Intimidating Nursing Professor?


What do you do when you have a professor that drills you for answers, wanting very detailed information? I know you should prepare academically, but how do you prepare mentally?

I know this seems like a silly question, but its nursing school and stress gets to everyone! help por favor....:)


253 Posts

they're trying to challenge you most likely. It's a good thing, it will benefit you to be healthily scared and we all know we work better under low levels of stress.


Specializes in Burns, ICU.

I would prefer this to the teacher I have that will not answer questions and just gives some response such as "don't question this, it is what it is".


488 Posts

Specializes in OB.

Get used to that "grilling" because thats what pt's will do to you, they are always asking questions, and you must be confident and correct in your answers. Your teacher is not doing it to bug you she is trying to make you a better nurse. Embrace the challenge and rise to it!

Jules A, MSN

8,863 Posts

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

I had one and at first it was horrible but in the end I learned more in that rotation than any other. I left her feeling very confident in my nursing skills so in hindsight it was priceless. Hang in there.

WDWpixieRN, RN

2,237 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg <1; Epic Certified <1.

You do the best you can, being as prepared as you can. We have an instructor who's been doing that in class and we all look pretty stupid. Some students have gotten to just answering, "I honestly don't know."

At least we're all in the same boat and sympathetic to one another, lol.

Hang in there!!

I also had an intimidating instructor who could be very tough on the floor during clinicals - questioning students before the start of the day, and duirng the day at random times. I have to say that although it was a very anxiety-ridden time, I learned a lot because I knew I had to be prepared. It got easier as time went on, and I know I have more knowledge of certain things than my classmates who did not have this person. I am also much more in tune with the most important things to know and think about when caring for certain patients. So overall, I would say just do your best, and try to learn as much as you can. You're only able to remember so much! Don't let this person get to you - they're just trying to prepare you for situation you will encounter where you will have to come up with an answer right away. You also may realize you know more than you think you do.


293 Posts

Specializes in NICU.

This is easier said than done but try not to let it freak you out. My very first semester I had an instructor like that and it was terrifying but I learned very quickly that if I acted confident (and was prepared as well) she liked that much better than if I was fumbling over my words trying to make the answer what she wanted to hear. Even if I had to say "ya know, I'm not really sure about that but I'll go look it up." she liked that better than if i said something like "um, well, it's when, like when he did, ya know, kinda like when this happend."....basically saying a whole lot of nothing is what I was trying to immitate, sorry if it didn't work so well. So be honest and confident and as prepared as you can be. In the end, you will be better off than the students in the clinical group who had an instructor that didn't drill them and make sure they were prepared.

Italia13 RN

153 Posts

Specializes in ER.

Its called TOUGH LOVE... I have had some hard instructors and of course everyone complained about her GRILLIN us on everything and anything she can think of..Of course it causes stress and anxiety but what would nursing school be without that! lol... When I see those instructors now with the Juniors I thank them for being hard on me because if they werent I wouldnt be the confident nursing student I am today who is Graduating in MAY! They are only hard on you because they want to see you be the best nurse you can be when you get out into the real world!! So show up to clinicals prepared and if you dont know an answer look it up.. It all works out in the END! Good Luck!


197 Posts

I like that analogy-TOUGH LOVE!!!


396 Posts

What do you do when you have a professor that drills you for answers, wanting very detailed information? I know you should prepare academically, but how do you prepare mentally?

I know this seems like a silly question, but its nursing school and stress gets to everyone! help por favor....:)

My answer is dumb but I always pretend I am in the military when dealing with instructors like that. In fact I pretend I'm in the Marine Corps if you want to know the truth. I know that at the end of "the crucible" I get to have my feast dinner in my case that would be that little piece of paper that is going to let me sit for the NCLEX and then that piece of paper called my nursing license. So remember SEMPER FI (always faithful) and salute yourself mentally (you'll have something to smile about if you are good a visualizing stuff) Just don't get too caught up you have to pay attention in the middle of daydreaming about the end hahaha.


396 Posts


Beleive in yourself, you know these answers and so give these tough birds what you know is the right answer. In exchange for your hard work know that many people who you have not yet met are coming to you for your knowledge and compasson and they give their full trust to you and will sleep at night knowing you are standing watch for those they love. Trust is a rare and hot commodity and not many fields outside of nursing are granted even an iota of it. It is also a rare gift to give a "stranger" total trust over what another person loves more then themselves. Nurses don't always realize it or may forget it, but trust is the patients gift to them. So beleive in you and the patients will beleive in you as well. Your instructor already believes in you if he/she didn't they woudn't be hard on you at all. They know you can do a lot so they expect a lot.

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