Read this excerpt from a student who failed a third attempt at a..

Read this excerpt from a student who failed a third attempt at a skill and is therefore dismissed from the program.

“I just flunked my third chance at passing my clinical skills test going into my third semester of nursing school. I am so humiliated. Now I have to withdraw from the program entirely and re-apply, which sets me back a year. I am a good student…I passed all previous skills evaluations, pass clinicals, make at least “B” on classroom work and even scored a 93 on the most recent HESI. I am also a bit angry since I felt I wasn’t given a good environment to pass this final, critical checkoff – missing several items of equipment, the instructor dropped a glass of water during my checkoff and cut me off several times during my explanations. I am so demoralized.”


Evaluation of students is a difficult part of being a faculty member. Skills lab check offs are stressful for both students and faculty, and the outcome is sometimes devastating. Consider your thoughts about skills check offs from an instructor’s perspective.  Consider such things as:

  • Should students be allowed unlimited attempts to pass a skill?  Why or why not?
  • Given that this is high stakes testing, what responsibility does the faculty have to encourage a positive testing environment? What would that look like?
  • Will you be able to fail a student if necessary?  Instructors who struggle with this may pass students on to the next course/instructor, which may have significant legal and ethical ramifications.
  • Students often believe that faculty are trying to “weed out” students.  Do you think that is true?
  • Finally, how has being a practicing nurse changed your perspective on evaluation of students in nursing school?
  • cite any sources used.

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