Do you correct your professor?

Students General Students


You are reading page 3 of Do you correct your professor?

Specializes in Cardio-Pulmonary; Med-Surg; Private Duty.

I have personal experience with a relatively common disease (hypothyroidism) as well as a rare disease (achalasia), and I've done more than my fair share of research into both conditions. My general practitioner admits that I know way more about achalasia than he ever will, and he allows me to guide my own treatment/maintenance testing -- I tell him what I need done, and he signs the orders. (yes, I know he's a keeper -- it took me three decades to find a doctor who didn't think he was God himself!)

I've found that the best way to approach the subject is in the form of a question: "What about ____ as a treatment?" or "I've heard (or read in such-and-such journal) that ____ is the new standard for diagnosis -- has that been adopted across the board, or is it just a regional thing?" or something along those lines.

This gives the instructor a chance to step back and rethink their stance, while also allowing them to save face in front of the class. Hopefully the instructor will have the cojones say, "I haven't heard of / am not familiar with that" followed by, "I'll have to look into that and get back to you" or "Could you share what you know about it with the class?"

I also see nothing wrong with "warning" an instructor in advance, as long as it's done in an "I'd like to help out with this" tone rather than an "I'm an expert so you'd better bow down to me" tone.

If I knew we were going to be covering one of my areas of expertise, I might approach the instructor and say, "I have considerable personal experience with _____ disease. If there's anything that I can offer the class from a patient perspective, or if the textbook doesn't have the most recent research, please don't hesitate to ask for my input on the subject. I'm always happy to offer the information I have if it would be helpful."


52 Posts

At our school, our teachers said from the start that they learn from us too and we were encouraged to speak up on topics we had more experience in.


23 Posts

Specializes in ER.

Plane and simple..YES. Everyone can make a mistake, sometimes through an opps and sometimes through ignorance. I good instructor will take it and research it and grow from it.

Wishinonastar, BSN

1 Article; 1,000 Posts

No, a teacher does not like to be embarrassed this way. I would never do it.


201 Posts

No one person has perfect knowledge, instructor or not. A nurse's knowledge is limited by the area they work. They can read about other areas, but never master them. New knowledge is created every day by research and invention, and not everyone can catch up to it. Long story short, humility in a teacher goes a long way.

The hallmark of a true scholar is their willingness to learn, regardless of where the information is coming from. Teachers should endeavor to be true scholars, and grab the every opportunity to learn, even from their students.

Having said that, not all teachers are that secure, and not all students have the beneficence and sensitivity to present new information without passing up an opportunity to humiliate their instructor.

The ball, however, still stays in the professor's court. It is the professor who should be able to swallow their pride and look at the information in an unbiased manner and evaluate its merit.

To the student: You have a right and a duty to present correct information when you are aware of it. However, you have to make the call as to how is it going to affect your grades. That can vary from professor to professor.

Specializes in Pediatrics.

Most of your classmates care about what she's going to test over, not necessarily the 100% correct information. I know that might sound bad but it's the truth. When you have four lectures worth of material, it gets confusing when everyone starts speaking up with contradictory real world experience. I'm usually annoyed by students in my class that work in a lab, have had the particular surgery, or have kids and seen a certain topic, and expand on it for a lengthy period of time in a back and forth with the instructor. I'd much rather that student keep it brief if they choose to speak up, and if they have a completely different point of view that is changing what the instructor is saying, I'd prefer they talk to him/her after class. That gives them more time for an actual conversation, and gives the instructor the opportunity to decide if she needs to correct herself and wishes to integrate that information into the knowledge base for the students to be tested over or is more of a "Oh thanks, good to know" situation. This also keeps it straight, as she can send out an email retraction of wrong information to correct it, but it's not always possible to figure out as a student what a teacher wants you to know when she's having that conversation back and forth with another student in the middle of lecture.

this is soooooo true!! I have had this happen to me in lecture. A student will chime in on something I am saying, they may suggest something contradictory to what I am saying, then another student will remember that (bit that I said "well, that is not necessarily the norm, but anything is possible").

As an instructor, the idea of being challenged can be a bit frustrating. Every time I walk into a lecture, I am well aware that someone in that classroom may already have personal or professional experience with what I am about to say. It has happened countless times (parents with children with a speciifc condition, EMTs, techs, LPNs, Nutritionists, SWs, you name it). I have never clamied to be an expert at everything, and there are times where I will tell my students "I have never taken care of a kid with XYZ", but the theory and literature state this." I've never worked with any Peds cardiac kids, but I teach the lecture. I'm sure many Peds lecturers have never worked on a Mone Marrow transplant Unit, but I have, so my lecture will be quite different from theirs.

The other thing is, not all cases of diseases/conditions follow the same rules. A student shared her experience with her child wearing a Pavlik Harness. It was not considered to be the customary time frame, as suggested in the literature. And I made that clear to the entire group. If this is possibly the case with you, the instructor should not be doubting or questioning your input, but don't expect her to alter test questions based on what you have stated. Just sayin' :cool:

As many have said here, as long as you are not a know-it-all (although you do know a lot, and have a personal passion for the topic in question), your input should be valued.


286 Posts

If your instructor is an ***, I would keep my mouth shut. Otherwise, speak to the instructor during a break or after class.


189 Posts

I'm not in nursing school yet, but I am in college. I correct my professors if they are wrong. Usually they are not, but they do make mistakes, and sometimes they are teaching something slightly out of their "specialty." I would hate for a class of people to learn incorrect information because I was too worried about myself to speak up. I have never, ever had a problem.


75 Posts

remember that theory (textbook) is far different from practicum (real world). you might even find textbooks that contradict eachother. also nursing practices are constantly changing. I say this because rarely is anything in nursing concrete. so be sure that you are absolutely correct before walking this slippery slope.

Always remember that the correct answer on a test is what the teacher says it is. so, don't be stubborn when choosing answers.


26 Posts

Never, never, never would I correct a nursing instructor. At times in class I have questioned her to allow her to clarify her statement, possibly I would ask a situational question that would give her a chance to correct herself. I would never correct a teacher in clinicals or class UNLESS she was making an assumption about my character or if I truely felt one of my patients were at risk maybe MAYBE I would then speak up.


131 Posts

If simply out of respect for your classmates, wait until after class and speak with the instructor. I see where you are coming from, but sometimes it's just downright exasperating when students speak up and correct the teacher. It can be useful sometimes, such as when there is an error in the powerpoint or lecture notes, etc...but when someone is disagreeing just because they have more experience, it's irritating. Generally, we are only interested in what we need to know from the text. Most times, the instructor isn't going to test us over the "real world," they are going to test us over what is in the book. I can see where you would want to do this even more since the instructor isn't a nursing instructor, but a private conversation is really more appropriate.

We have a classmate with an autistic son who has severe disabilities. She has corrected instructors so many times that every time she opens her mouth, a ripple of almost palpable hostility goes through the class. We understand that she is an advocate; however, her demeanor of "I have taken care of my son for years and I know more than you ever will" gets old fast. Plus, she is wasting valuable time that we don't have to spare in class. I completely understand that she is an advocate for the disorder, but we all wish she would respect us all enough to take it up with the instructors on her own time, and let the instructor make corrections as he/she sees fit.

healthstar, BSN, RN

1 Article; 944 Posts

Oh yeahhh, I want to learn the right way.

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X