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"Smart" students make bad nurses?

So I have heard time and time again from nursing professors and clinical adjuncts that "4.0 students often have a hard time transitioning to the floor, B or C students make better nurses". While I totally get that there are some people out there that are so cerebral that they don't do well on the floor, I think this blanket statement is a bunch of bunk.

I bring this up because I am a 4.0 student. I am also involved in clubs and student groups, volunteer outside of school, and often get complimented in clinicals. However, even with that I still hear the comment over and over that A students don't make as good of nurses as B and C nurses.

What do you nurses who are actually out there on the floor think?

Alex Egan, LPN, EMT-B

Specializes in Home Health (PDN), Camp Nursing. Has 9 years experience.

I don't think that's strictly true. I think the issue they are seeing without even knowing it is that often students who do well in school haven't met and overcome much adversity.

The first year of nursing practice is grueling and every new nurse has a lot of trouble finding the swing of things. In my experience many great students get frustrated and end up being the "nursing isn't for me" or "the old nurses are eating me" or my favorite "do I really need any experience before I get a desk/ management job". Many straight A students can't accept that there is no 100% score in floor nursing.

while B and C nurses may be more comfortable not being awesome at first but working to be ok.

as always it's really about personality, but I can see where someone could make that generalization and be more right than wrong

Farawyn

Has 25 years experience.

I think that's a gross generalization.

Me too, but I do have to add that I was a B student in Nursing School (My prior degree I graduated with a 4.0) and I was spectacular on the floors.

I've noticed it to be a pattern but that doesn't mean some people can't be a 4.0 student and be great in clinical as well

Hollybobs

Specializes in ICU. Has 5 years experience.

I think (intelligent, hard working, motivated) A-grade students are likely to make excellent nurses.

No need to drop your grade!

Edited by Hollybobs
Students with other grades are obvs capable of excellence too, just saying the innate qualities of many A-grade student are likely to be more of a help than a hindrance.

Pangea Reunited, ASN, RN

Has 6 years experience.

I've always thought of that as something B and C students tell themselves (or are told by others) so they feel better ...just like people say ASN nurses are better on the floor than BSN nurses. It's "everybody gets a trophy" type of thinking.

Farawyn

Has 25 years experience.

Naaaah, I don't need any trophies. Or a BSN. :)

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 14 years experience.

Like others, I agree that it's a gross generalization. There are A students who are awesome on the floor, and poor on the floor. Same with B and C students.

I think the best indicator of how well a nurse does on the floor is common sense and confidence.

I had straight A's in school and am much better at management than I was on the floor. I also enjoy the management/business side better which may be why I am better at it.

I don't think that's strictly true. I think the issue they are seeing without even knowing it is that often students who do well in school haven't met and overcome much adversity.

The first year of nursing practice is grueling and every new nurse has a lot of trouble finding the swing of things. In my experience many great students get frustrated and end up being the "nursing isn't for me" or "the old nurses are eating me" or my favorite "do I really need any experience before I get a desk/ management job". Many straight A students can't accept that there is no 100% score in floor nursing.

while B and C nurses may be more comfortable not being awesome at first but working to be ok.

as always it's really about personality, but I can see where someone could make that generalization and be more right than wrong

This really resonates with me. It's not that I haven't had to overcome, but I have always been able to push hard enough to get what I wanted most of the time.

Any ideas on how I can better my chances of transitioning from good student to good floor nurses?

Farawyn

Has 25 years experience.

This really resonates with me. It's not that I haven't had to overcome, but I have always been able to push hard enough to get what I wanted most of the time.

Any ideas on how I can better my chances of transitioning from good student to good floor nurses?

The fact that, as an A student, you are even asking this is great.

Yes. Put yourself in a challenging situation. Something out of your comfort zone, that you may not be awesome in, and do it. Do it as best you can. It doesn't have to be nursing related. And you can suck at it. But you must see it through.

That will teach you resilience.

I think if an advanced student or new nurse is struggling on the floor and people know anything about his/her academics, and it's a 4.0 student, they'll say knowingly that those students can't make it as floor nurses. If they know (or speculate) this is a C student, or that s/he took two tries and 250 questions to pass the NCLEX or some garbage like that, they'll say "you know she barely made it through school".

Of course, I will tell you honestly that I have no memory of how my grades were in nursing school. I might have gotten a 4.0, I might have gotten some Bs? I probably did? I really don't care, and at the time I didn't care as long as I was passing and learning the material (I was seriously irritated with my classmates who wanted to compare test scores). Anyone who tells me they got (or are getting) a 4.0 in nursing school will get the immediate side-eye from me and have to prove him/herself. It's not the 4.0 I mind, it's CARING about it, or thinking it means anything.

NICUNurseEliz

Specializes in Pediatrics, NICU. Has 5 years experience.

This really resonates with me. It's not that I haven't had to overcome, but I have always been able to push hard enough to get what I wanted most of the time.

Any ideas on how I can better my chances of transitioning from good student to good floor nurses?

I was a good student in school and also heard the same thing constantly about lower scoring students automatically being better clinically. Personally, I got good grades in school because I have decent logic/critical thinking skills (which works for test-taking) and because I worked really really hard and those things translated well to real life.

So my advice would be to work hard! Show your coworkers that you are willing to help them, jump into every learning experience you can, and spend lots of time reading and researching outside of work. Be willing to reconcile the difference between real life and nursing school nursing. Be receptive to the teaching of your preceptors and find yourself a good mentor. :)

Jensmom7, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice. Has 36 years experience.

Any ideas on how I can better my chances of transitioning from good student to good floor nurses?

* Don't go into your first job thinking you know everything about being a nurse. You know squat.

* Do things the way your preceptor shows you. Even if you know another way. Unless the way your preceptor does it would cause serious harm to the patient, there's usually more than one way to do something.

* Do not roll your eyes at your preceptor or the other floor nurses.

* If you have a question about something your preceptor demonstrated, ask her about it when the two of you are alone. NEVER make a scene in front of a patient.

* Carry one of those little spiral notebooks with you. Jot down things you would like to study in more depth. You're an adult, that's how adults learn.

* Know that you're going to make mistakes. Any nurse who says she's never made any kind of mistake is lying to you. And herself.

* When you make a mistake, own it. If it was a relatively minor one, thank whatever deity you look to that you didn't kill your patient. If it was a serious one, be prepared for consequences. And also think of ways to make it never happen again. Managers love that.

* Asking questions and getting another brain involved when you aren't sure of something goes a long way toward avoiding those serious mistakes.

* It takes at least a year to really feel comfortable in a new job. You're going to have days when you wonder if Nursing is really for you. Like maybe you should be a Walmart greeter. Even after you're out of orientation, any preceptor worth her salt will have an occasional, casual "How's it going for you?" Answer honestly.

* Take some time to learn the unit culture. You aren't going to be an insider for awhile. Some co-workers will never be particularly friendly. That's ok. You can have a professional relationship without being besties.

Definitely a generalization.

It's probably important to remember that being a B or C student in lecture is also good. I mean come on...a B is a 93 for crying out loud! Having between an 80-93 in nursing school still means you're a smart and capable person with the potential to do well on the floor.

sailornurse

Specializes in ER/Tele, Med-Surg, Faculty, Urgent Care. Has 39 years experience.

So I have heard time and time again from nursing professors and clinical adjuncts that "4.0 students often have a hard time transitioning to the floor, B or C students make better nurses".

Former faculty of ten years in a BSN program, I have never heard this. I would tend to disagree as it is the students in my experience that barely passed that struggled to pass NCLEX that were the not as astute or proficient as the students who earned A's & B's. This was my experience.

I would ask you professors/clinical instructors to provide the evidence! Evidence based practice ? Show me the proof! What does the research/literature say about this issue?

Having between an 80-93 in nursing school still means you're a smart and capable person with the potential to do well on the floor.

I agree 100%. I would never disparage someone who got a B or C, but getting a 94-100 is good too.

I work hard to learn as much as I can, and retain as much as I can- not for the grade but for the knowledge. I work so hard because I want to be a good nurse! Maybe it is different for other A students and that is where part of this comes from.

I agree 100%. I would never disparage someone who got a B or C, but getting a 94-100 is good too.

I work hard to learn as much as I can, and retain as much as I can- not for the grade but for the knowledge. I work so hard because I want to be a good nurse! Maybe it is different for other A students and that is where part of this comes from.

I had Bs first semester and have solid As this semester. Really no difference in my abilities on the floor (at least as far as I can tell).

Former faculty of ten years in a BSN program, I have never heard this. I would tend to disagree as it is the students in my experience that barely passed that struggled to pass NCLEX that were the not as astute or proficient as the students who earned A's & B's. This was my experience.

I would ask you professors/clinical instructors to provide the evidence! Evidence based practice ? Show me the proof! What does the research/literature say about this issue?

Lol, I was very tempted to do just this the last time a professor brought it up in class. Some of the students didn't do well on an exam and I think she was trying to make them feel better. I decided against asking as I thought it would make the B and C students think that I thought I was better than them or something.

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