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

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... Read More

  1. by   Cashboy's Mom
    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
  2. by   piperknitsRN
    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
  3. by   jorge512
    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
  4. by   sassyred_rn
    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 & your pt's will reap the rewards...and one day SHE will be the pt, who has a nurse like her.
  5. by   irishbelle
    That's why students should not be left solely in the hands of staff nurses. Nursing school instructors exist for a reason- to teach nurses!!!!!
  6. by   jojo78
    Ohh my-Facebook and Instant messaging at work???
  7. by   aussiemom
    Hung over? That's not so hot.
  8. by   want2banurse35
    Quote from wooh
    Often it's not "allowed" to precept but "forced" to precept.
    Whether or not you want to precept or not has nothing to do with instant messaging and being on Facebook. Or being gossipy about patients. It is just plain WRONG.
  9. by   whichone'spink
    Okay, I plan to do one of these nurse externships after I finish med-surg. What do you guys suggest I do with a reluctant RN preceptor?
  10. by   loudleo
    I would be upfront fromthe beginning and ask what the nurse expects from you and let her know your expectations. open communication between the two of you is the best thing.
  11. by   Perthgirl
    Trouble is, I was always a kind and caring nurse but when I have been a patient myself, got nurses who were not kind. Where is the Karma in that? i put up with bullying in the last workplace, left the job without reporting this senior nurse even though others ahd complained of her. I regret that now and I have been a nurse for 30 years and still couldn't stand up for myself so how hard is it when you are on a ward in a strange hospital at the mercy of someone who is supposed to be looking out for you.
  12. by   hyunjoo82
    you know what they say... what goes around comes around

    that's my life/career/attitude motto and to treat others the way you would like to be treated which is with respect, understanding, and patience

    congrats on graduating and i'm glad to hear you at least learned what NOT to do as a nurse/preceptor
  13. by   cassie "star"