46. 4 Reasons why Nursing Students don’t get help for school until it’s too late

If becoming a nurse is really their dream, then why are there so many nursing students struggling and even failing in nursing school? Why don’t students seek help earlier, before they’re in a “do or die” type academic situation where they’re at risk of failing a class?  

On today’s episode, we’ll be talking about the HUGE problem in nursing school where a large number of seemingly committed nursing students continue to struggle to the point of failure.

Whether you’re currently in this situation yourself, or if you’re still working on pre-reqs but starting to wonder if you should be worried for your future, by the end of our time together today, you’re going to understand the top 4 reasons why nursing students don’t get the help they need in a timely manner.

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Links from Episode 46:

LIVE Tutoring Membership (www.YourNursingTutor.com/vip): Get the affordable tutoring support you need to finally transform all your hard work into grades that you can be proud of.

Tutor On-Call Program (www.YourNursingTutor.com/tutor-on-call): All the benefits of the VIP Tutoring Membership, PLUS 24/7 access to ask a Professional Nursing Tutor all your questions via voice/text messaging. Limited Spots available, but you can join the waitlist to be notified as soon as there are openings.

Transcript for Episode 46

If becoming a nurse is really their dream, then why are there so many nursing students struggling and even failing in nursing school? Why don’t students seek help earlier, before they’re in a “do or die” type academic situation where they’re at risk of failing a class?  

On today’s episode, we’ll be talking about the HUGE problem in nursing school where a large number of seemingly committed nursing students continue to struggle to the point of failure.

Whether you’re currently in this situation yourself, or if you’re still working on pre-reqs but starting to wonder if you should be worried for your future, by the end of our time together today, you’re going to understand the top 4 reasons why nursing students don’t get the help they need in a timely manner.

My name is Nicole Whitworth, and I’m a Registered Nurse with more than 12 years of experience as a professional nursing tutor. I actually have more than 13 years of experience, but I usually don’t like saying it that way when I introduce myself because of that old, silly superstition that 13 is an unlucky number. But I figured I’d share that little tidbit with you today since I’m recording it right around Halloween! It seemed appropriate. 

In any case, let’s get started with the 4 main reasons why nursing students often don’t get the help they need before it’s too late and they’re at risk of failing. 

This is a problem that I help students with quite a lot as a professional nursing tutor, as you might expect. Because obviously, a lot of students don’t seek my help until they’re already in a pretty bad situation, grade wise. There’s a lot of reasons why students wait to get help, and you might find some of these more surprising than others.

First, there’s obviously the money issue. No surprises here. Nursing school is expensive, sometimes you have to quit your job or at least cut back on hours a bit if you continue working. So you don’t WANT to pay for any extra nursing school help unless you feel sure that it’s absolutely necessary. I get this! 

I actually tend towards this problem personally myself in other areas of my life. I will literally spend days researching a problem, when I could have paid 50 bucks and have an expert take care of it for me in an hour. I feel like I saved money, but in reality I wasted so much time…and in many cases, my time is more valuable because I could also be using that time to do other things that are more important to me! In your case, that could be studying, working, or spending time with your family so they don’t feel like you disappeared into the nursing school abyss.

Now it’s not always possible to spend money to save time. You gotta watch your bottom line budget. And private tutoring really CAN be very expensive. When I did 1:1 tutoring, I charged $75/hour. And when I look at some of the popular online tutoring websites nowadays, I see a wide range of pricing for nursing tutors, but the most experienced ones look like they’re still charging at least $50-75/hour for their services. 

And I will tell you…you’re likely going to want to book at least a 2-hour session, once per week, to make that kind of tutoring effective for you. So it really can get expensive fast. And nursing students see this, and automatically assume that ALL tutoring is too expensive and out of their budget. Which is why they don’t pursue it for help. 

But often, they don’t realize that there actually ARE more affordable options available! One is my VIP Tutoring Membership because I actually felt kind of bad charging such high prices for private tutoring, even though the work I do and the way I help is completely worth every penny. But I was also only able to help 1 student at a time that way, and let me tell you…students all over the world struggle with the same problems over and over again. 

That’s actually what gave me the idea to stop doing traditional 1:1 tutoring, and switch to a less expensive group tutoring model that focuses on training you how to think like a nurse, versus other tutoring models that keep trying to cram more and more overwhelming facts into your brain, and then tell you that you need to learn all these gimmicky test taking strategies in addition to that. 

I’ve always believed that if you’re studying the right way, then you don’t need any special test taking strategies because you just know how to think through the question in a way that makes the right answers literally jump out at you on exams. 

And since I’ve switched to offering the VIP Tutoring Membership exclusively with live group tutoring sessions and private VIP Facebook Group support, I’ve honestly found it to be even more effective than the 1:1 tutoring I used to do. And obviously it’s a lot more affordable, too, and I can help way more students at the same time. 

Now I get that some students might not be convinced that a more affordable group tutoring model with a focus on how to think like a nurse would be as effective as expensive private tutoring for them. So I also offer a more premium monthly option where you can talk to me individually via Voxer, which is a free walk-talkie type app that you can have on your phone or computer. You can send me voice or text messages, pictures, attach files or links, basically anything you’d need to be able to work with me as a tutor. And you can send me questions anytime, 24/7, and get priority answers as soon as I’m available. That’s my Tutor On-Call program, and I only open it for enrollment when I have spaces available, but you can add yourself to the waitlist anytime so that you’ll be the first to be notified when it’s available. You can find the link to both of my paid tutoring options by going to the show notes for this episode at www.YourNursingTutor.com/episode46

Now the SECOND reason that nursing students wait too long to seek help is because instructors often tell you not to worry because everybody always does bad on the first few nursing tests. So you trust your instructors, because they’re supposed to be the experts on this, and you squash down that nagging fear that something actually isn’t normal about that kind of advice, and you continue doing all the same things to study that you’ve already been doing. 

But NOW you feel like you have to do them even more, and study even harder than ever before, to make up for your bad grades and improve. And you end up feeling guilty when you need to take a break, and you feel constantly overwhelmed when you think about all the things you still haven’t studied. 

On top of that, you probably continue getting bad grades on exams this whole time! Which seems to reinforce that there’s something wrong with YOU instead of something wrong with the advice you’ve been given by your instructor. And it makes you start to wonder if maybe you’re not cut out to be a nurse after all, which is complete crap! Sorry if anybody’s got little ears around as you’re listening right now, but it is. The system is broken, but you’re the one being made to feel like it’s your fault. That only if you worked a little harder, or weren’t as dumb, then you would be able to do better in nursing school. 

But like I said, that’s total crap! When you’re putting in the time and effort, yet still not doing well on exams, then there’s something wrong with what you’re doing…but not with YOU. This issue gets me really fired up, and I’ll tell you why.

Just recently, I did a Tutoring Consult for a student who had failed half her exams for the semester before she sought more help. And the reason she didn’t seek professional tutoring help before then was because her instructor told her not to worry until she failed HALF her exams. This poor student was just following the advice of a person she thought was an expert…her instructor But when she returned to her instructor for more help, her instructor didn’t know what to tell her! Because this student was already working so hard and doing all the common things that are generally recommended! She left those office hours feeling really discouraged, because she was basically given zero plans for what to do next. And she knew she was heading for failure in nursing school. 

Luckily, she didn’t give up, and she did some more googling and found me, which is how we ended up doing the private Tutoring Consult, which is an optional add-on you can select when you join the VIP Tutoring Membership. And within 30-min, I was able to accurately figure out her true strengths and weaknesses, tell her exactly what to tweak so that she could see immediate improvements, and then give her a clear plan of action so she knew what steps to take next. And on her very next exam, she finally passed. 

But was it enough for her? Unfortunately, no. She ended up withdrawing from the class that semester because even the best tutoring can’t go back in time to improve your past grades. And when you’ve already failed that many tests, it’s tough to overcome with the limited time remaining in the semester. 

Buuut…now she knows that she can do it! Now she knows that if she had been studying this way from the beginning, she never would have been in this position in the first place. She knows that it’s not HER that was “broken”, it’s simply the way that she was studying…and that has been fixed. So when she retakes this class next year, she’s going to be much better prepared, and will start the semester with stronger grades from the very beginning. 

And I hope that instructor stops telling students to wait to seek more help until halfway through the semester! Because by then, it’s often too late for a quick fix. But if some of those students had received tutoring help from me as soon as their first failed exam, then I would be sharing a different outcome to this story.

Moving on to the third reason why nursing students don’t seek tutoring help until it’s too late, is that you really don’t understand how a tutor could help you, even though you THINK you do. 

A lot of times, students assume that tutors simply offer more of what you can already get at school or on YouTube…you just have to pay for it from a tutor. And so the internal logic goes, that if you’re already struggling despite using your FREE resources, then why would you want to PAY to get more of the same? 

However, this is mistaken logic, because you don’t fully understand what a good tutor can actually DO…and it’s a LOT better than reading powerpoints and rationales, or watching more review videos.

A good tutor can help you assess your strengths and weaknesses, which is MORE than simply knowing what your personal learning style is. This can save you time by letting you focus your studies only on what you personally need to review, which is going to be different than what your classmates, who have different strengths and weaknesses, would need to review. 

A good tutor can also make sure that you’re asking the right questions. What I mean by that is you might think that you need to memorize a list of symptoms to do well on your exam, so you ask me what’s the best way to remember them. And I can turn that around and show you that you actually DON’T want to focus on memorizing those symptoms, you first need to review the normal A&P versus the pathophysiology, which then makes the symptoms seem obvious. And you no longer need to memorize them, because you simply understand why they happen…which means you will never forget them, and can more easily answer questions about that disease process on future exams. 

But if you had been left on your own without an expert tutor to guide you on that, you would have wasted SO MUCH time trying to memorize that random list of symptoms, and then been severely discouraged when you forgot some and/or mixed them up with symptoms of a totally different disease process, and ultimately get several exam questions wrong because all the answer choices seemed equally good to you. 

Finally, the fourth reason why students sometimes don’t get tutoring help is simply because they can’t find it. So I guess that’s not really a reason why they’re not seeking help, because a lot of times you might be looking for it, but you just can’t find the type of help that you’re seeking. And that’s really not your fault. It’s one of the reasons why I encourage you to share this podcast with your classmates, with your instructors, in facebook groups for nursing students, or any other place nursing students hang out. Let’s get the word out there that affordable and effective tutoring support IS available for nursing school. The next time you’re at study group, ask your classmate if you can grab their phone for a sec, and then subscribe them to this podcast using their favorite podcast app. 

Anyway, if you have a nursing tutor at your school available for free, and they’re good, then you are lucky. Most schools don’t even have a nursing tutor available. Back when I was in nursing school, my school hired ME to be their peer tutor during my very first semester. They didn’t have a tutor before me, and they didn’t have a tutor after me. There were “generic” tutors for general math or writing help…but not someone who could specifically help with dosage calculations or how to do better on nursing exams.So if you don’t have a school tutor available, you’re in the majority of nursing students. 

Then there’s also office hours with your instructor as another option. A lot of students take advantage of this option, which is good. But there’s a lot of reasons why that’s often not good enough. First and foremost, because of the reason I explained earlier, how many nursing instructors will give you a false sense of security by telling you that “everyone” does bad at first, not to worry about it, and keep doing more of the same with your studies. This is usually well-intentioned advice, but obviously not the same thing as good advice. 

Another problem with getting help from your instructor is that the whole “nurses eat their young” phenomenon tends to be alive and well in nursing school. So when you seek help, you sometimes get made to feel like a total idiot. And your instructor can be very rude and condescending to you, with exasperated sighs, eye rolls, the whole works. And it’s really sad that they sometimes treat students this way. Obviously not all instructors are like this…but there’s a LOT of them out there like this, and it makes it harder to seek help from them when you’re a student. 

And so many students turn to the internet! And while there are a LOT of great resources available on YouTube, Facebook, and various other websites…it’s just not the same as talking things through with a real person who is listening to the specific question you’re asking, AND make sure that it’s the real question that you NEED to be asking before helping you out, as I discussed in our previous point.

I actually find a lot of times that being a professional nursing tutor is more like being a coach than being a teacher. I can guide you in the right direction, I can redirect you when you have challenges or aren’t sure what to do next, I can give you a balanced perspective on whether your instructor is being reasonable or crazy. And I can save you hours of googling time just by answering your question. It’s like teaching, mentorship, and community, all rolled into one in the VIP Tutoring Membership. 

But at the same time…if you had a coach who only ever TALKED at you, but you never had to hit the field or lift weights for yourself, would you ever improve as an athlete? No! You’ve gotta do the reps for yourself. I always tell my tutoring students that I can train you on the best ways to study, I can answer your questions when you get stuck, I can encourage you and motivate you…but you’ve also got to do your part by wrestling with the nursing information for yourself. And what you’ll discover, is that when you start wrestling with the nursing information using the Silver Bullet Study System that I train my tutoring students to use, which mimics how experienced nurses think, that it’s not as intimidating to study as it was before, when you were studying on your own and without a big picture plan.

That’s all I’ve got for you today! For our next episode, I haven’t quite decided if I’m going to be explaining why some of your instructors are so condescending and rude to you and your classmates sometimes, OR if I’m going to talk about what to do if you’ve been struggling all semester, and now you’re facing the difficult decision of whether you should finish out the semester and risk failing, or cut your losses and withdraw now. If you have an opinion, then make sure you send me a message to let me know!

Until next time good luck on your nursing journey!

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