Dear Nursing Students/Orientees: A Love Note from the Preceptor from Hell - page 2

by CheesePotato | 35,929 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


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    You remind me a lot of one of my old preceptors. She cut me no slack, and I am thankful to this day. If I have any temptation to take the easy way out of a situation, I think to myself, "what would my old preceptor do?", the answer is "she is long gone, but if she finds out you are slacking off, she will find out about it and come kick your backside, so do the right thing."
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    That's a good person...nursing aside. Wish more people could see things through your eyes.
    CheesePotato likes this.
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    Amazing and eye opening! Just starting out in nursing school, but will save this for future reference! Thank you so much for giving this honest account, from the other side. I appreciate you for it! Wish you could be my preceptor, or at least someone as thoughtful as you!

    Well done!
    CheesePotato likes this.
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    Quote from squatmunkie_RN
    Dude...what's your problem? If you don't want the burden of precepting, or working with students then don't! All of this is so unnecessary. Why make yourself this upset and angry? This letter is dripping with anger and hostility. Glad I don't work with people like this...And super glad I didn't have a preceptor like you either. It doesn't take all this nonsense to help someone become a great nurse.
    Actually I found no sarcasm, anger, or hostiliy in this posting. I found brutal honesty. We need more preceptors like the OP in our hospitals to help these new grads "get" the picture. Because all too often, THEY DON'T.

    OP:Great Post.

    Squatmunkie_RN: No reason to take it personal, and hate on the OP.
    auralae, 3aremyjoy, JHU2016, and 19 others like this.
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    OP you seem like a great preceptor who any new grad would be blessed to have. However, many preceptors are NOT like you and I would like to write a ( short) "love note" to some of the preceptors I had to deal with. Here it goes:

    Dear Preceptor,
    First, I so want to be like you when I grow up. I admire your skills, expertise, and knowledge. However, I do not wish to have your personality, attitude, and unprofessional behavior. What gives you the right to yell ( yes, raising of voice), spread rumors on the unit about your orientee, talk about everyone( including the charge nurses' sex life), put your hands on a fellow co-worker, and speak rudely to patients.

    You say you hate precepting, yet nurses have quit because of your constant nagging, threats, tandrums and bullying. If you hate precepting so much then you would change your behavior to boost the morale on the unit which will retain staff. Not only have new nurses quit but experienced nurses too, some people just don't want to put up with this.

    Please note that I will make mistakes, however do they really have to be reported to the nurse manager who is in charge of half the hospital. We have discussed my mistake and I've realized what could have been done better and have done better. While we are on the topic of mistakes, I have never and never will report the mistakes I've caught from you. Why? I realize that you are human and even though you've been a nurse longer than I've been alive you too make mistakes. I didn't report you when you made up vital signs did I? No, I didn't, besides who would believe me any way... you've always told me that it'll always be my word against yours.

    Lastly, I have allowed you to tear down my confidence, make me feel incompetent, and leave my job. I should have never allowed you to do so and I take FULL responsibility for that.. In reality you have self-esteem issues, you hate your job, and I should have known that your behavior had nothing to do with me but everything to do with your personal issues. I will not allow this to happen again. I may not have been the best and the brightest RN on the unit but I did my best, knew what I didn't know and did what was best for the patient.

    If you ask me a question and I don't know the answer I will look it up and get back to you, however starring at me for five minutes and rolling your eyes will not elicit the correct answer any sooner. I love when you ask me questions, so please keep them coming.

    To my primary preceptor: You were a great, I've learned so much from you and it didn't have to take all of the above for me to "get it". I'm so sorry that you quit, however I do understand that you too could not put up with the politics of the unit.

    Thank you to all of the preceptors such as the OP who really do take strives to maintain professionalism while raising a nursling. Precepting is not an easy job, and I really do realize that.

    Yours truly,

    OnlybyhisgraceRN
    Last edit by OnlybyHisgraceRN on Dec 4, '12
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    Quote from squatmunkie_RN
    Dude...what's your problem? If you don't want the burden of precepting, or working with students then don't! All of this is so unnecessary. Why make yourself this upset and angry? This letter is dripping with anger and hostility. Glad I don't work with people like this...And super glad I didn't have a preceptor like you either. It doesn't take all this nonsense to help someone become a great nurse.
    I missed the part in the op that stated she doesn't like doing it. No one loves their job every day. We all have job frustrations, and people (whether they're patients, students, preceptors or bosses) that give us grief from time to time (or on a regular basis).

    Her words may be perceived as harsh to some. Maybe that's because she is being brutally honest. She is not sugar-coating things. As a society, we feel the need to tip-toe around things that may potentially offend people. This is happening big time with this generation of children.

    - No one wanted to tell them they are not perfect.
    - No one wants to tell overweight kids they are overweight.
    - everyone gets a trophy, no matter how bad of a ball-player they are.
    - no one wants to tell their kids they can't have an iPad, Ugg boots, or tickets to a One Direction concert.

    These kids then grow up to believe they can do anything, as long as their intentions are good. They get a trophy, no matter how hard or how little they try. That's why I hate Pass/Fail clinicals. The stellar student gets the same grade as the one who skated by. So why bother working any harder?

    Our society doesn't respond well to "tough love"

    OP, I loved most of your post. I do question the validity of the oriented working under your license though. Are your orienteers not yet licensed? Also, as a professor I'd like to address the theory vs. reality. While I know there is no way we as educators can teach absolute reality. It's hard enough teaching " theory", then going to clinical and explaining why reality doesn't match theory. I believe my students get a fair dose of reality, but definitely not a feel of what it's like to be an actual RN with a full assignment. I teach second semester, so it's not possible to get the full reality. We do the best we can with limited # of clinical hours, and student/instructor ratios. I know the work is not close to being finished at graduation, and I'm glad to hear there are good dedicated people, we can pass the torch onto.
    Last edit by ProfRN4 on Dec 4, '12
    JHU2016, FMF Corpsman, CheesePotato, and 10 others like this.
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    I had the nursing instructor from... well ya know. Lots of complaining followed them around and ultimately the school coddled the students so much that they are now not the instructor for that particular class.

    But their philosophy of teaching you to "fish" instead of handing the "fish" over... prepared me for being a NURSE and not just passing in school.

    And you can bet that I can remember more from that person than I can from the many instructors that have followed!

    I appreciate a no nonsense approach to precepting as well and with having just completed my senior preceptorship experience... I would have preferred a little less chitchat and a lot more business. (No one wants to stay 1.5 extra hours after shift when there isn't even a paycheck attached to it)
    CheesePotato likes this.
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    Quote from squatmunkie_RN
    Dude...what's your problem? If you don't want the burden of precepting, or working with students then don't! All of this is so unnecessary. Why make yourself this upset and angry? This letter is dripping with anger and hostility. Glad I don't work with people like this...And super glad I didn't have a preceptor like you either. It doesn't take all this nonsense to help someone become a great nurse.
    Showing some solidarity with squatmunkie. Hazing people isn't ok because someone did it to you. It isn't necessary to give people "tough love" to help them learn. In fact, people learn better when tough love is not employed.

    Also, its not okay to leave your student on the floor while you grab what is probably a not so quick bite for a coding patient and frightened orientee. If you are not on the floor, they shouldn't be either.
    silenced, carme76, tazz_rn, and 10 others like this.
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    Dear OP Preceptor,

    I thought quite a lot about writing a responce but i think I ought to do that. Even if just for the sake of your own safety one day.

    What your wrote is just such wonderful eye opening indeed because one little thing. Or couple of them.

    If you were just so brutally honest to your bones and your single and only one wish would be to make your students and orientees excellent, safe nurses while keeping your license safe, you would probably not:
    - get people spending their precious time spying on your behalf ("I will find out. I have eyes and ears you don't know about").
    - take people aside to speak with them "as two adults ought". Because the single reason things like it are done is to get rid of witnesses.
    - tell people that you are "fully aware of the tone" you use.
    - warn people not to cry, even if they have d*** good reason to do so.
    - require your students to, in practical terms, read your mind and become proficient in it in no time: " I'm giving you hints on who to trust and who to watch as well as your Reliables, those fine folks that always seem to be Johnny on the spot with whatever strange thing you need".
    - describe healthcare as you do it (" medical personnel are predatory pack animals. When you cry, they scent blood and bay for their pack mates to take notice. They watch. Stalking. Lurking. Marking you as weak, ready to cast you aside to larger predators, or, more readily, pick the psychological meat from your bones themselves"). If so, how comes that you're so comfortable in these jungles? Do you want every your student to eventually become a psychological hyena?

    I could find many more of these little threads. They are hidden in almost every sentence of your article.

    I do understand that you have some very good reasons for thinking the way you do. You have your own life experience and your own personality and I cannot comment on it. I just want to tell you, honestly, that if you may not love to make people miserable just for the sake of it but you very well may to enjoy your power over them anyway. The only problem is that power you think as about solely beneficial still can kill. And if you drive just one recent grad who, for some reason, feels revulsion to your way of life as a lurking predator, to despair, to abandoning Nursing or to something worse, it will cross over a lot of good things you did. Nobody deserves to be treated badly just for being sensitive and emotional person, for having other learning style than the one you prefer to use, or for being unable to figure out your "bad days".

    (P.S. nowadays dictophone apps can be downloaded for free, and pen with invisible microphone and camera costs $20. I personally would use them only as the very last resort, but I also know a lot of people who document every moment they spent with their preceptors and who hire personal injury lawyers before applying for jobs. And a personal injury lawyer is worse animal than all your healthcare workers put together).
    mharzi, Hoozdo, silenced, and 13 others like this.
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    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.
    mharzi, Not_A_Hat_Person, Elisheval, and 41 others like this.


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