DESCRIBE Your IDEAL Nursing Instructor

  1. As a new ADN instructor, I am very interested in hearing about GOOD QUALITIES that you students desire in instructors. SOOOO, describe to me the NURSING INSTRUCTOR of YOUR DREAMS.
    Let me break this down into 2 parts:
    #1--LECTURES--what sorts of lectures are most appealing to you (straight lecture, PP, reading out of the book, shooting off from the hip, etc., etc..)??? What do you NOT like in a lecture?
    #2--CLINICALS--what sorts of behaviors do you LIKE in a clinical instructor? What sorts of clinical settings do you most enjoy??? What sorts of behaviors do you most DETEST in clinical instructors?
    Thanx for the input:kiss !!!
  2. Visit VickyRN profile page

    About VickyRN

    Joined: Mar '01; Posts: 12,040; Likes: 6,492
    Nurse Educator; from US
    Specialty: 16 year(s) of experience in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds


  3. by   memphispanda
    In lecture, I like an instructor who expects us to be prepared, but doesn't expect us to already know it all. Teach the information, take a few questions but not so many that you can't finish the content and get sidetracked, etc. If someone doesn't *get it* and is holding up class, tell them to come to your office later so you can help them one on one. Make it fun--have some group things going on, play a game or two that helps teach the content. One thing that really helps too is stories about patients that had whatever problem, or demonstration of a specific problem. For example if you are talking about asterixis, DO it, don't just talk about it.

    For's a bit harder. Expect preparation. Don't try to trip up the unsure student by picking out the most obscure unimportant thing from the chart to quiz them on. During skills, guide, but don't hover nervously. Remind students to recheck their policy manual (or whatever they use to know how to do their skills) if they are unsure of themselves--BEFORE they go in the patients room. If someone is about to fail, let them know they are in trouble. (That may sound dumb, but I know a few people who were never told they were even close to failing that failed). Also during clinical, if you have a few minutes here or there take the time to teach what you know about the content that is being taught during lecture. If it is CHF, tell the group (or the 2 or 3 that happen to be there) to check in on the patient in 532 to listen to his lung sounds, etc. Try to get your students in on as many procdures as possible.

    My first clinical day in med/surg our instructor told us "everyone will give an injection today whether it's their assigned patient or not". And sure enough we all did. Mostly insulin. But it got us over that hump. If there was a catheter to be done, one of us was hunted down to do it. We had more experiences than any of the other groups because she took the time to do that for us. It was great.

    Best of luck in your new position!
  4. by   hoolahan
    Aaaahh, I knew you would be a great instructor!! As you know everyone learns differently, some are visual learners, some are audio, some hands-on, so I think , for lectures a combo of all is good.

    1. Do NOT BS me, I can see right thru when you are not sure of the answer. Say you will check the latest information and get back to me, and do it

    2. Do NOT read from the book!!!! Makes me want to pull my hair out, and warning, that thump you hear is my head drooping onto my desk followed by roof-trembling snoring!!!

    3. Update your lectures to the most current info, use evidence based research, teach the students how to find this info as well.

    4. Do start w a brief lecture, preferably associated w picture slides (yes I'm a visual learner!) Give them a detailed outline, so they won't miss the important stuff while madly scribbling notes. Follow that w a case study and group discussion. I like a break in the monotomy of lectures when the room breaks into small groups for discussions, then the lecture ends w interactive discussions.

    1. #1 Golden rule, please please do at least one shift a month in the field, just one a month. This says to your students you are not just an academic who is incapable of truly lost touch with what is happening in the real world.

    2. Be present. Be sure the students feel prepared. Know which nurses hate being preceptors and which ones are great preceptors. Remember even great preceptors need a break from time to time.

    3. NEVER humiliate a student publically. Develop a signal, like, why don't you check on the pharmay or some little phrase so that if you feel a student is in the wrong, they will know to stop what they are doing, and won't loose face w their pt. When I was an ICU preceptor, I would tell my orientee "I'll finish this for you so you can have enough time to do your notes." It was just a little way of them knowing I could see they were in over their heads, and every nurse in our open unit didn't have to watch them drown or know they were doing something incorrectly. (Sharks can smell that ya know?) Then I would explain things as i did them so they would not be left out of the loop. I would address any learning deficits privately.

    4. Don't forget to show a sense of humor, and encg students to talk about how things like a death made them feel.

    5. Gives lots of positive reinforcement.
  5. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    My dream nursing instructor (a fictional character, to be sure!)

    Does not play favorites. All assignments from all students have the same due date and are judged by the same standards, no matter how the instructor feels about an individual student.

    Have high standards, but be a kind person. Remember that the students are there to learn.

    If a student is very smart or actually knows some things about a subject that the instructor does not, do not be threatened by this person.

    Include in your curriculum something about the nursing crisis, real reasons behind the nursing shortage (per studies), working conditions in nursing, and some things that are current, and reflect was nurses are going through.

    My " Nursing Trends and Issues" classes had stuff about nurse practice acts, laws, history of nursing, but no actual "trends" or "issues."

    Be available to your students, but not too available, or to just certain ones.
    Correct students respectfully and in private. Do not embarrass or "make an example" of a student.

    AND.... as another poster said, work the floor of a hospital at LEAST once a month. I had instructors who'd been away from pt care for decades and were completely clueless. I was working as an LPN at the time, going for my RN.
    These instructors had no idea of actual nurse to pt ratios, modern charting, actual work-loads, working conditons, etc.
    Last edit by Hellllllo Nurse on Apr 27, '03
  6. by   kimmicoobug
    lectures--my biggest peeve, getting way off subject with student's personal stories about whatever disease their cousin's neighbor's dog's cat had. We are there to learn and want to learn what is important for test, clinical...etc...It really sucks when we get told to read about it and study the notes hard because they are going to be on the test and not go over that material in class. It is way harder to try to understand a difficult concept by reading only.

    Clinicals--understand the students are NERVOUS. They are new to the setting, new to different ways of thinking, and new to certain procedures. Also, if the student forgets something about a med, it may be because she is nervous. Don't say you learned about that in September (when it is August--had this happen to me). Everyone is human and sometimes us students become traumatized by certain instructors. I had one instructor that traumatized me that I hated clinicals. I carried this over to this year, but on day one, my new instructor came up to me, told me it was ok to be nervous, but to understand that he was there to guide us and help build our confidence. I have not been nervous with an instructor since. I also agree with positive reinforcement.

    Good luck!
  7. by   Bonnie Blue
    Lecture: Powerpoint and case studies. Example patient and then review the patho and nursing interventions for that patient.

    Clinical: help students think their way through problems. You can ask why is this patient recieving this med, and walk through the patho etc together.
  8. by   Rena RN 2003
    Originally posted by VickyRN
    As a new ADN instructor, I am very interested in hearing about GOOD QUALITIES that you students desire in instructors. SOOOO, describe to me the NURSING INSTRUCTOR of YOUR DREAMS.
    Let me break this down into 2 parts:
    #1--LECTURES--what sorts of lectures are most appealing to you (straight lecture, PP, reading out of the book, shooting off from the hip, etc., etc..)??? What do you NOT like in a lecture?
    #2--CLINICALS--what sorts of behaviors do you LIKE in a clinical instructor? What sorts of clinical settings do you most enjoy??? What sorts of behaviors do you most DETEST in clinical instructors?
    Thanx for the input:kiss !!!
    LECTURES - my favorite lecture instructor was a person that didn't take any crap. :chuckle she was fun. she told tons of stories from her personal practice as a nurse that applied to what we were learning at the time. it gave me something to connect my memory to while learning. she was bold. blunt. but very kind. we were expected to be prepared for each and every lecture. we were encouraged to ask questions. we were taught the correct way to think and to perform skills. but at the same time, we were sometimes privy to how things work "in the real world."

    the absolute biggest turn off with a lecturer is to have him/her read straight from the book. thank you very much, i can read on my own. give me the highlights of the chapters. give me notes. pre-printed ones thanks. let's face it. there is so much to learn in nursing school that it couldn't possibly be a bad thing to cover more material with pre-printed notes than it would be to cover less material by having to allow time for students to write out notes.
    CLINICAL - this is a toss up. i have 2 fav instructors that happened to me at 2 very different points in my program.

    instructor 1 happened to me very early in school. she was also my fav lecture instructor. in clinical she could be brutal. graded tough. but she always told us that things would come together. she more than once told us that if we survived a quarter writing her careplans we would never have another problem with them. she was right. she often made my papers bleed with so much red ink. but i learned more from that woman than i could ever give credit for. she was on top of all of us. she had eyes in the back of her head and you were never doing anything that she didn't know about. left no room for mistakes from beginning students.

    instructor 2 happened to me later in my school career. i have actually had her for the last 3 quarters. she is kind to a fault. she encourages independence while stressing that she is there if we ever have a question. she too expects you to be prepared. she has no problem quizzing you at the pyxis while you are getting meds out. she has been wonderful at getting us ready for transition into the real world.

    i really have no "detest" about any of the clinical instructors that i've had. i've been blessed to have a wonderful instructor every quarter. but hypothetically speaking, it would have to be an instructor that would try to belittle a student. one that would try to make the student feel dump. we are students. most of us realize we have a lot to learn. most of us know that we will make mistakes. don't brow beat that student. encourage them. go the extra mile to make sure that student has an understanding of why a procedure (etc.) needs to be done or thought about a certain way. also, if a student is doing something in a safe but less time saving manor than a seasoned nurse would do, don't berate them for not knowing the fastest, most efficient way to do something. praise them for having the self-initiative to find a way to accomplish a task even if it wasn't what would have saved the most time. perhaps give them hints but don't belittle.

    now that i've written my book, i'll close my "fingers" and be quiet. :chuckle
    Last edit by Rena RN 2003 on Apr 27, '03
  9. by   gwenith
    as an ex-instructor/nurse educator here is my point of view!


    people who don't pay me any attention! when i am up presenting i have usually put quite a lot of effort into preparation and will go out of my way to make it "entertaining". having someone in the back row sitting with thier feet up on a desk knitting! grrrrrrrr! snort!

    the "cut log" classroom. the entire student body sits there like a pile of cut logs unmoving. one of the hardest lectures i ever had to give was to a group who had been partying the night before and were, to a person completely and utterly "hung over". i am an interactionist and actually prepare lectures so that i can get interaction going because active learning is more powerful than passive. try with a whole class of glassy-eyed zombies.

    i actually don't mind people sleeping - but it only happened once. the rest of the class could not believe anyone could sleep through one of my lectures. we figured she must have been really tired so we just made her comfortable.::zzzzz

    the "smarty" who keeps asking questions just 5 minutes ahead of you getting to that bit of content. keeps breaking up the flow for the rest of the class. on the other hand i have a policy "no queston is too dumb".


    the person who keeps trying to "help" another by doing the work/finishing things for her - real confidence breaker.

    the person with "attitude" nasty to patient nasty to me.

    the unprepared student, but having said that i give credit if the situation is exeptional. remember one assessment - wound care when we started it looked straight forward. by the time we had finished the patient was on entonox and we had been through half the ward stores (but we cleaned up a god-awful mess that really helped the patient!) nothing about that dressing was by the book but i passed the nurse on principle. mind you part of the reason why i passed her was that i was afraid she would find another wound like that one and i could not have faced it twice!

    just thought you would like to look over the other side of the fence!:d
    Last edit by gwenith on Apr 28, '03
  10. by   LaVorneRN
    I think it is admirable of you to seek this critique. My hat is off to you!
    Lecture:I know when I was a student last year I appreciated the instructor who listened and didn't just spout out information. She made sure you understood before pressing on. She even acknowledged looks of confusion and nicely asked "what's wrong, "Susie"? Also, making it fun. We had 2 instructors dress up in quickie costumes to help us learn about acid/base balance since it was so confusing. And they also gave tips on what helps them remember formulas. They taught by the book but also taught what it's like in the real world so we would have realistic expectations in clinicals. I was not doing well on tests in one class and after I would get my 78% she would see me in her office after class and go over the test with me. We discovered that I knew the answers but I had testing anxiety. We came up with a method (just covering up the 4 answers and reading the question then thinking about all I know about the topic-my answer was always right when I uncovered and looked at the options.) Our best instructors were nurturers, fun, and wanted each of us to succeed.
    I didn't have many bad instructors but things that don't go over well with students are power trippers, intimidaters, bullying, by the book like a bulldozer, and dry-no sense of humor instructors.

    In clinicals:Love feedback. We need to know how we are doing. And constructive critizism(sp?) without trying to embarrass you in front of your peers, patients, or hosp. staff. When you treat a student like she/he is a nurse they feel more confident and feel like they are transforming into one. They feel comfortable asking for help and admitting a short-coming. They want to learn more and feel good about the experience. Looking for opportunities for everyone to get skills experience or to see some cool procedure(chest tube placement, paracenthesis, endoscopy-things to see of course and foley insertions, putting down an NG, start IV's, trach suctioning etc.) All in all, if you can be focused and assertive yet laugh with your students, teach and guide without intimidation, and want each one to succeed without playing favorites you'll do fine.
    It really is possible. You probably just need to be yourself. If you are the type of person to be so considerate as to even ask this question, I believe you will do fine. Peace and blessings!
  11. by   jenac
    VickyRn- I would have given anything to have a competent instructor with a heart and a sense of humor, ethic and a sense of purpose-not bordering on a powertrip!!

    The best instructor I had was a brillant RN who loved the people she cared for, was kind and understanding and not in any way indimidating. She would do whatever it took to help you- stay late, come in early-hold workshops on Saturdays. She was there to do more than teach-she truely wanted us to learn. That's the biggest difference. I was lucky enough to have the best-and the worst!
    One of my senior instructors was a mean, cold-hearted, ruthless woman who literally lived to chew you up. She terriorized everyone- and focused in on every little human weakness-thereby losing the whole learning process. Needless to say- she was well known for chasing off students. She was relentless. I also had an OB instructor who obviously had very little clue what she was teaching-or how to do it. She would lecture on something-and literally test on something completely opposite. She was constantly contradicting herself, and generally made very little sense. Thank God for good books, or there would have been 22 of us who failed that course!

    My best advise is this-remember what it is like to be a student. Don't just teach-help them learn.
  12. by   zambezi
    So many good points made on this BB!
    For lectures, as many have previously said, it always annoyed me when i had to read x ammount of chapters for class and then the teacher went over them word for word, never extrapolating on ideas, etc...(whats the point of class if you can get the same thing by reading?) I liked it when we had to read but then the ideas in the book were discussed in class and expanded upon personal stories or experiences discussed, practical situations mixed with assessment skills to expect, etc. Mixing media was good for me too, power point with the slides printed out so i could have your notes and then add my own comments on the favorite teacher was a good listener, knew how to discuss complex subjects in a way that made sense (ie: acid/base balance...lots of examples and practice intrepreting, ways to remember how it all fit together...) In the middle of class this teacher would occassionally stop, touch someones shoulder and say..."this is your patient, they just stopped breathing and are pulseless, what do you do first....this was always a "fun game" but more importantly made us change tracks and remember those bls skills that have never actually been used....
    In clinical, i liked instructors that were positive, utilized good constructive criticism, worked with me to have my learning needs met as well the curriculum needs, advocated for me to the other rns (so they knew that i wanted to practice ivs, foleys, ngs etc) many things, good luck with your teaching, you sound like someone who really wants students to learn...sorry this is so long
  13. by   kimtab
    The fact that you care enough to ask says you will be one of the ones that the students look forward to. The several at my school who are uniformly disliked have an obvious attitude of apathy or even downright hostility toward students.

    Powerpoint is good, pre-post the file so people can print it out and take notes right on it. It is a big time-saver for students. Use case studies, visual aids, group activities, whatever you can to make the lecture more compelling--I think several people have made the point that we are going to read the book anyway, so there's no need for you to do that in lecture. Some instructors make a few slides with NCLEX-style questions on them for the students to answer at the end of lecture--good for seeing if we absorbed anything

    In clinical: make your expectations very clear. Although my school has clinical objectives that must be met-- the actual day to day way things are done can vary by instructor. That is completely fine as long as students know what they need to do for you. Be specific and timely in your criticism. I like my instructor who said that was good Kim but next time try...and then next time was a few minutes later when the opportunity came up again because she wanted to reinforce it while it was still fresh in my mind. Look for in-services, other learning op's to make things interesting. Sometimes when you are on the same floor for an entire semester you wind up with the same kinds of patients over and over. Our instructor was able to arrange for us to observe in OR, ER, CCU, with IV team, etc.

    Good luck, I am sure you will be great!
  14. by   CountrifiedRN
    I love that you are asking these questions, it says a lot about your eagerness to teach and be a great instructor!

    Ok, for lecture I like the powerpoint presentations and hand outs because it makes it easier to keep notes organized. It's also nice when there is reference to what book is used because we often have many books that sometimes have conflicting information on the same subject.

    I don't know if this is within your control or not, but it is helpful if the lecture reflects the clinical rotation. We've had some semesters in our program where we attend, let's say, the ICU clinical rotation in the beginning of the semester, but don't actually learn about ventilators and diprivan drips until the last part of the semester which is a few months later. (Bad planning on the part of our program)

    I think that there will always be some course content that is just impossible to make interesting, but I like an instructor who is open to ideas and suggestions about the class. We've had instructors who say "I have taught this way for 20 years, and I'm not about to change it now", and in the next breath say "In nursing we must learn to be flexible and adapt to new situations". (They never see the irony in it either)

    For clinical I could probably write a book, but I'll try to keep it short.

    Good instructors are as quick to offer praise as they are to offer criticism.

    Please don't yell at a student in front of others, whether it be docs, nurses, patients, or other students. Too many in our program do that and it seems more of a power issue than the mistake the student made. More often than not, it makes the others who were witness to it lose respect for the instructor, not the student.

    If a student is doing a new procedure, talk through it first, before going into the room.

    Offer guidance when necessary, but give the student enough time to complete the procedure. We're pretty slow when we first start!

    One thing that I have seen in my proogram is that fear and intimidation are not conducive to learning, and most students will just try to "fly under the radar" if they feel intimidated rather than get the hands on experience they need. Try to encourage the students to get all of the experience they can, and be available to assist or assign procedures, because the nurses are often too busy to help a student when they can just do the procedure faster themselves.

    I hope this helps! Just curious, if you don't mind me asking, what level students will you be teaching? I think it makes a difference for clinical if the student is in first semester as opposed to last semester.