Dear Nursing Students/Orientees: A Love Note from the Preceptor from Hell - page 11

by CheesePotato

33,017 Views | 118 Comments

Warning: The following post is rife with brutal honesty and frustration. Read at your own risk. Memorandum from the desk of Your Friendly Neighborhood Sociopath~~ Dear Nursing Student/Orientee: Allow me to start my... Read More


  1. 5
    Quote from CherylRNBSN
    Um, this article seems a bit over the top to me. Medical professionals are predatory, smell blood, etc.? I've been a nurse for over twenty years. That is way over the top.

    As many other posters have said, the way you precept, and your attitude, your leadership style may be a great match for some orientees.

    But not for me.

    I don't think anyone needs to be "broken down" in order to reach their full potential.

    And it's kind of condescending to think all new nurses need to be petted and coddled, and it is your job to toughen them up and show them how the real world is.

    I, and many others, were well equipped with enough innate intelligence that we already possessed some pretty good critical thinking skills before we ever even started nursing school, and also realize we have an intrinsic responsibility for our own professional growth and development.

    I look at new grads and nursing students as colleagues. I do not try to intimidate them. I get to know them as a person on some level; i.e., ask them when they are graduating, their future career goals, etc. I respect them, and they respect me. I freely tell them everything I know. I assure them there are no stupid questions. That knowing what one does not know is a cornerstone of safe practice.

    Positive, healthy interactions with all coworkers go a long way in making tough shifts bearable, even enjoyable.

    Support, teamwork, respect, sharing of knowledge, modeling leadership, and yes, KINDNESS. Despite whatever else is going on in my personal or work life.

    So I don't worry about my orientees speaking about their experience with me as a preceptor with other staff.
    Nice post!
    mharzi, TnRN43, dclong, and 2 others like this.
  2. 0
    Whitebunny, I can't begin to understand how difficult it must be to leave everything you know and then try to learn in a new language, new culture, etc. so, my hat is off to you!!! Take credit for calming yourself down, good job!! Do remember though that English is a very quirky language, and when you are upset by something, give yourself a minute to calm down. It maybe be that the person really is being nasty, so get mad, but it maybe a language issue. Keep up the good work!!
  3. 3
    This article nails it. Having just come out of a 3 month orientation period with some awesome preceptors, this is really close to home. Some observations:

    1) I didn't see the OP as being harsh. The goal is to assess what the preceptee knows and to work from there, regardless of the teaching method. Case in point, if you make me watch everything and then do it, I will bomb every time. However, if you show me once, walk me through it once, and then let me do it on my own, I'll get it every time. We are all familiar with the teach back method, it works.

    2) I would much rather have someone be upfront and honest about their intentions/personality in the beginning rather than feel like that person is being fake and get blindsided by it later. At least OP is being honest about how they are and what they expect. Expectations are part of every relationship, and both sides are responsible for stating what theirs are.

    3) A smart student/orientee should be watching their preceptor to see what the resources are. You never know when you will need said resources. IMHO this is not the expectation of reading minds. It is the expectation that we learn from experiences. If I see my preceptor consistently go to specific people for things, it tells me that my preceptor values their opinion for a reason.

    4) Different strokes for different folks. If you know that OP's precepting style wouldn't work for you, Kudo's. It means you have the self-knowledge to realize what works for you & that is part of being an active learner.

    To the new grads/orientees:
    Yes, orientation is overwhelming as a new grad. There will be days when you feel you can't do a *&^% thing right. It will pass, you will gain confidence & skills. It will click. Hopefully sooner than later.

    Life begins outside of your comfort zone. Seek out new knowledge/skills as you master the older stuff. Don't take thing's personally. Criticism (constructive or not) can be hard to digest and it takes some time to learn the art of stepping out of the situation to look at things objectively.

    You will never run out of new things to learn. EVER. If you do, you'll be 6 ft under.

    Thank you OP for a great article. I was lucky enough to have not one, but 2 preceptors like you that kept me from making some serious missteps as a student & new hire.

    RenSoul
    Last edit by Rensoul on Dec 8, '12
    roser13, wooh, and Spidey's mom like this.
  4. 0
    Thank you for sharing this very blunt statement. I am a first semester nursing student and hope to have a preceptor such as yourself to be as candid as you are. No sugar coating and right to the point. That is who I want to learn from because it shows that you are a "Great nurse".
  5. 1
    Thank you........Well said. You have my upmost respect. You are needed.....Thanks
    roser13 likes this.
  6. 0
    Quote from CheesePotato
    Greetings!First of all, thank each and every one of your for a reply and a point of view. I find the spectrum of answers interesting, to say the least and, sadly, it would take me ages to reply to each.A few points, however, that I feel merit mentioning:~~ I most certainly do not have the goal of making anyone cry or otherwise engaging in sabotage, mud slinging, etc etc etc. Participating in any of this behavior would defeat the purpose and render the whole process of preceptorship completely useless. And as someone who was set up....repeatedly...by a preceptor (No, not the one I acknowledge), I can tell you first hand that it's just miserable. I would never do such a thing to someone. That's just....rotten.~~ I do not tear down my orientees or students. Ever.~~ Please remember that any over the top prose are meant to be tongue in cheek and most assuredly taken with a grain of salt.~~ No one should ever, ever be subjected to bullying or feeling fearful of their co-workers.. You have the right to a safe work environment.~~ I have yet to master the whole plume of purple smoke disappearing act. To date, I keep getting my thighs stuck on the entrance to the magic lamp thus spoiling the effect. No, slathering them with Crisco does not help.~~ Preceptor/Orientee mismatch does happen. When it does, it is in everyone's best interest that a proper match be found.~~ Although I may be mistaken, I did not say that I do not enjoy precepting. Some of my favorite times are seeing the moments of "ah-ha!" when it all just clicks. I acknowledge and appreciate all of the various opinions and feedback. The passionate responses were simply awesome. This field is blessed to have individuals willing to take a stand in what they view and what they believe. Sincerest regards,~~CP~~
    It was a potentially great initial post. What I believe to be lacking are examples to really understand where you are coming from. What behaviors have you specifically seen that you are responding to. I find it very hard to believe that new grads have walked out of a patient room after making sure a "call light is in place " and came to you for praises for doing such. Your preceptees may understand your post, but you posted it here where we do not know the situations. I don't know this "tone" you are referring to. Based off others posts, I have already seen different interpretations of what this tone is, and I suspect they are off base, but do not really know. Maybe some specific examples and a word of advice to students /new grads on some of your biggest pet peeves would be helpful. Again, a potentially wonderful post, but more clarity could really drive home your point.
  7. 1
    I am a nursing student and I am NOT interested in being coddled, or being friends with my instructors. I get more use out of constructive criticism than pats on the back- if I'm doing something wrong, I WANT to be told about it so that I don't do it again. I come to school and clinicals prepared, and I ask questions when I'm unsure because I am not interested in harming anyone. I work hard, with humility, and I treat my instructors, hospital staff, classmates, patients and this profession with RESPECT.

    Including the ones that don't have respect for me.

    There are MANY serious, hard-working, responsible, mature, kick-ass nursing students out there that many preceptors would be proud to have. We're the ones who remain respectful and professional even when we get stuck with preceptors who hate teaching.

    To my fellow nursing students: keep working your ***** off, keep coming prepared, keep putting your big girl/boy underpants on every morning. Keep at it, and don't let people like this stop you from achieving your goals. AND when you're preceptors, remember what it was like to be a student -be the nurse that you want your students to become.
    Last edit by JustBeachyNurse on Dec 12, '12 : Reason: ToS language
    GrnTea likes this.
  8. 5
    Quote from classicdame
    a little abrasive I thought, although there were some concepts that are generic to all preceptors. Reducing a student to tears is not acceptable. Your job is not to show how much you know, but to elevate the other person's knowledge. Learning is better achieved in less stressful situations, so if you are stressed at even having the student then you pass that along to them and they endure, but don't learn. Waste of time.
    What I don't understand is why is it always someone else's fault when an orientee with no emotional self-control breaks down and cries at work? Why do we always blame whoever it was she was interacting with when she lost control? Why don't we blame the crier for not having the emotional maturity to accept feedback without crying?
    GrnTea, anotherone, Altra, and 2 others like this.
  9. 0
    Hi Ruby
    when I read this article several days ago I thought about you right away. Between you and OP's writing style I prefer your style much more. I still remember what you have said to me before. I definately wouldnt cry if the instructor communicates with me in a similar way to yours, but I would cry if the instructor writes a post like OP.
  10. 2
    Quote from Ruby Vee
    What I don't understand is why is it always someone else's fault when an orientee with no emotional self-control breaks down and cries at work? Why do we always blame whoever it was she was interacting with when she lost control? Why don't we blame the crier for not having the emotional maturity to accept feedback without crying?
    Because there's feedback which teaches and motivates and feedback which degrades and humiliates. I think we all here know the difference, as well as the fact that "teacher" who preferably uses the latter form of feedback is probably well below of the "crier"'s level in terms of emotional maturity, stability and professionalism.
    ~*Stargazer*~ and melmarie23 like this.


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