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Why You Will Get a "Bad" Grade in Nursing School & Why It Will be the Best Thing to Happen to You

Perhaps you have been a straight A student all your life.

Perhaps you had one subject you struggled with, got Bs in it, but mostly As in the rest of your classes.

Then you started nursing school.

Most students quickly discover that nursing is one of the hardest majors at any university. Not only do you have a lot of time in class, your "lab" equivalent involves learning how to care for really sick people. Most nursing students spend between 24 to 30 hours per week in class --and THEN have lots of reading and other assignments they need to do to prepare for their "labs." After all, in a chemistry lab you probably won't harm or kill anyone due to the highly controlled conditions. When any health profession student is learning, there is always the risk for mistakes and it's why they are so closely supervised.

Inevitably, every nursing student gets their definition of a "bad" grade. For some, this is an actual failure of a class and that can happen for lots of reasons that have nothing to do with your overall competence. For others, it means a B or a C.

Getting a bad grade is good for you. No, really.

First of all, if you've never failed at or struggled with anything before you went to college,  you're not very well prepared for life in general. Failure and struggle are a part of life and believe it or not, it's normal.

Second, if you've never gotten a "bad" grade it's likely due to grade inflation. Schools face lots of pressure to reward high school students with good grades so they can get into good colleges. The grades do not always reflect the quality of work actually delivered.

Then there's my favorite of "But I worked so hard! I deserve a better grade cause I've worked so hard on the [insert assignment here]."

Guess what? You're going to work really hard taking care of patients in the community, hospitals, and other locations. And the patients aren't always going to think you're great and wonderful, not matter what you do.

Getting a bad grade may actually prepare you to deal with that scenario. More importantly, it will teach you that you need to change the way you've worked in the past because taking care of sick people and helping people stay well takes a lot of work.

And you won't always succeed.

Sometimes, you will just have to do your best. And your professors and clinical instructors are there to make sure your best is good enough to deliver safe and quality care to people facing physical and mental health challenges.

Don't sweat the "bad" grade. Take it as a signal that you need to do better.


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