Failing a Skills Lab (RN)

by Elizabeth Russ, FNP

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    00:01 Let me just come right out and say that I have failed skills labs.

    00:04 Yes, plural: Skills labs.

    00:07 And I still became a nurse.

    00:09 I graduated. And you know what? It was okay. And if you fail a skills lab, even plural, skills labs, you will be okay.

    00:15 No matter how much they try to scare you into thinking that your life depends on this skill lab, it doesn't.

    00:21 Many nursing students will actually fail SIM labs and skills labs and go on to become amazing nurses that do just fine in school and in their career as a nurse. So what if you fail? Well, the next thing I would recommend is to, first, just go slower next time.

    00:38 I found the most common reason I failed skills lab because I was so flustered and nervous that I just flew.

    00:43 I was focused on trying to get it done.

    00:46 I messed up stupid things like checking a pulse with my thumb instead of with my four fingers and my middle finger because I was just trying to get the thing done.

    00:55 Also, talk with your instructor.

    00:58 If you are at all unsure about why you failed or how exactly something works, what the process is, or why you do it this way, go back and nail down exactly what the process is for the skill and practice, practice, practice until you can do that process again in your sleep, incorporating their feedback.

    01:17 And I really want you to just give yourself a little bit of a break.

    01:21 I need you to understand that despite what your school or the Internet may think, failing a skills lab or, heck, failing anything in life at all, it is not a moral failure.

    01:34 It does not mean that you are a bad nursing student, that you won't be a great nurse or that you are not smart.

    01:39 It means that in a really weird high-pressure situation where you are performing a completely new and quite odd task while someone is staring at you intensely, you messed up.

    01:52 That's all. And that is okay.

    01:55 If that happens, you mess up in the really weird situation, I want you to go home, I want you to mope about it. That's fine.

    02:01 And then regroup and make your plan of attack.

    02:04 Practice... Say your mantra that you picked out way back in the preparing for nursing school section. You are enough.

    02:10 You are not alone.

    02:11 And you can do hard things.

    02:12 Or whatever yours is.

    02:14 Remember, it's going to be different for all of us because you...

    02:17 You really can do this.

    02:19 Let's talk technical for a minute.

    02:20 Usually if you do fail, your school will let you take a skills lab, like, three times.

    02:24 If you didn't pass on your second attempt, go and have a serious conversation with the instructor because you have one left.

    02:29 See what they can do to help you.

    02:31 Will they come and help you with the practice and give you pointers as you are there together, practicing in skill labs? Can they explain the steps to you in a way that maybe you would understand it a little bit more with some more rationale? Can they use just a different testing environment, so you can, like, maybe test out with you explaining it, but not in an official testing capacity? Most professors will be willing to work with you if you show that you are also putting the work in.

    02:58 You can do this.

    02:59 Keep going.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Failing a Skills Lab (RN) by Elizabeth Russ, FNP is from the course Build Confidence for Skills Lab (RN).

    Author of lecture Failing a Skills Lab (RN)

     Elizabeth Russ, FNP

    Elizabeth Russ, FNP

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