Question about unfriendly preceptor

  1. Hi all. I am so happy I found this website. I have been in orientation for 2 weeks, and I am not having a good experience. Part of it is me, I am nervous most of the time, and seriously lacking self confidence on the job. My preceptor and I have been organizing our shift by me taking 2 patients, and her usually taking 1 or 2, and she tells me I can ask questions if needed, and we basically separate from there. She seems annoyed everytime I ask her something; about pt care or charting or whatever. Yesterday I asked if she could help me insert a foley (female patient), and she said, "Can you find someone else to help you, I have to get this admit done". Then she marches around showing me things, she never smiles or makes eye contact, and she seems to just be pissed that she has to precept me. I was wondering if I should talk to my nurse manager and ask for someone new, or just suck it up and deal with it. Should I confront her directly about it? (I am scheduled to be with her for the next 3 weeks)
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   KatieBell
    I might request a new preceptor. Some people really hate to precept. Sometimes it helps to "break the ice" by saying, "I know that its a lot of extra work for you, and I don't know how you drew the short straw to precept me, but I really appreciate you showing me the ropes" Other times that can't help. Unfortunately you don't know whats going on in the preceptors life. She may normally enjoy precepting, but now her Mother is sick in LTC or something that she isn't talking about, totally unrelated to you.
    Your orientation, however, is your time to get lots of help, and get comfortable. Seems she is unable for whatever reason to actually provide much support- so maybe a switch would be in order. I'm always enrvous to ask for a switch, as the preceptor was chosen for a reason...but if she isn't meeting your needs, try to get a switch...
    Good Luck!
  4. by   Jennerizer
    I would ask for a different preceptor. It doesn't sound like she is giving you the time of day & what are you going to learn from that? I don't know why some nurses are so aggravated when they have to precept. I look forward to the day that I have a student or new nurse to help learn things. Good luck to you.

    Jen
  5. by   sclig2001
    Hi cjblu-I like the lines of being upfront and honest but still using that method that katiebell suggested of using "nice" to get your point across. The one thing that is hard is to be assertive, especially when we are new. You also don't want the rep of being one who goes "behind people's backs". So, I'd sit down with her-place the cards on the table in a way that lets her know you recognize the burden it has created for ehr, and you wouldn't be so sure you'd welcome that "burden" if in her position-so you've been thinking of sharing that concern with your nurse manager to see if there is soomeone else so you could give her a break. A couple things will occur-she'll get the message and totally shape up her attitude or else if she should have serious things going on in her life and she can't manage-she'll agree with the plan to try someone new. In either case, she'll gain a new respect for you-whether she continues to work with you or not. You need to look for your educational needs first and ensure they are being met. I wish you luck! Sometimes people who act this way also just need a little recognition and an extra thank you-that may be because she isn't or hasn't been feeling recognized. Best of luck-you'll be fine!
    Sclig2001



    Quote from cjblu
    Hi all. I am so happy I found this website. I have been in orientation for 2 weeks, and I am not having a good experience. Part of it is me, I am nervous most of the time, and seriously lacking self confidence on the job. My preceptor and I have been organizing our shift by me taking 2 patients, and her usually taking 1 or 2, and she tells me I can ask questions if needed, and we basically separate from there. She seems annoyed everytime I ask her something; about pt care or charting or whatever. Yesterday I asked if she could help me insert a foley (female patient), and she said, "Can you find someone else to help you, I have to get this admit done". Then she marches around showing me things, she never smiles or makes eye contact, and she seems to just be pissed that she has to precept me. I was wondering if I should talk to my nurse manager and ask for someone new, or just suck it up and deal with it. Should I confront her directly about it? (I am scheduled to be with her for the next 3 weeks)
  6. by   Town & Country
    Tell your Nurse Manager that it's not a good fit and request a different preceptor.
    Happens all the time. Nothing unusual about that.
  7. by   Jessy_RN
    I agree with asking for a new preceptor.

    Good luck.
  8. by   neonatalRN
    I would definitely ask for a new preceptor.

    Hey, I am in Minneapolis, too!

    Heidi
  9. by   nursing 101
    I didn't even start orientation yet at the hospital I'm employed. HR and the nurse manager on the first interview have insisted on letting them know if I have any problems with the precep. I have friends that work at the hospital and they have told me that they don't play about their new grads being precepted in the wrong atmosphere.
    I would ask for another preceptor but let your current one know of your decision (in a nice way). I do believe in being upfront with people because they know down the line that you are not a back stabber, that you mean business and have the guts to stand up for yourself as well.
  10. by   Anagray
    Hi!
    Sorry things aren't going so well.
    I would actually tell her exactly how you feel. Use appropriate language and start with smoething like " I feel l you are upset with me, is there something..."
    I had a preceptor that made me feel so anxious, unsure and even angry at times. It drove me nuts. Finally I broke down and told her how I felt. Strangely, my preceptor had NO CLUE she was making me feel like that and in turn she was actually very hurt that my preceptorship went almost all the way with such a heavy rock on my back. It was too late to switch a preceptor at this point - I only had 2 days left.
    The bottome line is - you need to get as much out of this experience as you can - I didn't and I ended up having quite a few problems after I was on my own. Do whatever it takes to make this experience right - you probably will not have another chance. If your preceptor does not find a common ground with you, go to the coordinator.

    Good luck.
  11. by   Bambury
    My advice is that you be respectful, but honest. Point out what you noticed, and how it's made you feel. Regardless of how she treats you afterwards, she will most likely have a new found respect for you. When I was doing my preceptorship, my RN was a bully. At times, I had to be the "mentor" to her, and calm her down, present her things from the correct perspective, etc. I also reported her behavior to my clinical professor, as well as the nurse manager. The preceptor was more careful, and aware afterwards. At the end of the season, she awarded me the highest marks, and also came up to apologize for her behavior.

    I hope it'll go well with you too. It takes bravery to be respectfully honest. I hope you'll be brave!
  12. by   Billy5949
    Hi. I wondered what the outcome of this situation was...
    I am tempted to ask for a new preceptor, however, I'm afraid of the reprecussions -it's a very small group.

    I am a new grad, orienting now for ~3 weeks. My preceptor and I got along fine in the beginning. But her original tactics are no longer useful. She is very much a 'know it all' that feels easily threatened by anyone and everyone. She often bad mouths other nurses who gave her report, or the ER for their lousey admission flow sheets. If I attempt to do anything on my own, I am told that it is wrong -as if my trying to be independent is an insult to her -and thereby making me a 'know it all'. (What I do wrong goes all the way the type of chuck I use. Minute crap.) At one point while I was trying to be independent as she settled another issue, and she came over to me and said 'you know you couldn't do all this w/o me'. And believe me, I KNOW THAT. But isn't that the point of orienting? To grow and evenutally get to that point? I am terrified of not adequately learning my job. At some point, I must go it alone. So I try to be as proactive and as aggressive as I can.

    Instead of a sharing of the minds, it seems to be a battle of the minds. I don't know why. Should I just be stupid? She treats me as if I am in nursing school -and while I have a lot to learn, I am very familiar with pedal pulses. I feel very indignified in front of the patients, as she tends to ridicule and condescendly correct me in front of them.

    Is it me? Do I sound too 'know it all' like? I've been self-reflecting. Normally I think everything is my fault -but I just can't figure out where I am going wrong in this one. HELP. Do I suck it up?
  13. by   luv4nursing
    Wow, you guys are really hitting the nail on the head. at least we arent alone! I guess we must learn to apologize, since unlike them, when were were born the doctor didnt smack us on the but and yell "ITS A NURSE":hatparty:

    My first preceptor tried to ridicule me and questioned every tiny thing I did when I hadnt even done anything wrong, only differently than her. Just a couple of examples are rolling he eyes and laughing at me when I wanted to listen to lung sounds before trach suctioning as well as after (we were taught to do both so u can hear the quality both times and hopefully hear an improvement). Also, she would raise her voice and tell me NOOO.....thats not how you do it over minute things like changing a feeding pump bag (she insisted I fill the new bag before taking the first one down---who cares, it takes less than a minute to do the whole process. its no different than putting it on hold to give meds.) And even down to asking me why I changed a diaper a certain way (who cares as long as I get it on) AND, get this, even how I washed a patients hair. I had to walk away a couple of times to get away from her so I didnt go off on her.

    Maybe its supposed to be like the marines where they break u down till u think u are nothing and then build u back up into a superiority complex (which is what many of them have)...lol.

    I felt so much better on my last orientation day when I had an awesome preceptor who showed me how to do things and didnt talk down to me or order me around. She also said she was impressed by me and that she wouldnt have guessed I was new by watching me. She said I knew more than lots of nurses who werent new but came from a different setting, and that the patient I had cared for was their hardest patient so if I could take care of him I could take care of any other their other patients easily. He was a 20 y/o amputee on a vent with a trach and G tube. the setting is a childrens group home for medically fragile kids. I actually loved taking care of him.

    My sister told me that you have to realize what brought u to nursing and dont let anyone make u think u arent good enough. Dont let anyone break your spirit. You are new and fresh and some are old and bitter. She says she thinks it has to do with women being catty and I cant really argue. Think of it, as a profession in general, Doctors (who are men for the most part) have each others back, but nurses will turn on each other in a hearbeat.

    She also said that even though its hard when u are new, u have to set your limits and stand up for yourself bc nobody else is going to stand up for you. If u let ppl know that you will take their sh* then they will run all over you. If someone speaks to you in a bad way, you need to nip it in the bud bc if u dont then its your own fault for allowing their behavior. Look them in the eye and let them know they are crossing the line. Im gonna keep this in mind, since Ive always been the sweet, nonconfrontational, push over type. not gonna happen anymore. its all about demanding the respect you deserve as not only a nurse, but a human being. I have no problem with constructive criticism, its the belittling and being spoken to like a child that I wont tolerate. I know it is going to be hard to speak up for yourself, but once you do it, you will feel so empowered. Just because you are kind doesnt mean you are weak and youve got to let people know not to mistake the two.
  14. by   GrnHonu99
    Quote from Future_RN_Jess
    I agree with asking for a new preceptor.

    Good luck.
    I agreee, I would just ask for a new preceptor.

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