Negative reviews by students

  1. I’ve been a clinical instructor for 3 years for a LPN program. I’ve learned a lot over the years and I feel I’ve become pretty good at the job. But no matter how I try to be a good instructor when the student do their evaluations of me there is a lot of negative feedback. I imagine they are stressed with the overwhelming nature of a 1 year LPN program. Is it the norm to get a lot of negative feedback from student regardless of how effective you are as an instructor?
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    About LilyRN99, ASN, BSN, RN

    Joined: Feb '14; Posts: 97; Likes: 69

    12 Comments

  3. by   llg
    What you should probably do is step back, take a deep breath, and "listen" to what they have to say. What type of negative feedback is it? That you are not approachable? That your standards are too high? That you are not warm and fuzzy? That you play favorites? That you are not clear in your instructions? That you are inconsistent with you expectations and explanations? etc. Be honest with yourself and identify which feedback is legitimate and which is not.

    If what they are saying are things that you can improve (such as being not clear with instructions), then work on that. But if their feedback is not reasonable (e.g. you have high standards and the class is a lot of work) .... well ... those are things that are not going to change. Try to be sympathetic and approachable to them, but don't count on being their best friend. That's not your role. Sometimes, they are simply not going to like you.

    I recently had a student complain to me for a half hour because I gave her a B on a homework assignment. I'm sure her course eval about me will be lovely.
  4. by   debiklages
    I guess that it depends on the type of feedback that you receive. I have received negative feedback from time to time and need to objectively review the comments to see if there is anything that I need to change in the delivery of the content. One issue that I have though is the way in which feedback is collected. For example one form that we use allows the students to comment on how we deliver the session. I am not an actor. Sometimes the content just needs to be delivered and it is critical that people need to know exactly what they need to know. Making personal statements about how I deliver "boring" content is not helpful. What I have tried to do is to tell them in advance that this is the course content and that they as health care providers need to know this in order to keep their jobs.
  5. by   gpsrn
    Course evaluations are difficult for everyone. i have found that in difficult courses that students will give poor evaluations; however, when you held them to the standard they are thankful and are happy. That might not be during your course, but another course later in the program. I suggest that you look at the results, then give it a few days and come back and review the information to take comments that you can use.
  6. by   Rod, Male Nurse
    Just my opinion....
    There is always some truth if to the evals if you are consistently getting the same comments and/or a good portion of every group you teach has negative things to say. You should really look at what the students say and try not to take offense to it, rather use it as constructive criticism and try to improve.
  7. by   dudette10
    Instead of making a new thread, I'll just add to this one. Part vent/part request for advice.

    I'm completely flummoxed by a negative comment about something from one student and a glowing comment about the same thing from another student--in the same course/section! I'm teaching a class that no one wants to take, but has to take, and that has content most have never had experience with before. Last term, there were comments that said it was a tough course but my teaching and activities helped them understand.

    This term, same course, a few comments about how they were always confused and, apparently, it's my fault. I do a "muddiest point" at the end of class sessions with particularly difficult content, read them, search for supplemental material, post it to our LMS, and remind them of it in the next class period. Little do they know that the LMS allows me to see who has clicked through a topic. You guessed it...one or two per class, and that's it. They don't do the readings, don't bother with the supplemental material intended to clear up issues THAT THEY SAID WERE CONFUSING, skip class, play on their phones during lecture, disengage during class activities designed to apply the information. I am soooo frustrated.

    I dread student survey time, mostly because I focus on the negative ones and skim the positive ones. My colleagues have commiserated with me--some have cried, some read while drinking wine, some have husbands that just tell them to stop reading them! (And don't say tenure is the cure....)

    Do you ever get used to it? How do you resign yourself to students who whine about the difficulty but don't do a darn thing to help themselves?
  8. by   dudette10
    Ok, I just did a mini "content analysis" on the comments and on the Likert ratings.

    I was too emotionally involved in the way a couple students said things--using the anonymous commenting to be as harsh as they wanted to be--that I was unable to see what anyone was saying.

    Essentially,
    --the content is confusing (yes, it is...that's why you have to do the readings and supplemental stuff!),
    --it's "too much work" (will be taking a look at this to see if assignments should/can be modified to still meet learning outcomes),
    --quicker feedback (yep, I know...will work on that, and it may be taken care of with assignment adjustments),
    --good explanations of difficult content and knowledgeable instructor x 7 students in comments (with the exception of one student who stated "she doesn't know what she's talking about")
    --doesn't like groups x 3 students in comments (with the exception of 1 that really liked it)
    --a couple requests for "homework" for a grade to practice applying knowledge, more frequent activities that provide self-checks of learning

    I feel better now.
    Last edit by dudette10 on Feb 25
  9. by   not.done.yet
    Perhaps in your next class, you share some of those reviews with the students and what has been done to address them, particularly the one about difficult content and what is there to help them. You can even share that you can see who avails themselves of the supplemental information and that complaints about understandability won't hold much weight if they are not attempting to use the tools at their disposal.

    Many students just want it fed to them and don't want to have to engage with the material outside of class time. That isn't really your problem. Everyone knows that nursing school is tough and requires a full time commitment.
  10. by   dudette10
    Quote from not.done.yet
    Perhaps in your next class, you share some of those reviews with the students and what has been done to address them, particularly the one about difficult content and what is there to help them. You can even share that you can see who avails themselves of the supplemental information and that complaints about understandability won't hold much weight if they are not attempting to use the tools at their disposal.

    Many students just want it fed to them and don't want to have to engage with the material outside of class time. That isn't really your problem. Everyone knows that nursing school is tough and requires a full time commitment.
    Yes, when I teach this course again, I will need to impress upon them that the content may be difficult because they haven't seen it yet and won't see it in this form again (although they will use the skills learned here in subsequent courses, and, hopefully, use these skills as a nurse). Therefore, they will need to use all supplemental materials and work outside of class to ensure their own understanding.

    And maybe I need to parent them a little and ban cell phones from my class, when it is clearly warranted. I went into this thinking that they are adults, and if they want to disengage, that's their choice. If the vibe of a class deems it necessary--and I knew from Day One that this was gonna be a tough group--maybe I need to be paternalistic, as distasteful as it is to me.

    I do love this job, love the work, love the challenge. But, it can be frustrating and demoralizing at times. Such is the life of a nurse, huh?
  11. by   not.done.yet
    Pretty much, yes. I very much admire your taking a step back, exhaling and coming back to it once emotion has calmed a bit. That kind of self assessment and implementation is something so many struggle with and makes you a much better educator and nurse.
  12. by   dudette10
    Quote from not.done.yet
    Pretty much, yes. I very much admire your taking a step back, exhaling and coming back to it once emotion has calmed a bit. That kind of self assessment and implementation is something so many struggle with and makes you a much better educator and nurse.
    Thank you for your kind words. So encouraging! It also made me think of something...

    In the final intensive rotation before graduation, we require a journaling exercise that covers what they learned that week under three headings: cognitive, psychomotor, and affective. I'm a clinical instructor for that final course--more specifically, I'm a guide because I do not do direct clinical instruction due to the model we use--and reading/grading their journals is an incredible experience.

    I think I'm going to journal at the end of class, too, with the same requirements. It puts things in perspective, and also gives me personal practice example to show them the professional value of doing so.
  13. by   not.done.yet
    Cool idea!
  14. by   RNpathoteacher
    Is the feedback personal or based on the course outcomes? Teaching styles can cause students to be stressed and lash out if they do not like it. I love evals as I use them as a way to improve.

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