Criticized for being nervous . . .

  1. 0
    Hi
    I am a new grad RN. This is my first job. I have been trying very hard to do well.
    I had been on the floor about 5 weeks when my preceptor and I had to meet with the nursing supervisor to discuss my progress. All the preceptor could say about me was that I needed to loosen up and not be nervous
    (no positive feedback).

    I tried to defend myself by saying that I was nervous because I am doing new things and am new to everything here. I explained that the nervousness would decrease as I gained more experience and confidence. Now I am angry that I even had to explain this. It seems to me that any idiot would realize that you are nervous in a new situation like this! Also, SHE makes me nervous because she has been telling me since the second week that I need to hurry up, hurry up, I am not doing things fast enough. I think anyone would be nervous with a preceptor hovering over you, telling you that!

    I guess I let this B _ _ _ _ walk all over me because I didn't stand up for myself and say "I am learning. I need time to learn. Please don't tell me to hurry up."

    Here is what I think: She is overworked, very impatient, and is expecting way too much from me as a new grad. She has never precepted a new grad before. I am slowing her down, and she resents it. I really hate going to work now because I absolutely hate working with her.

    I would like to know your thoughts on this. I'm sure it is probably very common, and as a "lowly nurse" I am supposed to just suck it all up, which I will. It just irks me because I don't think I would ever treat someone like this. I think there are a few good, quality people who respect others, but then there are very many people like this preceptor who are just total jerks.

    I appreciate your feedback, could definitely use some encouragement. Thanks.
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  3. 21 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    Is it possible you were misinterpreting the meaning behind her words? I mean...she says she sees you're nervous. Does that mean she doesn't think it's logical to be nervous? Or does it mean she just noticed it and wishes you weren't so nervous, so you wouldn't be so stressed?
    hiddencatRN likes this.
  5. 8
    I took that comment as you are doing well and they don't want you to be so nervous.
    Chips on shoulders don't get you far, so be mindful of that.
    anotherone, itsmejuli, ProfRN4, and 5 others like this.
  6. 2
    Perhaps you are and your preceptor are not a good match! It is not uncommon for the new nurse and preceptor to be "incompatible." Maybe try talking it out and tell her she increases your stress during patient care etc. If she is not approachable bring it up with your immediate supervisor to perhaps switch preceptors. A crappy preceptor right out of school greatly influences your success and confidence on the floor now and in the future! Think of yourself here after you have tried working it out...good luck!
    x4livin and juzme like this.
  7. 3
    Often nurses are not given a great deal of training in leadership abilities and techniques. Doesn't mean she isn't a good nurse and it doesn't mean she is even a _itch! New nurses are often nervous. Could she have meant it as you are doing just fine and don't need to be so nervous? You need to let this roll off your back - not because you're a "lowly nurse" but because this is life. I've been a nurse for 25 years. I still get criticized now and then. Sometimes I need to learn from it and sometimes I need to let it roll. Not worth the energy to get all worked up about one little sentence that she may have just said because she didn't know what else to say.
    CapeCodMermaid, leslie :-D, and ProfRN4 like this.
  8. 3
    I had this problem during my orientation. I sat down and talked with my nurse manager and educator, and they switched me to a new shift with a new preceptor and I had no trouble after that. My old preceptor condescended me every second of the day, found the most ridiculous things to pick on me about, and was such a Debbie Downer to everyone in the department. Sometimes it really isn't just you.
    noahsmama, Crux1024, and juzme like this.
  9. 4
    I have been working for 1 year in a very very busy medical floor. Your preceptor is right to tell you to hurry up if you are going slow ad if she IS watching what you do (making sure pt is safe). When you are on your own you will have to hurry up, prioritize, keep pt safe and hopefully get out on time. If she is overdoing it tell her GENTLY, you will work with her and her friends, YOU will need her help. I have noticed it is best to remain calm (appear less nervous) even if h... is breaking loose. You need to make a concious effort to be less nervous, this will help you in assessment, rapid decision making and acting (calling for a rapid response, calling for help, calling the doc, suctioning, mantaining airway...etc). Experienced nurses appear calm under fire. Take her advise! She wants you to be successful.
    TallRN3, anotherone, Pepper The Cat, and 1 other like this.
  10. 0
    I took it that she was just trying to convey to you to be who you are and to just chill and learn. Of course I wasn't there so I don't know the tone she used. But I have said to new grads... it's ok, don't be nervous. Knowing that being nervous will settle down, but I just want to let them know that, hey I am here for you.
  11. 2
    Take it as constructive criticism. If that is the only thing that they said then you are doing fine. I know that it is frustrating that they didn't say anything positive, but nurses tend to be very direct people. At my place they don't sugar coat anything. Nerves were an issue with me too. It is a problem with all new grads. Patients don't want a nurse who doesn't look like she knows what she is doing. Ask questions, never guess, but fake your confidence until you get more experienced.

    Concerning your preceptor, address the speed issue with her without being defensive or blaming her. Ask her what she thinks that you can do better to help get your speed up to par. Show her that you are willing to work on it and see if she has any good tips to help out. Time management is one of the toughest things to learn, IMO. If you are the first person that she has ever precepted then most likely she wants you to succeed just as a much. Afterall, you are a reflection of her teaching....
    anotherone and xtxrn like this.
  12. 4
    I recently had a student that I pretty much had to beat over the head with the same advice.
    Fake it til you make it with the confidence. Of course you're nervous, but you don't have to act like it. If other nurses see it, you can bet the patients see it.
    And NOW is the time to be speeding up. When you have someone watching behind you.


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