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How well should first year students be doing after their first term?


It’s not easy entering the world of nursing, and you may be disappointed with a less than ‘satisfactory’ report card this January. But how well should freshers expect to be doing after their first term?

Nursing skills have to be built up over time, and nobody is expecting you to save lives on your first day. Even so, can this really be considered an excuse to settle for average grades?

According to the NMC, nurses must complete all of their first year modules, or else be forced to re-sit the year again.

If hospitals are willing to accept you on to their wards, is it your responsibility to make sure you have the proper knowledge and skills to be there?

Nursing is not like other courses. While the marks might be formative, the impact you can have on a patient’s wellbeing is very real.  Does this extra responsibility mean first year marks are more important in nursing than in other subjects? Or are tutors expecting too much too soon?

What do you think?


Readers' comments (3)

  • As a first year nursing student I fully acknowledge the impact I might have on future patients and service users. If I couldn't pass the work I am currently being asked to do I would expect to have to re-sit, and I would question my time and effort spent on my work.

    The work in first year is not ridiculously hard, and is aimed at bringing everyone up to the same levels, so with the support of your university, pass grades should be completely accessible.

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  • I am struggling with what feels like being on 2 courses at the same time - how to learn in uni is so different to learning on placement. I can see a point in time where the theory and practice will support each other, and I am already finding reading my fundamentals text book more understandable. I feel the lack of knowledge I have when dealing with patients because of the responsibility for their care.
    This feels like far more of a real pressure than grades and assessments, which are at the moment feeling a bit like a hoop to jump through, when I really need time to focus on the theory behind the practice I am undertaking.
    My course has been so good so far in terms of layered meshing learning that I am taking on trust that the workbook I have is really useful, although it feels like it focuses on the wrong things.
    I guess it will all come together in the end and that any grades lower than I would like are opportunities to aks the assessor how to improve what I am doing.

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  • My condensed nursing degree is daunting and at times intimidating but it helps keep me focused and is a taste of things to come. This is the reality that nurses face every day. Juggling with keeping their skills and evidence base up to date, while they juggle with an ever varying range of patients and needs. As such, it is vital to set a high standard at this stage as this will echo throughout our future careers. It is the basis of the nurse's credibility and how we can justify with confidence that nursing is indeed a professional endeavour. When we pass, we know we earned it!

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