Please help...How can I handle my professor?

  1. Hi,

    I need some advice. I have a problem with my nursing instructor and I don't know how to handle it.

    We were having our clinicals, 6 am, on Tuesday and as usual, we did our VS and PA on our patients. My 2nd pt was d/c on Tuesday, so I have to pick a new pt. I did all that for both pts, charted before 8 am. It was our 2nd day of giving PO meds, and I was all excited, and at the same time, nervous bout it. I totally forgot to do pt care such as bathing the pt and changing the linens. My professor was in charge of 12 of us, and she was not always with me. So I was waiting for her to give PO meds, but she was not available.

    Around 10 am, I started gathering clean sheets and was ready to do pt care on my first pt. All of the sudden she appeared in front of me, and asked me if she had done PO meds with me, and I said no. So I put the linens aside and start showing her the meds that the 2nd pt needed (1st pt went into the bathroom to shower at that time, so we couldn't give the meds to her).

    Since the meds are beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, we went into the room and did her BP before deciding giving the pt's meds. A CNA walked into the room and told me that she had already changed the linens for my 1st pt. My response was, "OK". She asked if I wanted her to do the 2nd pt's bed, I said "It's OK, I can do it myself"

    After clinicals we had a small conference at 11:45 am before going home. It was at the hospital lobby. I was running a bit late because I was still helping the 2nd pt doing a bath as she was slow. At 11:50 am, I went down stair and my professor and the rest of my class were waiting for me. She stared at me like she's gonna kill me. She stated, "the next time, if pt care was not done by 8 am, you're getting a probation.".

    I started to explain to her the reason why I didn't do pt care earlier because I was trying to prepare for meds and was anxious. She didn't want to hear me and threaten me saying, "do you want to get a probation NOW?" in front of all my classmates with all the visitors in the hospital. I stood there dumbfounded and quietly replied no.

    The next morning she came in with her usual bad mood and handed me a probation. She wrote on the probation saying I didn't follow the routine of care. But the thing I couldn't believe was she stated that I was being "very defensive" and having "bad manners". I was not satisfied and didn't want to be accused for something that I didn't do. So I went up to her and tried to explain to her, and she cut me off again by saying, "I heard what you said to the CNA, you said 'OK'...you should've said 'THANK YOU'", in front of all my classmates. I was almost choked with tears. She said, "if you don't like what I wrote, you can go to the dean and change professor...do you want that?" I stood there, frozen, and speechless. And at the end I gathered courage and said no, she forced me to sign the probation.

    I find her to be so unapproachable and intimidating. She threatened me, and to all of us, but none of us have the courage to complain because we waited so long to get into the program and we didn't want to lose this opportunity. During winter session, she even made racist remarks on me in front of 60 students because I'm an Asian, until I stopped her. She's not nurturing at all, and she threw her tantrum on us without reasons. I don't understand this, but I haven't seen a professor like her in all my college and university life.

    Now the question is...what should I do?

    I heard the dean was even harder to approach. Someone suggested that I could approach the dean of the academy and explain the scenario to him/her. I didn't want to feel unsafe and intimidated anymore because we are all adults, and we should have the right to express our feelings. I have been a good student all the while and have been getting good grades. It's against my culture to fight against a professor, but at this point, I have no choice but to do something because I do not want to have anymore sleepless nights just because of this issue. I rather have sleepless nights for studying hard for my exams.
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  2. 55 Comments

  3. by   LaborNurse1
    I'm a nursing instructor and am surprised that she was nit picking about the things she did. As far as her expectations regarding when patient care was to be done, was this outlined prior to the start of your clinical or during pre-conference? If so, then you should have reported to the primary nurse and your instructor about anything that could not get done by that time and why. My other question is about the expectation regarding medication administration. Do you research your patients the night before, or do you get your assignment that morning? If you get them the night (or day) before then it is expected that you already know the meds and shouldn't have to spend a lot of time preparing/learning during clinical hours. Perhaps a quick review, but not where you take several hours due to anxiety.

    If you truly think she is being unfair, I would advise going to the next higher person. Make sure that what ever you are going to say that you have concrete evidence to back it up. Give specific examples of what problems you have. Be open to looking at the situation differently, and question what could you have done differently. Also be prepared to take responsibility. I know that when students in my program have these types of difficulties, we are much more apt to give a little when the student is able to take responsibility for mistakes and identify what you could do better next time. When a student begins to say, "But so and so did that so I was unable..." or "My patient was doing this, so I couldn't get anything done" is not taking responsiblity and makes a student look like s/he is not looking to grow.

    I'm not saying you were wrong, just look at the whole picture. The bad attitude because you didn't say "thank you" doesn't warrant a clinical probabtion alone, and she should have discussed the issues in private. I would also bring to the attention of her superiors the racist remarks that you found offensive.

    Good luck
    http://labornurse.blogspot.com
    Last edit by LaborNurse1 on Apr 13, '07
  4. by   AirforceRN
    Labornurse has some good advice
    At my school we have to opportunity to evaluate each and every clinical instructor that we have throughout our four years. If you are still going to pass clinical, I would suggest nodding your head and smiling, getting it done and then letting it out on your evaluation form (if you have them). I don't know why instructors can be so bitter sometimes, but they can be.
    As for the racist comment...I don't know. If it was a truly racial slur then go report it to someone. That is unacceptable. Most colleges have an antidiscrimination type group that will help you handle it or at least point you in the right direction.
  5. by   canoehead
    Get beds done by 8am? Along with vitals, and a wash up, and breakfast on two patients? A lot to ask. Shifts start around here at 7am with 30min for report. Is every student held to the same standard, or just you?
  6. by   Soup Turtle
    Well, she sounds like someone who doesn't like to hear excuses. Next time she corrects you, maybe ensure her that it won't happen again instead of explaining why you didn't do it.

    It probably would have been proper to thank the CNA although your instructor couldn't have pointed that out in a different manner.

    We have an instructor who can be a nightmare, but she really knows her stuff! When she gets a little "rude", I try to remind myself that it's not about me and my feelings, it's about the best care for the patient. I also understand that whatever it is she's ranting about is very important to her and act accordingly.

    Brush yourself off and go back twice as prepared as you were before. :spin:
  7. by   fultzymom
    First of all let me say I am sorry you had a bad day at clinical. If you have a schedule that you should follow, you should always tell someone when there is a reason that you could not get it done. I would try talking with the instructor. You want to keep things somewhat good since you have to have her as a teacher. Tell her that you are sorry if she felt that you were being rude et that you did not mean to come accross that way. Tell her you were embarrassed that you were repremanded in front of all the other students. Yes, you could have said thanks to the NA but I would not call what you said rude. Did the NA get offended or anything? Try to look at her point of view if you do talk to her. Do not go in with a defensive attitude. Keep an open mind. Good luck. Let us know what happens.
  8. by   dano
    Regardless of what procedure you have to follow, the way she handled repremanding you is unfounded. Do not just "suck it up" and finish out the semester. The longer you wait to tell someone the less it will appear that you are actually concerned about the issue.

    I would speak the Dean of the College of Nursing first and let them know that even if you were in the wrong, she handled the issue very poorly. If that goes nowhere, talk to the Dean of Students.

    With an attitude like she appears to have, I doubt you're the first or last person that has received the same treatment from her. Someone needs to speak up.
  9. by   LaborNurse1
    Quote from canoehead
    Get beds done by 8am? Along with vitals, and a wash up, and breakfast on two patients? A lot to ask. Shifts start around here at 7am with 30min for report. Is every student held to the same standard, or just you?

    I agree. What RN has all of their patients assessed, bathed, dressed, etc by 8AM? Perhaps the reason for her wanting this is to make the students prioritize, but 8AM is very unreasonable. Many pts are still eating!

    I also agree with the advice to not suck it up. I think this needs to be addressed, and all colleges have student grievance policies if you are not satisfied with the outcome. I can't stress enough how important it is that you have factual information (not emotional info) when you do address this.
  10. by   dano
    Quote from LaborNurse1
    I also agree with the advice to not suck it up. I think this needs to be addressed, and all colleges have student grievance policies if you are not satisfied with the outcome. I can't stress enough how important it is that you have factual information (not emotional info) when you do address this.
    I almost forgot about that. In probably any one of your course syllabi, there is a ladder of command for you to follow when addressing concerns about instructors. If your school doesn't have one (I doubt it though), then go straight to the Dean of the College.
  11. by   GingerSue
    I agree with above - who has patients all washed and dressed with beds done before 8 a.m.?
    do you start at 7:00 or 7:30 a.m., with report first?
  12. by   NurseLatteDNP
    What if you have to give some 7:30 meds? Our instructors in all 4 semesters tell us that we need to give baths before 10:30. And sometimes there is not time for that, and they always understand if it happens.
    Last edit by NurseLatteDNP on Apr 14, '07
  13. by   RN2Bn2006
    Quote from LaborNurse1
    The bad attitude because you didn't say "thank you" doesn't warrant a clinical probabtion alone, and she should have discussed the issues in private.
    Uh, I don't believe saying OK would be considered a bad attitude. Sure Thank You might have been better, but give me a break!

    Furthermore, anything she needed to reprimand you for should have been done in private! Period!

    We had an instructor like this. Basically everyone just tolerated her, tried not to upset her, but up with her abuse, in order to graduate. Fortunately most people only had her for one clinical semester - since we rotated!! We also got to give reviews at the end of the year, so at least we had a chance to say our part then.

    Good Luck! How much longer do you have to go??
  14. by   nj1grlcrus
    wow, this s*cks, and i know the feeling that she has your world in her hands. I don't think she was fair, and I hope you can find a way to make it through this clinical. You said you were Asian and I know you are taught to respect certain people, and when that gets in your way its really tough. You want to defend yourself but your moral code is telling you to respect this person, find someone in your school to talk to, a dean, some type of student advocate. She, your clinical instructor, will walk all over you if you let her. Good Luck, donna

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