Dear preceptor - page 18

by Ivanna_Nurse 60,881 Views | 175 Comments

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 guidance is at. You tell me... Read More


  1. 3
    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 *
    mitral, fltnrse2, and Ivanna_Nurse like this.
  2. 0
    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!
  3. 0
    Isn't what these preceptor's doing unprofessional? Is there any ramification to reporting them to the stata board?
    fltnrse
  4. 0
    I am glad I had a great preceptor in school. But in the real world this is true.
  5. 0
    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
  6. 1
    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 examples....so 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.
    lindarn likes this.


Top