Target of clinical instructor's venom HELP!!!

  1. I recently started my clinicals and got off to a rough start. I have since got a handle on the routine at our clinical site and i am enjoying the experience except for one thing. I have been the only target of the instructors snide remarks and put downs.

    I really want to tell her to get over herself. I have really worked hard to be where i am now and dont want to blow it by not handling the situation correctly. Has anyone experienced an instructor belittling them and putting them down? Please let me how you handled it without getting kicked out of nursing school. I have six more weeks with her, i could just grin and bear it.

    Some of the other students at the site with me dont like her (she lies, she hovers over them the whole day at the site etc. etc etc.).

    any suggestions about how we can "handle" her will be greatly appreciated.
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  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   Nurse Crystal
    My advice is to try to ignore her as much as possible. Just do what you have to do at clinicals as accurately as possible and get out of there. Showing her that she is not bothering you may make her back off of you some. If she is getting to the point where you cannot tolerate her anymore, I would suggest that you have a talk with the Dean of your school of nursing. Sometimes all it takes is for someone with authority to come in the picture and people's attitudes immediately change.
    Good luck....if all else fails get some anti-venom serum!!!
  4. by   Jay-Jay
    I came into nursing following a career as a teacher, and one of my clinical instructors was just terrible. I complained to the 2nd year supervisor about her, and got nowhere. I then went to the assistant dean, and told her, "If I spoke to my public school kids the way she speaks to us, I would be out the door so fast it would make my head spin!" In addition to criticising my clinical skills in a very harsh manner, she was also discriminating against me because I have a hearing loss. She felt I couldn't do an adequate BP or respiratory assessment. Did she ever check me out on this to prove I could/couldn't? Nooooo!

    The assistant dean and another instructor personally reviewed my clinical assessment. I also went over it and found several out and out untruths on it. I would not have passed clinical without their help.

    The teacher was formally reprimanded, after our whole class met with the assistant dean, and forced to take courses to upgrade her teaching and interpersonal skills. (She was one of the teachers of the Interpersonal Relationships course at the school...what a JOKE! :icon_roll )

    So, in short, stand up for yourself! No one else is going to, and the assertiveness skills you learn now will stand you in good stead once you become a nurse!
    Last edit by Jay-Jay on Feb 3, '07
  5. by   dani_girl
    Before you go to the dean Document everything.. when she says things that are belittling or inappropriate, who else heard and so on.. Before you go in have all the info and ammo to back up your statement.. Because it is sad, but alot of students complain and if you can't prove it they won't take you seriously. Good luck
  6. by   RNfromMN
    This is my experience that I posted in another thread:
    Quote from Jessica 392
    I had one eight-week clinical my first year that sent me home crying every single night. Our clinical got done @ 9:00 every night & I had to stay after every night until about 10:00 just to please this one instructor. Highlights I can remember:

    -of course, she told me she didn't think I was cut out for nursing
    -when I turned in clinical paperwork with the labs missing because I didn't realize she wanted us to turn in labs, she told me it wasn't that I didn't understand what was due, it was that I was pretending to not know what was due in order to get out of doing the work. This left me with the impression that, "Well, I really must be stupid if she thinks I'm actually pretending to act like I don't know what's going on - I really don't know what's going on!"
    -pulled me aside, one-to-one & told me every night that she was going to fail me - pulled me aside every...single...night & told me she was going to fail me. It was always the same, too. I will never forget these words, "Can I be frank with you...I am not going to be able to pass you in this clinical." Or she'd try & class it up once in awhile, "Can I be frank with you? You are not going to be successful in this clinical."
    -said something to make me cry one night after clinical, then was so quick to hand me a tissue, that it was fairly obvious to me that she was trying to make me cry. She had that kleenex held out for me before that first tear even hit my cheek...I remember the next night, when I again had to stay after for one of our one to one little chats, she "apologized" if she seemed to be a little harsh the night before. I said, "Well, I do think you were pretty quick to hand me that kleenex." She told me she was quick to hand me a tissue because she's a nurse & she was providing a comfort measure
    -accused me cheating on paperwork, made me dig up old graded paperwork from her to prove her wrong (harped on me about it for 2 days), then when I did prove her wrong, all she said was, "Oh. Okay.":icon_roll
    I am not trying to go off on my own little rant here, not trying to show you who was treated worse in clinical - I swear! Here's the end of my story.
    The last night she told me I was going to fail, I'd finally had it. I had finally had the guts to confide in my other classmates about what was going on & they were all shocked. And one of them told me this particular instructor has a reputation for picking out one person each class to harp on. When I heard that, I remember thinking to myself, "Well, that's a game I can play!" So, the last night she told me I was going to fail, I remember I was on my way out the door, had my book bag all packed up & she stopped me & said, "Oh, by the way, Jessica, can I be frank with you? I am not going to be able to pass you for this clinical." GOD! It was like that movie, The Princess Bride; there's this one scene where the prince describes when he was being held captive & his capture used to say to him every night, "Well, sleep well. I will most likely kill you in the morning."
    I put my book bag down, looked at her & said, "You know what? You can fail me for this clinical & I'm going to come back & take it again. And you can fail me again then, too. And I'm going to come back & take it again. You can fail me as many times as you want to, & I will always come back & take this clinical again until I pass it."
    So, the big grade day comes. I was fully expecting to fail. She sat me down in a little conference room & BS'd about my performance for a HALF HOUR before she finally showed me my passing grade.
    What a nightmare. Guess I did get a little side-tracked there. Sorry!(When I do get my degree, I'll probably have to get some professional help just to deal with what this woman put me through.) Here's my point: there are instructors out there who just want to see you sweat - & this is something I never would have believed if I hadn't had to go through it myself. So, let them see you sweat, if that's what gets them off.
    This is your make it or break it time. And there's more than one way to make it. The only way not to make it is to quit. Don't let her win.
    So, that's how I dealt with it. I think sometimes it's just a matter of playing their twisted games. Some instructors like to watch you squirm. Believe me, it went against every instinct I had, but I let her watch me squirm & learned to hold my tongue a lot.
    Good luck!umpiron:
  7. by   KellieNurse06
    I, as well posted on another area on this type of thing....I had the instructor from...well..you know where..lol.....when I went to my 1st nursing school back in 2001..........Only I didn't have the guts to speak up to her then.....now I would have absolutely no problem doing it.........I ended up getting into another program altogether & starting from step 1 all over again.
    The instructor I had actually berated me in front of the others in my clinical group as well....one of my very good friends who is now a nurse that was in this clinical group with me at the time even noticed...as well as 6 others out of our group, yet if any other teacher was there..you'd of thought I was her best friend the way she talked to me................some peoples personalities just clash......or it could be one tiny thing about you she disliked which set the tone......one of my friends who is a nurse as well...made me die laughing......she said to me about my former instructor...lol...."Maybe her husband messed around on her and you reminded her of the other woman so she automatically hated you".....and also..."maybe ashe was jealous of you because you were 10x better looking than her" ....rotflmao.......some people are just like that.....and believe me...she even hung the wrong iv solution one time ...showing me how to do it...and turned around and blamed it on me..she even made up things that I "did wrong" with specific patients care...that were not even the right patients..........and I still have all my papers and everyting from back then to show proof of her BS..........I wrote a long letter to the dean of that school and everything..even had other instructors on my side as welll as some students ..........and it did nothing......of course that school backed up instructors more than their students anyway.........so I just ended up going to another school...almost went back there but chose not to because if I had her again .....lets just say I wouldn't have shut up & took her crap again................so I just went to another school...and believe me.......it was like night & day..........and I am not one of those students who did do something wrong but whines that it wasn't me but the teacher......if I do something wrong I admit it, I own it & I learn from it...........which is something I wholeheartedly believe is the right thing to do................so don't let one bad apple ruin your future!
    I have another good story too...very short!...My daughters pediatrician has a wife who is an N.P. at his office...........she went to my first nursing school and was told she would never make it as a nurse by one of the instructors there......it may have even been the same one for all I know...........lol...and she is a very successful N.P, I'd trust anyone's life in her hands...so don't let one jerk ruin your hopes & dreams............be positive!!!! Don't let her intimidate you......and kill her with kindness....that'll send her over the edge...lol
    Last edit by KellieNurse06 on Feb 3, '07 : Reason: spelling error
  8. by   RNfromMN
    Quote from KellieNurse06
    "Maybe her husband messed around on her and you reminded her of the other woman so she automatically hated you".....and also..."maybe ashe was jealous of you because you were 10x better looking than her" ....rotflmao.......some people are just like that....
    Another one of my instructors told me that, too. That maybe the evil instructor just didn't like me, for whatever reason. That's absolutely fine with me - luckily, I'm not the type that needs everyone to like me. I'm just the type that needs to pass the class!
  9. by   JaxiaKiley
    I don't understand how people like that can stay instructors. I guess it shows how bad the teacher shortage is...
  10. by   ann945n
    My best advice is to just smile and take it. You could go fight it and risk that back firing on you, at my school all of the instructors are tight and i know that wouldnt work. Like you said you worked really hard to get where you are dont let her blow, only 6 more weeks and she will be out of your life forever and then youll have your RN
  11. by   KellieNurse06
    Quote from Jessica 392
    Another one of my instructors told me that, too. That maybe the evil instructor just didn't like me, for whatever reason. That's absolutely fine with me - luckily, I'm not the type that needs everyone to like me. I'm just the type that needs to pass the class!
    Oh I hear ya! It's not a popularity contest I agree! ...lol! I think they just like to abuse their authority to see who they can push around.........hmm let's see...whose life can I make a living nightmare this semester...:roll lol! I know if I ever did become an instructor I would never do this to a student.....what's the point.....
  12. by   TrudyRN
    I had a boss like that. She always had to be right. Always. Even when she was wrong. She made angry, snap decisions that were often wrong. It looked great to Admin because she was decisive. However, what good is a decision if it is wrong?

    She actually came to hate me, for no reason that I could ever really discern, other than she knew I was not going to sit around and gossip about other staff with her and back her up when I disagreed or wasn't quite sure what to believe. In other words, in her eyes, I committed the social blunders of not being a "yes" man. I was just being me but she perceived it as a put-down of her because I was of a different personality than she.

    I think your teacher might be as mentally ill as my boss was. First, what did you do to get off on a rough start? If it was dangerous, figure you scared her and earned some discomfort. Perhaps she is overreacting, though, or carrying it on too long. Next, it is an Instructor's job to hover over you all day. Her license and your education are on the line. You are fortunate that she is available to you. The lying, of course, is not acceptable.

    Don't smart off to her. Do, however, document everything and plan your speech. Do get a tape recorder and take it with you to the conference you are going to have with her. Do let her know that you are taping, just to keep you both on track. If she balks, go to your Dean and tell your troubles. I think your Instructor needs to know that you are going to respectfully fight back. You need not be her punching bag. She is not God. Just be sure you're right before you do all of this rearing up on your hind legs. And be courteous and totally respectful. Is there anyone at your school who could be a witness to the talk you have with her?

    I recall one classmate whom the Instructors generally hated. She was a recovering drug addict and they felt she should not be planning a career involving access to controlled substances. I can't say I disagreed. They tried to fail her but she succeeded anyway. She was a fighter and would go head to head with them, loudly. She was a single parent, had the usual child care issues, this at a time when 97% of our class were single and mostly just out of high school or in their early 20's. Only 3 of our classmates didn't live in the dorm. There was this girl and there were 2 others who were married and lived out. She just didn't fit the mold so they were pretty hard on her. I don't know how much of their ire she actually earned.

    I wish you the best.
  13. by   TrudyRN
    Quote from Jay-Jay
    I came into nursing following a career as a teacher, and one of my clinical instructors was just terrible. I complained to the 2nd year supervisor about her, and got nowhere. I then went to the assistant dean, and told her, "If I spoke to my public school kids the way she speaks to us, I would be out the door so fast it would make my head spin!" In addition to criticising my clinical skills in a very harsh manner, she was also discriminating against me because I have a hearing loss. She felt I couldn't do an adequate BP or respiratory assessment. Did she ever check me out on this to prove I could/couldn't? Nooooo!

    The assistant dean and another instructor personally reviewed my clinical assessment. I also went over it and found several out and out untruths on it. I would not have passed clinical without their help.

    The teacher was formally reprimanded, after our whole class met with the assistant dean, and forced to take courses to upgrade her teaching and interpersonal skills. (She was one of the teachers of the Interpersonal Relationships course at the school...what a JOKE! :icon_roll )

    So, in short, stand up for yourself! No one else is going to, and the assertiveness skills you learn now will stand you in good stead once you become a nurse!
    It does my heart good to know she had to do remedial work, LOLOLOLOLOL.:chuckle :roll :chuckle :chuckle :roll

    Where is this charming individual now?
  14. by   Sue Damonas
    When I was a nursing student in the early 80's this one instructor hated me from day one and made my life miserable! The other students noticed it. She was always berating me and giving me difficult assignments. One day I had a patient dying from colon cancer and we had a hard time controlling his pain. She insisted that I get his am care done and he begged me to not do his am care. When she found out that I didn't do it she screamed at me at the nurse's station and made the other students bathe him in spite of his wails of pain. I was so upset because I felt we needed to control his pain rather than bathe him but of course I was the one who was wrong! She would not listen to me. She continued doing this all through the semester and I had no choice but to take it and at the end of the semester during my evaluation she admitted that she was very hard on me and wished me well.

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