Passing NCLEX versus teaching students nursing skills...which is your school?

by kayak133 kayak133 (Member)

Specializes in on the fence about nursing.

I would have graduated from nursing school this semester if I hadn't voluntarily left last spring. My reasons for doing so were twofold. First, it was becoming difficult for me to maintain a decent GPA while working full time....the schedule for the school was four nights/week. I also have to maintain my current occupation as I need to make mortgage, etc. Second, it was becoming painfully obvious not just to myself but to other students that the skills taught in lab were not adequate. There were times when the lab instructor read to us out of a book. We did not have open lab time. A friend of mine reported that this school is no longer teaching students and asking for a return demonstration on catherization. It is just watch the video. It is hit or miss, depending on the clinical instructor, as to whether or not you performed this skill in clinical. In my first semester, my clinical instructor made everyone complete a PEG tube feeding. On the other hand, the syllabus states that senior students have to practice full assessment, medication delivery, etc. on a mannequin.

I am wondering what the experience is out there. Is there anyone else who is having the experience that schools are more concerned about passing the NCLEX exam and getting a 95-100% pass rate than actually teach students skills? I wonder what would happen if the NCLEX was modified to include skills performance. For example, aviation students must demonstrate aeronautical and navigational knowledge on a written exam, and then, fly with a Federal Aviation Administration flight examiner to demonstrate practical knowledge.



916 Posts

Wow, read to you out of a book?? Yikes! - We had videos but they were in addition to an instructor demonstrating the skill. We always had open lab time & instructors were always available during open lab time if you were having trouble with a skill.

Before we did a skill checkoff, it was mandatory that you had at least 1 hr practice in lab. We had to have the sheet signed by an instructor that witnessed us practicing. They always emphasized that although we were only required to practice for 1 hr before doing a checkoff, it was recommended that we spend a lot more time to practice. You have 3 attempts at a skill checkoff so almost everyone practiced more than the required 1 hr. Fail the 3rd attempt & you've failed out so we all went to open lab. I loved the videos though, sometimes I could not make it to lab so the videos were great to watch at home & practice.



205 Posts

I think that they must all be putting more emphasis on NCLEX-RN now. I chose a diploma program, and one of the reasons that I chose it was for the extra clinical hours in it. But 1 year later, I've learned that much of the Year 1 clinical hours were not what I thought I'd get, i.e. actual hours of floor nursing. The school lumped a lot of fillers into clinical time, stuff like observing Head Start, observing PT/OT/rehab, doing computer sims, and 2-day peds sim lab exercises where we never even saw a live child. Run us through 30 minutes of do-something-once in the sim lab and call us "trained" was one of the things that hugely ticked me off. There was one instructor, in particular, who'd preface every lecture or sim lab with "Let's go! I want to hurry up and get out of here." Then she'd fly us through whatever it was and we never felt 1) well-trained, or 2) respected.

I was pretty disappointed, overall. When I looked back on N1/N2/N3 and what material we'd covered, I was incensed, really, that the school had cut up and recombined pieces of this and that into it's own "Integrated" curriculum, vs. the block structure that everyone else uses. As a career-changer, and I am a fast learner, I found their curriculum baffling and tedious, and I think most of that was because the curriculum was very fragmented and lacked continuity. That's a polite way to say "It was deliberately padded and obfuscated." And I think it failed to teach me enough, but it surely did keep me scrambling all the time to complete massive reports and clinical writeups.

The school told us at orientation that they were teaching us how to pass the NCLEX, not how to be a nurse (they actually said that). I should have just gotten up and walked out right then. Now I'll have to start all over at another school if I still want to become a RN, but at least I will definitely know what kind of "product" to NOT buy again! Never forget that schools are in the business of selling you education. For that reason students can and should be very hard-nosed about buying a product that meets their needs.

My school is like this. Apparently we have some of the best NCLEX results in the state, big whoop. However, our teachers rarely do demonstrations in lab or help us. We are expected to watch these videos and then go to lab and know what to do. A demonstration for each of the skills might take 15 minutes at the most and it would help us significantly. I don't understand why we don't do it.