My externship is not going well

  1. I posted this somewhere else but want some opinons. I am in between 2nd and 3rd semesters in nursing school and taking an externship.
    I just started my externship and so far I have found many precpetors to be hlpful and informative. Expect for mine. My preceptor is an arrogant, whiny nurse who likes to power trip, thinks she knows everything, and doesn't want to teach me anything. Its quite obviuos she is in the precpetorship for the $2 an hour extra. I distinctly got that feeling when she asked me why I was in a hurry to learn things (as this was slowing her down). She was hoping I would be a lazy extern content to take up space. Too bad for her. This is an optional gig for us at our school, so we are all externing (those of us from my school anyways)because we are the best in our class, and the one who want to learn the most before graduating. I am so aggravated!
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  2. 30 Comments

  3. by   Big Bab's
    Quote from NP2BE
    I posted this somewhere else but want some opinons. I am in between 2nd and 3rd semesters in nursing school and taking an externship.
    I just started my externship and so far I have found many precpetors to be hlpful and informative. Expect for mine. My preceptor is an arrogant, whiny nurse who likes to power trip, thinks she knows everything, and doesn't want to teach me anything. Its quite obviuos she is in the precpetorship for the $2 an hour extra. I distinctly got that feeling when she asked me why I was in a hurry to learn things (as this was slowing her down). She was hoping I would be a lazy extern content to take up space. Too bad for her. This is an optional gig for us at our school, so we are all externing (those of us from my school anyways)because we are the best in our class, and the one who want to learn the most before graduating. I am so aggravated!

    That really sucks!!...Can you ask for a different preceptor??...If not, maybe you could find a gentle way to let her know that you're doing this because you want experience and to learn from her, maybe stroke the ego a little....just a thought.
  4. by   moia
    Preceptors are chosen by managers. They usually take a class and volunteer and need to get their manager to agree and approve them. They also need to be approved by your program. Go back to your program and tell them she is inappropriate and you are not gaining the knowledge or experince you expected and since this is an investment of your time and this preceptor is being paid for her time someone needs to sit both of you down and clarify why you are externing and clarify for her what she is expected to do for the money she is being paid.
    Call a meeting. You are wasting valuable time and this is YOUR time...the preceptor has to be at work anyway...it means Nothing to her.
    You have to be the one to make a stand cause no one else cares.
  5. by   NP2BE
    Quote from moia
    Preceptors are chosen by managers. They usually take a class and volunteer and need to get their manager to agree and approve them. They also need to be approved by your program. Go back to your program and tell them she is inappropriate and you are not gaining the knowledge or experince you expected and since this is an investment of your time and this preceptor is being paid for her time someone needs to sit both of you down and clarify why you are externing and clarify for her what she is expected to do for the money she is being paid.
    Call a meeting. You are wasting valuable time and this is YOUR time...the preceptor has to be at work anyway...it means Nothing to her.
    You have to be the one to make a stand cause no one else cares.
    Its a delicate situation because i want to work in this hospital and in this unit when i graduate, and she is a well-liked nurse there. But you are right, she did volunteer and have to take a class. There are no other preceptors available in that dept, so i would have to get into a new unit. I guess If I am in MICU or SICU, that would be almsot as good as CVICU, probably better because I would see more, I just love this cardio stuff!
  6. by   bluesky
    Well, if your preceptor is popular on her unit, she's probably a team worker and well respected by her peers. This is only a very subjective response and please don't be offended but it sounded a little cocky when you stated that you were "the best". This is not a productive image to project when in a student position. Your summary is full of characterizations of this preceptor (judgments) but short on specifics. Perhaps she would like you to research some of your inquiries on your own... or perhaps you may consider the timing of your questions. If you really want this unit and she is the only preceptor available, I would do damage control and make the changes necessary to appeal to her m.o. Perhaps consider the way she would like the interaction to proceed instead of the way you would. The preceptorship doesn't last forever and if you repair the relationship, she might be a great future ally in establishing relations with others on the unit. You can achieve this goal by approaching her in a private space and expressing your concern about your relationship and how to improve it (" I sense that you are frustrated with my questions, is there a more appropriate time for me to ask them?").

    Well, that's just my .02 This is a profession where you must chose your conflicts very carefully because the sequellae will remain with you for a long time. For example, if this popular nurse gives negative feedback about you to your supervisor or other nurses, it will take a long time to defeat your "rep", trust me.
  7. by   AcosmicRN
    Well now, here's the thing: your nic suggests you have your eyes set on nurse practitioner, if this is so, I suggest you get used to this preceptor. Why? Because it's my experience that NPs work for doctors and are treated by them basically the way aids are treated by RNs, and that's only fitting. They are, after all, doctors' assitants. In some states they may have their own practices, but in mine, and in my hospital, they do all the redundant work the MD (their employer) doesn't want to do. Nurses regard them like MDs (which is not really very high) and MDs regard them as nurses (which, again is not really very high). Since being treated arrogantly and as a second class HCP is what your future holds for you as an NP, I'd use this preceptor as a good chance to get some experience at it. As a future NP, it may be exactly what you need. But, of course, you will make more money, and it's amazing what people can put up with for money.

    If you choose to be a real RN as a career, then my sympathies are with you, and my advice would be wholly different. Either way good luck.

    Acosmic
  8. by   Gator,SN
    Well now, here's the thing: your nic suggests you have your eyes set on nurse practitioner, if this is so, I suggest you get used to this preceptor. Why? Because it's my experience that NPs work for doctors and are treated by them basically the way aids are treated by RNs, and that's only fitting. They are, after all, doctors' assitants. In some states they may have their own practices, but in mine, and in my hospital, they do all the redundant work the MD (their employer) doesn't want to do. Nurses regard them like MDs (which is not really very high) and MDs regard them as nurses (which, again is not really very high). Since being treated arrogantly and as a second class HCP is what your future holds for you as an NP, I'd use this preceptor as a good chance to get some experience at it. As a future NP, it may be exactly what you need. But, of course, you will make more money, and it's amazing what people can put up with for money.

    If you choose to be a real RN as a career, then my sympathies are with you, and my advice would be wholly different. Either way good luck.


    Acosmic, WHAT is this all about??? this was a rude post and some of the things that you wrote are just nasty! Do you really think that it "is only fitting" for someone to be treated with less respect just because of the initials after their name??? Why such a negative attitude about NP's?? If a doctor treats you like crap do you feel like you deserve it? I guess you just say thank you and ask for more. And your comment about being a "real RN"....well that was just inspiring

    Gator
    Last edit by Gator,SN on Jun 20, '04
  9. by   Gator,SN
    NP2B,
    others on here have given you some great advice. Talk to your preceptor and try to work it out. Not because you should get used to being treated badly, but for yourself. You are spending your time and energy, so you should get the most out of it. Try to look at things from your preceptors POV too. She is taking the time and the risk of having you treat her patients without a license for $2/hr extra.
  10. by   New CCU RN
    [QUOTE=AcosmicRN]Well now, here's the thing: your nic suggests you have your eyes set on nurse practitioner, if this is so, I suggest you get used to this preceptor. Why? Because it's my experience that NPs work for doctors and are treated by them basically the way aids are treated by RNs, and that's only fitting. They are, after all, doctors' assitants. In some states they may have their own practices, but in mine, and in my hospital, they do all the redundant work the MD (their employer) doesn't want to do. Nurses regard them like MDs (which is not really very high) and MDs regard them as nurses (which, again is not really very high). Since being treated arrogantly and as a second class HCP is what your future holds for you as an NP, I'd use this preceptor as a good chance to get some experience at it. As a future NP, it may be exactly what you need. But, of course, you will make more money, and it's amazing what people can put up with for money.

    If you choose to be a real RN as a career, then my sympathies are with you, and my advice would be wholly different. Either way good luck.

    Acosmic[/QUOTE


    May be a different user name but I'm seeing the same philosophies... anyone else seeing a trend?
    Last edit by New CCU RN on Jun 20, '04
  11. by   epiphany
    I am also doing my externship - (one more year to go for my BSN). My preceptor doesn't even touch the patient for his "assessment". He gives meds and then he "charts" according the previous shift. He wouldn't know what a diuretic is for, if you asked him. He takes an hour break every hour. He doesn't even read his patient's chart. He doesn't prime his IV's. In other words, he does the minimum that's required of him to go undetected for his shoddy performance. He's been there for years, and I don't how he's managed not to kill a patient. (Maybe he has, but it's gone undetected) I am self-motivated, and even as a know-nothing extern, I know that this is kind of patient care I don't want to provide.

    During my school clinical rotations, in four rotations, I've only had ONE good nurse - during which time, I milked her for everything I could, and I pushed her to challenge me. When I get a sucky preceptor, I do what I can on my end. I observe his mistakes, learn from it. I look at the patient's chart and check the medication and read up on the patient's condition. I make sure their dressing are clean, and I flush their IV's when needed, so that they don't have to go through the agony of getting a new one. When I see dangling plasters left all over their bodies I change or remove them, because it gives them some dignity. When they have questions, I answer them, or I try to find out what I can. I educate them when they need it. There's always something to do, and something to learn. Even with the worse preceptors, I can practice ascultating and listening to heart and lung sounds because that's independent.

    And when I cannot handle things myself, I bug him all the time - ask him questions, tell him what the patients need - and is a general pain-in-the-*** to him. I think I am in the same spot as you. My preceptor wishes I was as lazy as he is, but too bad for him, I am not.

    I motivate myself because I always keep in mind that there's some sick and anxious HUMAN BEING who needs me, and that's what matters. But it SUCKS that I don't have many mentors to look up to. It sucks for us all who wants to learn.





    Quote from NP2BE
    I posted this somewhere else but want some opinons. I am in between 2nd and 3rd semesters in nursing school and taking an externship.
    I just started my externship and so far I have found many precpetors to be hlpful and informative. Expect for mine. My preceptor is an arrogant, whiny nurse who likes to power trip, thinks she knows everything, and doesn't want to teach me anything. Its quite obviuos she is in the precpetorship for the $2 an hour extra. I distinctly got that feeling when she asked me why I was in a hurry to learn things (as this was slowing her down). She was hoping I would be a lazy extern content to take up space. Too bad for her. This is an optional gig for us at our school, so we are all externing (those of us from my school anyways)because we are the best in our class, and the one who want to learn the most before graduating. I am so aggravated!
  12. by   gypsyatheart
    Quote from Gator,SN
    Acosmic, WHAT is this all about??? this was a rude post and some of the things that you wrote are just nasty! Do you really think that it "is only fitting" for someone to be treated with less respect just because of the initials after their name??? Why such a negative attitude about NP's?? If a doctor treats you like crap do you feel like you deserve it? I guess you just say thank you and ask for more. And your comment about being a "real RN"....well that was just inspiring

    Gator
    I agree, this is a very bizarre post. Not very enlightened at all. I'm not sure where Cosmic nurse gets his perceptions of NP's....way off base!
    Furthermore, to advise someone to "get used to poor treatment"....not helpful at all!
  13. by   mattsmom81
    Student nurses are going to run into all kinds of nurses..I learned something from all my teachers and preceptors even if it was how I did NOT want to turn out.

    I like Bluesky's answer...try to salvage the relationship if you can. If you can't, consider asking for another preceptor assignment, but be aware of how that may come off to people you would like to stay on good terms with. If you come off as demanding , judgmental or with a sense of entitlement, I agree it may not bode well for you.
  14. by   NP2BE
    Quote from bluesky
    Well, if your preceptor is popular on her unit, she's probably a team worker and well respected by her peers. This is only a very subjective response and please don't be offended but it sounded a little cocky when you stated that you were "the best". This is not a productive image to project when in a student position. Your summary is full of characterizations of this preceptor (judgments) but short on specifics. Perhaps she would like you to research some of your inquiries on your own... or perhaps you may consider the timing of your questions. If you really want this unit and she is the only preceptor available, I would do damage control and make the changes necessary to appeal to her m.o. Perhaps consider the way she would like the interaction to proceed instead of the way you would. The preceptorship doesn't last forever and if you repair the relationship, she might be a great future ally in establishing relations with others on the unit. You can achieve this goal by approaching her in a private space and expressing your concern about your relationship and how to improve it (" I sense that you are frustrated with my questions, is there a more appropriate time for me to ask them?").

    Well, that's just my .02 This is a profession where you must chose your conflicts very carefully because the sequellae will remain with you for a long time. For example, if this popular nurse gives negative feedback about you to your supervisor or other nurses, it will take a long time to defeat your "rep", trust me.

    So far I have not had any direct conflicts with her. But she certainly seems to wish I was the lazy type. That is all I mean by the saying we are the best, there are no lazy externs because this is optional work we elected to do because we care (from our school.) I think that is not cocky, but well put. As for the poster re NP, That is just a nic, I am currently in trainining to be an RN, I may never ne an NP, I have to be an RN first. I am not going to address our relationship, it won't last long enough. She can go ahaead and talk about me behind my back, just like she does her coworkers, I am not playing that game.

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