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  #11  
Old 11-25-2007, 09:14 PM
Mrs.Rollins
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My instructors are very understanding about my problems with this very issue. They're always teasing me about stressing over getting straight A's, telling me, "C equals RN, Jennifer!"

I struggle, struggle, STRUGGLE with allowing myself room to screw up and not be "perfect." And, as another person pointed out, there's a huge difference between making A's in nursing school and being a great nurse. Just because you can pass a test in a classroom doesn't mean that you'll be great in the field. Some things only come with practice, and everyone excels in different arenas. When my classmates rag me for always making great grades I remind them that I often struggle more in the clinical setting than they do. It's all give-and-take, you know?
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  #12  
Old 11-27-2007, 02:02 PM
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Funny, we always said 'C' means 'continue' in school.

But really, there is nothing wrong with setting high standards for yourself, even in nursing school. The tests are hard, sure, but they are preparing you for the hardest test you may ever take in your life, one that determines your future in nursing. When you aren't "perfect", take that opportunity to learn the rationale behind what was the correct answer and why the other answers were wrong.

Some units/areas you will excel at, while others you will struggle. Utilize your classmates/study partners who 'get' that area that you are having difficulty with and offer to help someone who is struggling with something you are doing very well with. If your current studying method just isn't working out as you have hoped, try something else. Just remember though that once you hand in that test, it is done. Nothing you can do will change the outcome. So breathe, focus on the positives, and you will eventually come through it all just fine.
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  #13  
Old 12-28-2007, 11:23 AM
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Maybe I'm way off base here, but the Type A people in my classes (not always the top test performers, but the ones who really needed to "know it all") were the ones who were the most confident in clinical practice, and the ones who were constantly fighting to pass were the ones who ended up struggling with some basics and who ultimately ended up struggling with the NCLEX, some taking it multiple times. Now, in the end, I'll agree that after years of experience it really doesn't matter, but I'd rather have the nurse who is organized and likes things to be systematic and follows procedures than the scatterbrained nurse (now..where did I leave that pulse oximeter? when trying to figure out whether it's maternal or fetal HR tracing). Type A doesn't have to be about grades, but if that's how it manifests itself, then more power to you! There was one girl who was always getting A's and struggling with AM care in clinicals, and they kicked her out, so the opposite can be true, but overall I want a nurse who can synthesize information from multiple sources and can use systematic thinking in addition to the "gut" feeling we all have... (i.e. this lab value means this and her symptoms mean that, but I just know that even though her platelets have dropped only slightly it's a sign that her preeclampsia is worsening)...am I way off?
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  #14  
Old 12-28-2007, 12:31 PM
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I have to agree with you storknurse, some of the brightest people can be some of the most disorganised. Also academic success doesn't necessarily mean that the person has some of the nursing skills needed particularly at the beginning - dexterity, astuteness, the ability to say the right thing at the right time and not put your foot in it.
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  #15  
Old 12-29-2007, 02:24 AM
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I was one of those straight A students in nursing school. Didn't plan to be, and certainly didn't come in with that sort of attitude -- I was always of the philosophy "it doesn't matter what the grade is, what matters is what you learn." I even went to one uni while earning my BA that had narrative grades rather than letter ones -- try explaining those transcripts!

I used to describe my cohort as "obsessive-compulsive over-achievers" (myself included, I guess, once I started expecting those A's of myself). I kept telling myself if didn't matter, but somehow it did start to matter to me, but I still tried to not let it get in the way of my learning--and I recognized that I am a good test-taker and a solid writer, so it's not all intellect, it's also skills.

One of my professors, who is one of the best instructors I ever had and definitely one of my educator role-models did a couple of wonderful thing in her tests: 1) she put up pictures all around the room on test days of peaceful, restful things: meadows of flowers, mountain lakes, ocean sunsets, you get the idea. She also included in her tests, usually 2 or 3 times the instructions "put down your pencil, put your feet flat on the floor, close your eyes and take some relaxing breaths." It was amazing what a help it was to be reminded to relax...I think that's a great tool to have, and whatever works for you to help you get there during a test is great.

You said you get overwhelmed when you see the study guides that others have written, remember, everyone has different styles, and if that isn't your style, don't feel you have to use it! I [/B]never[/B] made any study guides. I reviewed my notes, the text, prior tests in the class, the competencies/objectives (and any other relevant part of the syllabus). I would study with friends, but mostly what we would do is discuss the material -- people would ask questions about material they weren't clear about, and by explaining to another, the information often came clear to the all, including the person doing the explaining. It also helped to see where one's gaps were.

Everyone who has taled about the relative importance of grades is spot on -- yes, if you plan on going on for a graduate degree, it can make a difference, but no patient has ever shown up with a list of multiple choice questions (or answers) written on their arm. Nor are they going to ask you your GPA. Keep in sight your goal -- to provide excellent (safe, competent, compassionate) patient care. There are lots of resources for finding out answers to specific questions: people, books, the internet, etc. It is not imperative that you have all the details at your fingertips at all times. For example, lab values, yes, they're important, but different labs will give slightly different ranges, and most tests come back highlighting values that are out of range and give you ranges. What's important is to know that out of range lab values are important, what are possible, likely causes, and consequences--all things that become second nature with exposure and experience. To take it even further, my idea of what is a worrisome CBC is going to be a bit wacky 'cause I deal with a lot of people with cancer and on chemo. Similarly, what I think of as appropriate analgesia dosing would make a lot of people pale, but when you're dealing with someone who is dying and has metastatic bone pain on top of chronic pain, well, you do what you need to to make someone comfortable. Contextual thinking that is a big part of what you want to learn....and a secret--if you don't use it, you don't remember it. Stork nurse has lots of knowledge that I've long forgotten, 'cause I don't have much to do with many women in general, never mind one's of child bearing age on the other hand, I could give you plenty of suggestions for ways to deal with delirium in an 80 y.o. with ESLD.

Another perspective: my PhD adviser, a brilliant woman and great clinician (and Sigma Theta Tau member) was on academic probation while in her undergraduate nursing program! So clearly, A's are not the be all and end all.

Sorry for going on for so long. I know it doesn't really help to just be told "don't worry about it." But helping to put things in perspective and develop tools to cope with the anxiety does. It sounds like you're doing all the right things to cope. Good luck!
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  #16  
Old 01-09-2008, 09:47 PM
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Marachne,

What a great post! I have straight-A-itis. I wound up last semester with an "A" and two "A-"s. I was bothered by the "minuses" even though it was a miracle of God that I even made it through statistics, let alone get an A- in it!

I think I may have passed that on to my kids, unfortunately. My son is in law school and my daughter in a Masters program and we all stress and cry and freak and raise our blood pressures and are sure we have flunked...

...and then all get straight As. Go figure.

I was so burnt from studying full time last semester, I thought "oh good, just one class in Spring." Now I'm sorry I didn't have the money to go full time AGAIN. Hey, it only took two weeks to recover!
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  #17  
Old 01-10-2008, 03:13 AM
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The last 6 months of my course fair nearly finished me off. I had 3 modules including my dissertation finishing amost simultaneously. Now just 6 months later I am refreshed, have read a few novels and am secretly wishing I could get into some new studying. Secretly because I promised my husband and the colleagues who saw me so stressed 'never again'! Studying is compulsive and getting good grades breeds the desire for good grades. I was definitely more competitive this time round that I ever was in my 20's when passing was all I was worried about.
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  #18  
Old 01-10-2008, 02:41 PM
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And now, in the PhD program, I really, really, don't care. Maybe because, in the scheme of things grades really aren't the issue, and I don't think much of anyone is going to transcripts again. The first B I got I was a bit annoyed, but could see her point. The second one I felt was wrong -- this was an instructor who had her favorites and I felt was not a fair grader. The third one was in Advanced Measurement, and I was thankful to get it it made statistics feel like a walk in the park. What was particularly cool was that the assignments were 4 proposals (for the design of a measurement tool). I barely got a C on the first one, and each one after that was better, ending with a high B. Talk about being able to see one's learning progress!

Now my life is ruled by pass/fail. Comprehensive exams? You either passed, or you didn't. Dissertation credits? pass/fail. All of the big steps left (proposal defense, candidacy exam, dissertation defense) are a matter of your committee either approves and signs off, or you go back and work on it some more. No grades involved, and there are, in essence, "do overs" but what is being judge is purely your own work -- your ideas and synthesis of information, how you organize and articulate the information. Nerve racking but worth it (most days).
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  #19  
Old 01-12-2008, 09:29 PM
Mrs.Rollins
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I love the idea of pass/fail. We occasionally do those on clinical competency tests, and it's the only time where I feel a sense of freedom from grade anxiety. It's like I have more leeway to prove that I really do know what I'm doing, even if I miss a few things here and there.
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  #20  
Old 01-27-2008, 01:03 PM
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To add to my anxiety, 78% is the lowest acceptable grade for passing and you cannot miss more than one medmath problem. Yikes!
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