There are many tools available to help document and “guide” what documentation should cover; however, it is often not discussed what one should say in the meetings or what should be said to guide the students properly. Some instructors are direct, while others may try to come off as nurturing. Regardless of one’s mannerisms, all instructors must advise the students in an unbiased manner.
It has also been noticed that some students often feel that they are being discouraged when being advised. Nursing school is challenging to students and when they fail a course, they often feel as if they have no other hope or, in the words of a previous student, their “life is over.” It is crucial to help them navigate that difficult time without discouraging them.
There are many reasons a student can be unsuccessful in a course, especially in the age of COVID-19. Students are adapting to various changes along with the faculty, which is why advisement is especially important during this time. There are several key points in providing good advisement to unsuccessful students without discouraging them.
While all instructors care for the students’ wellbeing and wish nothing more than for them to succeed throughout their courses, the boundaries must be set before beginning a meeting. We want our students to understand that we are “human” and understand what they may be facing however, some students may confuse this association with friendship. The mistaken “friendship” could blur the lines of professionalism within the student-teacher relationship. When beginning an advisement session, one should create a brief list of advisement objectives and standards, if possible. This list could be as vague as using the school’s provided outline or creating a personalized one. If you create a customized set of objectives, make sure they are not written in a defensive tone.
An example of this would be:
Incorrect: Group advisement will be held on the first Monday of each month. Personal advising is only available if my schedule allows it.
Correct: Schedule and attend regular advising appointments. Come prepared and on time to each appointment.
Incorrect: Go to the counseling center before meeting with me.
Correct: Utilize campus resources and be involved in connecting on campus.
It’s imperative to remember that writing has a tone, can come off strong at times. The wording chosen in your message or notice can be the difference between a student being receptive or defensive.