want to continue my pursuits of nursing. Do I want to suffer two years of insult in a program that seems hell bent on throwing obstacles up at every turn only so that I can be part of what is often a hostile work environment?

On a more philosphical level, I wonder how health care and its education system got to be this way. Is it the result of too much stress from the overemphasis on acute care or is it something else?


214 Posts

Specializes in Case management, occupational health.

Maybe some are, (just like anywhere- there is always going to be a few A-holes)but for the most part no. I think that most students who whine about how unfair the instructors are the ones that have yet to take responsibility for their educaiton, who are not doing everything they are supposed to be, or who are just not ready for the demands of nursing school.

It is the job of the instructors to not only to teach you but to evaluate you. This is life and death, and they are responsible for you.

Also, wether they want to admit it or not they do try to weed people out. They want to see right away who is really in this for the long haul, who is willing to put in the work and who it not. They are often a little harder on students in clinicals that have the potential to be a great nurse but are just not putting their all into it.

You will be fine, just keep in mind that nursing school is not like any other class you have ever taken ,and therefore the demands are different. Work hard, go above and beyond what is expected and you will not have the problems some whine about.

Elvish, BSN, DNP, RN, NP

4 Articles; 5,259 Posts

Specializes in Community, OB, Nursery.

I didn't have a single nursing instructor that was mean, hateful, or 'out to get me.' Not to say that those people don't exist, but I certainly didn't have any. One in particular I remember being tougher than the others, but she certainly didn't get any glee out of failing people.

Specializes in ICU.

My profs were, for the most part, decent people. I did have one, however, who was nicely paranoid. She'd pace the aisles during tests, and accuse students of cheating who DARED to bend over & pick up a pencil they had dropped. Luckily, I didn't have any run-ins with her.


251 Posts

This is good news! I fully expect that the instructors will be hard in the sense that they expect you to succeed, I was just getting nervous hearing about ones that seemed out to get you.

I hope that as long as I fully apply myself and do the best I can, I will not have any run ins with any less than stellar instructors. :D

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