Should a nursing instructor tell a student they are not nursing material.

by motivated2nurse motivated2nurse Member

Specializes in ED. Has 2 years experience.

A nursing instructor told one of my classmates that she is not nursing material. I think that she was wrong. She based it on my classmates appearance Im sure, she about 450lbs and slow moving. Her spirit is sweet but the instructor, I feel, is wrong. What do you guys think? If academically she's on it how can she judge her.



26 Posts

That is definitely wrong in many ways. I would suggest to your friend that she should contact the Nursing Administrator or whoever is this instructor's supervisor. We had an instructor last semester who told one of my classmates that she wasn't smart enough to be a nurse. She got in a lot of trouble for this and was put on some kind of probation. It is not right at all to judge someone on their appearance.

I don't know what it is with nursing instructors...but they are rude! I had one last semester that told me that i had a learning disability because i wasn't doing good in my med-surg class. YES, a learning disability ....even though in high school i got all A's and B's, and in college my pre reqs were good grades too. I dropped that class because, i felt that my learning environment was not good and i didn't even want to come to class because of her. Now i'm taking med-surg over with a different instructor and it is so much better. Honestly, don't listen to what that instructor has to say when she/he brings u down...let it go in one ear and out the other....

Why are nursing instructors so mean???!? I don't get it at all, you'd think nursing instructors should be kind and caring, wants to encourage the student that he or she can achieve... but nope, I know of 2 instructors in my program who makes students cry at clinicals. Now that's just really is.


RochesterRN-BSN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psych, ER, Resp/Med, LTC, Education. Has 6 years experience. 399 Posts

besides just rude that is unethical and may be against the law--that is descrimination.....straight out! If she has difficulties because of her weight then that is on her and she will find ways to get through, compensate, or not but that is on her. Sh*t I would take an over weight SWEET and COMPASSIONATE nurse ANYDAY over a thin, nasty rude one!!!....she should look in the schools handbook......there should be something in there about not descriminating against any student based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

That needs to be brought to the attention of the dean of the school. Who knows what other students she has said things that were descriminatory to. She needs to be educated on descrimination!!! And on how to treat people!!!!


llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 45 years experience. 13,469 Posts

How do you know for sure that the comment was made because of the student's weight?

Sometimes, students need to hear that their chances of success are slim. It is cruel for a school to take a student's money, pass them along until the last semester ... and then find a way to flunk them so that they won't bring the school's NCLEX pass rate down. I know schools that do such things. They would be doing some of their students a favor if they would simply either fail them in their first year before they had invested so much in the program ... or counseled them out of the program early on.

Yes ... if the comments were because of the student's weight, the instructor was terribly wrong. But how do you know for sure that they were made because of her weight? The OP didn't say.



285 Posts

well, a nurse on the floor told me that as well. I just have no interest in OB thats why my drive decreases at that hospital. But, I think she should ignore the negativity and stay positive.. What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger right...

HeartsOpenWide, RN

Specializes in Ante-Intra-Postpartum, Post Gyne. 2 Articles; 2,889 Posts

I don't know what it is with nursing instructors...but they are rude! I had one last semester that told me that i had a learning disability because i wasn't doing good in my med-surg class. YES, a learning disability ....even though in high school i got all A's and B's, and in college my pre reqs were good grades too. .

Be careful how you say things, you could offend. A learning disability is not necessarily a bad thing or mean that you can not get good grades. I have a documented learning disability and I have an over all GPA of 3.58 and a nursing GPA of 3.63. Having a leaning disability does not make a person any less intelligent than some one without.

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience. 67 Articles; 14,009 Posts

if the nursing instructor really told your classmate that she's not 'nursing material' because of her weight, that is indeed wrong. but the thing is, the nursing instructor probably had other reasons for what she said. i doubt very much that you are privy to all of the same information about your classmate that the instructor has, and it's likely that there is something else going on -- something that you are unaware of -- that is coloring the instructor's opinion. it may be a very valid observation. i would encourage your classmate to think long and hard about what exactly the instructor said -- maybe the instructor was just trying to save her time, money and heart ache by steering her away from a course she was unlikely to excell at.



Specializes in Post Anesthesia. Has 30 years experience. 1,549 Posts

Specifics of this case aside I wish more nursing instructors would tell some students that nursing may not be thier cup of tea. I think if an instructor sees signs that a student may not have the disposition, skills, or brains to be an effective nurse they have an professional obligation to tell the student just that. It's better that than wasting thousands of dollars and years of trying before you find our you aren't nursing material. The instructor could be wrong- but It's the student's choice to persevere and complete the program. The instructor is just offereing the guidance and feedback they were hired to provide- Bravo for them.

Daytonite, BSN, RN

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt. Has 40 years experience. 4 Articles; 14,603 Posts

news flash! your instructors are the ones who evaluate you and will provide your first employer with a recommendation as to whether or not you are able to do the work of the professional rn or lpn you are being hired for. i was a nursing manager for a huge teaching hospital that hired new grads. employment of new grads was based on receiving a written recommendation from nursing school instructors. why? because they are the only people who have ever observed you performing all the different functions of the role you are about to undertake. be very carefully what you say and do around them because they are constantly making judgments about you. your future depends on them.

chevyv, BSN, RN

Specializes in Acute Mental Health. Has 14 years experience. 1,679 Posts

I think it's dead wrong to tell someone they are not nursing material. Just my humble opinion, but it may be much more productive to actually give the student something to work towards. If an instructor feels a student is not nursing material, they should step back and realize they are not gods. It is their opinion that a student is not proper material. Their opinion is just that. It is what they feel. There are so many different paths to wander down as a nurse that it makes me wonder what exactly their definition of a nurse is. There are positions that require no hands on cares, there are 1:1 positions, and so many other avenues including teaching. How can you look at a student and tell them they aren't cut out for nursing when nursing is multifaceted?

If an instructor sees something off, have the student work on it. Many students have never touched another human being before as far as cares, while others have worked in the field for years. I think students figure it out for themselves if they are nursing material or not pretty early on. Instructors should try to remember that they are holding a real person in their hands. It's up to them to mold us, guide us, encourage us etc to be the best that we can be. I can surely see the occasional student that makes you stand back and say WTH is up with that student? I may be kidding myself, but, I hope that student is few and far between all the others.

I would not want to be the one to crush someones dream. Many times, students just need to take a yr or so and work as a CNA. I've seen students do that and come back and be great students.


Specializes in Telemetry & Obs. 2,016 Posts

a nursing instructor told one of my classmates that she is not nursing material. i think that she was wrong. she based it on my classmates appearance im sure, she about 450lbs and slow moving. her spirit is sweet but the instructor, i feel, is wrong. what do you guys think? if academically she's on it how can she judge her.

how sure are you?? did you hear the instructor actually say that?!?

i have a friend that is a clinical instructor and one of her complaints about ns is that students are passed semester after semester until they get to her final semester obviously out of their league and not having a clue. then it's up to her to hopefully remediate them, or flunk them.

i don't think ns does anybody a favor by passing them when they're obviously struggling.

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