As an experienced RN, do you like/dislike having a student nurse assigned to you?

  1. 0
    I'm in my 2nd semester of nursing school and have med/surg and OB clinicals this semester. I have to say I'm a bit bummed out (as are my classmates) by our clinical experience so far. In our OB clinical, the nurses seem somewhat receptive to having a student under them, but at the same time nobody seems to go out of their way to actually try to teach us anything. One night, sitting up in the nursery waiting for babies to be born, there were 5 nurses that stood there the entire time ******** amongst themselves about how there's not enough coverage....for 3 hours. When I say stood there, I mean literally. The other hospital where we have our med/surg clinical, the nurses don't just seem like they don't want to be bothered, they're downright rude and nasty......to the point of one nurse waving her finger in some of my classmates faces and telling them to "go somewhere else"! I understand that everyone is busy, but why do you have to be miserable too? I'd rather the nurse tell my instructor they don't want a student then to not get anything useful from my clinical experience. It's not a very good feeling when you get home after a long day!

    Last semester our clinicals were at a nursing home. Of course the atmosphere wasn't that great but all the nurses were very nice and took time to show us everything they could even though they had 20+ patients.

    Just thought I'd get some opinions from those who have been in the field for a while!

    Thanks!
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  3. 36 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    I work nights so I don't often get students, but I do actually enjoy it. Explaining what I am doing gives me a nice refresher on WHY I am actually doing what I am doing, instead of just going through the automatic motions. While sometimes having a student can be helpful, the majority of the time it takes more time and energy to get any given task done. I'm sure I can seem "short" with a student if I am stressed and "in the weeds," however I always try to give them the best learning experience whenever possible. It wasn't so long ago that I was a nursing student, I remember how it is! Advice- just try to be helpful, humble, and most of all, give the best care to the patients. Good luck, hopefully your future clinicals will be a better experience!
    KelRN215 likes this.
  5. 4
    I enjoy having certain types of students, namely the ones who take accountability for their own learning.

    Ideally, your instructor is the one who is supposed to go out of his/her way to teach the students new skills, processes, and so forth since the nurses on the floors and units might not always have the time. Furthermore, I love the assertive students who take the initiative to ask the unit nurses if they can jump in and try a new skill.

    On the other hand, I dislike having to deal with the small number of students who stand around, lack any form of self-direction, and expect to be taken by the hand and automatically shown things, although I am cognizant that some clinical instructors do not want their students to do anything or touch anyone when they are not present.

    If you want to be shown how to do something, do not be afraid to ask the unit nurses. Good luck with your future endeavors!
    Last edit by TheCommuter on Oct 6, '12
    KelRN215, Katie225, Esme12, and 1 other like this.
  6. 3
    I very often have nursing students with me. Since I am rapid response nurse my students are not doing clincals but preceptorships with me. As long as they are interested and willing to learn I enjoy it very much. In my hospital all RNs must volenteer to have nursing students with them. It's nice that way. We don't inflict students on those nurses who don't want them. Makes for a better experience for the students. FYI We also get a small cash bonus for teaching.
  7. 1
    I'm in my last semester. (woohoo!) And the vast majority of nurses that I've worked under as a student, has been receptive and wonderful! Each has their own style and personality. My personal favorites are the ones who like to play teacher and quiz me on patho. A lot of them have a tight schedule and I do my best to keep up. I also let them know right away what I'm allowed and not allowed to do. I also ask if there is anything I can do to make their day easier.
    PMFB-RN likes this.
  8. 8
    I love having student nurses work with me...that is, the student nurses who actually WANT to learn and get all they can out of their psych rotation. They don't have to want to do psych when they graduate: they just have to be enthusiastic and willing to learn all they can for the course. For them, I'll go to great lengths to get them all the education and experiences that I can. I'll even ask the doctors the questions that the students have but are afraid to ask them.

    For those students who clearly don't want to be there AEB their remarks stating as such (because they're planning to go into L&D/ER/anything but psych and so this rotation is a waste of their time), who spend their time hiding in the lounge despite my encouragement to come out, or who are out of the lounge but fiddling with their phones and/or talking with their fellow students more then they are to nurses or patients...well those, I let drown, since they clearly don't want my help. They forget that clinicals are not about me, but are experiences for them--I already have my license.

    I give every student the benefit of doubt when meeting them and see what they're willing to get out of their psych rotation. If they're game, I'm game! If they're not, good luck with their care plans and process recordings.
    Fiona59, VanLpn, CrufflerJJ, and 5 others like this.
  9. 5
    I loved having students when I was doing bedside care. I started getting them assigned to me in my first year because it was obvious that I loved teaching them things and had enough native intelligence to do it acceptably well. Started in a PACU, moved to critical care. Then I got really into it, and pursued a dang graduate degree so I could start teaching in nursing schools.
    Now, many years out of hospital work, I still teach newbies to my professional specialty, by mentoring, helping optimize their written work product, helping them problem-solve, helping them avoid pitfalls, and sharing samples as exemplars. I'm never to busy to take a phone call, answer an email, or share a resource. Of course, I come from a family of at least four generations of teachers (including my own kids now), and it's all pretty much second nature to explain in a way that engages and includes.

    Why should nurses go to all this trouble? Because we're all part of a long line of nurses, and it's not gonna stop here. We all have to keep it going.
    KelRN215, OnlybyHisgraceRN, Esme12, and 2 others like this.
  10. 0
    Ive never minded having students. But I do feel sorry for them. This is a sucky job, but I wont be the one to tell them that. I 'll just show them the ropes.Hopefully they will have learned to stay away from hospital/snf nursing from the get go.
  11. 4
    Honestly? I love teaching. But having a student puts a real wrench in my day and makes my time management a lot more difficult. I try to be welcoming but there are days when having a student is just the last straw in an already overly full, stressful shift. Not every time. Not even most times. But sometimes.
    Orange Tree, RNperdiem, CrufflerJJ, and 1 other like this.
  12. 1
    In my experience in both having LPN students assigned to me at work, and being a RN student in clinicals currently, it seems Nurses I'm attached to enjoy having someone take a patient "off their list" for 6 hours more than taking an active role in my learning. When I have students assigned to me I'm always checking up on them, making certain they're in rooms I know patients don't mind them being in when doing my assessments, starting IV's etc...

    It seems a lot of nurses forget rather quickly that they were students at one point as well. Append that do staff being pushed into higher and higher patient loads, and the majority of Nurses I've been exposed to last year as a LPN student and this year as an RN see me as a nuisance. I've had 2 Nurses in my experience with over 20 take an active roll and do more than get vitals and assessment info from me and putting it in as their own instead of doing their own (it is THEIR license, i never got that behavior). Maybe it's my comfort level with high patient loads having worked in nursing homes/Alzheimer's LTC for 7 years as a CNA having passed meds the entire time...

    I notice I'm rambling now...

    All I can do is make sure that I handle my students well, I look forward to becoming an educator many years from now, teaching can be fun, some people just don't see it that way and don't see the merit in the idea of "push it forward" and forget their time in clinicals. /shrug
    echoRNC711 likes this.


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