How much should instructors help?

  1. There's a huge debate going on in my class. We started in january with 48 students and we are down to 22 today. We're told it's about normal. Here's the thing...in order to stay in the program you have to pass a math test in March and a medication administration test (hard!) in April. We were told if we failed the math test twice we were out of the program. Same with the med test. Our instructor messed up and let several students stay in the program even though they had failed the math test twice. Now some are failing the med test as well. They will get a second chance and if they fail because of math they are out.

    The problem is that some students are ****** off because they say we weren't given an opportunity to practice the med test exactly the way we would take it. We were taught the individual skills, looking up meds, giving injections, choosing sites, doing patient teaching, the five rights, label checks, safety, etc. Then we were supposed to work on our own in the lab to practice and perfect our skills, then take the test.

    If you did that, it was entirely possible to pass. If you didn't put in the time, you failed. It's causing a lot of negativity in class and people are talking about the school and the instructors and even about the ones who passed. What do you all think? Do the instructors need to do more, or do the students have to teach themselves?
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    About NamasteNurse

    Joined: Dec '08; Posts: 689; Likes: 719
    admin; from UK
    Specialty: 8 year(s) of experience in pediatrics, geriatrics, LTC

    5 Comments

  3. by   TheCommuter
    Dosage calculation math is basic pre-algebra, meaning it is 7th or 8th grade level material. Many nursing instructors will not teach it to the students since it is assumed that an adult who has completed high school or a GED should be able to "catch on" to this type of math without much instruction.

    I'm an LPN and currently enrolled in an RN program. We have 3 chances to pass the dosage calculation test with 100%, or we're out of the program. Guess what? Our instructor isn't teaching the math to us, because it is implied that we should be able to teach it to ourselves. After all, we did pass an entrance exam that contained math, reading, and other basic skills before getting admitted into the school of nursing.
  4. by   sunray12
    I'm about to start a lpn program in the fall and am required to take math for health profs this summer as a condition of enrollment. But yes I agree the instructor giving the math test should teach the math. For all I know it may not work out this way for me in school and we may end up in your same boat - teaching ourselves, but just saying what makes sense to me. In my chemistry class for example, although competency to the pre-cal level was required to get in the class, the teacher still took a little time to show us some pointers in solving problems early in the class because she knew some people were struggling. She did give us a tongue lashing about how this was grade school math, yadda, yadda, and we should know it but fact of the matter is that she was seeing enough people who weren't getting what they were supposed to get - and that's what teachers are supposed to do - i.e. try to make sure that everyone gets whatever's being taught. For what it was worth, her quickie review was very helpful.

    My point - yes it may be 7 or 8th grade math but fact of the matter is that most nursing students are many years past 7-8th grade and not everyone has perfect recall of what they did back then. If this math is easy peasy stuff for experienced nurses then how hard would it be for the teacher to do a brief review session?? If the math testing is emphasized in nursing school because it's vital for nurses to be as accurate as possible with these types of calculations then it seems to me that a nursing program should teach them.
  5. by   ZanatuBelmont
    Quote from New in NY
    There's a huge debate going on in my class. We started in january with 48 students and we are down to 22 today. We're told it's about normal. Here's the thing...in order to stay in the program you have to pass a math test in March and a medication administration test (hard!) in April. We were told if we failed the math test twice we were out of the program. Same with the med test. Our instructor messed up and let several students stay in the program even though they had failed the math test twice. Now some are failing the med test as well. They will get a second chance and if they fail because of math they are out.

    The problem is that some students are ****** off because they say we weren't given an opportunity to practice the med test exactly the way we would take it. We were taught the individual skills, looking up meds, giving injections, choosing sites, doing patient teaching, the five rights, label checks, safety, etc. Then we were supposed to work on our own in the lab to practice and perfect our skills, then take the test.

    If you did that, it was entirely possible to pass. If you didn't put in the time, you failed. It's causing a lot of negativity in class and people are talking about the school and the instructors and even about the ones who passed. What do you all think? Do the instructors need to do more, or do the students have to teach themselves?
    Instructors are there to guide students and provide the means to be successful. What the student does with the tools given - or recommended - is up to them. There are resources out there, such as this forum, google, WebMD, and respectable university websites with useful, accurate information.

    Regarding your last statement, it seems your instructors did provide the tools necessary. So, the conclusion is your classmates are bitter. Not because they weren't provided the means, but because they did not accept responsibility for their actions (or lack thereof), which is what being a nurse is all about! :-)
  6. by   DaniLPN2RN
    I recently graduated from my program. It was difficult and a lot of work. My experience is that many students expect to be spoon fed the information. Many students would ask the instructors what information they needed to know for the test. If they didn't do well, they blamed the instructors.

    You are in school to be a nurse, you need to take responsibility for your actions. If the instructors recommend you practice something, you should practice. It sounds to me that the instructors gave the students the information they needed. Nursing math is basic math. If they taught you how to formulate the dosage calculation and read a label, that's all you need to know.

    However, many students (in my experience) do not do much work outside the classroom. Nursing is not an easy program. We started with 70 students and graduated 37. It was heartbreaking each time students didn't make it, but many of them didn't work as hard as they should. Others just had a hard time grasping some information and didn't score high enough on the exam to pass. I think the students in your program are bitter because they probably expected to get through no matter what. In nursing, you can't just slide by. You have a life to take care of.

    Good luck with the rest of your program. Don't let the other students get you down. Do your work and keep your head up. Graduation will be here before you know it.
  7. by   NamasteNurse
    Thanks everyone for your thoughtful responses. You pretty much reiterated what I think, that this is hard, but it IS after all adult school and we need to be responsible.

    I am not one of the ones struggling, I have all "A"s but I work hard. The students who have flunked so far, you knew from the start they wouldn't make it, but not we're down to the nitty gritty and still some people don't get that they have to be in the lab every day in order to succeed.

    They seem to think that passing the test, or getting signed off on a skill is enough. But it's practice that will make perfect and knowing WHY an answer is right or wrong that makes the difference. People are still trying to get by with cheating and partying all weekend and then they wondr why they can't pass a comprehensive test. Oh well. I will moind my own business from now on and persevere. Thanks everyone you helped me see clearly.

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