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Ep232: How to Talk to Nursing Professors (even when they don’t want to talk to you)

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Did you know Nursing is considered one of the most difficult undergraduate degrees (up there with Engineering and Physics)?


Add to this the stress of communicating with faculty and professors, it can seem unbearable.  In today’s episode, I share with you a few tips on opening the line of communication with nursing school professors.


 Meet Your Hardest Professor Face to Face on their TURF

Every nursing program has one . . . the professor who seems to think their entire goal in life is to fail every student.

They are tired of students, they want to prove how smart they are, they think you have no idea what it means to think analytically.

Use this to your advantage . . . Most students will hate this professor so much that they will avoid them like the plague.

That’s great!

That means that their office hours will be wide open for you to meet with them.

These teachers are usually the toughest graders and teach the most important courses (Adult Med Surg, Pharm).  So you really need to ACE their course.

Once you get an exam back from this teacher and realize that the correct answer isn’t the MOST correct answer on nearly every option ; ) . . . every other student will throw their hand in the air trying to argue for 1 extra point.

This might get you an extra point on this exam but it doesn’t make a difference in the grand scheme.

Just sit back and let every other student grade grub

. . . once class is over walk right up to the teacher and make an appointment to meet in her office to talk about your performance in the course.

When you meet with them bring your exam with you . . .

Here’s what you say:

“I feel like I studied really hard for this test, I read all the assigned reading (because you did), I took the practice tests, I felt like I understood the material in class . . . but my grade on this test has me a bit discouraged . . . I’ve always been a good student . . . what can I do to better prepare for your exams.”

That’s it . . .

You proved to her that you have some balls and courage to approach her personally, you showed that you get the material or at least attempted to understand it, then you put the ball in their court by saying . . . what should I be doing . . . FROM HER PERSPECTIVE to better prepare.

This method works wonders . . .

  • It shows them that you give a crap!
  • You aren’t arguing with them like every other nursing student in the history of the world!
  • It allows to step inside their mind and understand how they write their tests!
  • The professor WILL give you tips for passing their tests!

Remember . . . you will need references from your teachers . . . being friends with the tough ones is a HUGE advantage.

Relationships . . .

Nursing is all about relationships and mutual respect.

I followed this method with my toughest professors and to this day . . . years after graduation . . . I am still in contact with those same professors that many other students couldn’t stand.


You CAN do this!  Nursing is HARD . . . nursing school is IMPOSSIBLE if you don’t learn how to develop a system that works!

You can do amazingly well . . . and amaze yourself with what you are capable of . . . trust me . . . I did!

Do NOT fear!  This really works:

how to talk to your professor

63 Must Know Lab ValuesQuick! Is this aPTT Count Dangerous? Hesitant? Never Feel Anxious About Lab Values Again...
Grab Free Cheat Sheet

Date Published - Mar 6, 2017
Date Modified - Jun 20, 2019

Jon Haws RN

Written by Jon Haws RN

Jon Haws RN began his nursing career at a Level I Trauma ICU in DFW working as a code team nurse, charge nurse, and preceptor. Frustrated with the nursing education process, Jon started NRSNG in 2014 with a desire to provide tools and confidence to nursing students around the globe. When he's not busting out content for NRSNG, Jon enjoys spending time with his two kids and wife.


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    Jolene Rhea

    Hi, Jon. I just got finished up with my first term of year two. We defiantly have one of those older “eat your young” type teachers. We are never given any guidance. I giggled a little bit when I read the part where you mention “practice tests”. We have never been given such a tool EVER. As a matter of fact, most of the questions on our final that we took recently, we had never even heard of before. It’s so frustrating to have to learn the whole wide world of nursing, and our teachers seem to think that they don’t need to at least narrow down the content for us. I have expressed my feeling and have told them that it would be amazing if they would give us study tools. We are still waiting. There was one test this term that the teacher actually tested over the chapter that we read and I received my first ever 100%. If you tell me what to study, you bet your butt, I’m going to study the crap out of it. Never knowing what’s coming makes it so much harder and leaves everyone feeling like such a huge failure. When we ask about what to study they just say, “It’s cumulative”. So I re-studye everything I have taught myself over the past 15 months and then they give us tests where we have never seen any of the material. I NEVER expected nursing school to be easy, but some guidance and tools would be appreciated. Sometimes I spend 12 hours studying for a test just to find that I have studied all the wrong stuff (e.g., our final). It’s not that I’m not putting in a tremendous amount of effort, it’s just that I don’t know where to put the effort in. There are 9 in my cohort and every single one of us feel this way. I think I am going to subscribe to your site. I need to learn this information from somewhere, even if it doesn’t help with tests.