What do you do when your instructors are useless?

  1. To make a long story short... BOOM! I failed my 2nd LPN to RN bridge course by 1%. I'm devastated, pissed, blah blah blah. Next day, I called my school and asked whats next? I was given two options: restart where I left off or start from the beginning (mind you if I pass this course I go to third semester). I absolutely suck at critical thinking and made that known; since this is an accelerated program they do not teach you (you read the assigned pages and take the test). My instructor tried to help a little but told me to get a tutor (too late). There's another school that would allow me to start 2nd semester as a traditional student that I might try even though its way more expensive.

    Do you believe that critical thinking skills can be developed? I hear some people say either you have it or you don't... and I don't right now but I'm trying.
  2. Visit Lpn2014 profile page

    About Lpn2014

    Joined: Jul '13; Posts: 16; Likes: 18

    10 Comments

  3. by   KatieMI
    So you do think some people are born with critical and clinical thinking? Like, they say "mommy" first time and right after that operate with differentials from then on?

    In this case, there's news for you. It is not so. Critical and clinical thinking can be developed at pretty much any age. But there is only one way to do it : daily, merciless work. Like ballerinas develop their turnout and flexibility through daily painful exercises, you can develop your brain.

    There is no other way to do it than "read, observe, memorize, think, ask and analyze", never (and I mean this: NEVER) allowing others to do it for you. Forget about "ijustfollowtheorder", "iamjustdoingmyjob" and such. Think about your every action, every order, every drug you administer. What it is for, what do you expect, what might happen if... all those questions. If you do not know answer, do not go to sleep till you find out. And remember that every patient tells you a story to think about.

    It is entirely possible that the your study format is a part of the problem and this is ok. Not everyone designed for accelerated program. You might fare better in traditional class, and that's all right.

    Things which are good for brain and for you overall:
    - healthy weight
    - regular moderate exercise
    - enough NATURAL sleep in DARK room
    - as little sugar, quick carbs and alcohol as possible
    - no smoking
    - Mediterranean diet (based on veggies, fruits, beans, seafood, milk and olive oil)
    - learning a foreign language
    - singing choir
    - playing music
    - listening to music
    - meditation/prayer
  4. by   HeySis
    Critical thinking is definitely a learned skill, and the more overall experience you have the easier it is to apply knowledge from one situation to another.


    There is a book that I used to study for RN-NCLEX that I think helped me a great deal... it explained each answer which got me into thinking through the ABC's (airway, breathing, circulation) when critical thinking situations came up such as which patient to check on first, who to assign a task and such. I'll put the lin down below if you are interested.

    But yes you have to study it... it has to become a muscle that you work out and get use to using so often that you are doing it without having to outline each step.

    The decision about schools is up to you, only you will know what is best for you.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/03...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  5. by   Daisy4RN
    Agree with all the above good advise. Your skills will come with time and effort. Seems you have already done a little critical thinking since your other post. You have thought about possible solutions, contacted your school for options and now just need to decide which is the best route for you. Nobody can make that choice except you so just think through those options carefully, maybe try using the nursing process, and do what is best for your personal situation. You can do this!!
  6. by   Kooky Korky
    You can develop critical thinking skills. What a bunch of baloney you've been fed!

    Don't go into too much debt. you will have to spend your whole life paying it off, maybe even into retirement - if you ever get to retire.

    Slow down, take a deep breath, renew your efforts.

    Set aside the frustration and anger. Figure out what you have been doing wrong and correct that.

    Get a tutor now NOW NOW.

    Best wishes.
  7. by   cpmark
    I love this advice. It's spot on. I also think OP should strive to prove him/herself wrong about that critical thinking narrative. It's not true, it's just a belief. Go get yours!
  8. by   missmollie
    Katie MI is spot on that critical thinking can be developed. Critical thinking is just about analyzing situations and asking they "w" questions:

    Who:
    -Who is the patient
    -Who is taking care of them (which service?)
    Who was their nurse before I came in (Someone with a lot of experience, someone who is brand new?)

    What
    -What is the diagnosis, probable prognosis, possible issues they might have.
    -What is the medication I am giving them, what is the correct dosage, what is the expected outcome, what is the antidote?
    -What could go wrong with anything I do with the patient. What is my plan if something does happen.
    -What I am doing will help/harm/or cause no change. What else could I do?
    -What teaching needs to be done
    -What should I teach the patient
    -What should the patient be able to do prior to discharge
    -What other teams need to be involved in the care
    -What is the expected amount of pain the patient might experience
    -What non-pharmacologic interventions can I do if pain/nausea/vomiting/other issues occur, before calling the doctor
    -What should I know before I call the doctor

    Where
    -Where did the issue occur
    -Where are areas of improvement
    -Where should the patient be discharged
    -Where can I improve the care I'm giving
    -Where is their mental state, their wellness state
    -Where is their understanding, their education level, their knowledge?

    When
    -When will care/surgery/transfer/ occur
    -When is expected discharge
    -When will the medication take effect and if there is a bad reaction to the medication, when will I see signs and symptoms of those effects?

    Why
    -Why am I doing said action

    *you should ask why you are doing something everytime before you do it.

    This seems like a lot of things, but this is just off the top of my head and these are examples. You may come up with different "w" questions and that is great. The heart of critical thinking is an inquisitive mind, also wondering why and working down different possible outcomes. It is difficult at first, but soon you will find you are automatically working through these issues. Hope this helps, best of luck!
  9. by   Hoosier_RN
    I'm trying to figure out how the instructors are useless. It sounds like the typical accelerated program (read and test, ask basic questions as needed). Did your whole class fail? If they did, I can understand blaming the instructors and program. If not, review your study practices and enlist the help of classmates who are succeeding or get a tutor. Lots of excellent advice so far as well
  10. by   Happy.Nurselet
    Critical thinking can absolutely be developed. I was raised by a mechanic and an English major. They are incredibly intelligent people, but have a formula for everything. I came into nursing expecting a formula. I struggled. I cried a lot. I almost gave up a few times. It was all so worth it. Do as many case studies as you can. Do lots of Nclex questions. I used to do nclex questions in line at the grocery store, while waiting for food, while cooking, while my husband was driving us somewhere, while at the gym, on breaks at work, and anywhere else I could put them. It really does help. I'm not the best at critical thinking, but I am not the worst either. You may never be perfect, but you can become a safe nurse.
  11. by   Neats
    "To make a long story short... BOOM! I failed my 2nd LPN to RN bridge course by 1%. I'm devastated, pissed, blah blah blah. Next day, I called my school and asked whats next? I was given two options: restart where I left off or start from the beginning (mind you if I pass this course I go to third semester). I absolutely suck at critical thinking and made that known; since this is an accelerated program they do not teach you (you read the assigned pages and take the test). My instructor tried to help a little but told me to get a tutor (too late). There's another school that would allow me to start 2nd semester as a traditional student that I might try even though its way more expensive.

    Do you believe that critical thinking skills can be developed? I hear some people say either you have it or you don't... and I don't right now but I'm trying"

    Well I see you have some critical thinking skills
    1. Tutor but too late. You know enough to get help form instructor and tutor those are critical thinking skills.
    2. School options and importance of where to start in this process as a student, again critical thinking skills.

    You seem to be placing a lot of cadence on critical thinking skills. They are not important and with time you will develop them even more as you gain experience. I think you looking at the glass half empty when you should look at it half full or get another glass that suits your needs. If you want to be a nurse, a good nurse you have to think common sense, if I make this decision then these could be some results of my decision...scenario based. It takes practice give yourself some grace.
  12. by   Duranie
    If you are allowed to retake this course and then move along... seems simple enough, Get a tutor and retake it.

    But.......

    You may want to look at what the alternate program actually entails--
    What are the classes? Are they courses that you would get a benefit from taking? Be honest... you have to look beyond the cost factor*, although I realize that is a consideration for most people. You need to think about what you can get out of which ever program you move forward with. If there are valuable things you would learn in the traditional-format program, then that is likely the best program for you... best bang for your buck, as it were.

    Was it a self-paced class?
    If not, then you are going to be in the same place time wise, no matter which one you choose... you're either spending the coming semester taking the one make-up course, or you're spending it taking a full-semester slate. Either way, it's a semester of work. So I wouldn't worry about 2nd vs. 3rd semester.....

    *(I assume the reason the alternate program is more expensive because the extra classes of the added semester, but a tutor is going to cost something too, so you need to 'do the math")

    ETA: I agree with everyone else about the critical thinking 🤔. It may come *easier* to people who naturally have an analytical bent. However, you *can* learn how to apply the process of logically (a.k.a. critically) analyzing any situation before you.... The list someone posted earlier in the thread is great! Some of the questions come naturally out of the others... so you don't have to mentally recite every one of them 100x a day. You do need to figure out for yourself which are the questions that for you lead your mind into the others. And that takes practice.

close