As a BSN student in clinicals it seems like many floor nurses are "mean spirited".

  1. Here are a few examples that I've experienced or witnessed during my time in clinicals:

    1. It is common that I or one of my fellow students will ask a qustion, or simply say hello, good morning ect to a staff nurse, LPN, or CNA and get absolutely NO reply. In the case of a question I've even asked several times on occassion only to be treated as if I wasn't even there (to me being absolutely ignored is almost worse than saying they won't, can't, or don't have time to answer a question).

    2. On another occasion I was accused of deliberately not giving a bed bath by a CNA. In fact, I had made a mistake. I was the "student charge" nurse and when I returned to my patients room (after performing "treatments" for fellow students) the door was closed. The REAL charge nurse said that the CNA was giving a bath to a patient so I should wait to enter (unfortunately I should have asked which patient, but didn't). Then when I did enter the room (after helping another student give a bed bath down the hall) there was a used bed bath pan on the table, and two wet towels there also. My patient was semi-comatose (CV accident) and was sleeping in any case so I couldn't ask him. I assumed that my patient had been bathed and went on assisting other students. At the end of the day when I was leaving the CNA wanted to know which student had room eleven. When I said it was me, she got right in my face and said "if you aren't going to do a bath then you should tell someone and if you can't do that then you have no business being a nurse!" This was in front of my instructor. I apologized and offered to do the bath right then, but was refused the opportunity. The next day I was assigned to a patient in the ICU stepdown unit. At first the RN who was also in the room (assigned to another patient also in the room) was very pleasant we even made various "small talk". Then the CNA who yelled at me the day before stopped by and they went into the hall to talk.

    After that the RN who had been pleasant became silent, she wouldnt' converse with me anymore. What is more when I went to give my patient a bed bath she criticised me at every step. She said I was too slow ("no hospital will ever hire you if you can't go faster than that"), and then criticised how I washed the perineal area saying I was being too gentle and not using enough water. When I went to change the water (as we are trained to do in school) she said I shouldn't leave my patients bed side during a procedure (I put the rails back up). I didn't say anything except that I was doing my best and would try harder. Finally, she accused me of deliberately doing a poor job so as to cause her to take over the procedure (which she did) and suggested that I should consider an alternative career. At this I nearly broke down in tears and went to see my instructor who re-assinged me to a different patient. However, the nurse in question walked into the room and said she wanted to talk to my instructor in private. She accused me of "patient abandonment" for leaving my patient (when I went to see my instructor and was reassigned). My instructor said she was probably mad at me because the CNA in question was written up for the way she confronted me on the previous day. Honestly, it seems like maybe 25% of the staff nurses (and I'm being conservative in my estimate) would just as soon we were not there. This is the first time I've ever experienced anything this dramatic and it's been bothering me for a few days now to the point I can hardly sleep. I swear, that IF I make it through school that I will go out of my way to be nice to furture nursing students who are doing there best!
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  2. 28 Comments

  3. by   suzanne4
    Sorry that you are having such a bad time with your clinicals. I have laways gone out of the way to be nice to the students on my unit, taking the time to gather them up if I thought there was an interesting procedure for them to see that maybe would not be done again for a while, etc. That is how I learned and I think that is the way it should be. Unfortunately, there are some bad apples there. But just remember, "what goes around, comes around."

    Good luck and sorry that you have to deal with such "ignorant" people.
  4. by   orrnlori
    I've seen nursing students taken advantage of by CNA's who consider it a day off when students are on the floor. I've also heard nurses state they are not there to teach students (and I work in a teaching hospital!!!). I'm sorry you've had this experience. Your estimation of nasty nurses is probably correct across the board. You need to realize that nurses like this also treat other staff nurses the same way usually. I saw this on the floor far more than I've seen it since coming to the OR, that's one of the reasons I here and not there anymore. You will have better experiences as you go though your program. Don't color us all with the same brush, I know that's hard right now. Developing thicker skin is one of the things you will be forced to do once you are a nurse. It's hard, I know. Good luck with school. And remember we aren't all like those you described. I promise.
  5. by   VickyRN
    Quote from Love767
    Here are a few examples that I've experienced or witnessed during my time in clinicals:

    1. It is common that I or one of my fellow students will ask a qustion, or simply say hello, good morning ect to a staff nurse, LPN, or CNA and get absolutely NO reply. In the case of a question I've even asked several times on occassion only to be treated as if I wasn't even there (to me being absolutely ignored is almost worse than saying they won't, can't, or don't have time to answer a question).

    2. On another occasion I was accused of deliberately not giving a bed bath by a CNA. In fact, I had made a mistake. I was the "student charge" nurse and when I returned to my patients room (after performing "treatments" for fellow students) the door was closed. The REAL charge nurse said that the CNA was giving a bath to a patient so I should wait to enter (unfortunately I should have asked which patient, but didn't). Then when I did enter the room (after helping another student give a bed bath down the hall) there was a used bed bath pan on the table, and two wet towels there also. My patient was semi-comatose (CV accident) and was sleeping in any case so I couldn't ask him. I assumed that my patient had been bathed and went on assisting other students. At the end of the day when I was leaving the CNA wanted to know which student had room eleven. When I said it was me, she got right in my face and said "if you aren't going to do a bath then you should tell someone and if you can't do that then you have no business being a nurse!" This was in front of my instructor. I apologized and offered to do the bath right then, but was refused the opportunity. The next day I was assigned to a patient in the ICU stepdown unit. At first the RN who was also in the room (assigned to another patient also in the room) was very pleasant we even made various "small talk". Then the CNA who yelled at me the day before stopped by and they went into the hall to talk.

    After that the RN who had been pleasant became silent, she wouldnt' converse with me anymore. What is more when I went to give my patient a bed bath she criticised me at every step. She said I was too slow ("no hospital will ever hire you if you can't go faster than that"), and then criticised how I washed the perineal area saying I was being too gentle and not using enough water. When I went to change the water (as we are trained to do in school) she said I shouldn't leave my patients bed side during a procedure (I put the rails back up). I didn't say anything except that I was doing my best and would try harder. Finally, she accused me of deliberately doing a poor job so as to cause her to take over the procedure (which she did) and suggested that I should consider an alternative career. At this I nearly broke down in tears and went to see my instructor who re-assinged me to a different patient. However, the nurse in question walked into the room and said she wanted to talk to my instructor in private. She accused me of "patient abandonment" for leaving my patient (when I went to see my instructor and was reassigned). My instructor said she was probably mad at me because the CNA in question was written up for the way she confronted me on the previous day. Honestly, it seems like maybe 25% of the staff nurses (and I'm being conservative in my estimate) would just as soon we were not there. This is the first time I've ever experienced anything this dramatic and it's been bothering me for a few days now to the point I can hardly sleep. I swear, that IF I make it through school that I will go out of my way to be nice to furture nursing students who are doing there best!
    Please, please don't let these mean-spirited turkeys rob you of your confidence and your dream. I had an experience last year that nearly caused me to quit being a nursing instructor all together. I conducted a clinical on a hall out of hell. The nurses were unbelievably nasty, not only to my students, but also to me. It was like having a clinical in a snake pit. And yes, bathing the patients was frequently the bone of contention, but there were a LOT of other issues as well. This year I requested strongly NOT to go back to that hostile environment and have been holding a clinical in a small community hospital in my hometown instead. This place is WONDERFUL, the nurses and all the staff are incredibly supportive and friendly, and the students LOVE it here
  6. by   JMP
    Please consider nursing's history. Read about the oppression in nursing and how horizontal violence occurs when nurses abuse each other.
    Read everything you can get your hand's on regarding the term "horizontal violence" and you will become informed and enlightened.
    Unfortunately many new nurses see and hear some of the things you are reporting and incorporate the behaviour into their practice........ think it is "part" of nursing. It should not be. JMP
  7. by   oldiebutgoodie
    I have to agree that floor nurses are not always terribly pleasant to the students. I realize that they are a) burned out b) maybe they were treated poorly when they were students c) are too busy. But that will never improve the status of nursing as long as nurses eat their young.

    On the other hand, there have been nurses and CNAs who have been great. (Actually, there have been more CNAs kind to me than nurses!)

    Floor nurses, if you read this, please realize that the more negative you are, the more we students will opt for OR, PACU, ICU, ER, etc. etc...anything but bedside nursing.

    If you want to solve the shortage, you can help by saying "Hi" back to the student, answering a stupid question, suggesting we watch a procedure. It probably will take all of 3 minutes out of your busy day.

    And for those of you who have been so kind and helpful to me--THANKS!

    Oldiebutgoodie
  8. by   psychomachia
    Quote from Love767
    Here are a few examples that I've experienced or witnessed during my time in clinicals:

    I swear, that IF I make it through school that I will go out of my way to be nice to furture nursing students who are doing there best!
    Just one of many reasons why I work in the ER...
  9. by   Rapheal
    There is no excuse for being down right rude. My sympathies. Some of the nurses on my floor loathe students because they feel that the students basically critique their performance without understanding that they do not have time to do things "by the book".

    Since a staff member got written up for her interaction with you, then you will probally be seen as a troublemaker. Sorry I know this is unfair. But nursing is stressful and having students who will complain or write someone up is seen by many as threatening. Just keep being professional and helpful. When I was a student and a nurse told me "This is not the way you are taught to do it but this is the way we do it here" I just said "ok". This enabled me to be welcome on the floor and I just kept it to myself that I would do it differently when I got out of school. Sorry you are having a rough time. Nursing is tough and their are some very hard core personalities out there. There are a lot of nice people too. Good luck in school.
  10. by   happystudent
    I've had similar experiences with the "meanies". But, I am at a point in my life where I don't let their crap bother me. I know what is expected of me and have confidence in my ablities. 9 times out of 10 the Nurses that I have worked with tell me how much they appreciate my help with their pts.

    I think as you become more experience and develope a "spine", the nurses usually see that and are willing to go the "extra mile" and help you out.

    Remembering back to nursing 1, I too used to get all "bent" about the "rude nurses",I don't anymore. If they are acting like clams, I just do my thing by acting professional and get my work done!!!

    It will get better....
    Last edit by happystudent on Apr 12, '04
  11. by   jnette
    (((HUGS))) Love767

    It breaks my heart to read this, to the point of tears... you have no idea how much this kind of behavior bothers me. It is just SO not right, so totally uncalled for... I don't care HOW busy we are, this is NO way to welcome another into the profession.

    Why can't these nurses just stop and think for ONE lousy minute? Were they not in your shoes at one time? How would they want to be treated?

    OK.... so if they're too busy to stop and think for one lousy minute right then, could they not give it some thought on their way home that evening, or on the way in the next day?

    What MAKES people like this? Is it truly burnout or do they use this as their "excuse/justification" ..........? Or is is deeper, more personal than that... more like their true personality showing itself?

    This is simply wrong. Rude. Unkind. Hurtful. Arrogant. Prideful. Inconsiderate. And totally uncalled for.

    Like Suzanne, I would revel in the new faces, "feel" their excitement and curiosity, their fears, and their desire to learn. I'd tuck them all under my wing and allow them to watch, question, experience, and mingle........ and have them hungering for more, eagerly anticipating coming back the next day.

    Please know we are not all as you have described above, and I'm so very sorry you've been made to feel unwanted. :angryfire
  12. by   lilbiskit78
    I feel your pain!! I have spent a year doing clinicals at a hospital where quite a few of the floor nurses are not happy to have us on there! Some of them won't even call you by your name, they call you "the student". I actually laughed at that one...I do have a name! Anyway, I just keep thinking that I will not be at that hospital much longer and I will not have to encounter those people again!! Just remember, you do have a right to stick up for yourself, a lot of the mean nurses will be a little more decent when you call them on their behavior! Good luck in school!
  13. by   JMP
    I responded to this thread this morning, after 12 hour night shift and perhaps did not make myself that clear. I really want to make the point that this problem in nursing SO needs to be addressed!

    I also wanted to add that it is not just "floor nurses" I have seen this type of behaviour in ICU, dialysis etc.

    I believe this issue should be part of every nurses' education. I had never heard of horizontal violence until I started courses towards my BSN. I had ever heard of it, but knew it, had felt it.

    As a professional body we need to look back and see what our past has made us........before we can move forward. Oppression is a terrible thing and nursing's past is full of it. Continuing the eye rolling, gossiping, silence, talking about students and how " I can't believe, etc etc" HAS TO STOP. Call it what it is. Do not allow it to grow and spread, like it has for the last 100 years.

    Burnout has been linked to moral distress and moral residue....which builds up when nurses are too tired and too downhearted to do their job correctly. Horizontal violence plays a large role in burnout..........

    Strength in professional practice, JMP
  14. by   jnette
    Quote from JMP
    I responded to this thread this morning, after 12 hour night shift and perhaps did not make myself that clear. I really want to make the point that this problem in nursing SO needs to be addressed!

    I also wanted to add that it is not just "floor nurses" I have seen this type of behaviour in ICU, dialysis etc.

    I believe this issue should be part of every nurses' education. I had never heard of horizontal violence until I started courses towards my BSN. I had ever heard of it, but knew it, had felt it.

    As a professional body we need to look back and see what our past has made us........before we can move forward. Oppression is a terrible thing and nursing's past is full of it. Continuing the eye rolling, gossiping, silence, talking about students and how " I can't believe, etc etc" HAS TO STOP. Call it what it is. Do not allow it to grow and spread, like it has for the last 100 years.

    Burnout has been linked to moral distress and moral residue....which builds up when nurses are too tired and too downhearted to do their job correctly. Horizontal violence plays a large role in burnout..........

    Strength in professional practice, JMP
    Very well stated, and ITA... 110 % !!! May I stress the last line one more time:

    "Horizontal violence plays a large role in burnout.......... "

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