Staff Nurses Who Refuse To Precept Or Teach?

  1. Of course I understand that not everyone wants to be a teacher or professor but a few of my coworkers lately have down right refused to precept or even be a resource to newer or less experienced nurses.

    The education department had placed a sign up sheet for preceptor training courses and one of my colleagues very adamantly professed her disdain for teaching or precepting and that it "just wasn't in her to teach".

    ok fine, but IMO it sounded a bit condescending and selfish of one to refuse to share nursing knowledge. She does everything to get out of precepting or cross training nurses. Seems unprofessional to me.

    I was giving bedside report to a MICU RN who recently transferred to the SICU and the patient was a postop neurosurgery case with an EVD and ICP monitoring. I gave her an overview of what the drain was, how to manage it and transduce for IC pressures. I then told her to refer to Ms. Senior RN who is real good with neuro for any questions after I left. I then spoke to Ms. Senior RN and told her that I endorsed an EVD/ICP monitoring to Ms. New SICU RN and perhaps she could guide her throughout the shift on the neuro patient, she then promptly rolled her eyes and asked why I had to refer the new SICU RN to her?? (Mind you she is one of the most knowledgeable nurses in our ICU but I've never seen her precepting and she doesn't offer up knowledge freely either)

    Like really? After almost 12 years of nursing this issue still grinds my gears. We should all be willing to help/guide one another. Sure sometimes I'm not in the mood to teach, or my orientee is not a fast learner or another RN asks for my help when I'm super busy, but either way I roll up my sleeves and get it done because if the shoe was on the other foot (like it has been many times) I would want someones help to guide-teach-assist me.

    I don't mean to make this medicine vs nursing but physicians are expected to teach and mentor from the time they graduate medical school they are thrust into mentoring those behind them.

    IMO nursing lags behind with this. Is it because we lack pride in our profession?, or feel like victims that we cannot and often do not embody a leadership mentality?

    Perhaps its it's just part of the nurses eating their young/lateral violence that is far too prevalent in our profession.

    On my unit its the same RNs who precept everyone while others flat out refuse and go years without precepting. I love to teach and came to this job with experience and for that reason I've literally been precepting since I came off orientation/probation myself (yes crazy I know) because many nurses just refuse to teach on my unit.

    Heck when I was new to this facility myself a few years back my assigned preceptor (who didn't realize I was sitting nearby) flat out refused to orient anyone (she later apologized saying it was nothing personal when she realized I was in an earshot of her comment)

    All nurses should have pride in their work/profession enough to want to share their wealth of knowledge at some level. You may not pursue a masters in nursing education or a PhD but you can still be a resource for you unit and colleagues, that's at least the minimum that should be required of you.

    *sigh* just venting.
    Last edit by All4NursingRN on Dec 3
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  2. 76 Comments

  3. by   Sour Lemon
    As a new graduate, I would rather NOT be assigned to a nurse who does not like to precept. Unfortunately, I was. It didn't go well.
  4. by   NuGuyNurse2b
    I feel your frustration, but I also feel that you were wrong in volunteering someone who basically has made it clear that she did not want to be involved in the teaching process. I wouldn't want that done to me and I too would've called you out on it.
  5. by   Crush
    I feel that if said nurse is so against precepting a new nurse, then maybe they should not do it. The quality of the teaching would surely reflect that nurses attitude towards it. Not everyone has the patience to teach/coach/precept. I understand your frustration though.
  6. by   JBudd
    My black belt obligates me to teach/guide lower belt martial art students in my dojang.

    My nursing license doesn't say a word about it. As nurses, we are expected to do patient education, which has a very different focus.

    That being said, I love to teach and willingly precept, but since I am part time I don't get asked to, as they want a full time person for consistency. I teach through our local community college instead. But not everyone has the skills to explain themselves well, how and why to do what they are doing.
  7. by   RottylvAPRN
    We were required to precept as part of being a teaching hospital. That being said, our director did a really good job of dividing up new hires and students so we weren't constantly required to be teaching someone!
  8. by   AJJKRN
    Couple of things...

    Physicians may have to mentor but that doesn't mean that they don't haze anyone they are mentoring and weren't hazed themselves therefore the NETY shouldn't be applicable here.

    So what happens when nurses just use their preceptor time to just get paid a little extra and goof off for sometimes three to six months...not everyone should be a preceptor, even if they want to be.

    For the record, I love to mentor and precept but I was burned many times during my first few years and see lazy and rude nurses continue to precept newer nurses over and over just because they have more experience.
  9. by   ponymom
    I feel that it is a direct result of improper staffing, like 99.99% of the problems with nursing. Just piling on one more responsibility.....
  10. by   All4NursingRN
    The colleague I referred her to is not the same one who refused to precept. That was a different nurse.

    Quote from NuGuyNurse2b
    I feel your frustration, but I also feel that you were wrong in volunteering someone who basically has made it clear that she did not want to be involved in the teaching process. I wouldn't want that done to me and I too would've called you out on it.
  11. by   MPKH
    Some people just don't like to teach. It's not a mandatory part of our jobs. I don't like having students because I just don't have the patience to teach and explain everything I'm doing. That doesn't make me a bad nurse or anything like that. Teaching is just not my thing.
  12. by   Emergent
    Everyone has different gifts in life. I'm the type that needs a lot of space and is inwardly oriented. I need to retreat into my bubble and tune out others often in order to psychologically protect myself.

    Expecting someone like me to incorporate a learner into a 12 hrs shift in the role of student is a recipe for failure.I can handle maybe an hour, tops. After 12 hours of it, I would be in severe social-sensory overload.
  13. by   JKL33
    Quote from All4NursingRN
    Of course I understand that not everyone wants to be a teacher or professor but a few of my coworkers lately have down right refused to precept or even be a resource to newer or less experienced nurses.

    The education department had placed a sign up sheet for preceptor training courses and one of my colleagues very adamantly professed her disdain for teaching or precepting and that it "just wasn't in her to teach".

    ok fine, but IMO it sounded a bit condescending and selfish of one to refuse to share nursing knowledge. She does everything to get out of precepting or cross training nurses. Seems unprofessional to me.

    I was giving bedside report to a MICU RN who recently transferred to the SICU and the patient was a postop neurosurgery case with an EVD and ICP monitoring. I gave her an overview of what the drain was, how to manage it and transduce for IC pressures. I then told her to refer to Ms. Senior RN who is real good with neuro for any questions after I left. I then spoke to Ms. Senior RN and told her that I endorsed an EVD/ICP monitoring to Ms. New SICU RN and perhaps she could guide her throughout the shift on the neuro patient, she then promptly rolled her eyes and asked why I had to refer the new SICU RN to her?? (Mind you she is one of the most knowledgeable nurses in our ICU but I've never seen her precepting and she doesn't offer up knowledge freely either)

    Like really? After almost 12 years of nursing this issue still grinds my gears. We should all be willing to help/guide one another. Sure sometimes I'm not in the mood to teach, or my orientee is not a fast learner or another RN asks for my help when I'm super busy, but either way I roll up my sleeves and get it done because if the shoe was on the other foot (like it has been many times) I would want someones help to guide-teach-assist me.

    I don't mean to make this medicine vs nursing but physicians are expected to teach and mentor from the time they graduate medical school they are thrust into mentoring those behind them.

    IMO nursing lags behind with this. Is it because we lack pride in our profession?, or feel like victims that we cannot and often do not embody a leadership mentality?

    Perhaps its it's just part of the nurses eating their young/lateral violence that is far too prevalent in our profession.

    On my unit its the same RNs who precept everyone while others flat out refuse and go years without precepting. I love to teach and came to this job with experience and for that reason I've literally been precepting since I came off orientation/probation myself (yes crazy I know) because many nurses just refuse to teach on my unit.

    Heck when I was new to this facility myself a few years back my assigned preceptor (who didn't realize I was sitting nearby) flat out refused to orient anyone (she later apologized saying it was nothing personal when she realized I was in an earshot of her comment)

    All nurses should have pride in their work/profession enough to want to share their wealth of knowledge at some level. You may not pursue a masters in nursing education or a PhD but you can still be a resource for you unit and colleagues, that's at least the minimum that should be required of you.

    *sigh* just venting.
    I hear what you're saying, however I don't feel that your general perspective respects the fact that 1) not everyone is the same 2) Not everything about one type of person is "good" and everything about the other type of person is "bad." Actually I'm not sure that nursing itself is very respectful of the fact that people have different strengths, as far as this topic is concerned.

    When experienced nurses exhibit poor knowledge of basic and advanced information, poor routines, skills that are lacking, sloppiness, lackadaisical attitudes, people aren't as quick with the charges of lack of professionalism, lack of upholding duty, lack of leadership, etc., even though in my book these "failures" are all of those things, in addition to being generally detrimental (and often harmful) to patients.

    Conversely, there are those who could be considered expert at what they do, who do not enjoy the process of sharing information, not because they are selfish but because their expertise isn't as focused on how learning takes place and how to help others learn things that have become second-nature to that nurse. I enjoy it, myself, but it's not as easy as it looks to do a respectable job of it. Meanwhile, there are plenty of people who like to precept but seem to enjoy it more out of a "busy-body" mindset rather than having some particular expertise and being good at sharing it.

    I think it is wrong to impugn someone simply for not being "rah-rah!" about "leadership." If they truly have nothing to "give" to patients (lack skills, knowledge, attitude, leadership, caring and well, everything) then that is a management issue. On the other hand, if they exhibit one strength but not another, well then...they are like every other human being on the planet.

    I personally think there is currently quite a focus on this "leadership" energy and a de-focus on subject area expertise. One can easily be deemed a good leader while lacking related expertise. I think this relates to your vent because what you aren't acknowledging is that it's popular right now to impugn those who are not hyped about leadership and mentoring, but much less "allowable" to mention the lack of solid skills and expertise that can easily be found on every nursing unit. I think this whole shebang that you've written (along with what I've written) is then kind of a matter of personality and perspective, isn't it?

    Just some food for thought. But before I post this, let me remind you some of the words you have used to characterize these folks/their actions: Condescending, selfish, unprofessional, possible lack of pride, possible NETY, possible "lateral violence." There are certainly situations/individuals where those charges might be true, but I can't endorse that as a general rule.
    Last edit by JKL33 on Dec 4
  14. by   Been there,done that
    I personally, don't get not wanting to precept. I always enjoyed it and felt like I had a right hand man to help with the workload.
    The duty to precept is in the job description.. "and other duties as assigned".

    Any nurse should take on that responsibility , and be professional while doing it.

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