Nursing Students: What do you think of your instructors?

  1. Hello All!

    I am currently in a masters program with my ultimate goal of being a nursing instructor in addition to a bedside nurse. Although I remember some of my instructors from school, I am just curious from all you nursing students out there, what makes your instructors good at what they do? What do you like about the way they teach? What would you change or what do you hate?

    Any feedback would be appreciated!!
  2. Visit KBICU profile page

    About KBICU, BSN, RN

    Joined: Jun '12; Posts: 244; Likes: 103
    BSN, RN, CCRN, TNCC; from US
    Specialty: 3+ year(s) of experience in Intensive Care Unit


  3. by   Wrench Party
    I wish more focus was placed on nurse educators actually knowing how to teach. It is a skill like everything else, and even though I understand many educators are great nurses, many are not great teachers. I have sat through enough ineffective Powerpoint presentations where the instructor just reads off the slides offering no further explanation to the notes, to make my eyes water and
    my faith in humanity lost. I can read the book and go over the Powerpoints on my own time; I come to lecture for clarification of information, additional wisdom, and what to focus on.

    The best instructors engage their students- whether through thought provoking questions, topics, exercises, and relevant information.
    When they care and make an effort, it shows.
  4. by   Katniss0813
    I know some instructors do their best, but if your just going to read from the book or powerpoint what good are you doing me as the student. Most instructors at my school have many years of nursing experience and that's the insight and wisdom that I want to hear from an instructor because they are supposed to be a role model of what a nurse should be. Instructors should try to use their nursing experience to teach modules. The best instructor that I have seen at my school was last semester, she used the powerpoint as a presentation (as it should be) and she talked to the entire class in a conversation type lecture and engaged the students, using stories from her nursing experience.She made some of the most boring lecture modules seem somewhat interesting. What I hated from a nursing instructor would be asking a question in class and using the roster to pick a "random" student from the class to answer the question. I'm like, even if I knew the answer, you calling me out in class to answer a question with 50 something people staring at me will make me forget the answer.
  5. by   bargraphix
    I agree with Wrench party 100%
    My teacher is a horrible lecturer. She is boring and cant teach. My wife who is a teacher listened to one of my classes that I had recorded and was telling me all of the bad teaching habits. just one example i can think of now is that she would say "any questions, good" then go on without letting anyone answer.
    However this same teacher is an amazing clinical teacher. I had her for clinicals and I learned a lot from her.
  6. by   Nursestudent14
    I have been lucky and have had great teachers in nursing school. Some qualities that I really liked were that the teachers were very willing to help us learn. We even had one teacher who would meet us after clinical to help us study! I also think that a nursing instructor should be very passionate about what they teach. For example, my medical surgical nursing class had three different teachers, which most people would dislike but each was very passionate abut the area that they were teaching, but the more passionate you are the better your teaching will be. I also think you should try to know which way the students will learn best, for example one of my teachers surveyed the class and found that a majority are visual learners but she also taught to different learning styles. I think that you should also keep the class engaged. By this I mean don't just lecture, and don't jut read from your power points.
  7. by   Bouncyball

    The good instructors: they do more than just read off the power points. They are good at explaining things in a different way if you don't understand something the first way they explained it. They actually enjoy teaching and want you to succeed. They are available for office hours if you need help. They answer their email in a timely fashion. They are able to keep control of the classroom. Most of all, their lectures mostly match the content of the exams.

    The not so good instructors: they only read off PowerPoint. They refer you to the text if you don't understand something and ask for help. They say they are available through email for questions, but never answer their emails. Their PowerPoint and lecture contradict each other, and when asked which way it is they won't give a direct answer. Their test questions are completely off base from the lecture topic (I mean questions about fetal monitoring when we are not in OB, she said it was "to keep us on our feet"). They let students talk throughout the entire lecture so it is hard to hear. They are always saying study xxx really well because half the test is on that subject, then of course there is not one question on at subject.
  8. by   zieglarf
    I went to a vocational school and we had ONE instructor that was good - she had a natural teaching ability. We were tested on what she taught in the lectures.

    Some liked teaching and were personable, but just were not good at it - I could live with those. The rest of them were horrible.

    We had other instructors that made it a point to keep students stressed and grades low. One bragged about nobody ever getting an 'A' in his class. He told us plainly that he would test us on stuff that was not in the books or lectures - that we needed to study outsides resources. He never said what the outside resources were though - so I guess it was up to us to make a guess about what he would test us on and then make a guess about where we could find that info.

    One made another student do lots of extra work that the rest of the class wasn't required to do - because she was 'struggling' with the material. This instructor didn't give her any points/credit for doing the required extra work and failed her by half a point. Most students that failed did it by half a point. We had a workbook for homework that was due every week. You had a zero if you didn't turn it in. At the end of the class this instructor told us that none of our homework was reflected in our final grade because we were all cheaters - because students would get together in study groups and do worksheets together.

    One did not like men - or at least male nursing students. Every male in the class scored less than they normally did on everything - the females still scored in their normal ranges.

    These 'instructors' saw themselves as some kind of gatekeeper who determined who would be worthy to become a nurse. They all used the same techniques to 'weed' out. The material presented in books and lectures did not match the exams - except twice. The first exam in their classes were standard - material presented/material tested on - this gave students a false assurance that they could handle the class. Nothing made sense after the first test - the majority of the class was hovering at/below failing level for the rest of the class - until the end. The last exam was the second one that made sense - material presented/material tested. Most students were able to pull up above the failing level and barely pass the class. Some were too far down to pull up enough. Students that got 'B's were normally 'A' students. Students that failed were normally 'C' students.

    This happened in more than one class - so it was not our imagination. Other classes were just normal classes that just needed instructors that knew how to teach, but these few were horrible. If I ever apply for a job and see them there - I'll turn around and apply elsewhere.
  9. by   ßåߥ
    I think all of my lectures have been pretty good, compared to the above posts. Most of the time, the powerpoint would be anywhere from 40-70 slides long for a 2-3 hour lecture which gives about 2-3 minutes per slide or less. I liked this because the slides would contain valuable information, but my instructors would elaborate on topics that were important.

    Information throughout the powerpoint that were useful:
    - Went in order of the nursing process with each topic: assess - delegate - plan - intervene - evaluate in order
    - Gave example nursing diagnosis statements with each topic
    - Had 5-7 mini-quiz questions of topic directly after all slides (helped with studying too)
    - Gave "hint-hint", "mark that with a star", "you better know this" statements (my favorite)

    Things that I think should be worked on:
    - Team-Based Learning: usually only had 2 of these a semester, but they were for a full lecture and you would get into groups with your assigned team, which is useful for working with others, but then we would just have to fill out a huge packet in our groups by looking in the book. I think if this were to stay, more interaction should be implemented instead of calling out answers to your group to each number. Like have us use our imaginations, make us make up a teaching worksheet for someone with COPD or something.
    - Clinical Instructor Understanding: I understand students need to be pushed, but there is a difference between positive and negative reinforcement. Instead of belittling us ("Do you even know how to do this?"), try a nicer approach ("You have part of it right, what do you think needs to be done differently?"). That's one thing that really bugs me because when it happens, that's all you have in your head after clinical. You don't think you did anything right and that your CI doesn't like you. At least that's how I feel.

    Sorry, long post.
  10. by   HouTx
    full disclosure - I am a non-academic nurse educator employed by a very large health care system... and older than dirt.

    Academic nursing education is in a world of hurt right now... 1) Salaries are insultingly low; 2) Experienced nurse educators are reaching retirement age at a rapid clip with no qualified replacements in sight; 3) Desperate schools are hiring any MSNs with a pulse. 4) Nursing programs are increasingly cash-strapped and cannot provide adequate training for new instructors 5) Burnout is high & talented educators leave for greener pastures when reality sets in (my nurse educators can earn ~ 2X the salary of their academic colleagues). Yep, the old descending spiral & students are the ones that are hurt the most.

    I don't know why the myth of "everyone can teach" is so prevalent in healthcare. It simply isn't so. Education is a whole 'nother discipline - with a huge body of research to support evidence-based principles and practice. But there are very few 'nurse educators' with any exposure to it. It's our fault. My MSN (focus on education) didn't really incorporate even the most basic fundamentals of educational theory/practice... unless they were 'inside the nursing fence'. With predictable results. If I hadn't been raised in a family of educators (El-Hi & higher ed), I would have been clueless also. So - I went for an EdD because there was (is?) really no terminal nursing degree that focused on acknowledgement of education as an established discipline. Very sad.

    I am lucky enough to have a position of influence in my organization, so we have a carefully structured career track for nurse educators. These positions require an MSN - with formal coursework in the discipline (principles and practice) of education. All newbie educators are provided with a copy of McKeachie's Teaching Tips: Strategies, Research, and Theory for College & University Teachers. - this is our basic guidebook because it covers everything! It's a wonderful resource for adult education in any venue... not expensive. It's in its umpteenth edition... I first came across it as a TA in grad school. (I have no financial interest in this book).

    So - when you come across a wonderful instructor.... Let her/him know how much you value them. This may not be sufficient to keep them in the job, but it may make a difference.
  11. by   lalopop86
    My instructors are overall wonderful but something my cohorts and I can't stand: please do not tell us "oh you won't need to know this" and then have 4 test questions on it, and similarly telling students to know something front and back and then never mentioning it again.
  12. by   KBICU
    THANK YOU EVERYONE very helpful!! It seems like I will have to develop my own teaching style and always strive to further my own education in order to be good at what I do. I had some awesome clinical instructors and they truly made the difference in my nursing education. I also had those instructors that would read off slides and seemly not know anything about the topic they were teaching :yikes:
  13. by   gatoraims RN
    Hate is a strong word but here are a few things I dislike about a few of my instructors:
    -one was just mean she refused to review a test because "you got what you got and I am not changing anything!" Well she marked a math question of mine wrong and it was correct. She about bit my head off when I confronted her, until she saw she was in the wrong and she got what I got but marked it wrong. She also had major highs and lows, she would be happy one day and just evil the next. We just avoided her as much as we could because you never knew what you were going to get.

    -nothing I mean nothing is more wasteful of my time (maybe there are people who have to learn this way) than someone reading word for word off the power points. Add to the powerpoints I read them I do not want to sit for 5 hours and listen to you read them.

    -talking about other students to your face, it does not make me like you it makes me think you are talking to other students about me

    - do not talk loud to a student when they messed up on the test and say "you really messed on on test xyz" this is before the students have even gotten their grades and now not only do all the other students know said student got a low score but now said student has to go the entire weekend and worry about how bad they messed up because grades are not posted until Monday

    -have dead lines and stick to them unless a student comes to you with a issue and use good judgement to allow him/her more time. I hate busting my butt and missing out of things in order to have my assignement turned in on time only for you to last second extend the deadline. (yes I know have more time to focus on studying or somehting else but I think it is bs)

    -let us know the first day of class that we really will not be studying too much from xyz book. I have 3 books that we had to buy but have as of yet to open, also 2 books that we were tested only on a chapter or a tiny section not even a chapter long (I know some instructors have little control over what books we need to buy)

    -I love when they use the calendar on our online learning. It makes it easier for me. I make my own on paper but it is nice to check that daily and make sure I am not missing something.

    - I love when you stick to your word. Please do not have me come in for an extra clinical day because I know I will need a clinical day off in the future and you tell me that I can use that extra clinical day for the day I need off only to change it while I am taking my day off and tell the clinical group that we will be taking a dedicated day off together for those of use who did the extra clinical day

    -please please explain things without getting mad. Sometimes it is not the student who is just dense. Sometimes you are just not exaplaining yourself well. I like when teachers remember or admit how stressful nursing school can be. Sometimes for whatever reason we just cannot get what you are saying.

    - I love when they push you. Like they know your weakness and they try to push you so that you can have the moment of pride when you finally get over your weakness.

    -sometimes use real life exp to teach us. I like when you share nursing stories it makes it more real

    Good luck!
  14. by   vintagemother
    Gator aims LPN: you must go to my school. Or your brain must function just like mine. Your post was spot on!