This is a VENTING Post!

  1. Disclaimer: This is a venting post only and may very possibly irk/irritate/anger nursing students. Please don't post about how mean and unfair I am or how I don't understand how difficult it is to be a student. I'm just frustrated and need to vent, period.

    I'm an instructor in nursing and teach a lab to new nursing students. Recently we had the first set of check offs which included vital signs and some other basic stuff.

    There is one student I'm very worried about. He isn't in my clinical group (we did check offs with about four other groups). Anyway, he has been quite clueless all semester and pt care begins next week. What I'm frustrated over is his lack of preparartion. He KNEW we had check offs and was told what they would be over as well as what equipment would be required to use during the check off. Student are also given LOTS of lab time to come in on their own, to learn how to manipulate the equipment.

    So what happened? When he got to me to check off on the thermometer, he didn't know how to turn it on! He was nervous, so I did feel sympathetic for that. But the reason he didn't know wasn't because he was nervous, it was because he never practiced using the equipment (he admitted to this to me). I had to fail him (he will get two more chances to pass). The thing that really burns me is that he never PRACTICED. He just came in (I think he knows he is a weaker student- and I believe he tries very hard) and attempted to check off. I really don't think he has what it takes, though I would love him to provde me wrong, I just doubt that will happen. It is SO irritating to think that he has taken up a spot in a program and that there is some other potential student out there waiting who would be more successful!

    Please don't come after me with torches. I am a nursing instructor who loves my students and I care about them, just sometimes my patience gets very thin!
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    About scribblerpnp

    Joined: Oct '03; Posts: 359; Likes: 528
    Pediatric Nurse Practitioner & Nursing Instructor
    Specialty: 7 year(s) of experience in Pediatrics


  3. by   hikernurse
    I'd be frustrated, too. With so many students trying to get in, it's difficult to watch slots filled up by students who aren't trying.

    Can you make it mandatory for this student to spend x numbers of hours in the lab before next pass off?

    Hope next time goes better ;-).
  4. by   heartbeat2
    HOOOORAY for you!!!
    I can understand a poor student struggling and needing support. What I do not understand, NO practice. I see students that want to be "spoonfed" and then there are others that want to be "perfect".
    The ones that are serious about learning, it is easy to spot them. They may not have the right answers, but you can tell they have put forth the effort. NO effort to practice....not serious. there a possibilty that he has a job that may have conflicted with his practice lab time?

    Did he take the time to speak with anyone about his lack of practice time prior to being checked off? Sounds like he thought it was going to be a breeze and blew it off. Hopefully he will come to see what it takes and step up to the plate.
  5. by   traumaRUs
    Learning is an innate activity - the motivation for advanced learning must come from within. This student needs to dig a little deeper in themselves and determine if they want to be a nurse or not. Maybe its not the correct career choice for them.
  6. by   Halinja
    Quote from scribblerrn
    I had to fail him (he will get two more chances to pass).
    Thank you!

    As a student I am so frustrated when I work hard, study hard, practice hard, and then someone breezes in that hasn't done the work/study/practice, fumbles around, puts on a sweet smile and trots out an excuse and gets passed on. There should be consequences for not doing the practice. I wouldn't want to be in the hospital and be the patient of someone who somehow got passed through a nursing program on smiles and excuses.

    So...Good Job! (and hopefully he'll try harder next time)
  7. by   scribblerpnp
    I feel like I would have more control if he were MY clinical student, but he isn't. However, his instructor and I have talked with one another about this.

    It is very likely he has a job. He is an older student (30-40's), so I would expect him to already be working. But the lab is open often, so there is ample opportunity for him to come in and practice, especially after our clinical (I know he doesn't work then). I honestly don't think he will be back at the beginning of next semester. I suspect he will faill his classwork.

    This year has been different for me. It is my first year teaching new nursing students. I've always had students at least a year into the program or getting ready to leave, so I've definately had many frustrations. I don't expect senior work out of these students. But I do expect them to work. One of my classes is considered a BIG "weed out" class, so I have more students not doing well than I am used to. Which stresses me out.

    I am emotional over my student's grades. I want them to do well, but I won't "spoon feed." So when they don't do well I am FRUSTRATED. I actually had a student tell me recently, "I feel like I ought to go back to grade school where they tell you exactly what you need to know for the exam."

    Apparently the syllabus which lists the required readings and gives objectives for each unit, just isn't enough! I'm a very fair tester. The answers to all of my questions can be found in three places 1. The text book, 2. Class notes, 3. Assigned articles, videos. And I don't even really require them to read a massive amount of the texts!

    It seems like such a waste. Of their money, and all those slots!

    But the great students definately make up for it all in the end!
  8. by   rpv_rn
    i teach in the 1st semester adn program. i hear instructors from 2, 3, 4th semester tell me that i have so much patience & that they would get too frustrated if the student couldn't demonstrate or verbalize appropriately.

    there are students that come in to the nursing program with minimal clue that they will be "touching" people, and that those people will be sick, so not the most optimal situation. we have to have patience as the skills the student learns is very different from previous classes they have taken, including how to communicate with their patients. nursing is a new culture that they must learn.

    ok, in response to the op's post. our 1st semester instructor group discuss students who are doing well, having problems but are trying their best, not preparing for lab/ theory, and the students who do not want to be in the class at all. you're right. what a shame that the last student wasted a slot when so many are applying to limited spaces.

    after our instructor group discusses the situation, the instructor meets with the student for an assessment/ verbal counseling. student & instructor mutually agree on a student goal that the student must meet to pass the course.

    how the student responds is his/ her responsibility. i personally do all i can to help the student succeed. but ultimately the student is responsible for his/ her outcome. if it becomes apparent that the student does not prepare or care about his/ her success, then i have to let go. let the chips fall where they may.

    my concentration is on those students who are trying their best and still struggling. these students have the motivation to succeed. they have the potential to become caring and competent professional nurses.
  9. by   mamason
    Not a nursing instructor, just my two cents. Sounds to me that you're being fair and that you truly care about how well your students do in school. In the beginning of nursing school
    I was not prepared for the time I had to put into it outside of the classroom. It was difficult to get used to. I too, thought I should have been "spoon fed" the info that was required. Used to get upset at my instructors for not doing so. But,once I got out of school, got my lisence, I realized that my instructors were doing me a great favor. I was able to think on my own! My instructors were teaching me how to be assertive. For that, I will always be greatful to them.:bowingpur
  10. by   JentheRN05
    I'm not an instructor either. My first year instructors were patient, never 'spoon fed' us, but taught us to think on our own. Made us come up with answers by thinking through them. Not just on tests but in class.
    We had one girl one time was asked by the instructor (when going over meds in our junior year) what was the patient getting Hydrocodone for? Her response "for her fever" - now mind you we were on a peds unit. When I overheard her response I walked away. I believe she was sent home that day for not being prepared.
    Please PLEASE don't be an instructor to pass someone through that doesn't deserve it.
    Last edit by JentheRN05 on Oct 8, '06
  11. by   CHATSDALE
    a lot of people are not in school because they really want to be nurses some are there for economic reasons they can't get a job or all they can get are poor paying jobs
    some are being pushed by family members 'do something with yourself'
    some are perpetual students...very satisfying to take a test and get a good score but they really don't relate that the material is for skills you will need later not to get a 'good report card'
    as a teacher maybe the weeding out is part of your job, you can't pass the incompetent yo would not be doing a favor for them or for their future pts
  12. by   bookwormom
    Justified or not, I try to assume that every student is doing the best he or she can. It sounds like you are doing a good job teaching, and it sounds like he is a nice guy. In my experience, older students often have taken on an unrealistic burden (job, health,family responsibility, etc). This isn't a problem you can fix, tho'. If you feel his heart is in the right place, and he has the basic ability, I'd refer him to you school's counseling service, or the financial aid office, whichever seems appropriate. It's our job to teach, but it's their job to help students who are struggling despite academic capability.

    I don't believe in passing someone who can't or won't do the work, but I do think we need to use the institutional resources.
  13. by   fgoff
    Good for you! it is so hard to "fail" a student these days, when they really fail themselves by not being perpared! Giving a student the extra attempts to pass shows the schools commentment, now it is up to the student to show his. I hope that if it is a work vs class thing that he can get it worked out.. I've had students where this was thier BIGGEST worry! $$$$$. I feel for them.

    Thanks for the vent. I know I've been there before!
  14. by   nurse4theplanet
    Student Nurse checking in on this one...

    This student is an adult. He had the mental capacity and physical ability to meet all the requirements to secure a seat in your program, therefore, he possesses all the necessary skills to meet the requirements for passing skills labs.

    The resources were available for him to practice. He chose not to use them so it was his fault that he was ill prepared for skills. You did not 'choose' to fail him, it was your duty. No slackers in nursing school.

    If you have not already, please speak with him about why he is not applying himself. Perhaps there are underlying problems of which you could be of assistance. My prediction is that if this behavior continues, he will not make it past the first semester anyway.
    Last edit by nurse4theplanet on Oct 10, '06