I've often wondered what nursing school is like. For a nursing student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, the first two years consist of undergraduate requirements. The last 2 to 2 1/2 years are nursing school requirements. The nursing school portion consists of clinical rotations in different fields of patient experiences such as med-surg, pediatrics, obstetrics, a rehab hospital, community health, and intensive care among others. This is similar in some degree to the third year medical school student experience (surgery, OB/GYN, internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine, psychiatry). Generally speaking a nursing student has one or two patients a day they care for while working closely with an employed nurse and an instructor from the College of Nursing.
Most medical students complete four years of undergraduate work before medical school. Then, after completing two years of classroom work in medical school, the third year medical student generally cares for 2-4 patients at a time during their clinical rotations. They complete their history and physical examination by 7 am or earlier (depending on the service) and join the rest of their team (other 3-4 medical students, 1-2 interns, supervising resident, attending) in morning report for the case presentation of the day.
How are third year medical students graded on their clinical rotations? Medical students are at the mercy of their supervising residents and the attending physician. Generally speaking, the residents collaborate with the staff physician. The students are graded on a bubble sheet with a grade of fail, average, better or excellent. Medical students in their clinical rotations are graded on such things as dress and attire, SOAP note writing skills, depth of their differential diagnosis, ability to formulate a plan, and how well they communicate with patients and nurses and other members of the team. At the end of every rotation, third year medical students must also take the national Shelf exam specific to that clinical rotation.
With all that in mind, I found myself wondering just exactly how are nursing students graded on their clinical rotations? That was the question I had to answer. So I asked a practicing male nurse how he grades his nursing students. I was shocked by his response.
- 98% of the grade is determined by looks
- 2% of the grade is determined by personality