To my preceptor, future students beware (rant) - page 3

by leekun2010 41,221 Views | 61 Comments

Dear Preceptor, This past spring 2010 semester, I was assigned to you for a whole semester to learn the ins and outs of being a nurse independent from my classmates. It was just you and I. I was excited when I began this... Read More


  1. 0
    Okay, that's reasonable, but jorge is not evaluating it in the way you describe. You're implying that the student has flaws that are encouraging this behavior on the part of the preceptor (rather than suggesting that this is possible).

    Regards,
    Mukfay
    Last edit by Mukfay on May 3, '10 : Reason: mistake
  2. 0
    I feel sorry that this happened to a new nurse. One thing that hospitals and management need to remember is that teaching like nursing is a gift. I personally don't have that gift. I know why and how I do what I do but I can't teach it to someone else. I have at times had nurses following me but I try to avoid it at all costs because I know that it's frustrating for a new employee and it's also frustrating for me. I think you need to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses and I have explained to management at times that they are not doing a new employee any favors. When there is no other choice I of course will help any one. It's a shame after all this time we are still treating new nurses and employees this way.
  3. 1
    A semester is a long time to be assigned to a nurse who has no interest in teaching. It's unfortunate that there isn't an incremental evaluation in the first few weeks to see how things are working out from the perspective of the preceptor and the student. It should have been a golden opportunity. Congrats on your graduation, LeeKun. At least you will know what not to do if you ever become a preceptor!
    latebloomer74 likes this.
  4. 3
    Having a student nurse following you around is a LOTTTTT of work, espeically if you are forced to do it and dont want to. I like student nurses most of the time, but there are days where the questions dont end and I get so annoyed being followed around and scrutinized. "Why did you give this pill first? Why did you asses the lungs before the heart? Why did you reasses the pain level 35 min after administration when the protocol is 30 min? When are you going to call the dr about a stool softener?" lol. It's exhausting. And 99.9% of the time, there is no compensation. Thats right, I teach for FREE. You pay your nursing school and they send you to me. I get NOTHING out of the deal. The hospital has some contract with nursing schools and nurses are required to teach while taking on a full patient load. A lot of nurses can handle it, and a lot can't.

    I know it seems really unfair and you probably feel unprepared to work in the hospital enviroment. But its not the end of the world, and its certainly not the last nurse you'll work with who doesn't want to teach. Just take it as a learning experience and when you start working as an graduate nurse, be vocal about the type of preceptor you want and make sure you have one that likes to teach. You learn more when you start working for real anyway.
    dimpledRN, wooh, and Kooky Korky like this.
  5. 6
    Leekun, I'm sorry you had this terrible experience. However, I am wondering why you didn't say anything to your Instructor. Why in the world would you let this terrible experience go on for more than a day or 2? Yes, I know students are terrified of everyone, sometimes justifiably. But gosh darn it, if you didn't say anything, you let her get away with giving you a sub-par, waste of time experience. You'll learn eventually all the things you could have learned during this rotation. But you are now behind, you are frustrated, you can't gain the time back.

    And the situation with your ID? That could have been resolved in about 5 minutes, not weeks.

    Please never let anyone do this to you again. Take responsibility for speaking up - to the right persons. Be courteous, nmature, and firm. Let no one deter you. Keep going higher until you get the right response. Yes, you have to tread lightly sometimes and know when to back off. But you just have to speak up sometimes, my dear. You can't expect mean or lazy or sad or distracted people or anyone else with any other type of trouble to dictate your experience - beyond a reasonable degree.

    I get so frustrated with nurses who expect others to fix their problems or change their behavior. Learn right now that there are just some plain evil people in the world. You have already met one. I don't care what her problems are - when she came to work, when she accepted a student, she should have acted much differently. When she didn't, you should have sought the cure and taken the bull by the horns.

    Best wishes for you in the future. I apologize if I sound mean or harsh or not what you wanted to hear.
    Scrubby, Hoozdo, nursel56, and 3 others like this.
  6. 6
    Few things I want to bring up:

    -My preceptor is not paid to do this, and she did volunteer for it. She was not forced to do so.
    -I did not have much problems with my preceptor at first, and the problems became more obvious halfway through the semester.
    -My professor already knew what happened way before I knew that she knew.
    -Behind the scenes, my professor tried talking to my preceptor, but my preceptor never replied back to her messages until the end on my evaluation.
    -I had a change of preceptors towards the end of my practicum.
    -I did speak up about this issue.
    -In a way, as weird as it sounds, I am glad I had a nasty nurse as a preceptor because I learned a lot, including the type of nurse I will be.
    -One thing I'm not sure if I remember on my original post: 1-2 times my preceptor went to work hungover. Hungover preceptor = not good.
    -My professor will personally see to it that my preceptor will not get anymore students.
    -The reason I wrote the OP is to bring up awareness about this issue.
  7. 0
    i had a fellow nursing student who had a similar experience in our last semester of our adn program, only in our program we did not have "real nurse" preceptors for clinicals, we pretty much relied on our instructor (there were usually 6 students). so my friend's complaints were directed toward her instructor, not a facility staff nurse...who could she complain to then?
    the dean? really?
    there was nobody that she could turn to with the exception of fellow students, and eventually when things really got out of hand, she spoke to another trusted instructor who was more helpful. in the end- my friend was seen by the learning disabilities office, diagnosed with add or something similar and suddenly the nasty instructor reversed the written warning from the previous week, was all smiles and kindness and things magically improved. amazing what an (implied) threat resulting from an unassisted student with a disability can do. pretty *** sad to see the lack of caring that goes into teaching future nurses when we are entering a profession of caring!!
    Last edit by dianah on May 5, '10 : Reason: Terms of Service re: profanity or veiled profanity
  8. 3
    While acknowledging your frustration and the "rant" carte blanche, I would like to take the opportunity to gently redirect your frustrations with what sounds like a deeply unfortunate situation. I have been in your shoes (well, similar shoes, any way) and have been practicing long enough to know that if the shoes don't fit... you gotta get new ones.

    In a nutshell: it is one thing to have complaints about a preceptor, it is another thing to let them dominate most of an entire semester.

    I realize this is a rant and you are letting off steam, but in this case as you noted in your original post, you did yourself a deep disservice by remaining under this nurse's tutelage for as long as you did, and I hope if you are ever in this situation again you will present a fair, objective and professionally rendered case to your manager, clinical supervisor, or other leader and request another teacher much sooner than you did this go-around.

    In fact, were it me, I would continue to advocate for myself if I did not feel the matter was resolved properly, and might consider going further up the "food chain" and requesting a meeting to discuss this issue with your ombudsman or even Dean, or a nursing supervisor/clinical education instructor if you are an employee training in a hospital or other facility).

    Since there nothing you can do about it now (except perhaps find a way to let your teachers at school know about this experience so another student will not have to "walk in your shoes," and it sounds like you have done so) take this as a learning opportunity and next time you are confronted with this issue, do not accept less than what you deserve.

    New nurses, especially, deserve the best mentorship and preceptorship available. We have serious responsibilities and you obviously deem them as such and wish to learn all you can (otherwise I can't imagine you would even bother to rant about your experience!)

    Just remember, in order to be a patient's advocate, you must start with yourself. I cannot stress enough: advocate, advocate, advocate for yourself. It will help to prevent quick burn-out and ultimately help to make you feel more empowered about your decisions, and ultimately, practice in nursing.

    Best wishes on your new career!
    Last edit by piperknitsRN on May 19, '10 : Reason: modified commentary
    Scrubby, nursel56, and wooh like this.
  9. 0
    Absolutely not. Some preceptors are inherently flawed either b/c their character traits or not preceptor material. Nevertheless we have all at one ot failed to meet the standards that other have of us. Maybe addreasung tge problem head can b benefual to both the student and the preceptor. Hopes this clarifies my position
  10. 0
    Quote from leekun2010
    Dear Preceptor,

    This past spring 2010 semester, I was assigned to you for a whole semester to learn the ins and outs of being a nurse independent from my classmates. It was just you and I. I was excited when I began this semester-long process of learning how to integrate what I have learned in previous clinicals and in lectures as well. My enthusiasm was at its peek when I started the semester. I thought that nothing could stop me from learning so much in practicum, and also, enjoy it all at the same time.

    However, throughout the semester, I was wrong about you. I feel that I did not learn much from you at all. You spent most of your clinical time with me chatting with your co-workers, going on facebook, checking your email and even finding time to chat with someone online via Instant messaging in front of me. You would text and make personal phone calls in front of me. You even found time to buy plane tickets, plan when to take days off, and the best part, you even have time to buy knitting materials online. You even had time to look up condos for sale in the neighborhood you wanted to move to. How did you do that?

    Whenever I asked you for help, you would ignore me, tell me to look it up, or take over what I try to do to learn because I have difficulties doing something like that one time I was going to give an enema. You snatched that fleet enema off my hand and administered it to the patient. Didn't you know that I wanted to do it myself so I can learn how to do it? Or that other time when I went to the restroom real quick, and when I came back out, you were nowhere to be found. Why do you always disappear? And when I find you, you've already done whatever you did, and I missed the learning opportunity as a result.

    When you took a vacation and I was assigned to a substitute preceptor, I felt that I learned so much more in the small period of time that I spent with the other nurse. Not only was she nice, but she also helped me studying for my exit exam. She even answered my questions and did not brush it off. She took her time to teach me. You, my dear preceptor, always talked about how horrible this nurse so and so is. When you didn't have the patience, you always reported someone, and because of you, a nurse got transferred off the floor.

    I did so much while I was under you, yet many nurses in the floor have overheard you say that I did not do anything. You gave me a grade that was barely passing and so close to the borderline of failing. Everyone in the floor knew you took advantage of me especially in how you treated me all semester, which was terrible. I did not get the experience I was hoping to get and learn this semester from you AT ALL. Because of you, I was in tears and wanted to cry just to let all this anger, frustration, and stress out of my chest.

    I was filled with frustration when you wouldn't let me do anything because the hospital was taking too long to issue my ID even though I was already cleared to practice weeks prior. 40% of my clinical hours got cut off and I had to re-do those 12 hour shifts because you wouldn't let me do anything except for vital signs, blood glucose checks, or feed patients. I never learned much from you at all this semester. I've spent so much time sitting down with you at the nurses' station that I know the number of love handles and chins you have and did you know you have grey hair coming out of your head?

    Seriously, you accept the position of being a preceptor, yet you eat your very own young? This is the reason why many student nurses lose hope in nursing.

    In the end, I was filled with so much frustration and stress that it took a toll in my health during spring break when I got sick for three weeks, with one week being spring break. I was getting dizzy, running up and down the hall doing everything by myself, such as admitting the patient to their room, cleaning them, and making sure the patients we had are doing ok. You would only enter a room if meds are due, if they have to go to some procedure, or if the patient complains of pain for example.

    You even talk trash behind your patients' backs.

    Oh, and do you remember that time when we admitted a patient and you told me to transport the patient to the room? Well, that patient was about to have a huge bowel movement, and I caught it just in time with a bed pan before it even had the chance to soil the bedsheets, the patient's gown, and the bed. And where were you at this time? You were sitting in front of a computer chatting with your co-workers laughing about something.

    And here I am now, hearing from nurses in the floor that you said I did not do much. Really? Well, guess what some of your patients have told me:

    "I see you more often than the nurse. You're like my real nurse!"
    "Thank you for being so nice to me."
    "I appreciate what you're doing for me."
    "See? I told you she's my nurse. I see her more often that the other one"
    "Thank you so much for taking your time to talk to me."

    True story, dear preceptor.

    You think I did not watch your every move when we were in clinicals? I know how you are, and you are not a nurse that is fit to teach a student nurse in how to become an independent nurse. And please, stop talking behind the patients' backs and stop making fun of their conditions. Nurses are caring people, not bullies and backstabbers.

    Yours truly,
    Your student
    My new peer, how I long to work with you!! I had a similar experience with several "seasoned" nurses...I thought, surely this isn't the "norm"...I'm sad to say, it is. I'm more burnt out from staff than pt's. When has the care left "care giver" regardless of title. I've been a nurse since 2003, don't give up. Be determined. Our pt's need us more than ever, we DO make a difference! This preceptor probably has grey hairs from her chin too, and is mad about it..LOL Learn from her example of how you NEVER want to be and continue to give the best loving and educated care that you can...you & your pt's will reap the rewards...and one day SHE will be the pt, who has a nurse like her.


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