Clinical instructor drunk or on something - page 4

Today was our first day of clinicals for the new semester. In the morning our instructor seemed a little "off". She was kind of unsteady on her feet. She said that she was very tired. We did not see... Read More

  1. by   NRSKarenRN
    Look at what was written:
    [s] Today was our first day of clinicals for the new semester. In the morning our instructor seemed a little "off". She was kind of unsteady on her feet. She said that she was very tired. We did not see her for the first two hours of clinical. When it was time to pull meds we went to find her. She was in the break room sleeping.

    When she was pulling the meds she was very unsteady on her feet and it took her over a half hour to pull meds for 1 patient. When she went into the room with one of the students to give the medication, she fell asleep sitting in the patient's chair. The nurses on the floor and all the students kept asking her if she was feeling okay. She just kept saying that she was tired.

    At post conference she was swaying back and forth, almost falling out of her chair. She kept nodding off and when she would wake back up she would make strange, unrelated comments.[/s]

    Please report the ABOVE observations ASAP to the clinical instructer in change of this class. If you are unsure who that is, call the school secretary. Go to the Program Director if only this instructor in charge of class.

    You are reporting observations and clinical concerns. Leave the judgement part "Clinical instructor drunk or on something" out of the report. Let
    the school do its job of investigation and reasigning staff so you have adequate supervision during clinicals.

    This is not "tatteling" but being a responsible prudent student reporting serious concern requiring followup at leavel above your head. It's what a good education consumer would do too: your education $$ paying their salary.
  2. by   KungFuFtr
    Reminds me of the time when I worked at Walmart. I was about 17 and I was at work HAMMERED! I was sooo drunk! I was leaning againt the cd rack in our department. Someone complained about intoxication to managment. They were so pissed! What a scene! I was taken back to their office and interrogated, I was almost sleeping during this. I tried to walk out and go to the coat rack. Nope, they wouldn't allow me to leave. I tried to explain; however, I was so drunk, I was only mumbling. Only when I was able to fumble for my medical alert tag...medical alert tag?! Wait, could it be? I was having an insulin reaction and I was only trying to get my glucose tabs.

    Maybe you shouldn't assume that your instructor was drunk or high. I would have told some1 pronto WHILE the incident happened! No need to make assumptions and slander, based on observations alone.
  3. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from KungFuFtr
    Reminds me of the time when I worked at Walmart. I was about 17 and I was at work HAMMERED! I was sooo drunk! I was leaning againt the cd rack in our department. Someone complained about intoxication to managment. They were so pissed! What a scene! I was taken back to their office and interrogated, I was almost sleeping during this. I tried to walk out and go to the coat rack. Nope, they wouldn't allow me to leave. I tried to explain; however, I was so drunk, I was only mumbling. Only when I was able to fumble for my medical alert tag...medical alert tag?! Wait, could it be? I was having an insulin reaction and I was only trying to get my glucose tabs.

    Maybe you shouldn't assume that your instructor was drunk or high. I would have told some1 pronto WHILE the incident happened! No need to make assumptions and slander, based on observations alone.

    Regardless of the reason, the instructor was obviously IMPAIRED and unable to do her job. The fact that she was there at the clinical site at all was ILLEGAL. Her duty to her patients and to her students was clear--get assessed in the ER or she should not have come in, in the first place.

    Please go reread my post, especially the highlighted section.
  4. by   rn/writer
    Impairment is impairment, whether it stems from illness, fatigue, medical issues, or any other cause.

    No, it isn't the students' job to pass judgment on the instructor. Nor is it their role to determine the cause of the problem. It IS their responsibility to report the behavior and let those in charge investigate further.

    Technically speaking, if this nurse was impaired for any reason, they were operating on their own and that puts patients, the hospital, the regular staff members, the school, the students, and the instructor herself at risk. Not to mention the people on the road as this person drove to and from the hospital.

    Unforturnately, by letting the incident go when it ocurred, some opportunities have been lost. Perhaps, the nurse manager will provide some feedback to the school, so it won't just be the word of the students against the instructor.

    I can understand the uncertainty and even fear that students might have in reporting an instructor for any kind of infraction. There is always the concern that retaliation might be a factor, and such a situation is not unheard of. Still, if the entire clinical group witnessed and reported examples of impairment, one hopes that they would be taken seriously and that the instructor (if she was allowed to continue) would be watched for any kind of punitive behavior.

    There is no room for talk of "karma" in a discussion like this. These students don't "have it in for" their instructor. If she is ill, they could be instrumental in getting her help. It isn't for them to come up with the answers, but to say they shouldn't even ask the questions because the instructor might be a nice person who was just having a bad day is naive. Nice people have cause terrible traffic accidents, committed egregious medical mistakes, and made other errors in judgment that have caused serious harm and even death. We can feel bad for them as people, but they still have to answer for what they've done.

    You don't cut someone slack or look the other way because "there, but for the grace of God go I," when patient safety is on the line. Yes, there are times when we look out for each other, but there are other times when you have to draw a line for the sake of everyone involved.

    To the OP: please, let us know what happens.
  5. by   KellieNurse06
    Also, we can bet if this situation was reversed and one of the students was doing what the instructor was doing.....you don't think that student would be booted out by the instructor, or at the very least on probation, having her butt ridden, and having a nice little chat with the dean of the nursing program??? Oh I can pretty much bet my life on that one....regardless i am right there with those of you who say regardless of the circumstances..she was impaired....end of story......
  6. by   Soup Turtle
    Quote from Daytonite
    Let me assure some of you nursing students and new grads that want to hold on to the idea that this instructor might be getting a bum steer if she is reported that it is not the case! I was a nursing supervisor for a number of years and had to deal with this kind of situation quite a few times. I would get a page, "so-and-so doesn't seem right. Would you come down here and just take a look for yourself and see what you think?" It is not normal for people who are active and walking around in a hospital setting to sit down in a chair and just fall asleep during daylight hours--even when they were up all night. Something was wrong with this person and she was impaired in some way and needed to be checked out. To be fair, she needed to be examined by a doctor. She could have some serious illness. A stroke. A heart attack. Remember that denial is one of the symptoms of heart attack. Not all people having heart attacks have chest pain. And, women, in particular have odd symptoms. She could also be under the influence of some drug which she was prescribed or had taken legally or illegally. In any case, she needed attending to herself. Now, future nurses, put that way, would you still ignore her?
    There are a lot of good posts in this thread, but yours made me change my mind about the situation.
  7. by   KyRNBSN
    If she was drunk of under the influence, there are programs out there that can help her. If someone reports her. It is in the CI's best interest that it be investigated. Could save her career.
  8. by   DarciaMoonz
    Wow! Has this CI had problems in the past that you know of? I don't know what I would have done. I would have probably called the school out of concern for the safety of the patients and for myself and classmates. I mean what if in the process of pouring those meds, she made an error. She could have very well been exhausted, but if that was the case the professional thing to do in my opinion would have been to just call out for the day to get some rest. She could lose her job, but I don't think that is likely to happen from just one incident. Definitely see how she is acting the next clinical/class day. Falling asleep in a patients room is embarrasssing to yourself and the school. I can't begin to imagine what the patient was thinking. He/she probably would not want to have a nursing student again. Good luck future nurse.
  9. by   JBudd
    Did everyone miss the post where the floor director pulled the CI in as they were leaving? Sounds like somebody on staff was noticing what happened, no?

    RN-in-Training, what came of it all?
  10. by   ICUNurseJess
    Just wanted to give everyone an update.

    After a guilt filled weekend, I called my Dean on Tuesday and she told me Thank you, I am already aware of the situation. When we got to our clinicals this week there was an instructor from last semester there. She said that our scheduled instructor would not be our instructor anymore and she didn't know anything else. Now this new instructor is not out instructor either. We had a different one on Friday, and will have another one next week. Apparently, they are in the process of interviewing people to fill the position.

    I am hoping that when I go to class tomorrow, I will find out more infromation. What is strange is that our original instructor was still teaching us in lecture last week. Oh well, I just want to get a regular insstructor so that I can get on with the semester. We have not been able to pass meds or do anything but assessments and AM care with our temporary instructors.

    Thanks to everyone that took the time to post some advice
  11. by   amylou85
    I worked with a Nurse that was always falling asleep. First she was training on day shift for a night position so I just thought her sleep patterns were then when she got to nights she was just as bad- she was newly single and out partying alot. She litterally feel asleep standing up against the wall talking to a case manager. She ended up wrecking her car after getting off from night shift. She was then diagnosed with narcolepsy. I never said anything because I just didn't know what to say but all the staff was aware of it.
  12. by   november17
    Maybe she is an undiagnosed diabetic and had low blood sugar. Heheheh...

    I just read what another poster mentioned about that and had to edit my post to say I had the same though.

    Also, to Daytonite, I used to work with this CNA that was able to fall asleep sitting up in a chair with her eyes wide open. It was wild. She had been a 3rd shift CNA for 20 years, and it was her way of taking quick naps between call lights without getting busted for sleeping.
    Last edit by november17 on Feb 23, '07

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