How can I be a better nursing professor?

Students General Students

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Calling all nursing students! 

I will be accepting my first job as a nursing faculty - teaching complex and acute care - it will likely be on an online platform - I want to hear from YOU! What did you like and dislike about your profs and lectures - I want to do a good job at this and I am super nervous but excited. Looking for any and all feedback! 

The thing that always makes the biggest difference for me in school is the attitude of the teacher.  Don't be one of the ones that your students are expected to pretty much self-teach while you just do a general review.  Make sure your lectures are planned out to actually fit presenting the foundation of the information.  Give examples when you can.  Definitely try to tie the physiology into past things they've learned, and especially tie the treatments back to the fundamentals.  The key takeaway is make sure that you spend your job as a teacher actually teaching.  As long as you do that, you'll be fine.

TheMoonisMyLantern, ADN, LPN, RN

1 Article; 922 Posts

Specializes in Mental health, substance abuse, geriatrics, PCU.

I agree with the above poster. In addition, please don't just read off of a powerpoint with nothing else added or said, it makes for an absolutely dreadful lecture. My OB instructor did this and was the longest semester of my entire nursing school experience! She was a great clinical instructor but boy did she need some improvement when it came to classroom. Also make sure you have studied up on the material you're teaching so that you sound like you know what you're talking about. I had a a med/surg instructor cover our psych instructor's class for a day, she had never worked psych, and it really showed as she stumbled over the material and was unable to answer questions meaningfully. 

Good luck to you, I'm sure you'll be great!

Specializes in Case Management/Utilization Management.

Have a good sense of humor!


29 Posts

Hello! Current nursing student here.

In addition to the advice previously mentioned by our colleagues, there comes a delicate balance of letting students learn independently and how much information to give. From experience, I appreciated the teachers who can cut to the chase and give the information needed at the moment instead of giving a lecture meant for 3 weeks to cram into 1 day and expect us to read about 20 chapters on our own before the next week. I might sound stand-offish or selfish here, but considering this happened in the first week rather than in the middle of the semester, not throw nursing students into panic mode at the first chance given would help ease anxiety and improve performance overall. Professors tend to be very passionate of their work, and rightfully so, but there's only so much to remember between the lessons and experiences shared from the professor's field. Although the advanced information can be useful later on, for students just barely getting into the swing of the field, it can be overwhelming. Do share your experiences, but don't make it the lecture when it's not necessary.

Also, please let students ask their questions. Taking the time to answer questions will show the students that their curiosity and inquiries matter. 

The fact that you asked this question here already tells me that you're going to be a great professor. Best of luck and we wish you the best for your teaching endeavors!

Mergirlc, RN

676 Posts

Before the start of class, please make sure all your content is as organized as it can be with appropriate due dates, working links, etc..  Nothing is worse than getting a class where nothing works when you're supposed to click on a link and all your dates are off because you copied/pasted from last year.

Try to avoid emailing notifications on weekends if at all possible.  Sure, there may be something truly important (extending due dates, class canceled, etc.) but please keep it to a minimum.  The over-flooding of emails has become quite the distraction with all classes being online.  Don't add to the problem.

Don't assume everybody knows and is familiar with even the most simplest, mundane things which might've already been taught.  If you don't feel you want to go into great detail because "everybody should know this already," you don't have to BUT at least give a quick run-down/summary because people are sometimes afraid to admit or speak up about something they don't know.

Don't call on a specific person during the lecture to answer a question.  Don't put that person on the spot.   Normally somebody in the class will always pop in with an answer anyway.  It's embarrassing for the person who was called out and doesn't know the answer.  Nursing school is hard enough as it is without somebody pointing out one's deficiencies in front of everybody.  I had a class like this and thankfully I never got called for a question, but others have and they were very embarrassed.

Good luck to you!


2,716 Posts

Specializes in oncology.
1 hour ago, Mergirlc said:

Before the start of class, please make sure all your content is as organized as it can be with appropriate due dates, working links, etc..  Nothing is worse than getting a class where nothing works when you're supposed to click on a link and all your dates are off because you copied/pasted from last year.

This, this, this. I really dislike going to conferences and the speaker does not have either a compatible presentation or the current version. When I was going to present during my interview for my most recent academic position I asked to come in and do a dry run with the hardware/software to make sure things would go smoothly. Since then I have been on multiple interview committees where the interviewee just didn't understand their software or how it would look to the committee. (PS the dean always remembered that I requested to run my presentation days ahead of the actual interview time)

Specializes in ED RN, Firefighter/Paramedic.

The days of hazing and a general lack of patience with your students "because that's what we went through" needs to end. 

Treat your students like adults.

Queen Tiye, RN

236 Posts

The best lecturers were those who wove real-life clinical scenarios into the lessons, were able to cover all of the scheduled material, and gave empowering responses to students' answers and inquiries.  It's also great when the professor engages the student rather than doing all the talking for three hours.

The absolute worst are those professors who read the slides.  Those classes are an absolute waste of time and we would use that time to study or do work.

Best wishes!


6,662 Posts

Agree with the above sentiments and will reinforce.

Nursing seems proficient at twisting the idea of nurses demonstrating responsibility into some ridiculous scenario where students essentially must teach themselves (to prove they are responsible lifelong learners) while programs collect their money.

This is 100% inappropriate and is psychological tampering. There are other ways to make sure students are engaged in the learning process.

I don't care that the students are adults or that nurses need to be responsible. Schools of Nursing are paid to do more than act as gatekeepers who guilt and gaslight students into teaching themselves. The students are paying for a significantly guided learning opportunity in which knowledge and wisdom is passed on. That needs to be provided.

Best of luck to you ~

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