Concerned about Daughter's Assignment

  1. My daughter is in psych clinicals right now. Her assignmnet in the a.m. is a HUGE schizophrenic guy who thinks he's Satan and acts out sexually to female pts. and staff. He has cornered several staff and is well-known to the police. My daughter is 19 yrs. old and under 5 feet tall. She told instructor she is a little worried about caring for this man. Instructor states "too bad, you won't choose your pts when you get out of school." Sounds like a line of bull to me. We weren't allowed to have very violent or manipulative pts. in psych. We weren't equipped to handle them, as our instructor said. She was not cutting us a break. She actually was known as the "worst" instructor. I think it was our school's unwritten policy. I can't believe this assignment. Maybe I am in a 1980's time warp, but I am really upset w/ this. Pt. has hx of lifestyle putting him at high risk of blood-borne diseases. and my daughter has to give him an injection. I know I just have to pray she is okay. I can't do anything else. I think the instructor just sounds like a real jerk. Have other students been given these type of pts.? (I hope he's in seclusion again tomorrow) There are lots of little geri-psych pts and non-violent schizo pts on this unit. As for the argument, that you get this when you are out of school, as an experienced nurse, if a new grad has a complicated pt or acting out family, I have their back or another experienced nurse does. They are not alone w/ dangerous pts. This is like giving the student a pt. in trauma triage in their critical care rotation.
    Last edit by imenid37 on Oct 9, '07
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  2. 28 Comments

  3. by   Tweety
    I agree. The instructors where I work usually come to me (charge nurse) to help with assignments, we don't give them violent patients ever. Bad decision.
  4. by   indigo girl
    If there is a problem with a program, and this certainly sounds like one,
    you can always query the head of the nursing program about it. I suspect
    that she may not agree with what the instructer is saying. Schools are
    still responsible for the safety of their students.
  5. by   leslie :-D
    we were never allowed to take a dangerous psyche pt.
    i just happened to beg for a certain one.
    after a lot of collaboration, i was assigned to him.
    but i also had 3 or 4 male, mental health techs closely standing by me.

    this is an irresponsible and negligent decision.
    she/you can appeal it, and keep her home tomorrow?
    go right to the top of the school.
    best of everything.

    leslie
  6. by   Jolie
    I won't go into the long, boring details, but I had an instructor who put me in a dangerous situation, alone during my communty health rotation, long before the days of cell-phones and instant communication. I was fortunate to have a neighbor of the patient I was sent to see escort me out of the area, and give me the firm instructions to never return without a professional nurse and security officer. When I sat down with my instructor to discuss the situation, she was absolutely giddy with excitement that I had "made a community contact who would protect me!" I told her that she was out of her mind, and I would report her to the Dean and University President if she ever put another student in that situation. I also let everyone in my clinical rotation know what had happened.

    I guess my point is that there are instructors who can't see the forest for the trees. Her insturctor may be he** bent on giving her students an intensive learning experience, but your daughter won't learn a thing in her psych rotation if she is injured or traumatized. Her assignment is appropriate only for an experienced psych nurse. It is not in the best interests of the student or the patient for this assignment to be carried out. But the reality of nursing school is that she will have to comply.

    Please advise your daughter NOT to have any contact of any kind with this patient without the immediate supervision of her cooperating staff nurse. Usually I would say instructor or staff nurse, but I don't think the instructor is competent to advise or over-see the care of this patient, or to protect your daughter.
  7. by   imenid37
    I am having chest pain and feel like I want to cry. I am trying to study for an exam myself. I know my daughter is technically an adult, but she is a vulnerable potential target for this pt. She is not an experienced psch nurse. She is just learning. I did tell her not to be alone w/ this guy and to get asistance when giving him the injection. She is away at school 100 miles away from home. I just see no point to doing this to a student other than A) Complete stupidity OR B) Mailicious intimidation. Why would an instructor want to have a student in this situation and have this on her shoulders???
  8. by   smk1
    Someone should be with her at all times. Is there another student (at the very least) or an assistant who can be with her during her contact with him? This doesn't seem appropriate. I am in a psych rotation right now as a student. Let's be honest. We don't really know what we are doing yet. What if she triggers a problem for the patient? Dangerous, non-stable clientele should be dealt with by a professional, not a student. It is dangerous for everyone involved to do otherwise.
  9. by   BlearnRN
    I do have some questions . Is she alone with the pt? Is she allowed to go into the pt room? If she is, that is a big NO NO . The clinical instructor is correct to say that pt are not chosen in the nursing world. BUT, she is a student. She doesn't know how to protect herself during a violent episode of a pt. Staff in mental facilities go through training to deal with these types of situations. The training given to students for a psyche rotation is very brief. - Not enough to deal with that type of violence. The facililty is stupid to allow her to be assigned a pt who is violent.
  10. by   imenid37
    I am not sure if students can go into a room w/ a pt. I already told that is a a definite NO. We were not ever allowed in pt's. rooms, I do not know if that is standard. I pray she is okay. I am so tempted to tell the program director. Her clinical expertise is in psych. My daughter already had a guy at her job, as a nursing tech, grab her throat and squeeze it. Her boss agreed not to have her on the side of the unit that has the tox pts. (which this man was one). I feel terrible for her. I know she is really scared. I would be too, and I am. Having been a young nursing student myslef 20+ years ago, I believe it is an intimidation attempt by the instructor. She is extremely foolish to risk a student and the unit's safety.
  11. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Great advice above. I wish you and your daughter the best. This is a foolish and dangerous assignment, and she should be speaking to the dean/director of that program about this, if she did not already.

    I do know (and I graduated 10 years ago), that when we went for our psych/forensic nursing clinicals, we were NEVER allowed to be alone with ANY of the patients on the units there, for any reason whatsoever. And we did not touch them either.
  12. by   Piki
    Sad to say but I bet you're right, it probably is a move on the instructor's part to intidimidate your daughter. Having been a recent grad myself, I know there are some really poor excuses for nursing instructors. Ones that get off on giving really ridiculous assignments in the hopes of "breaking" someone. This sounds very similar to what happened to another young girl in my clinical rotation. She had a pt that was the same, right down to the police record, and schizophrenia/violent tendencies/Satan. Our instructor actually told her to go in and interview him in his room (alone! -- when the pt was in his room alone, and hearing the voices). Luckily the staff intervened and said to the instructor "WE don't even go in there when XXX is in there alone and in that frame of mind". Nuts! Make sure your daughter is never alone with the patient and make sure she solicits the help from the staff if she needs to give him any medication. The one term we were not allowed to pass meds of any kind was in psych.

    Good luck. I hope it is just one day she has this assignment.
  13. by   santhony44
    Not trying to sound funny, but I think the instructor is nuts!! And it sounds like she is trying to intimidate your daughter, knowing she's 19 and won't fight it. Myself, I'd refuse the patient and raise a huge stink, but that's from the vantage point of being a nurse longer than your daughter has been alive.

    I hope and pray that the staff on the unit will intervene and tell the faculty member in no uncertain terms that the assignment is entirely inappropriate.

    I had some pretty tough nursing instructors myself, but none of them would have dreamed of putting a student in actual danger. In psych, I remember that the patient I was assigned got agitated when I asked her a perfectly innocent question. She was upset and agitated, not violent or threatening, but my instructor immediately intervened and assigned me another patient. Part of our goal in being there was to have good therapeutic interaction with the patients, which couldn't happen if the patient was flipping out.
  14. by   widi96
    We had a couple of patient's in my psych rotation that I certainly wouldn't want to be alone with (one of our patients was a convicted murderer - very brutally killed his wife and I believe attacked another individual). Students had this patient every week - but for our mental health clinicals the nurses on the floor always did the meds, we were never remotely alone with the patient, and they had security in the department at all times. We typically talked to the patients in the 'day room' where there were lots of other patients, usually 3-4 other classmates and a nurse at all times. There was NEVER an instance of going near any potentially violent patient's room. I felt just about as safe there as I do on a Med-Surg floor - sure, things can always get bad, but I felt like there were enough measures in place to keep me safe.

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