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Top 5 Ways to Impress Your Nursing Professor

(or at least avoid getting eaten...)

1. Never ever ask, "What do we need to know for the test?"

Your professor just spent an hour lecturing on the test topic…if you ask her what will be on the exam, she will roll her eyes and give an exasperated sigh before saying that you are responsible for everything in the textbook. And while that’s technically true (but also literally impossible…), now she’ll also be irritated with you and think you weren’t listening to her lecture.

Instead, prepare for class by trying to identify the most important information for yourself. Then, if you’re not yet confident that you are studying the right things, go to her office hours with your notes and ask her if you’re on the right track.

2. Always check at least 3 sources before emailing your professor with questions.

Your professor gets an overwhelming amount of email each day…and “quick” questions that only take a moment to type will take your professor longer than that to answer. And if that question has already been answered somewhere else, she will quickly feel frustrated at you!

Three ideas for sources to check before emailing are 1) your syllabus, 2) a classmate, and 3) your online course resources. 

If you check all 3 and still don’t have your answer, then go ahead and email…but make sure to briefly mention all the places you checked first, just so your professor knows you are trying to be respectful of her time.

3. Fake it until you make it.

But that doesn’t mean that you have to pretend like you already know everything and never have questions.

It means that you need to be brave enough to take chances and accept opportunities as they arise, especially in clinical and sims lab. While it’s tempting to hang back when you feel like you don’t know exactly what to do…trust me, your professor already knows that you don’t know exactly what to do! It’s what you’re in nursing school to learn, after all. 

Bonus tip: When possible, talk through your thought process out loud so that your professor knows why you’re doing things…not only will that help her to know how to teach you better, but it also shows her that you have been working hard to learn this stuff!

4. Advocate respectfully.

Whether it’s an exam error, a schedule change, or even an unfounded accusation…it’s always in your best interest to advocate for yourself while also remaining respectful towards your professor. Not only will she be more willing to listen, but you will be demonstrating your professionalism at the same time. 

This means that no matter how upset you are, you need to wait to approach your instructor 1) after your emotions have cooled down, 2) at a convenient time for her (office hours, perhaps?), 3) with a respectful, problem-solving attitude. 

Oh, and please never say anything like, “I pay your salary!” because nursing professors are waaaay underpaid anyway. 

5. Find a nursing mentor.

With all the stress and craziness that happens in nursing school, it’s essential to find a SAFE nursing mentor who will definitely not try to “eat” you. Research shows that nursing students with a supportive mentor have increased levels of confidence, critical thinking, and overall satisfaction (in addition to decreased stress and anxiety!). 

It could be one of your instructors, clinical preceptors, a nurse friend, or someone else…but whoever it is needs to know what it’s like to go through nursing school, and be able to help guide and advice you through the challenges. 

If you need to find a trustworthy mentor, try the Your Nursing Tutor VIP Tutoring Membership! As a professional nursing tutor with 12+ years experience, I’ve mentored hundreds of nursing students towards improving their grades, feeling more confident, and having a much easier nursing school experience.