i feel like quitting (long post)

  1. I am a second semester ADN nursing student and today I really feel like quitting. Last semester I had a really great clinical instructor that was very helpful and easy to communicate with however this semester our clincal groups changed and I was assigned to a new instructor. Last week, I received 3 unsatifactory's (one for forgetting my penlight in my purse, one for not telling the clinical instructor the five P's when I was assessing restraints and another because I was having a problem with the thermometer) on the first clinical day. The patient that I had was extremely difficult to deal with. I had to check his pulse but he had tremors and I couldn't get the pulse right and when I went to check his blood pressure, the dial would get stuck in the middle of turning it and I would have to pull it harder and it would deflate too fast for me to read. When I said that I was having problems reading the pulse my instructor just told me to hold his hands down and when I said that the blood pressure cuff was getting stuck she just sort of shook her head like I was just making excuses. I decided to just chalk it up to having a bad day and decided that I would make today better (I even took my own blood pressure cuff).
    Well, today almost the exact same thing happened. First off, at 6:45 am after hearing report my instructor tells me that she needs to talk to me and she asks me, "Where were you Wednesday? I was waiting at my office for you." I had no idea what she was talking about so she says that last Monday she told me to come to her office Wednesday so that she could give me my yellow Unsatisfactory papers. I don't recall her saying anything to me about meeting her at her office and I'm actually pretty sure that she didn't tell me to meet her in her office but we've been told not to disagree with our clinical instructors so I just said that I'd forgotten. So, she gives me last week's Unsatisfactory papers which was totally the wrong way to start off the clinical day.
    I tried not to let it get to me and I went to go do my head to toe checkoff which did not go well at all. I greeted the patient but I didn't check her armband. I went through the entire head to toe assessment and then afterwards we went to the staff lounge. My clinical instructor asked me how I felt like I'd done and I thought that I had done better with the exception of the armband but she began ticking off all of these things that I did wrong. The patient had gotten an infection in her breast where she had a biopsy done and the instructor said that I should have asked her about when she'd gotten the biopsy done and the patient complained of pain in her upper left arm and although I looked at her arm, the instructor said that I should have assessed the arm. She said that I didn't tell the patient what I was doing and although I verbally went through each step outloud but my instructor said that I didn't tell the patient I was doing a head to toe assessment. She said that I should have been asking the patient questions about her diagnosis, and N/V and intake. She said that the head to toe assessment wasn't just what was on the form and I should have talked to the patient so that I knew what was going on. Then she proceeded to tell me that I didn't know what I was doing and if I don't get a satisfactory check off on the head to toe in the lab, Wednesday, then I won't be allowed to go back to the hospital. I worked just as hard as anyone else to get to this point and I feel ridiculed. I feel like I'm stupid.
    I was really upset although I tried not to let it show but that pretty much screwed up the rest of the day for me. I fumbled through my Accuchek and she shook her head at me and told me that I would be getting 3 more unsatisfactory's today.
    The thing is that during my last semester, my clinical instructor laid out her expectations for us and we knew what we were expected to do. We asked questions about our patient's condition during our first look and when we did out head to toe assessment we just did that without asking too many questions. The new instructor that I have doesn't make her expectations known. I don't know how she want us to do our assessments or what questions she wants us to ask the patients. She just sits there, watching and when I ask a question, she says that I'm the nurse. I asked her about a med and she started asking me questions about it instead of just answering the question. I mean, if I knew I wouldn't have asked the question in the first place. At the end of the day she asked me what I 'd learned and I said that I didn't feel like I'd learned anything today because all I did was make mistakes. Then she says, well you learn from your mistakes. I mean, you give someone 3 unsatisfactory's, tell them that they don't know what they're doing and that you're going to give them 3 more unsatisfactory's and expect that person to have a great day.
    This is only my second semester and I am still a first year student. I feel like everything I do is subpar. It's to the point where I am afraid of asking of question and I feel like I can't do anything right. I'm second guessing everything and I have zero confidence. Someone please give me some advice on how to deal with this because at this point I feel like I should just call it quits.
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   SCRN1
    Don't give up!

    It may seem to you that she's being too tough on you (and she may be), but be thankful for her because you ARE learning from your mistakes and she's going to teach you so much more than you know. This will help you to become a more confident nurse once you graduate and are working in the "real world". The ones who are easy aren't always the best teachers. It may be more enjoyable to have them as an instructor, but you'll learn more from a tough one.
  4. by   PNS
    Don't quit. Unfortunately, sometimes nursing school is like initiation and instructors like to rattle you and see how tough you are. You have to remember that once you on your own, you are going to be in the midst of life and death situations and she is not going to be there to help you out. She is just trying to make you a better nurse, although I think she could handle it better and offer to teach you rather than sink and swim constantly. Is she like this with just you or other students as well?
    I would set up a time to meet with her and tell her how you feel. Tell her you value her opinion and ask her for advice on what she thinks you need to work on. Ask her for her expectations. Apologize and tell her you will work harder.
    Just remember, she is just an obstacle to a long and rewarding path. You can do it. Hang in there.
    Last but not least, think ahead. If you forgot your penlight in your purse, quick borrow a classmates
  5. by   angel337
    don't quit sweetie. believe it or not when you become a nurse you will look back on these experiences and thank that instructor. i too had similar experiences during nursing school and i used to go home crying because the instructor in my eyes was being very unfair. this is the time to learn and make mistakes, because when you finally get that RN license, its all on you. no questions asked. there is very little room for error in health care and it sounds like your teacher is preparing you for the real world.
  6. by   LadyNASDAQ
    Take it all in. Listen and don't do a thing. When school ends and youi take those Boards these devils will be out of sight and out of mind. The best thing is to swallow it. When you work licensed, you will have your own system that will keep you safe and sound. Learn the skills and take your Boards. I've been a Nurse for 28 years. I started off as a LPN and then went the bridge route. You'll see this is all going to be worth it.
  7. by   shining_star28463
    Is she like this with just you or other students as well?

    She's like this with one other student that is on the Tuesday rotation. She told that student that she only had two weeks to decide whether she wanted to be a nurse or not.

    I did feel like when I went in to do the head to toe assessment other than forgetting to check the patient's armband I did pretty well and it is such a cut to someone's confidence to tick off all these things that were done wrong and then to say that I didn't know what I was doing. She even said that I used my thumbs to check the patient's pedal pulses but I didn't. I used my thumb to check for edema and then I used my index finger and middle finger to check the pedal pulses. She also said the I didn't press down hard enough to check for edema. I didn't even bother to dispute her because I think that it would only make her come down on me harder.
    I think that I will meet with her and talk to her about how I feel. I know that the mistakes I make are my own resposibility but I feel like just I am being thrown into a situation. She's had years of nursing experience and years as an instructor but this is only my 5th month doing this and I have not had 5 months of consistent clinical experience (last semster we only had six clinicals doing NA work). I feel like I'm just left floating out there like I'm supposed to know what to do but when other students ask her questions she doesn't seem to respond to them the way she does to me. Earlier today, I was waiting for her so I could check a blood pressure. She said that she was coming but she went with another student instead. I was walking right beside her and it felt like I was being blown off. I ended up waiting nearly an hour and finally I just stopped her while she was walking past and asked her if she could come with me to do the blood pressure and she said that right now, she had more important stuff to do (she took the other student to do a Foley on her patient even though I'd asked to be checked on my BP first but whatever). It seems to me also that the other students get to do more things as well. When I received my assignment through email last night, my patient wasn't taking po meds although everyone else's patients had at least five meds that had to be adminstered. Then later today, the doctor ordered meds for my patient. I'd already checked the MAR earlier before the med was ordered so I didn't know she had meds and my instructor almost yells at me where are my drug cards and to come on, that I had meds to give, like I was supposed to automatically know that the doctor had given an order for meds.
    I want to be held to the same standards as everyone else but I also want to be treated as everyone else is treated as well and I don't see a whole lot of fairness there. Last week, I wasn't the only person who didn't get their vitals right but I was the only one who got an Unsatisfactory. She gave those girls three chances to get their's right but I only got one before I got a yellow sheet.
  8. by   jjjoy
    For whatever reason, this instructor is giving you a hard time. The question is what are you going to do, not how to make her change or be more fair or whatever. She probably will interpret any perceived passivity or intrepidness as a weakness so take action. Do what you need to do to be as confident as possible. Make a point to know your stuff backwards and forwards. Have a classmate play the role of the instructor. Practice telling her about your patient and the meds. In clinical, show her how much you know before she asks questions. Practice doing head to toe assessments. Ask to observe your classmates. Ask your classmates if you can help assess their patients (and if the patient is okay with it). The more you practice, especially with real situations, the more confident you'll feel and that should come across to your instructor. And even if it doesn't, YOU'LL feel more confident. Your instructor may still criticize you, saying that still isn't enough, but that doesn't take away from the fact that YOU have reinforced your learning and have gained something from the experience. The ultimate goal is being a good nurse and you can work towards that no matter how discouraging the instructor is. You really have to look inside yourself. Do YOU think you can be a good nurse? Even if the instructor made you repeat this rotation, it would just more opportunity to learn and build on your own skills and experience. Be proud of what you've accomplished no matter whether or not your instructor is giving you credit for it!
  9. by   vascrn1
    Read what u wrote and just like to say been there and through it. When I first entered nursing school I had an instructor who said "look to your left, right forward and cehind u, those are the people that will not make it through", well we were all one of those but 18 yrs later I look back and laugh. After its all over and your working as a nurse, Those were the easy moments, everyday is both difficult and rewarding, you may never be monetary rewarded but you will receive rewards from your patients, hang in there it does get better, these are the trials that will make a difference tomorrow, you'll never forget your penlight or the three P's again, trust me, you learn from mistakes and continue to grow
  10. by   MelRN13
    Are there any students in your clinical that you can talk to? Maybe ask them what their approach to this instructor is. Always remember to keep your head up, smile, and go on with your day. If you have a question you're afraid to ask the instructor, try asking one of the nurses on the unit you're on for clinicals. If you receive your assignment the day before clinicals, try to take the time to look up your patients dx so you can be more readily prepared.

    I think we all had rough patches when we were students, but don't give up!
  11. by   GardenDove
    What are the 5 Ps of restraint assessment?
    Last edit by GardenDove on Jan 29, '07
  12. by   shining_star28463
    Quote from GardenDove
    What are the 5 Ps of restraint assessment?
    Pain, Pallor, Pulse, Paralysis, Parathesis
  13. by   GardenDove
    Quote from shining_star28463
    Pain, Pallor, Pulse, Paralysis, Parathesis
    Ah, I think I remember that from nrsg school, now that you remind me...

    To the OP, this instructor is a B-!-T-(-H, I have no doubt about it from your description. She probably has her head so filled up with stuff like the 5 Ps that she doesn't know anything else anymore, because she hasn't actually worked at the bedside in so many years that she really doesn't know what in the H3LL she's talking about. She's a bully...

    Do you want me to email her for you and tell her off?
  14. by   Jo Dirt
    As long as unsatisfactory papers didn't mean dismissal from the program I would just take my licks and go on. But if it seems like she has singled you out and is trying to make an example out of you and ultimately get rid of you, I' have her in the office with the head of the nursing program. Ask her what exactly she sees in you that is such a problem and be sure to mention that you want to know what to do to fix things and make them better.

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