Feel like I'm not learning a thing in Nursing School. Advice?


I am about half way through my LPN schooling. It hate to say this but I feel as though I'm not learning a thing. Although I have good grades in theory and in clinical, I'm petrified that I may not be competent enough to pass the NCLEX. There are reasons behind this, and I am certainly not alone in feeling this way out of those in my class. I'd say 99-100% of us feel this same way. I'll try to make this as short as I can. Basically, the instructors are extremely unorganized, change the schedules or what we're planning to do on a daily basis, they seem next to incompetent (when asked questions, they'll refer us to someone else, tell us to google it, or falt out say they don't know). They are unfair and have "pets" that seem to have perfect grades and can do no wrong but then there are some of us that are told that a correct answer isn't actually correct because they "changed their mind". They call people humiliating names in class but laugh like it's supposed to be a joke. It's like they're children trying to fit in with kids or something. Most of this paragraph, I am refering to one teacher in particular. When we had to do reviews on the instructors at the end of a semester, we were told, in a very vague way, to watch what we say because they read the evals and we should change our hand writing if we don't want them to know it's us. That's just a few things that have happened in class.On to Clinicals. We have spent more than 1/3 of our clinical days in a classroom taking notes because of ridiculous reasons such as "there aren't enough instructors today" or "inspection is today", etc. When we do have clinical days, we spend half of it changing sheets and the other half sitting in a room doing what they like to call "post conference" but it's actually us doing classwork because they just don't feel like doing anymore clinical. At more than half way through our LPN experience, we have never once passed meds, given an injection, seen an actual wound, etc. Ever. I feel so cheated and I'm afraid to call my self a nurse at graduation because I feel i won't be very competent at the end of this. Recently, one of the substitues we sometimes have was in for clinical. It was the best clinical day we've had ever. We were shown how to use systems, how to chart properly, we weren't degraded when we didn't understand something, we were shown how to and allowed to pass meds (supervised of course), we actually got to do nursing actions instead of standing around, unaware of what to do, wondering where the instructors are, trying to figure it out on our own only to be reprimanded for standing around and doing nothing.If someone took you and dropped you in NASA and told you to build a rocket, how would you feel? That's exactly how we feel on a regular basis. We are taken into our location and abandoned with no idea where the instructors are, with fear of asking for help because we know we wil lhear " I already showed you this" or "you're getting on my nerves today" or "you have no self confidence". We're constantly told "you pay xxx amount of money to receive our critisim." It's one thing to be constructive critisim, it's another to be degraded, literally called names that they try to pass off as funny, and then written up for not performing correctly. If no one shows you what to do, you can't possibly know what to do.I'm at a loss. I don't want to but I think regularly about withdrawing from this school. I want to a confident and competent nurse. When my instructor tells us we're not confident, I just want to tell her "well of course we're not, we're learning absolutley nothing and have you harping down our backs." Encouragement and leadership creates confidence, not abandonment and belittling.What do I do about this? What would you do?


38,333 Posts

When you have achieved your goal and graduated and have obtained your license, write a letter to the honcho of honchos if you are not provided an opportunity for feedback at the end of the program. Until that time comes around, keep your eyes on the prize and do what it takes to get out of there in one piece.


3 Posts

I am a little more than halfway done with my LPN program and I understand what you are saying about not retaining anything. LPN programs now a days are designed to stuff you full of information in a very short period of time. I make myself a to do list every week. I write down homework and even schedule times to study. This has helped me stay organized and calm. Some of my classmates and I have also put together a study group which is so helpful. Have you tried talking to anyone about your teachers? I would definitely go to a Counselor or student advisor. Remember that when you graduate it will be the best feeling in the world! Because you overcame all of this. You will be a great nurse because you are learning how to deal with difficult teachers as you will patients. Hang in there! The end result is completely rewarding!

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

226 Articles; 27,608 Posts

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 17 years experience.

I did not learn a great deal of material while attending school, either. The vast majority of your learning takes place on the job.


3 Posts

I didn't answer your question about what I would do. I am a upfront person, especially when it comes to paying thousands of dollars for school. I would pull your teacher aside and explain to them how you feel and how it is very offending when they degrade you. They should have bedside manner if they are working in the health field.


316 Posts

Did you get any input from someone that might have attended this school before you started? Is it a accredited school and what is there past rate. Very important question upon choosing a school. I guess at this point it is too late for that.

Regardless of the school, one should conduct themselves in a certain manner when they are leading a group of people. It's very unprofessional and there is always someone in higher authority than them. If you all feel the same join together and express this. Only if it help you in the long run, otherwise stick it out cause at this point you diffently don't want it to hurt you.

Best wishes to all!


258 Posts

might i ask what school you will be attending?


258 Posts

What school are you attending? Forgive me if this was already mentioned

Anne36, LPN

1,360 Posts

All programs have their pros and cons but your program sounds awful. I felt like in my program we spent more time learning things that were beyond our scope of practice. How long is your program? Mine was 16 months if you include the first 8 weeks of Pharm. At the very end I wish we had more autonomy in our clinical. The most patients I ever had was 4 and that only happened twice. I also think we should have concentrated more on the nursing role instead of spending half of our time in clinical doing CNA work.

Specializes in hospice, HH, LTC, ER,OR. Has 14 years experience.

I am finding out lots of programs are unorganized. I only had 2 med passes in my entire LPN program. But I did do a lot of other skills(NG tubes, caths, IVs, Blood draw,interviews, assessments) and I found those to be more helpful than passing meds. I had classmates to leave school never doing any of these skills on a real person. Anyone can pass meds, but are you learning any other skills? Are you using your critical thinking when taking care of patients or nurse shadowing. We we are all fearful in the beginning after reading all the torts and laws regarding abuse and neglect in fundamentals. I do encourage you to have confidence and ask, ask, ask questions to anyone who will answer. I was told by my very first teacher "80 percent of what you will learn will be on your first job, we cant possibility show you everything while in nursing school. I must admit, he was right.


12 Posts

Omg i can't believe what I read. I just started my schooling as an LVN and our instructors are the best . They help you in every single way they can. There always asking if we need help they say were students and they dont expect us to know a lot of stuff but thats y they're there. I'm sorry to hear that it's not the same in other schools. You guys can always report your instructors it's not fair to pay so much money and spend so much time just to be abused by them. Are they even accredited? As a nurse we need to be advocates for our patients but how can we be advocates when we cant stand up for ourselves Wish u guys luck

Specializes in LTC, SNF, Rehab.

In our first semester, our clinicals basically involved CNA work & communication techniques. We did a lot of bed baths & bed changes. Second semester, the best things I did was observe a vaginal birth, oberve a circumcision, and give two vaccines to a new mom, and removed one IV catheter and assisted my instructor with a few dressing changes. We also had physical assessments to do on our patient & we had to go through our pt's chart to fill out a care plan & learn as much as we could about our patient, then discussed it in pre-conference. Our clinicals were in hospitals 1st & 2nd semesters and the hospitals here don't hire LPN's & don't allow you to do much so, there were days that I felt were a complete waste of time just studied.

Last semester, we were in LTC facilities. I did a straigh catheter, changed out a foley catheter, did several wound treatments/dressing changes, and was responsible for med passes of 10 residents on 5 different days. The nurses at that facility were wonderful. Many of them were graduates from our program & were happy to help. I had not yet done a foley cath and on my LAST day, I had told this to the treatment nurse. So...she got approval from the charge nurse to let me do a change that was due in 2 days. The last semester is where we were allowed to do the most & learned the most. The instructor stayed at the med cart with 2 students passing meds, and we were allowed to do treatments whe the facility's treatment nurse observing/assistign us. There is still a lot I don't know. I still don't know much about IV pumps & feeding pumps. I did trach care on a dummy, but never on a real person.

The nurses at the facility told us that we will learn WAY MORE on the job than in school. Most facilities have new grads shadow a nurse for some time before turning you out on your own & even then, you're not entirely on your own. My instructor told us that the hospital she works at orients new grads for 3 months before allowing them to go out on their own. Such a relief!