Free Nursing Tutoring Won’t Help You…

I’ll be straight with you: finances are tough for most nursing students, and it can feel like a stretch to pay for additional tutoring on top of your everyday bills PLUS nursing school tuition. Which is why I know that the opinion I’m sharing today is going to make some people really mad.

It’s not a good idea for me to offer free tutoring.

I get how frustrating this can be when money is tight. But I’ve been tutoring for a long time, in a lot of different scenarios. I’ve done tutoring where I’ve been paid by someone else, and the student receives it for free. I’ve done it where it’s absolutely free and I’m not even getting paid. And I’ve tutored where the student (or, in some cases, their parents) are paying me directly for the tutoring.

But based on my personal experiences as a tutor, I’ve got strong opinions about why paying for tutoring is worth your money…and why I never tutor for free anymore (but what I do instead to still make tutoring more affordable and accessible to as many nursing students as possible!).

The Value of Tutoring

Most students think of tutoring as something that you need only to help with exams. That tutoring is intended as a way to replace your teacher by “reteaching” the information that you already covered in class.

That couldn’t be further from the truth. (At least, not with a good tutor!)

I always want to tutor myself out of a job. That means I don’t simply want to spoonfeed you the information so that you can memorize it for your exam. That’s actually a recipe for failure.

Instead, I want to guide you through how to think about that nursing content so that you can learn to think like a nurse for yourself. To do that, I work with students to help identify any knowledge gaps you still have, assess your current study techniques, and develop a success plan that takes into account all of your personal goals (which rarely include “get straight A’s”, and are more likely to include “shower, go to bed on time, and still pass my exam tomorrow”).

For me, tutoring is more about being a comprehensive Nursing School coach, which has benefits far beyond simply passing an exam. And in order to get the most out of tutoring, you as the student have to understand the benefits as well.

Real Life Tutoring Experiences

Over my 15-year career as a professional nursing tutor, I’ve experimented with offering free tutoring. There was only one very specific situation where free tutoring worked out well…every other time, one or both of us got burned.

I’ve come to learn that it’s not about the money—it’s about the value and commitment a student has to the tutoring process. But I’m going to tell you the tutoring stories that led to my decision…then let you decide for yourself.

Story Time: Peer Tutoring (Free for them, Paid for me)

The Postive Side

I started my nursing tutoring career as a peer tutor when I was still in nursing school. This gave me some great, first-hand experience providing free tutoring, while still getting paid for my time by my school.

This can be a great option for some nursing students, IF your school has a peer tutoring program. However, as you might guess, the quality of peer tutoring can be rather hit or miss. I like to think that I was a great tutor that provided a lot of value to the other nursing students in my program! But over the years I have heard stories of other peer tutors who mean well…but don’t really know what they’re doing.

In any case, I quickly found myself with a core group of nursing students who would come see me for tutoring on a regular basis. A few of them formed a sort of “study group” where they would also come see me together so I could provide group tutoring for them.

These students were amazing! They were eager to learn, grateful for the help I offered, and (most importantly!) always went home and actually did the things I recommended they do to study after each tutoring session.

It was an absolute pleasure watching them progress through nursing school, and hearing their success stories after each exam! Some of those students I’m still in touch with today, over 15 years later.

The Negative Side

However…not all the students who used my free peer tutoring services saw the best benefit. Some were (unfortunately!!) an exercise in wasting both our time.

There was one nursing student in particular that I remember. She came in alone for 1:1 tutoring to prepare for her Cardiac Unit in Med-Surg. Even back then, I always did a quick tutoring assessment at the beginning of each session (I was training to be a nurse after all, and nurses always assess!).

I quickly realized that this student didn’t remember any of her Cardiac A&P. I mean zero of it. Usually, students will remember at least a little bit, but are fuzzy on the details. She thought that the deoxygenated blood flowed through the entire heart before it ever went into the lungs to get oxygen!

It was okay, it didn’t mean she was dumb, it simply meant she had a knowledge gap. We talked about it, I reviewed the most important Cardiac A&P she needed to know, explained why it was so important, and told her to review it during the upcoming week.

The following week she returned for tutoring, and what did I do? A tutoring assessment, of course! Only to discover that she still woefully lacked any Cardiac A&P knowledge. She hadn’t reviewed it at all since our last tutoring session. I did the best I could to help her, reviewed Cardiac A&P again and emphasized its importance, and told her to memorize it before our next session.

She came back a third time for tutoring with her Cardiac A&P still unmemorized. What’s a tutor to do?

(SIDE NOTE: this is why I can’t give you a straight answer if you want to know what my “success rates” are for my tutoring services! How do I measure something like that when everybody has a different definition of success, AND not everybody follows the tutoring plan I provide?)

In any case, I told her that I couldn’t help her anymore than I already had until she had her Cardiac A&P memorized. It was a frustrating lesson for me, since I could clearly see her path to success…but she wasn’t willing to follow it.

Story Time: Independent Tutoring (Free for them, Unpaid for me)

After I graduated Nursing School, I stopped peer tutoring (obviously) as I started my first job as an RN. However, I continued getting phone calls from students attending my alma mater. There was no peer tutor to replace me, and they still desperatelly needed tutoring support.

I was no longer getting paid by my school to do tutoring, obviously. But I still wanted to help out (and I love teaching!), so I decided to continue tutoring for free.

…the ONLY time it worked out well!

Remember that core group of nursing students who had formed their own study group to come to me as a peer tutor? They were amazingly dedicated, grateful for my support, and consistently taking the tutoring advice I offered.

They started coming to my house on a weekly basis, and let me know in advance if any of them couldn’t make it. It was such an honor to tutor them, and watch them one by one pass their classes, succeed at NCLEX, and continue on into their nursing careers.

Skye etc (and why this was a very specific situation). I still offer “free” tutoring to a very, very select few students who I’ve previously worked with and then we go on to sort of “barter” where they volunteer to do things inside my membership in exchange for “free” tutoring. But I know these students are already strongly invested in their learning and tutoring process, and I’ve already seen them follow through and get results on multiple occasions.

…When It Didn’t Work Out Well…

There was another nursing student who I had never worked with before, but had heard about me and called me for tutoring help. I agreed to tutor her for free, but it quickly became apparent that this was not going to be a productive tutoring relationship.

She would show up to tutoring sessions expecting me to teach her something, and offering excuses as to why she hadn’t had time to do the things I’d recommended from our previous tutoring session.

Finally, I decided to give her a “test”: I gave her a tutoring assignment, and told her that she could schedule her next tutoring session after she completed the tutoring assignment.

I didn’t hear from her for more than 3 months.

When she did finally call me to schedule? She was full of excuses as to why she had needed to “take a break” from tutoring…and still had not completed the tutoring assignment I had given her.

It was okay, I wasn’t mad at her. I gently informed her that it was fine, but that she still needed to complete that tutoring assignment before she could schedule another tutoring session with me.

I never heard from her again.

Story Time: Offering my Group Tutoring Membership (Free for them, paid for me)

I totally understand that tutoring can be expensive, which is why I’m always looking for ways to make it more affordable for nursing students. However, I obviously need to balance that with being compensated for my own time and expertise, and making sure that I don’t sacrifice my own self-care (not to mention time with my family and friends!).

Which is why I launched my Group Tutoring Membership several years ago. It was a great way to make tutoring a lot more accessible and affordable, while still getting nursing students great results with the Silver Bullet Study System. And it was waaaay cheaper than paying for regularly schedule individual, 1:1 tutoring sessions!

A nursing colleague learned about a single mom who was going to nursing school and having a hard time financially and academically. She offered to pay for a 6-month membership for this mom so that I could provide tutoring support and help her make nursing school a little easier. I even threw in a free 1:1 tutoring assessment to help her get started with my membership so that it wouldn’t be so overwhelming to her.

She showed up to the 1:1 session, gushing about how appreciative she was to have this resource, and how much she looked forward to using it.

I never saw her heard from her again after that first session. She never attended a group tutoring session. She never asked me any questions in our members-only forum. She never logged in and used any of the library of nursing school resources she had available in the membership. I have no idea whether she ever passed nursing school.

The Importance of Having “Skin in the Game”

All these past tutoring experiences taught me that while there are some nursing students out there who will appreciate and use free tutoring…there is no way for me to be able to guess who they are without personally knowing them and working with them first.

And with as many nursing students who find me on the internet, obviously I can’t work with everybody for free, so that I can discover who would actually use it (and who wouldn’t!). It’s not a good use of my time, and it would waste tutoring resources that could be better used by nursing students who would actually use it.

Not to mention that I am a big proponent that nurses deserve to be paid! Just because it’s a “helping profession” doesn’t mean that “helpers” should work for free. It wouldn’t be fair to me to work as an unpaid tutor. I have bills to pay and groceries to buy too, not to mention the amount of time it would take away from me spending with my husband and children.

Which is why I no longer offer free tutoring services to nursing students. And I know some people get mad about that…but I hope now you at least understand a little bit more about why I gradually came to that decision.

How I NOW Help Students Who Can’t Afford Nursing Tutoring

Instead of offering free tutoring, I offer a variety of ways to help that can fit into any budget. Since I found that nursing students who are willing and able to prioritize paying for my services, then I do tend to spend most of my time serving them. But I also make sure to provide some level of help and support to everyone. Here’s how:

  • Free content: Every week, I post multiple videos on TikTok and other social media channels containing nursing school study tips and answering nursing school questions. I also have a free podcast (Navigating Nursing School with Your Nursing Tutor) and a YouTube Channel where I dive a little deeper into explaining those study tips and sometimes reviewing nursing content. Not only that, but I also have a free email newsletter where I email out nursing school tips regularly. You can even get a FREE Silver Bullet Study System overview when you join the email list.
  • Pre-Nursing Bootcamp, Silver Bullet Study System Bootcamp, Dosage Calculations Bootcamp: These self-study courses help you tackle some of the most challenging issues nursing students face, without the commitment of an ongoing membership payment. Think of it like a “do-it-yourself” project, since it doesn’t come with live tutoring support…but it does include all of the best, actionable, step-by-step advice that I always give my tutoring students.
  • Group Tutoring Membership: Honestly, this is the most affordable way to get professional nursing tutor access that I have ever seen offered anywhere. It includes all of my self-study courses PLUS a library of other training study support materials. And, of course, weekly group tutoring sessions plus access to post unlimited nursing school questions for me that always get a guaranteed answer. The majority of nursing students can get exactly what they need to get the results you want based on the way I tutor using my Group Tutoring Membership. I also have a scholarship available that gives a discount on my monthly tutoring membership for those with financial need. You can always email me to inquire about the scholarship application.
  • Private, 1:1 Tutoring: This is the most expensive option, obviously, but can be great for the right nursing student when they have the budget for it. It can also be a great occasional supplement for the group tutoring membership, too! Whenever you have a shorter timeline, are too embarrassed to ask your questions in front of our (very supportive, very encouraging ❤️) community of nursing students, or you simply have a personal preference for 1:1 attention, then private tutoring is available.

No matter what your budget, I know you’ll find some sort of nursing school help with Your Nursing Tutor. You can do this! And you don’t have to do it alone.

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