Dear Nursing Students/Orientees: A Love Note from the Preceptor from Hell - page 6

by CheesePotato

30,625 Unique 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. 12
    Quote from mclennan
    I'm working on my Master's in Nursing Education for the very reason that *I* had a horrific substandard clinical experience in nursing school and feel a drive to be part of the solution.

    I can understand some reasons why you wrote this. Dealing with student nurses all day would get to anyone. But you really could have made your point in about 10 fewer paragraphs. And honestly, it is WAY over the top. I finally just shut down and laughed at your paragraph describing health care as a jungle of predators or whatever. Come on: lighten up.

    And, frankly, it is exactly this mentality that is part of the problem plaguing nursing these days. This whole old school, break-their-spirit, chew 'em up & spit 'em out boot camp garbage is just embarrassing and outdated. Nursing school doesn't have to be some survival of the fittest death race to glory. It is not the military. I beg you, stop perpetuating negative stereotypes! Express your feelings but be aware of their destructive influence.

    I had good and bad preceptors. The bad had personal issues that had long since become demons bigger and more important to them than their reasons for teaching any more; 6 years later, I look back and can see that's really what the problem was. They were bitter and angry about the healthcare system and took it out on their students. The really awful ones enjoyed doing so, and saw preceptorship as a blood sport. Stupid. All they managed to do was make everyone as miserable as they were. No one learned anything.

    The good ones were relaxed but firm, kind but stern, supportive but not coddling, realistic but not threatening. They treated me like a human being, not an enlisted soldier. They had a sense of humor. They didn't think or behave like paranoid, predatory prowlers with a chip on their shoulder. They were just people who shared their knowledge and acted as mentors and that was IT. No overthinking it beyond that. They also seemed to be less "over involved" in the job and had healthy lives and interests outside of work.

    You sound like you are up all night licking your chops and plotting your students' demise.

    I know precepting has its frustrations but jeez. You're a terrific writer and I think it would be put to better use on something more constructive and realistic.


    ::applause:: THANK YOU!!!! Couldn't have said it better myself!
    silenced, whitebunny, lorirn58, and 9 others like this.
  2. 1
    As a preceptor-sometimes you just get an orientee thrown in on you-no time to meet/greet, just cursory hello then jump into a day that already has started. So the way things start are sometimes not the best situations for the orientee/student.

    On those wonderful occasions-I ask "Can you follow?" If the answer is yes then I take the lead and teach by doing-asking questions of the orientee along the way, explaining rationale and the facility's policy for this or that. Once that is established, we move on to the orientee showing me what they know and don't know. It's about getting the feet wet.

    If the answer is no, then I want to scream, NEXT!!!! You cannot put a patient through a confused situation. We are not working in a car body shop. Human lives, outcomes are at stake-which put the preceptor in an urgent state of mind. I loved the quote "there is nothing in this world more frustrating, more gut churningly irritating, than someone wrapped in indifference and swaddled in ego." Nobody wants to be derided in public, nobody wants to be seen as unknowing or unskilled. We as preceptors have to practice some tact, but on the other side, if you are causing a problem-get out of the way. You'll surely get your chance to shine and get more experience-there are good days and bad days-fast days and slow days. One thing is for sure-each patient is different, each case is different, some tried and true skills just don't work, and that is the challenge.

    I've said it before-new nursing students are not ready for the reality shock-like it or not-they aren't given enough clinical experiences on and off the school clock, and that is the reason for the precipitous decline of retention in new nurses.
    CheesePotato likes this.
  3. 2
    Wish I had the time to tally up the responses between those who get it and those who don't. Just reading responses over the course of the last 24 hours makes me think that those who do get the OP outnumber those who don't and consequently think that OP is an old battleax.
    CheesePotato and creativemom like this.
  4. 2
    Probably a really dumb question but I am going to ask. Does a nurse have a choice in being a preceptor? Is this something you choose to do or is it just part of the the job?
  5. 5
    Quote from BlueDevil,DNP
    This is how precepting should be done, every time.

    If you can't take it, be a candy stripper.
    No. It shouldn't. I don't believe in a "one size fits all" philosophy. Some people need a type A, militant, "break 'em" preceptor like the OP. Others, like myself, respond better to a more Type B preceptor.
  6. 8
    Quote from roser13
    Wish I had the time to tally up the responses between those who get it and those who don't. Just reading responses over the course of the last 24 hours makes me think that those who do get the OP outnumber those who don't and consequently think that OP is an old battleax.
    It is not about "getting" or "not getting" the OP but rather disagreeing with her "tough love" approach.

    I have had some clinical instructors like the OP and I pray I don't get someone who acts like I'm a soldier in combat military school.

    But I've noticed in general that women are so unnecessarily difficult on other women to the point that it lacks productivity. Not saying that all nurses are women, but it is a female dominated field, or that all women are like this. But I find women in general to be far nastier to each other than men.
    Last edit by ThePrincessBride on Dec 5, '12
    dclong, lorirn58, daverika, and 5 others like this.
  7. 6
    There is a difference between not understanding and not agreeing.
    Not_A_Hat_Person, dclong, daverika, and 3 others like this.
  8. 1
    It usually depends upon alot of things: the facility's procedures, staffing issues, and sometimes just plain who's available. I've even heard of new RN's (less than a year of experience) being told that it's their "turn" to take an orientee.

    And that's unfortunate. Precepting shouldn't be forced on anyone. People like the OP obviously have vested time and energy into their orientees and want to help them succeed. Others who are forced into the role often fail miserably (on purpose?).

    Quote from jetsy62
    Probably a really dumb question but I am going to ask. Does a nurse have a choice in being a preceptor? Is this something you choose to do or is it just part of the the job?
    CheesePotato likes this.
  9. 3
    If this poster was a man precepting another man in a male-dominated profession, law enforcement for example, would this post be controversial?
    anotherone, CheesePotato, and somenurse like this.
  10. 3
    Quote from RNperdiem
    If this poster was a man precepting another man in a male-dominated profession, law enforcement for example, would this post be controversial?
    Can't compare law enforcement to nursing.
    lorirn58, CheesePotato, and anggelRN like this.


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