LPNs and Generic Students

Specialties Educators


Does anyone have ideas on how to engage different levels of students? My classes are likely to have LPN's and generic students.

I received feedback from some LPN students that they would like more advanced topics in the lecture. However, some of the generic students struggled with the level of content.

Certain "basic" content (patho and medications) needs to be covered in lecture. However, time constraints preclude going into in depth coverage and/or advanced topics.

New adjunct faculty,


Specializes in 5 yrs OR, ASU Pre-Op 2 yr. ER.

Can't cater to one group over another, so i'd start at level one and tell the LPN students who have a problem with that, that it will eventually be 'advanced'.

I will know that a lot of things that i would have previously learned, i will hear again in college. I'll see that as a refresher, and take advantage of that.


2,709 Posts

Im an RN and had a similar problem tonight in my BSN class. The problem was experienced RNs are at a different level than new grads. And tonight it was very clear that critical thinking comes with experience. Its very difficult to make someone think critically when they do not have that experience. We have both experienced RNs and new grads (some never even having worked as nurses yet) in our 300-level BSN class. The new grads could not grasp any of the concepts discussed tonight, while the experienced nurses sailed right thru, automatically understanding it all. But we had to keep stopping and back-tracking back to Nursing 101 Fundamentals to explain every item to the new grads. While the educator spent all the class time trying to get the new grads up to speed, the experienced nurses had to just sit there and wait. This went on for 3 hours and caused a lot of tension. We did not finish the subject matter because of all the interruptions for the new grads. They cant be blamed for having difficulty understanding - especially when they havent yet worked in the field, but its also not fair to those who are more advanced and prepared for the class. I dont know what the answer is but as a student, this was a very difficult, frustrating evening in school.


3,932 Posts

Specializes in LTC, ER, ICU,.
originally posted by changeagent

does anyone have ideas on how to engage different levels of students? my classes are likely to have lpn's and generic students. depending on how long one has been out of school with their lpn and in the work force, some bring the "working knowledge to the classroom and on exams and they are not the same. this "refresher" start in the generic, for lpns, focus you back to how it is done text book-wise and a "perfect world with all the time" to do it and has really been a benefit to me.

i received feedback from some lpn students that they would like more advanced topics in the lecture. however, some of the generic students struggled with the level of content.

it is almost impossible to have advanced subjects when you are in a generic program and happens to be an lpn, such as my case. i chose to go with the generic program because i had been out of school for over 10 years and this route was not only a refresher but new information was learned too.

i would suggest that the acclerated program for lpns would be better but the foundation still applies for understanding and advancing from one semester to another. we have lost lpns who started in the generic and from the lpn-rn mobility just like we have lost those who were not lpns from the generic program.

certain "basic" content (patho and medications) needs to be covered in lecture. however, time constraints preclude going into in depth coverage and/or advanced topics.

do you not have a seperate basic pharm class? we have pharm i and ii in my program and we are getting patho and more pharm [medication] with each different nursing class.

new adjunct faculty,


it seems that after the first couple of semesters, each student, taking in consideration that although an lpn and depending on where you live, new skills and critical thinking are new concepts, no matter with or without some nursing background, is at the same "place" in their learning and skills abilities.


102 Posts

Why are you 'lecturing' to this group?

There are many ways to engage a class of differing needs. (Think about a kindergarten teacher who manages short attention span kids, some of whom can read and some of whom cannot!)

I suggest you talk with a credentialed teacher about solving these issues and start reading about teaching and learning theory for your own education or take a class - there are classes in philosophy of ed., psychology of ed. sociology of ed., memory and forgetting, assessment (exam or testing of knowlege) skills, etc. etc.

I used to get around the diverse needs in my groups by using the workbooks often provided with a text (sometimes retailored by me, but do not reinvent the wheel.) Most new faculty members put too much prep time into content and not enough into process i.e. how s/he is going to manage the learning experience. Learn how to write a learning plan, changing activity and focus to keep students alert.

I allowed the students to work in small (2-3) groups if preferred with min. noise level. (Set the scene before you let them loose to do this and emphasize the 'professional learning compent' in this method.)

Make sure you walk around subtly and listen in and encourage discussions. Be a guide on the side, not a sage on the stage!

When brighter students finish early, you will need another activity for them.

Give them a complex critical thinking, longer problem to discuss with peers in a remote part of the class room or ask them to summarize a 'key point' document which they would consider essential knowledge for an average student. Something truly creative, but useful is good here.

(Some students will dislike this form of learning - they prefer to sit there passive being spoon fed the key issues, summarized by your perfect board work by the end of class. Don't buy into this; make the students engage in their own learning for max. effect).

This is meant to help, but one of my pet peeves with nursing ed. in the USA is that so few faculty members have any knowledge of education theory. In Europe, nursing faculty are required to have a year of teacher training, plus supervised practice before being let loose on students.

Just try and remember that teaching is not about you and what you know. Resolve never to be embarrassed by a student who points out something you do not know. Never embarrass a student, no matter how you are tempted. Rehearse some 'kind phrases' for difficult situations. "You know, I actually don't know much about that; please will you explain as you seem to have met in recently in clinical" or similar.

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