Why is Nursing School so cut throat and competitive???

  1. I haven't started yet, (I will in a few short months WOOOHOOOO) BUT I hear about it all the time from friends, associates, and on these boards.

    I understand being cut throat, and competitive BEFORE getting in, given how hard it is to get into some schools. But I can not understand the mentality ONCE IN.

    I mean once your in, your in, no one can take that away from you but YOU.

    Those of you that have or are experiencing this, I would love your input. I am strictly just curious, I am not worried about myself when it comes to other students. I am usually pretty good at dealing with all kinds of people even if that means tuning them out. I am just trying to understand this mentality. It seems like everyone made it to the finish line, but is still trying to eliminate there opponent after the fact. Not literally everyone, but you get my point.

    Thoughts??
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    About ~Mi Vida Loca~RN

    Joined: Feb '09; Posts: 6,090; Likes: 7,022

    16 Comments

  3. by   CuriousMe
    I think it depends on your program. The one I'm in isn't cut throat competitive at all. In fact, I think most of us look at the next few years as, we're all in this together so the more we can all pull each other along, the better for everyone.

    Best of luck as you start your program and congratulations for getting in
  4. by   beth66335
    I won't be any help because this has not been my experience. My fellow students have always been there for me and I for them, like a family. I can only answer your question by saying it isn't always that way!
  5. by   JanisM
    Same with me- I've met some of the most wonderful people and it's a really supportive environment. I hope you have the same experience!
  6. by   ~Mi Vida Loca~RN
    Quote from CuriousMe
    I think it depends on your program. The one I'm in isn't cut throat competitive at all. In fact, I think most of us look at the next few years as, we're all in this together so the more we can all pull each other along, the better for everyone.

    Best of luck as you start your program and congratulations for getting in

    This is how I would imagine it should be, you all got in, now support each other to get through. Within reason of course, I mean, I am sure some people will get on my nerves and I might get on their nerves and I am not going to be best friends with everyone or carry a slacker and so on.
    I am also not going to look at any person as my competition and be on a search and destroy mission like I hear about happening so much. I dunno, makes no sense to me. I hope my school is like yours when the program starts, if not I will be fine.

    Thank you, I am beyond excited.
  7. by   ~Mi Vida Loca~RN
    Quote from beth66335
    I won't be any help because this has not been my experience. My fellow students have always been there for me and I for them, like a family. I can only answer your question by saying it isn't always that way!
    That is great, I wish everyone's experience was like that.

    Quote from JanisM
    Same with me- I've met some of the most wonderful people and it's a really supportive environment. I hope you have the same experience!
    Same here, that is great news. Maybe the stress causes people to see things that aren't really there?? If that makes sense.
  8. by   cursedandblessed
    it's really not, and yes i help everyone in clinical, including the slackers if i have time. i don't join study groups as i find them distracting with my attention deficit disorder.

    i'm not competing against anyone (but myself). yes, i'm really happy when i get an a on a test, sometimes a b especially if it is difficult material. i get along with 99% of the people i'm with in classes/clinicals. an attitude of cooperation is always something i strive for.

    i've learned that some people i shouldn't share my grades with. a simple i passed when they ask is all i give them. these are the same slackers who never come to class (that i do help in clinical, because i believe that the patients are the most important thing and that no matter how i feel about a person's study habits should not affect any patient's care) and then get all upset when their grades are bad.
  9. by   jollydogg_RN
    grats loca.

    although our program was a stressful and confusing enviroment throughout, we all helped each other and became good friends.

    we all had our last day together for our mandatory nclex review thursday, and we all pretty much said "man, its gonna be weird not seeing you all all the time now like we have for the past 2 years" you get to know these people and you all lean on each other for support, and finally when the time comes, which you think it NEVER will, its kind of sombering when it does.

    it will be a long road, and at the same time, it'll come to an end faster than you know it. enjoy it!

    its a ride
  10. by   pinkiepie_RN
    My program wasn't so much competitive as it was full of gossip and reminiscent of high school. Everyone wanted to know everyone else's grade, and towards the end, whether other people had jobs lined up or not. I kid you not, there were "the popular girls". I chose not to participate in that and knew that my grades would take me where I wanted to go, whether someone else liked me or not. I think it's the mentality of how far some people had to go to get into nursing school, but really you're all in it together. You'll be working with some of these people in the future and I'm a big fan of "killing them with kindness". Good luck and remember, be your own person and don't let anyone else drag you down!
  11. by   ShortStackRN
    I hope that you will find once you enter that the only person you need to compete against is yourself! I am in a program that was VERY competitive and cutthroat just to get in...and I find now that I'm about to start senior year that everyone STILL seems to be competing! It has been my experience that the only students who are concerned with who got what on a test...who wants to work in what area...who got the most raves in clinicals...blah blah...THESE are sometimes the students who are not doing as well as they would like to. It's best to just stay out of the drama...go to class, go to clinical, study your tail off and make the grade and let them stress themselves out more than they need to worrying about what everyone else is doing. The best advice I've ever gotten from an instructor is, "You just need to look out for #1 because this is your time, money, and career". Good luck to you! You will do great!
  12. by   llg
    Some of the factors that contribute to a competitive culture in nursing school are:

    1. The people who "won the competition" to get acceptive to highly selective program may simply be competitive in their personalities. They will never be happy unless they are ranked near the top of their class -- which means doing better than their classmates.

    2. The people who "earned a slot" in the program may be the type of people who are perfectionists by nature and who will not be satisfied unless they get "A's" in everything.

    3. If you go to a school that used norm-referenced grading, then only the top students will get "A's." If only the top 10% or 20% or whatever is allowed to get an "A" in a class, that means the students have to compete against the other students to get good grades. For example, I went to a school in which it was guaranteed that those who scored in the bottom 50% of the class would be given a "C" or worse. Given that the class was composed of high-achievers who did not want to get "C's," that set up a cut-throat culture.

    4. Some students are hopring to go to graduate school ... or earn a spot in a very selective extern program or new grad internship, etc. They know they need good grades to be selected for what they want to do AFTER nursing school. For them, the competition for getting into nursing school was only the first step. Now, they are competing for what happens next.

    ... and, unfortunately... Sometimes, competition brings out the worst in some people.

    Good luck to you. I hope you make some good friends in school and have a positive experience. I went to a highly competitive school years ago and suffered because of the stress. But I survived and made some very good friends among my classmates. The experience made me stronger in the long run, and I am at peace with my battle scars.
    Last edit by llg on May 24, '09
  13. by   gigi30240
    You know, it's just human nature. There's always "that one" that likes to be better and bless her heart..well..that's on her. I help the ones that deserve it. Because I consider myself a patient advocate, I firmly believe that not everyone should be a nurse. So if you aren't willing to work, don't ask me for help
  14. by   Felicia327
    Quote from ~Mi Vida Loca~
    I haven't started yet, (I will in a few short months WOOOHOOOO) BUT I hear about it all the time from friends, associates, and on these boards.

    I understand being cut throat, and competitive BEFORE getting in, given how hard it is to get into some schools. But I can not understand the mentality ONCE IN.

    I mean once your in, your in, no one can take that away from you but YOU.

    Those of you that have or are experiencing this, I would love your input. I am strictly just curious, I am not worried about myself when it comes to other students. I am usually pretty good at dealing with all kinds of people even if that means tuning them out. I am just trying to understand this mentality. It seems like everyone made it to the finish line, but is still trying to eliminate there opponent after the fact. Not literally everyone, but you get my point.

    Thoughts??
    You know, January 09 I started the first half of Nursing Fundamentals (my school breaks them up into 2 classes) Our Clinical portion consisted of 10 students. I, being over-the -moon about FINALLY being IN the Nursing portion of school (after taking never ending pre-reqs), and being an "OLDER STUDENT", was happily sharing any and all info I had gleaned (allnurses.com being one of the shared resources) in the name of helping each other to make it through the semester successfully, and my fellow classmates were all to happy to utilize the info. But, I was the only one sharing information. I would overhear certain "cliques" whispering about new techniques they'd learned, or websites that had helped them. It was obvious that this feeling of Camraderie was felt by me and me alone!!. So I quit sharing and focused solely on my own "business". One girl asked me for any study tips I might be using and I gave them to her. After that, we became close and proverbally "Linked our arms together" and went through the storm. Out of the 10 in the class, only 3 passed, Myself and my storm buddy included!! So, I guess what I'm trying to convey is Study Hard and Often, and be kind to everyone as you go along on your journey, God is a Great Rewarder!!

    p.s. Use Index cards to copy information from the book and carry them wherever you go!!!

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