My preceptor hates me (need advice)Register Today!
This is a discussion on My preceptor hates me (need advice) in General Nursing Discussion, part of General Nursing ... Sorry for the long post, but I really need some advice on my situation here.. I'm a new...by 09NewGrad Nov 15, '09Sorry for the long post, but I really need some advice on my situation here..
I'm a new graduate and I've been on orientation on a surgical floor since for 5 weeks. I was hired for the night shift but they decided to have me on orientation on the day shift for the first 5 weeks because that's where I'd get lots of practice. I was a little worried from the get go when I first met my preceptor. I could tell from my first day that she is a moody type of person. She also would rarely even talk to me, so I would always have to initiate any type of discussion. She would just do her charting and go about her day without even talking to me, so I had to ask questions constantly. It was bad enough that CNAs sitting next to us ended up showing me how to do charting. She didn't introduce me to any of the other nurses, and when she talked to them acted as if I wasn't even there. Not the best way to make a new employee feel welcome who doesn't know anyone on the floor.
Things got a little better after the first day once I was given the responsibility of doing meds, assessments, and charting. The only reason it got better was because I had less time around her and more time with patients. Around 2-3 weeks into my orientation I noticed she started to get more annoyed with my many questions, however keep in mind this is my first job since graduating nursing school so obviously I have lots of questions. By week 4 she was having me do all the meds, assessments, and charting, and she wouldn't help me with any of it even if I got behind. For example, one day I had to get fitted for an N95 mask and I was gone for around an hour being fitted. I was assuming she would help me out while I was gone and do some charting so we could stay on track. Come to find out she hadn't done anything, and was surprised and not happy when I told her I thought she would help since I was off the floor for an hour. Right after I told her this, she got on my case and she asked why I hadn't done the vaccination protocol that we do for new admits. I told her she had never shown me how to do that, and she said in an annoyed voice, "Fine, I'll just do it myself." She then got upset at me for being behind on giving a pt his coumadin. Obviously at this point I'm behind, after having to do 2 sets of charting on 5 patients! This was about the time that she started acting really weird when I ask her questions. She would just stand there for a while and look at me funny while I ask questions. This led me to feel nervous everytime I ask her a question as it seemed she would scrutinize my every thought. I started simply asking other nurses questions I wasn't sure about, as they would just answer the question kindly and not make me feel stupid like my preceptor.
Yesterday was the last day with my preceptor and the end of the 5th week of orientation, and it was my worst day of all. I had a bunch of patients with total knee surgeries which required dressing changes, and they needed to be put in CPM machines. And of course I had that one patient who had tons of IV antibiotics, morphine pushes, and phenergan that required me to be in her room constantly. I had everything done, except for 3 dressing changes and the patients hadn't been put in CPM machines. I was told the CNAs always put the patients in their CPMs so I didn't worry about that. Around 2 PM my preceptor comes to find me in one of my pt's rooms and says that the Dr. is ****** at us, and has asked her around 3 times why the dressing changes haven't been done yet and why they aren't in their CPMs. She asks me what has been taking me so long to get everything done and when I tell her about the demanding patient, she just says, "You need to get a routine down so you can get stuff done." So I say alright, get my dressing supplies and get to the first dressing change as fast as I can. I then had to go out to the nursing station to ask her whether or not I should take out his hemovac and I see her complaining to the charge nurse (I'm sure about me).
Eventually I get them all done and the day is over. My preceptor finally comes and sees if my charting is all in and says she is heading out. Apparently she didn't want to give me any feedback even though this was our last day together! I am so tired, upset, and confused at this point but I still asked her to give me feedback on how I'm doing. She proceeds to tell me that I'm not getting stuff done quick enough, and at this point i should be progressing ahead of where I'm at currently. My heart sinks.. Keep in mind she's telling me this near another nurse so I ask if we can go into a private room! We get into the room and she says, "How do I say this without hurting your feelings? It seems like things just aren't clicking with you, I don't understand your thinking process. You don't understand lots of things that should be common sense to a new nurse. I can tell you didn't get much practice with nursing skills during your clinicals, how many days were you in the hospital before now?" She then goes onto say that I need to learn how to prioritize things, and she says that I am too slow and methodical about how I do things and I need to get a better routine down. At this point I don't even know what to say, and I tell her, "You know, to be honest with you, for the last 2 weeks it seems like you don't like me at all. Whenever I ask a question you just stand there and look at me funny. I'm not exactly sure what happened but it's pretty obvious. It has caused me to not even want to ask you any questions at all." She seemed really surprised that I called her out on this and she apologized. She then went on to say that the night nurse I'll be orienting with is very anal about how she does things so specifically and she doesn't think our personalities will mesh. I am 90% positive she has told the rest of the nurses and CNAs that I'm a complete idiot who doesn't know what the hell I'm doing. They were very nice to me, but the last couple weeks none of them will really talk to me anymore. My preceptor is very catty and I've heard her calling other night nurses stupid around me. She speaks her mind and if she doesn't like someone she makes it known to everyone. She has also worked this unit over 5 years and is respected and buddy/buddy with most other nurses. She treats everyone great minus the one person she is working with 12 hours per day, me. She even told me that the clinical nurse educator asked how my orienting was going, and she told her that it's not going so great because I'm slow at picking things up. My educator is best friends with the nurse manager on my unit, so no doubt she also thinks I'm an idiot.
This was one of the things she said was common sense and I shouldn't have been confused about. One of my patients at the start of my shift was getting a bag of D5 1/2 w/ 20meq K and to be honest I'd never had a patient get that before so I assumed that the K bag was a one time dose and when her IV antibiotics were due, I was supposed to give them with a NS bag, and not just spike a new D5 1/2 K bag. I didn't think you could give K with antibiotics. So I went and asked my preceptor, she misunderstood my question and said to just keep giving it with D5 1/2 but she didn't say anything about the potassium, so I went ahead and gave the antibiotics with regular D5 1/2 without potassium. She was not happy about this mistake and told me it was common sense and I should have already known what to do.
I left work not knowing what the hell I should do. I want so much to quit this job because I know she has spread it around that i'm slow and suck at this job. I've seen her talking to other nurses in corners after I ask her a question and she just looks at me funny. My reputation is tarnished on this unit and I've only been here 5 weeks. I drove home humiliated, ashamed, angry, sad, and confused. I can honestly say that when my wife asked how my day was, I started to cry. I have never cried in front of her before but I'm just so torn up about this. I feel like I went into the wrong field. I should have known as I disliked most of my clinical rotations during school. When I think about quitting and doing something else, I feel a sense of freedom. However, getting my BSN was such a chore that I don't want this one person to ruin this for me. If you're still reading, please, offer any support or opinions.
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- Nov 15, '09 by DogWmnI'm sorry you are having such a bad time of it and this woman doesn't sound like the best of preceptors, however, the time management issue was continually coming up during your narrative. The transition from student to floor can be rough if your time management skills are not the best. You mentioned you will have some more orientation on the shift you will be working and I'd utilize that to address this. Be up front with your new manager and let them know that you'd like help with these skills. Another suggestion, when you went to get fitted for the mask, I would have arranged to do it before or after my shift was over and not take an hour out of my work day.
The gossip issue has been addressed in many threads on this forum and you'll never escape it and there are plenty of great ideas to deal with this.
You've only been at this for 5 weeks so don't give up, dig in and figure out how you can improve. Don't expect everyone to "like you" just be a professional and do your job. I don't mean to sound harsh but again at 5 weeks in you need to look at what you can do to improve your organizational skills.
- Nov 15, '09 by ♪♫ in my ♥I'm sorry and I don't have any idea on how to make things better other than to study and work hard, and - to whatever degree you can - try to relax and get into a groove that works for you. Also try to connect with other nurses there.
I want to offer a piece of feedback based on what I read. Twice in your story you said, "I assumed..." and then related how things went wrong. Making the assumptions were probably not wise. Try to check, verify, and research rather than making assumptions.
Hopefully things will improve once you get some space from this lady.
- Nov 15, '09 by Aymesei sent a private message to you...did you get it because it says zero in my sent box...hmm
- Nov 15, '09 by mhinds12You just have anxiety. Completely normal when starting a new nursing position...especially right out of school. Anxiety slows down your ability to think on your toes and get things done the way you normally would (but you know this, you're a nurse ) That's going to fade...as you get more comfortable you will find that you're catching onto things a lot quicker.
Your preceptor, to put it nicely, sucks. Frankly, I'm so tired of hearing about how preceptors treat new nurses. Obviously it won't change, but we can do our part to know better when it comes time to train someone else in the future. When it's your turn- you'll remember your first five weeks as an RN and hopefully find a way to make it a little less traumatic for the next new nurse.
You're hating your job because of the anxiety you feel there. This doesn't mean you hate nursing, in my opinion. To me, it just means you need more time there. Once you adjust, you might just find that you did enter the right field. This doesn't mean you should go years on the job waiting for an adjustment, I'm just saying, give yourself a solid 6-12 months before giving up. They say it takes a year to adjust to a unit.
Don't let some nurse with a chip on her shoulder bring you down...do your best, learn from the mistakes and move on.
EVERYONE experiences rough transitions into new jobs, no matter who you are or where you work. EVERYONE adjusts when someone new enters the environment, including those who work around you. You will learn, you will do great. Don't let them bring you down and let us know how the next few months go...because I want you to come back in six months to say you're doing better and feeling more comfortable.
I'm sorry you had to deal with this, but I think a lot of new nurses can feel for you here. Hang in there!!!!!!
- Nov 15, '09 by nurseg09I'm sorry you have to be going through this :[ I understand it is hard for you right now, but I hope the light is on at the end of the tunnel. I don't have any experience to speak about as I am a May 09 new grad, but is there any way you could talk to your nurse manager about this? I know you mentioned your nurse manager is also best friends with your preceptor, but hopefully she won't be blinded by a one sided story.
Don't let your spirits down. You didn't go through nursing school and finally land a job to quit! It is difficult right now, but I really do hope it blows over. As for your reputation being tarnished, don't let that get the best of you. Keep your head up and be confident! I don't think it is a sign of weakness when you ask your colleagues for help because ultimately we're all trying to do no harm to our patients. Just remember, you're not incompetent! You made it through nursing school AND passed boards! I'm sure if anything this will only make you a better nurse in the long run. I'm rooting for you!
- Nov 15, '09 by RN1982I agree with the above. Stop expecting everyone to like you and want to be your friend. Don't worry about them, worry about yourself. You are fresh out of school and are learning. Time management is a hard thing to learn but you do need to find yourself a routine or you will be running yourself crazy.The first year is the hardest year of all. Work hard, learn as much as you can, be a good co-worker and help others when you can. You don't have to prove yourself to anyone except you.
My biggest piece of advice is: Never be afraid to ask. Ever. Even if it annoys the crap out of whomever you are asking. It's better to ask than assume.Last edit by RN1982 on Nov 15, '09
- Nov 15, '09 by RN1982Honestly, I don't know why some nurses precept. The money can't be that great because here we get an extra dollar. Is it really worth it if you are going to treat new grads like fresh meat to chew on? Not everyone is cut out to precept and obviously the OP's isn't.
- Nov 15, '09 by netglowIf it's any consolation, I do know that during my clinical time there are always "those RN's". Every student knew who they were and was bummed to have to be working with "that" when assigned (well, of course, you know that those RN's spent most of their time hiding or eating or complaining...LOL). I suspect you had the misfortune to get one of the losers for your preceptor. I imagine I could easily be in your shoes at anytime during my last rotation or on my first job.
If it helps, its over... now you can just drop her off the face of your Earth. Sadly for her, there will come a time when she needs help and you will not feel the need to fit her into your busy schedule, as you would surely do for all the other RNs on the floor. What goes around, comes around. Yeah it sure does!
- Nov 15, '09 by mhinds12Couldn''t agree more, TurnLeftSide. To be honest, some feel better about themselves when they have the opportunity to treat new nurses that way. At least that's how it starts to look. It's sad, but it's true. Even though that discussion is well covered on other threads, I had to throw it in there because I think it's one of the main factors in making it harder for new nurses to adjust. When someone makes you feel incompetent, or tells you that you're incompetent, it's easy to believe it.
Like you said before, best thing to do is keep asking questions to better yourself as a nurse, don't worry about what they think. Be the bigger/better person. The patients are the ones that matter and as long as you have their best interests at heart, you'll do fine. I'm only 22...I used to bug the poo out of my colleagues with questions (or so it felt that way) when I started a medical position during college....I felt like they hated me. I mean, it's either initiate something that could be potentially harmful when you "assume" OR ask first and be 100% sure you're doing the right thing. The consequences of harming someone are far worse than a funny looks or a few snickers behind your back. They'll get over it. I had days where I went home crying. Now, I feel like we're one big family when I go to work. It's completely different now. Just have to push through it and keep your confidence.