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Rookie Wit & Wisdom
Dealing with Disengaged Instructors

After a couple of years of very hard pre-reqs (where I got all A's) I was so excited last month to finally start nursing school! So far, though, it has been nothing but complete and utter frustration. No, not because the work is hard, but because my teachers and the whole program just seem to be so unorganized and disconnected!

For example, my teacher has never taught NP1 before (usually teaches NP2) and doesn't seem to prepare at all. She just comes in, tells us about her new grandchild, then reads directly from the PP slides that she has obviously never seen before. She even makes comments like, "I didn't review this stuff -- I already know it all." And "I am too busy to grade your tests because of the new grandkid."

Also, we as a class are constantly given contradicting information from different teachers -- our lab teachers tell us one thing, our clinical teachers something else and our classroom teacher something totally different! Thirty percent of my class failed the meds test because NO ONE taught it to us AND because there were questions on the test on things that no one told us to read!

We were told that we had to teach calculations to ourselves because "schools don't teach pharm anymore." I passed the test, but got several wrong because I was told NOT to study those items!

I understand nursing school is hard -- I am prepared to work my butt off. But I feel that the school and the teachers just don't care. I am in the nights/weekend program and the teachers constantly make comments that we are lucky they are there on their "days off" to teach us. Should I look into transferring or is it always like this?  Please help -- I am getting depressed because it is so frustrating and unmotivating.

Frustrated Student Nurse

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7 Responses to “Dealing with Disengaged Instructors”

  1. steubified Says:

    Every single program has a lot of things wrong with it that students usually catch onto quickly because of how strongly it affects you. It’s worse right away, and then you either get used to it or you start seeing how the gaps they leave in the educational process are really gaps meant to be there for you to learn or figure out on your own. It used to bother me so much, the random things that our program did or didn’t do or explain or not explain to us. It is sometimes very frustrating to not even know what is expected of you!
    Many other students and I now see that nursing as a profession is much like that–you’ll never know exactly what you have to learn or how to figure out something…you just go with the flow, be as prepared as you can, do your best, and do what you think is right. That’s how it is on the floor.

  2. keatin21 Says:

    I agree with the reader above. There is no way to design a perfect nursing program, especially when they have to cram a massive amount of knowledge into your brain in such a short time. Additionally, every semester in nursing school I was tested on information that was never even mentioned in class-either the information was in the book or they posted an online lecture about it or just a powerpoint. Its not fun but you learn to do a lot of self-teaching when everything isn’t spoon fed to you, which is great practice for nursing on the floor.
    Don’t be discouraged though! Also, if it makes you feel any better, I was so excited to get into nursing school and then I hated my first semester! It got better after that, partly because I learned the routine a little better and partly because the further along we got in the program, the more lenience and autonomy the teacher’s gave us. Just keep working hard and you will make it through happily and successfully=)

  3. megi Says:

    I am on my second semester taking pharmacology class. I am studying my butt off still I failed the exam by 4 points. Any sound and practical advice is appericiated. Any good study techniques to remember these drugs?

  4. n00bienurse Says:

    Med cards. They suck, but you’ll learn. Also, learn the classes of drugs and how things work. I always found that if I knew how things worked, remembering what they were and what they were for came easier.

    Also, if you can find out what you did get wrong (or what you hardcore guessed on), look for a pattern. Are they questions about mechanism of action? Are they about duration and peak? Are they simply remembering the names? — Identify your weaknesses and work to improve there — but don’t neglect what you’re already working on. If you already know your mechanisms of actions inside and out, move on.

    Another thing is practice tests. Whatever your professor can offer would be amazing – especially if you don’t test well.

    It’s not about how MUCH you study – I could do it for hours and get no where – it’s about how SMART you study. See if there’s a study skills councellor(sp?) at school – they might have other tips.

  5. Amber ~ student Rn Says:

    I feel your pain!!
    I’m in the final semester of a 2 year program and have been dealing with similar situations from the start. I was almost ready to quit in my first semester until I spoke with some working nurses and found out that they all HATED nursing school, but LOVE working as a nurse. At that point I decided that I had to work so hard to get in to the program, that it would take an act of God, or a graduation ceremony, to get me out!
    Some of the suggestions I’ve gotten to do well on tests are to study the topics for exams from an NCLEX review book, learn the way each instructor tests (each one has a different focus related to their specialty – figure it out and you might be able to get those few extra points!), and use any practice tests, on-line resources or review worksheets that came with your texts.
    I go into clinical each week run down and not liking life, unsure if nursing is for me, but when I leave after a day of caring for patients I realize that it’s the classwork that gets me down, not the profession, and I feel ready to take on the next hoop the program wants me to jump through!
    Good luck and keep at it ~ it’s worth it so far!!

  6. Kathy Quan RN BSN PHN Says:

    Unfortunately this happens. I remember one semester of med/surg our instructor was newly pregnant with terrible morning sickness and many times she didn’t show up. So we couldn’t be on the floor. Big waste of time driving an hour to that hospital only to be sent home!!!!

    She was a great teacher and we all learned a lot when she was there, but she missed a lot of clinical time and many of us ended up graduating without having performed some basic tasks such as inserting Foleys.

    But we all learned. I ended up with the best mentor ever when I started my first job. I had to be honest with the hospital and tell them we had missed out on some clinical experiences. They were very understanding and made sure I was safe.

    Even in the best of circumstances you won’t learn it all in school, and nursing is a lifelong learning experience. Be a sponge and learn everything you can from each nurse you work with.

    And when you become a nurse, continue to learn and share experiences. Nursing school is intense and difficult. Mostly what it prepares you for is adversity and the unexpected which you’ll face consistently throughout your career.

    Don’t expect them to hold your hand and to tell you everything you need to know for a test…. the real world of nursing doesn’t work that way…. you need to THINK, problem solve and anticipate!!! That’s what they’re trying to teach you.

    Good luck! You’ll be great nurses!!
    author of The Everything New Nurse Book

  7. Hellen Says:

    maria I agree with you, but you should have plaecd only in quotation marks. A BSN simply means that nurse has written more papers, and often (though not always) had less clinical time. Which translates into less experience on the floor . And while it looks good on paper, and in management’s eyes, we all know who with who we’d rather share the floor GD Star Ratingloading…

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