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Should I admit defeat or keep going?

Has 6 years experience. Specializes in Geriatrics.

Ok, this is mainly a vent. So far this clinical semester has been painful and brutal, though I have managed to get through it. I passed the previous semester without a problem, and although I have struggled through this semester, I am nearly there. Next Wednesday is the last final exam for the semester.

Anyway, I have achieved good grades throughout this semester, and will likely even graduate with an A in nursing, and a high B in pharmacology. My homework is always completed on time, and I get As with all of my homework. I have been told repeated times throughout my clinicals that I should be proud of how far I've come and how much I've learned and improved. In each clinical I was trusted with more responsibility because my instructor determined that I was progressing well and could handle it. I enjoyed it, and the added responsibility really taught me a lot.

Today however, this all came crashing down. I was pulled aside by the same clinical instructor who had continually been building me up throughout the semester and assuring me that I was improving, and was even one of the top students in the class. Yeah, I'm not one to get a big head at all, but this felt great, like I was on the right track. However today she flat out told me that even if I do pass the semester, I shouldn't. I am apparently not as far along as she wants me to be.

Where was this halfway through the semester!? She told me I was on the right track, that I was learning and improving every day. She claimed I was a top student for Pete's sake! Now here it is in finals week, with two papers to finish writing, and 3 exams to study for, and I am having the hardest time getting motivated enough to make an effort after what she said today.

I can't afford to wait another year to try again, so this is my one chance. I am passing, and my grades are good, but at the same time it's hard to know what to do when your clinical instructor suddenly doesn't want you to pass.

She can't just not pass you like that. She needs to cough up something better. She needs specific examples of what you are doing wrong or not doing right. Email her and ask her to follow up that comment with some examples and points for improvement.

Dont give up! You are passing with high marks and youve been getting good feedback in clinicals. Ask your instructor to schedule an appointment to discuss her areas of concern. Then take that information with you into next semester and do your best!


Specializes in Gerontology, nursing education.

I take it she didn't give you any specifics on deficiencies she might see in your clinical performance? Just saying that she doesn't think you "should" pass doesn't give you any direction or idea how to improve. How can you learn if you don't know her specific concerns?

I also think it's wrong if she has been encouraging you this whole semester and then suddenly tells you that she thinks you "shouldn't" pass. The time to tell a student he/she is in trouble is early in the semester so you can give him/her a chance to work on problems and improve performance. In your shoes, I would be doggone confused at the mixed messages.

Talk to your advisor about this. You might need to also talk with the course coordinator or the head of the program and have a meeting with someone in charge, the instructor, and yourself so you can get this figured out.

The only thing I can think of is that you might be coming off as lacking confidence when you're at the clinical site or doing cares. However, confidence comes with experience and, unless a student is paralyzed with performance anxiety, there is no reason a student should be denied progression if he/she is nervous. I've read some of your previous posts and you seem like someone who is insightful and takes responsibility for her actions. I think if you had made some horrible error that would merit flunking out, you would be upfront about it.

You know, I had a supervisor do this to me once. She had no criticisms of me and raised no concerns, but when I needed a reference for something, she completely trashed me. I was devastated and felt betrayed. My career recovered but, although it's been thirty years since this happened, I still feel a twinge of anger over what she did. Moreover, I was so shocked by the harshness of this reference that she gave for me that any constructive criticism, any lesson I could have learned from what she said, was completely lost. I was too wounded to care.

I'm really sorry this is happening to you. :hug: Please hang in there and keep us posted.


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