Dear preceptor - page 14

Dear preceptor.. I came to you smiling, full of energy and ready to tackle the last leg of my orientation journey, with your guidance of course. I haven't really gotten any inclination on where that... Read More

  1. by   missanxious
    they say when you have a preceptor like that you tend to get revenge by becoming like her when you get to have students someday.
  2. by   Babs0512
    Okay, my preceptor story. While in nursing school we were on the surgical unit - there was this one nurse - I'll call her "Attitude" - who was so nasty to the students and showed such contempt for us, that I never forgot her, she even reduced me to tears one day because I got nauseated taking care of a woman with peritonitis who's abdomen was left open to close by secondary intention. I had to do wet to dry dressing and cover the wound properly. My instructor stood by, as I was unpacking her abdomen - the smell was indescribable! I was a 1st year nursing student at the time, and I had to reach in to all the cavities, where my gloved hand would literally disappear, to get all the wet dressing out. I remember at the time, my "spirit" left my body and it was like I was watching from above. I got through it, never wrinkled my nose or anything. Apparently I chatted with the patient, but have no memory of this. After we were through, I went out into the hall, and felt like I was going to faint - so I slid down the wall to a sitting position. My instructor apologized to me, she said "this was NOT a 1st year patient, I didn't know - I'm so sorry - if you want to go home for the day, you can." When the feeling faint past, I went into the dirty utility room to wash up, and I was teary eyed thinking "What ever was I thinking becoming a nurse - I can't do this!" In walks "Attitude" and says, "Your pathetic, grow up and get a grip" in her most disdainful voice.

    I stuck it out, didn't go home, but I was ashamed that I had such a hard time with the sights and smells of that patient. I decided then to get a PT job as an NA at the same hospital - I figured that would cure me of my squeamishness.

    Fast forward. now I'm am RN, just past the boards, and same hospital hires me for their float staff. They send me to med surge to work with my preceptor for two weeks. I get to the floor, eager to start my day, who walks up to me but "Attitude" and with a sly smile says, "I'm your preceptor for the next two weeks!" I almost pooped my scrubs - my worst nightmare was in my face and I had to "prove myself" to her.

    She pretty much left me alone - except during med passes, and I would come to her with questions. This is how the question and answers would go: Me: "What do I do about blah, blah, blah..." Attitude would look at me with her most bored expression and say "What do you think you should do?" I'd stammer and say, "if I knew that, I wouldn't be coming to you!" Attitude: "yeah, well, what do you think you should do?" So I'd stammer and try to think of an answer, and I would give her an answer - Attitude would then say "yeah, and then..." I would answer some more. Attitude "yeah, so....?" So I would complete my answer and usually answer my question. Attitude "so go do it!" That's how it went for two weeks. I NEVER got her to answer one question. I hated her for that. During my last med pass needing Attitude to follow me around, I got to the last room, Attitude said "Your doing fine, just finish up this last room" and walked away. I got "A" beds meds ready, and as I walked into the room, "B" bed calls me over to ask me some questions. So, I'm talking with "B" bed and as I'm doing so, I give him the meds in my hand. He said "What's this one for?" I told him "It's a stool softener" "B" bed says "but I'm not having trouble going to the bathroom." and on it went, he questioned everyone of the pills, and I answered, and he took them. As I was walking out of the room, I realized what I had done, and I started to panic - I just knew I had flubbed up royally. I went to Attitude and told her what happened, I said "I'm going to be fired, aren't I" She said in her usual bored voice "No, it's my error, I should have been with you." She went ahead and took care of everything. She came to me afterward and said "Well, your dammed good at educating, you convinced "B" bed to take all those meds". Then she said "What have you learned from this experience?" I said "Well, if a patient questions a med, I should go back and double check the MAR" she said "And?" "I should have told "B" bed that I would be right with him, and finished giving the meds to "A" bed first." She said "Barb, you know more than you think you do, TRUST in yourself and what you know, problem solve step by step, eventually everything will fall into place."

    Well, she "passed" me, and I moved onto the next unit. It wasn't until YEARS later - that I said to her one day "Thank you for all you taught me when you precepted me." She said "You taught yourself, I was just your sounding board." I said, "No, you taught me a lot, and I wanted to say Thank you" she smiled and said "Well then, you're welcome." She looked at me and said "Barb, your one of the best nurses we have, next to me of course, I developed much respect for you over the years." I said "Attitude, why do you always come off like such a *****" She said "It's my reputation, so don't tarnish it by telling anyone about this discussion!" and yes, she continued to act like a *****, even to me. I knew better though.

    She had developed faith in me, and she taught me that I did indeed know more than I thought I did - and I learned to think things through step by step - and over the years, I noticed I didn't have to go step by step, I could get from A-Z without thinking about the steps in between. I never made the same med error again - Oh, I found new ways to make them, but never gave an entire cup of meds meant for one bed to another bed. But every error I made, I learned from. And, I can proudly say, that in 20 years of nursing, I've made only 10 med errors.

    Sometimes, things aren't always what they seem. It took me a while to figure that out. She was the best preceptor I'd ever had - and when I began precepting, I used some of her techniques, but I did it with a smile and patience. Nuff said.
    Last edit by Silverdragon102 on Oct 29, '11 : Reason: changed to all *
  3. by   my2bitz
    No regrets,

    when you are positive and are doing things out of pure motive I believe all things work together for your good. This career has and continues to be good to my family and I.
    I do however feel a twinge of pity for anyone who wouldn't take the advantage of pouring into a novice in a positive way. My preceptor in General Peds was a get it done type so our personalities matched perfectly,lol!
  4. by   fltnrse2
    Isn't what these preceptor's doing unprofessional? Is there any ramification to reporting them to the stata board?
  5. by   khenders
    I am glad I had a great preceptor in school. But in the real world this is true.
  6. by   fltnrse2
    I just love a warm and fuzzy story. The oo's and aah's of the good old days, but I have a different take on this. I think there are some instructors/preceptors who get off on putting the fear of Godin thier student's. However this personality type takes the energy you should be putting forth in learning, and put it towards pleasing the oger. It is possible to learn more when you are not experienceing too much anxiety. Our instructors/preceptors have a lot of power over thier students and some, not all take advantage of the situation. It's like the child who was abused as a child grows up to abuse children. Get It? This is the most difficult job you will ever do, and my hope is that if you become a instructor/preceptor you will encourage and inspire your student's to become the best! FLTNRSE
  7. by   nurseladybug12
    I just quit my job on a Med/Surg floor after being offered another one because my preceptor was a bully. From the very first moment of meeting her I knew I would have problems with her, just by the disgusted look she gave me. I went through 10 weeks of a 12 week orientation before I had finally had enough. She was 23, I am 26. She was there one year. I was kind of miffed that I had been assigned to be with a nurse that had only been a nurse a year- I wanted someone that had been there like 30 years, I wanted to learn how to be a better nurse. Right from the start at lunch I would hear her gossiping about everyone, talking about peoples love lives, their virginity, making fun of the fact that one nurse was only 24 and was pregnant with her 3rd child... I am on the quiet side and I hate hearing gossip. She also shared with me the negatives of the other nurses she had precepted that were still working there-this one wouldnt assess not one patient for 3 full weeks, this one was too scared to try IVs, etc. I also heard her bash a RN whose ID said RN-BSN, this nurse seemed shy, not so confident. She bashed her saying how could she act like that she has a BSN! in a snobby way as to put down ADNs, which I have. So I knew she would be talking about me soon. The first 3 weeks were great until I passed my med test and could be on my own. The days before I passed my med test, she was by my side running the show, the next day boom, I am hit with 6 patient load! I had seen another preceptor giving her new nurse on the floor 2 one week, 3 the next, 4 the next etc and the preceptor was allowing her to delegate to her as if she was an aide. My preceptor disappeared, had no phone, and always prioritized helping everyone else, and somehow found some reason to never help me, to never assess something on a pt that I questioned, to check up on something that I didnt know how to do. I managed 6 patients very well and surprisingly, she told me so. I think she tried to hit me with something she thought I couldnt handle because she didnt like me because I did not participate in her gossiping, and I we just didnt click. The more I worked with her, the less and less I liked her. One Saturday when she was not scheduled, I follow another nurse. The next day she tells me she discussed my training with this nurse and says to me that my schooling seems to be not up to their standards and that I have a larger learning curve than most. She tells me she doesnt have specific I am ****** hearing this because I went to a great nursing school and this is not constructive criticism , this is meant to undermine my confidence. Then , everytime I ask her a legitimate question about policies, she looks at me like Im an idiot, as if how could this have been done different elsewhere? She then blindsides me with telling me that aides were coming to her saying that I was not being polite or helpful, and that I was not saying please or thank you. I was shocked because I know how to mind my manners I learned that in kindergarten, and if anything, I am overly nice to people and sometimes it gets taken advantage of because I have a hard time saying no. So I am shocked by this and upset. The next day I did not call my aide at all to help me with anything. My preceptor approaches me and says " oh the aides said you did much better today and were much nicer" HUHHH? really, I didnt talk to anyone all day! So, I guess I am just not supposed to ask for help, period, and then oh, I am so much nicer all of a sudden. She didnt back me, she didnt teach me how to delegate more appropriately. So, again this issue comes up a couple weeks later after I barely talk to any of the aides, this time I am frustrated and she tells me I am being defensive. She tells me she talked to the manager about it and they want me to follow an aide for the day. I feel like she is just finding anything negative she could to pick on me about because I was handling my assignments perfectly fine. I agree to follow the aide the next Friday. Wed I got in and I am paired up with an aide, I am confused but i do it. the aide takes a 25 minute breakfast break, took an hour and 10 minute lunch break. I caught her on her phone 3 times in the linene closet. instead of following her, I was doing all her work and giving her an easier day while she sat on her fat ass. no teamwork at all. then, my preceptor was delegating to me all day, not being nice, being rude, short, not saying please or thank you, all day long i feel ganged up on, taken advantage of m as if she is teaching me a lesson by treating me how she thinks im treating others. I am so upset that i am being treated like this because of hearsay of aides who are obviously lazy and will take any chance they can to shirk their duties. At this point, I deal with it for th emoney because I have my new job in hand. At the end of the night, my preceptor tells me she isnt going to be here Friday! so she took the opportunity to delegate to me wed and switched the day i was to follow the aide so she could bully me. I was so upset i cried the entire 40 min ride home. My last day there, she is charging and I am following someone else. this RN is very helpful and shows lots of teamwork,unlike my preceptor. with an hr left to shift change, i get 2 admissions and the 2nd one needs a blood transfusion, this pt was originally supposed to be in her room but she transferred them out, she had transferred out 3 pts that day. so I say to the rn i am with " geeze, she is really good at finding reasons to transfer pts out of her room" and she agreed. i have seen my preceptor do this many times, esp with psychotic pts. so while i am trying to handle 2 admissions, she is sitting at the nurses station trying to look busy, with 2 empty beds and only one other pt who is sound asleep! everytime i passed to go to the supply closet i observed what she was doing, which wasnt much of anything. she did not offer to help me. i waited 30 min to talk to her afterwards and she was still talking to sumone, so i called her 20 min later and i said " why did you do that? you couldve showed more teamwork" and she told me i was being inappropriate we will discuss this tomorrow" she told me she was busy in a code which she was not. she said she didnt realize i got 2 admissions. righhhht. she said she had no control over where pts were put- really? cuz i am pretty sure you transferred 3 out of ur rooms so u were admission free for the last 3 hours of ur shift. total BS. i didnt show up the next day that was it for me. she tried to throw so many curve balls at me to make me snap....i wrote a letter to the director about her behavior in the most objective way possible and included 2 articles about nursing and bullying from nsg journals to support my feelings and I hope something adverse happens to her.
  8. by   kpalffy
    I want to take the coarse at my facility to precept. I can only hope that I don't pull some of those moves your letter contained. My first preceptor did many of the things you had described, and to some degree it crushed my confidence. When a physician told my preceptor that she might not be prepared enough to teach me, the preceptor took her embarrassment out on me. I have since grown into my place on the unit, and regained my nursing confidence. Be kind to us new guys, we just want to be apart with you veterans.
  9. by   Moe C
    I am so sorry, I felt bad just reading this. I precept at my job and yes even though it makes me a little slower in getting my tasks done I find it very fulfilling to help teach the new nurses and give them the benefit of my experience. We're all new at one time or another and I try to remember back when I first started out and if I had that experience I may not have had stuck it out all these years. I find most new nurses even though they're green they have the desire and motivation to learn and succeed. I wish you much luck on your journey into nursing and hope that you don't let deter you from being the best nurse you can. Some people aren't meant for this field, it's a continual learning experience and if you don't have the desire to grow and learn and be of service to others it may not be the best field for some. best of luck to you...
  10. by   mjw123
    Not all nursing preceptor are like this, sorry you had to work with someone who, it sounds like they do not like their job. I have been a nurse for 24 years and had 2 good preceptors who were demanding and expected a lot from me. They were also kind and caring. I have been a preceptor and I treat my new nurses with respect, kindness and patience and I enjoy passing on the knowledge that has been passed onto me, but I also expect a lot from them. I treat them with kindness and make sure they know that nursing is not a job but a ministry. So sorry you had a bad preceptor just remember Not all nursing preceptors are like yours. There are a lot of experienced nurses who don't mind new nurses remember being treated with respect and kindness is a two way street.
  11. by   Ivanna_Nurse
    This thread has been resurrected! I no longer am the preceptee but arrange the preceptors for the the new staff to have the best possible experience.

    I guide, counsel and coach. I have an open door and everyone can always come talk to me.

    I'm truly floored by how many people identify, understand and sympathize with this situation- which is kinda why I'm in the education and onboarding department now.

    Good AND bad, we all learn from all experiences and can make the nursing world better for those who come after us.

    ~much love, Ivanna
  12. by   tinybbynurse
    I have been lucky enough to have amazing preceptors for my hospital jobs and overall avoid all the horror stories of a bad orientation...I'm very grateful for that. I've had several preceptors between day and night shift. That being said, ive had great preceptors until now, I've recently encountered a preceptor during the end of my orientation to NICU who isn't my favorite....when giving feedback to the educator who I met with recently since she likes to touch base through out orientation, they seem to think I'm not ready to be on my own, and the things that they thought I could work on...well...they never even told me, they passed it on to the educator to tell can I get better if I didn't know you felt that way? How can you go 3-4 shifts and never tell me and expect me to improve when I would if you actually told me? The other person I'm precepting with now (there's a couple) tells the educator she thinks I'm where I need to be to be ok on my own soon. Two totally different opinions.

    guess what? Lo and behold my educator wasn't surprised at all to find out which preceptors have worked better for me and which haven't...other orientees have had the same experience with that one preceptor. I feel good about where I'm at and I told my educator that. She does not see the need to extend my orientation and feels that my areas that need improving are typical and expectant of someone new to NICU rather than reasons worthy of extending my orientation. I'm old enough now and though early in my career, far along enough that I know not to let one person's opinion make me feel like I'm not ready when I feel I am, and others do too. It's definitely important to maintain ties with your educator because after they hear all sides of things, from you and ALL of your preceptors, it's easier for them to paint the picture of whether you're doing okay, need more time which is reasonable and totally okay, or if a single preceptor just has a totally different perspective about your performance that really isn't overall reflective of your performance as a whole.

    I think we've all been there before, in nursing school with an instructor, in a job with a preceptor, or even with a parent....where someone didn't believe in us and if we let our minds take shape of the way one silly person thought of us, we'd never be where we are doing just fine after all! Sometimes the problem lies in your mentor/preceptor/instructor etc, and not you. That being said, it's okay to learn from them and respect their knowledge, but you don't have to let all of their opinions mold you. You're in control of how you feel about you. They aren't.

    so, I just want to say a couple things. Preceptors, specifically NICU, respect your orientee who has previous nursing experience, just not in this speciality. This is all new and there's a lot to it...don't expect me to have everything down to a t. I am old enough to be completely okay with the fact that I am learning and that this is not easy stuff and While my standards are high for myself, I'm not going to beat myself up too much. When I was younger, I'd feel like maybe I'm not up to par, but now I know that hey, nursing isn't easy! I did just fine at my last job and I'm doing well here, too considering all the new things I'm learning! Also, preceptors, not everyone learns the way you do. And COMMUNICATE. If your orientee can improve on something, tell them!! They may not realize they needed to or would be happy to oblige if they know what's expected of them. Don't hand off things to the educator after 3 or 4 shifts during which we could have improved in the areas you wanted us to, had we actually known.

    And lastly, to those orienting, new grads, few years experience, a lot .... if you feel good about where you're at, then don't let one person's opinion throw you off. I would have when I was a few years younger or even newer of a nurse, and I'm a fairly new nurse though not new grad. They don't define you. If you feel you need more time, there's nothing wrong with that either. Accept constructive criticism and take everything with a grain of salt. If you feel you're doing okay say so when you speak to educator etc. see if they agree. In my case, my overall performance is good, and my educator was happy to talk to me to find out that this particular preceptor just expects too much of all of her orientees, and she actually is the one who needs to lower her expectations. I think some people have gotten really good at their jobs and forgotten what it's like for it to be new to them.

    Most people are really nice on my unit. You will always have your outliers.

    Preceptors, don't be demeaning, give healthy feedback, and don't get all high and mighty on people! Orientees, believe in yourself, try your best, continually improve, and be comfortable with respecting the fact that you are learning and it's an ongoing process. If you don't have a healthy respect for the reality that you are learning and that you're not born knowing how to do this skill and that, then you will always feel inferior and beat yourself up. Don't! You'll burn out too fast! Being a nurse isn't easy and if this were all a breeze you'd be off orientation in a week or else you're just already very familiar with your specialty. Even experienced nurses usually spend longer than that just learning the ways of that particular unit.

    ive only got a couple shifts left with one preceptor, and a couple with another. I imagine I'll probably have a better experience with one of them over the other, but even with the less than fortunate one, I plan on making the best of it and being glad I have limited time left with them. Haha.
  13. by   tinybbynurse
    Also, I've seen experienced nurses throw new nurses under the bus for mistakes I've witnessed them do themselves...turning their back to a baby in an open bed, not charting something, etc. point is, everyone makes mistakes. They aren't specific to being new, though they may lessen with experience they do still happen. Some nurses will try to make you feel bad for that. Don't linger. Learn and move on. Guarantee you at some point you'll witness them make a mistake, even a little one, in your presence. Did this or forgot to chart that...etc etc. no one is immune to them so just know that.