Nurses Express Concerns About Colleagues’ Commitment, Training

Back in November AJN clinical editor Christine Moffa posted a short anecdote. She told how she’d been at a training to give H1N1 vaccinations and encountered another nurse with apparent contempt for learning the basic facts about the virus. While it’s obvious that you can’t generalize about the state of an entire profession based on one stranger’s off-the-cuff comment, the responses to this post do indicate that the anecdote touched a nerve in some readers and that other nurses have also had similar experiences with their colleagues. Here are some brief excerpts from longer comments:

From Naomi: “If I fail a class by 1 point and go to the director of my nursing program demonstrating my professionalism, critical thinking, and self responsibility i would get a pat on the back and a registrar’s form in the hopes that I could repeat the class if there are enough seats. My 3.8 GPA allowed me gain admission into my nursing program not my professionalism, critical thinking, and self-responsibility even though those are key qualities for a good nurse.”

From Nursevon: “I am a faculty member in an undergraduate BSN program at a university in the midwest. I have become increasingly discouraged in my job as an educator. The focus of students is very short-sighted: typically on points and grades. As hard as I try to instill professionalism, critical thinking, and self-responsibility for one’s own learning, I frequently come away profoundly discouraged.”

From Richard Crosby: “Hearing a new nurse explain a drug or a procedure to a family member is enough to make you ask when did they start teaching bad information in nursing school. Pathophysiology has been replaced with “leadership” training.”

From Judy: “One thing I say is, always stay humble, then you will learn. I have found nurses have too big of an ego to learn more….”

From Tabitha: “Frankly, it is my belief that students and new nurses alike have learned this culture of apathy and disengagement from practicing nurses. These behaviors, in my estimation, are symptoms of a much more malignant problem and that is burnout. Research supports that burnout is contagious (Bakker et al., 2005) and unless we advocate for reform in the nursing practice environment, the professionalism in nursing practice will continue to suffer. Many of you know new and old nurses alike who also roll their eyes at many of the innovative quality initiatives being pushed out in mass quantities by IHI, TJC, NDNQI, and CMS. What they represent for RNs is yet another unfunded mandate that nurses will have to fulfill during the course of an already jam-packed shift and the folks who end up suffering are our patients. We barely have time to fill out all the documentation required, much less place our stethoscope on our patient’s chest.”

From Marie: “I’ve recently come across a very interesting advertisement in ADVANCE FOR NURSES, (PENNSYLVANIA EDITION OF OCT 26, 2009 page 16), entitled “On the pulse of Learning”. The offering is from the University of Dundee’s distance nursing (RN-BN) degree program. It states that it is the “FIRST BRITISH nursing educational degree to be awarded NLNAC accreditation in the USA!” There are “NO CLINICALS or EXAMS, NO CLASSES – study at home. NO MATH/NO SCIENCE. ALL RNs welcome.” These programs are “delivered entirely by distance education”. Has no one noticed that this is the manner in which we are now educating professional nurses? As a former nursing instructor at the “traditional” university level I would not, in good conscience, have been able to allow my nursing students to progress to the next level without a full knowledge and understanding of the math and science related to their current level of nursing.”

Forgive us for ripping these quotes out of their longer contexts. There are some strong observations here, and we hope others will let us know their thoughts as well.

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2016-11-21T13:20:18+00:00 January 6th, 2010|career, students|2 Comments

About the Author:

Senior editor/social media strategy, American Journal of Nursing, and editor of AJN Off the Charts.

2 Comments

  1. Mary Anne January 15, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Tabitha hit the nail on the head, as a staff educator, it is difficult to impossible to provide anything like continuing education, beyond the mandatory or new equipment/procedural introduction. There is more required than physically possible, there are no breaks and required work is prioritized, not (all) completed, at the loss not only to patients, but to nurses and the nursing profession. We must unite and speak out as professionals for the sake of our patients!!!

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