clinical instructor calls me air head

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    Hi everyone,

    This is my first post although I come to these forums often when I feel like I need some enlightening myself on other matters and have received a lot of constructive, intelligent, and helpful input from these forums.

    I am seeking genuine advise and input for something I truly don't know how to correct or understand.

    I am an undergrad BSN student Second Degree in an accelerated program. I am doing well academically. I just had my evaluation today for my first clinical experience in med surge.

    My instructor gave me the highest ratings for every category. I was very excited and feeling confident and happy. Then she dropped the bomb...

    ...She said that I was in LaLa land or seemed to be in LaLa land half the time and that I come across as an air head. She even called me air head in front of my fellow classmates. She said that when she got the report from the RNs on the floor, they all said that I was an air head and seemed like I was not focused. When I asked her to give me some specific examples so that I could correct the matter, she said she didn't know of any examples and that none were given. I asked again if she could recall something I did that would give that impression. She said nothing that she can remember, it just seems that I'm in LaLa land. She said that all the nurses she got the report from told her that I am not focused. Yet, my evaluation was excellent.

    The truth is, I am extremely focused and good at multitasking. I never lagged behind and always got my charting done on time. I've seen some of the nurses make some pretty big mistakes like allowing a colonoscopy bag to break open on the patient b/c it got too full and one nurse even wanted to start up the NG tube again right after giving meds. I never said anything to them or my instructor about it.

    One of the doctors came in the room just before I had a chance to enter my patient's room and asked me why the client was on contact precaution. I couldn't tell him b/c I hadn't even looked at her chart yet. He yelled at me and said, "You're the student, YOU should know that!!" Then he proceeded to walk into the client's room without gowning or gloving down himself! He went and told my teacher that I didn't know why my patient was on contact precaution. Another incident was when I was getting the report from the RN before going in to see my patient. I was asking her standard questions regarding the patient. The nurse next to her rolled her eyes at me and said, "Sweet heart, you need to do your assessments." I told her that we are instructed to get the report before we do our assessments. She acted like I didn't know what I was doing.

    I am sitting here with my head tilted like a confused puppy trying to figure out how I got a near perfect evaluation and yet I'm an "air-head."

    Is it possible that I just simply have a dumb look on my face and don't know it? Or is it possible I come off like an air head and if so, how the heck to I fix that? Should I tape my eyebrows to my skull and purse my lips so that I look more brilliant? Should I wear a pocket organizer maybe? lol! ok, that's really not funny, but seriously, there is nothing worse than not instilling confidence in others especially when you chose the most trusted profession as a career.

    Any advise or input or words of wisdom would be appreciated.

    Thank you,
    MS911
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  3. 31 Comments so far...

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    Oh to be the victim of perception. It's a tough one to fix right away. There is so much "acting" and "pretending" in this profession when you are a student to make people believe that you know what you're doing even when you're not quite sure. Start listening to what experienced nurses are asking and saying during report. If you didn't know why a patient was on contact precautions, make that a priority for the next patient. Maybe change your look slightly -hair, make-up, glasses (some people wear them who don't actually need them because it makes them look smarter - plus, you have some protection in the event of projectile vomit or such. We have an instructor in our school who teaches technical writing - she has been in a position of interviewing people and gives very objective and subjective feedback to people going for interviews. Find a professional at your school who can provide that kind of feedback. I'm sure as students, we are all a little lost. Some are better at giving the illusion they know what they are doing all the time.
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    First, let me say that I am sorry this has happened to you. In reading your post, there were a couple of things that popped out to me. First, you mentioned that you are “extremely focused”. Is it possible that you are so focused on one or two things that some things slip by you? I had a couple of classmates that were that way and they couldn’t understand why people were always yelling at them. I will say that I don’t agree with eye rolling or an MD yelling. That doesn’t make sense to me. While I understand it happens, it still isn’t an excuse.
    What time did you clinical days start? I started at 6AM. Doctors started rounding between 8:30 to 9:00AM. So, I had three hours to review the chart and begin AM care, medications, and treatments. In that time, I made sure I knew everything about my patient. I also kept a close eye on the pending labs and wrote down abnormal labs if they came through when the doctor was rounding. Once I was asked if the patient’s CBC was back and what were the results. I was able to answer the question. During another clinical day, I noticed my patient’s hemoglobin was at a 6.9. When I read that I noticed the doctor was on the floor. I took the initiative to communicate it. He was kind enough to give me praise to my instructor.
    I guess what I am saying is that perhaps you could be more proactive. I have learned to share important information when giving report. For example, if the patient is NPO but a change was made to clear liquids, I would communicate that information. This worked for me. You will get your own rhythm down. You are not expected to know everything.
    I hope this helps. Good luck to you. You will be fine.
  6. 2
    Called you an air head? What'd you call her?
    GHGoonette and Trilldayz,RN BSN like this.
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    Thank you for your replies, they were so helpful. I do completely understand what you are both saying. There are other students who don't know more, but some how pull it off to look like they are the experts. The way our clinical is set up, we have no time to review the patient's records before we go in to see them. We have to hurry, get the report and get in to do morning care before the instructor comes around to assist in administering meds. It's pretty rushed. However, I will take your advise on trying my best to know every important point about that pt. and record all significant changes to the RN. I already do wear glasses, i think the pocket organizer would do it. lol! thanks so much for helping me to make sense of this!

    I'mThatGuy, I called her "I love Lucy" She didn't get it.

    Warm regards,
    MS
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    Quote from ImThatGuy
    Called you an air head? What'd you call her?

    I have to say that just about everytime I read one of your responses, it make me laugh. Your witty responses are clever and humorous.
  9. 0
    I wouldn't get it if you called someone "I love Lucy" either. That wasn't the name of the character, just the show. I'd avoid calling names or teasing instructors, it never goes well.

    Anyhow, I'd try asking questions. Specifically, find a good, clinically relevant question, and ask it. Maybe even go with the "I see x and y on my patient's chart. Am I correct that it could be because of z?" That way, you're demonstrating both knowledge and critical thinking. If you need to stop and think about something, try to do it while looking at a chart or relevant book (maybe you're concentrating and focused on the floor or into space?). Acknowledge everyone who approaches you with a smile, even if you're focused on something else, just so they don't get the impression that you aren't paying attention to your surroundings. Situational awareness is important.

    Good luck!
  10. 1
    some teachers are just rude. back in prereqs, my anatomy lab professor told me i would never make it as a nurse because i couldn't memorize cat muscles during dissection.

    just grin and bare it and prove them wrong
    KimberlyRN89 likes this.
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    Quote from meltnpointofwax
    some teachers are just rude. back in prereqs, my anatomy lab professor told me i would never make it as a nurse because i couldn't memorize cat muscles during dissection.

    just grin and bare it and prove them wrong
    I hope she bears it and doesn't bare it. If she bares it, she might be escorted from the premises and face the end of nursing school. Although I could see how she might want to bare her rear end at them for their persnickety criticisms.
    Jack245, sharpeimom, sandyfeet, and 6 others like this.
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    oh and another thing, about the doctor asking you why the patient was on contact isolation. you're the student, you should know? how about he's the DOCTOR, you think he would know?!?!

    i work in a hospital as a tech and i see this every day! the doctors come up to me and start asking questions about the patient. and in my head i'm just like 1. i'm not the nurse, i'm just changing this dude's diaper. 2. you're the doctor, why don't you know anything about this patient? so frustrating!!

    as i said earlier, grin and just keep going, kill them with kindness. there will be haters, and then there will be nurses that love you and leave you raving reviews. don't let the haters get you down.
    JROregon and KimberlyRN89 like this.


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