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Encouraging students

Specializes in ER, ICU, Education.

Students- need your help and input, please.

A bit of background- I am a nursing instructor and have been for years. I love teaching the next generation of nurses. It is a strange mix of wonderful, fascinating, and at times frustrating. One of the most frustrating aspects is seeing how some students have no support or encouragement and no one in their corner to believe in them. I am sad to say that this seems to be becoming more common. I try to encourage all of my students to excel. I have extremely high standards for them, and expect them to be dedicated, but am always looking for new ways to encourage my students.

What has made a difference for you? What encourages you to believe in yourself and to not give up? Every generation and class of students is different and I would appreciate your input.

You're right, encouragement really goes a long way. When I was in high school (like...10 years ago) my grades sucked badly. I was a straight C and D student. However, I had a really awesome chemistry teacher who encouraged me, showed confidence. It made me have confidence in myself for the first time (since I went to a nerd school and was shunned for having bad grades) and made me not only want to learn the material...but I felt like I wanted to impress her. Regardless, all my classes that I've taken (I've taken more than 300 units of classes) I did the best in when the teacher was encouraging and was there for support.

I'm a student in my final semester and I'm 31 (generation X). Here's what helped and encouraged me:

1. Instructors treated me like an adult and always treated students with respect (no yelling, name calling, exasperated body language)

2. Instructors were firm but patient, knowing that we were new at performing nursing skills.

I am in my 4th semester of NS and something I've really valued from the few instructors who have been helpful thus far, is when they treat us like the responsible adults we are. For most of us this is our 2nd career and we are married have children etc, and yet there are some profs who continue to look down on us or make us feel like we are 2 in. tall (i.e.: doing this thing w/ your eyes and eyebrows when you do something wrong in skillls lab)...the best clinical instructor I had treated us like a colleague (obviously she was still in an authorative position) but she respected us, encuraged us, didn't make us feel dumb, and overall provided good support. Basically, don't make me feel dumb by patronizing me and when you use little encouraging words like "Good girl...or something silly like that" when I am drawing up lovenox for the first time in clinical, etc...it's the little things b/c as students we don't hear those positive things very often :)

For me, this is the kind of teacher I admire:

1)Patient and someone who LIKES their job

2)Open enough for students to feel like they can ask questions and not always answer questions with, "read the book" (sometimes you just dont get what the book says--SORRY!).

3) Makes time to help students

4)Someone who TEACHES and takes into consideration that everyone has different learning styles

OB-nurse2013, BSN, RN

Specializes in Labor and Delivery.

I am just starting my first semester of nursng so I'm not sure if you want my input but I just wanted to tell a quick part of my school experience. My advisor is unbelieveably kind and supportive. I met with her to make sure I had everything in order to complete my app and she went way over board. She showed me the nursing labs, introduced me to some instructors and the decision making professor for app's. She also lent me some of her own books to study for the class I was in at the time. I even emailed her when I got an A on exams since it was a notoriously hard class and professor. She replied right away and definately made me feel she cared, which really made me want to try my best and be successful, which I have :) I am so thanful to have met her and have this experience.

Hi - I just finished my first semester of nursing school and I'd like to put in my 2 cents.

I agree with what most of the previous posters said - treating your students like they are adults and have a brain is always a plus. Watch your body language too, because your students are probably almost always suffering from mild anxiety and a little hypersensitive to how to act and react. My current instructor is usually very supportive and encouraging but when she's irritated, you can easily tell by her body language and it can be very daunting.

Listen to what your students say as well. Once clinicals began last semester, we already we're getting as much lecture because of the schedule change. Then, my instructor began doing more activities in class (games, group worksheets, etc.) instead of lecture. The test grades began to decline a little and she wondered why. We'd been telling her all along that we needed more lecture and less games but she didn't listen. Still makes me upset thinking about it. Yeah, she would have had to change her lesson plan but so what? We obviously needed the lecture and it's more important for the students to understand.

I also really appreciate and respect a clinical instructor who stands up for her students during clinical times. Sometimes, some of those nurses can get mean and rude towards the students (I'm sure some of us deserve it, but many don't) and it's really disheartening for the instructor to not do anything or to agree with the nurse. For example, last semester we were at a small town hospital. One of the students had a patient that had a dressing change. The student checked the kardex and the chart for the dressing change instructions. She began gathering supplies and setting up for the dressing change. Her nurse noticed what she was doing and asked her a few questions. (Backstory - the MD had ordered different instructions the day before, however the new instructions had never been copied onto the kardex nor added to the chart) The nurse realized that the student was doing the dressing change per the previous instructions and began screaming at the student and berating her in front of the patient, other students, and other nurses. Our instructor then told us students that we need to adapt to other people's personalities and that some people can come off as "harsh". I agree with that, but not in this case. As nurses we have to deal with and work with many personalities but we should never be required to take a verbal beating like that one, no matter what. The instructor should have investigated further and then have a private discussion with the nurse on why the student was using the previous instructions. Instructors also need to make it clear to other nurses that we're not copy girls, maids, or staff at the site. I can't count how many times I've been asked to make copies or answer call lights when our instructor strictly prohibits us from doing so unless it strictly relates to our patients.

I agree with Gina - one of the most important qualities a teacher can have is to show that they really enjoy what they do. If that's not there then what's the point? What are they doing with their life and why are they teaching you?!

Staragate, ADN, ASN, RN

Specializes in Dialysis.

All of the above, plus feedback on our progress. It's nice to hear when we are doing something right or what specifically we need to work on. I love reading notations on my assignments. I really want to do well!

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