Dear Nursing Students/Orientees: A Love Note from the Preceptor from Hell - page 8

by CheesePotato

30,609 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. 2
    Hear, hear...There is so much truth in this letter.
    CheesePotato and roser13 like this.
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    Yes you can compare the two professions on many levels-the two are service industries-cops can be kind and compassionate, so can nurses, nurses can be military in their style and caregiving-authoritative and can change up on a dime for the safety of themselves, their peers, and the patient. Cops and nurses see people at their most stressed and vulnerable. The service provided may be different, you see the gun and the law enforcement-I see the shot and the standards. A lot of comparisons. And if you ever work in trauma, which I hope everyone has the chance to do, police and nurses have a lot to share. They serve and protect, so do nurses. If you can't see that, then you are someone narrow minded and literal in your view.
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    We used to joke, some of us that nursing school was like the army. I appreciated the kick butt instructors, and even more so after I became a nurse. Sometimes they were brutal. However, I know that my "pass with distinction" from clinicals MEANT something, as does my degree. They are doing no favours by sugar coating. Students need to be prepared for the realities they will face. Great article!
    anotherone, CheesePotato, and roser13 like this.
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    Nurses are such a diverse group. There are tons of nurses who become nurses later in life and plenty of 2nd or 3rd career nurses who have been successful in their professional and personal lives before nursing.

    When I read the original post....it sounds like it's directed at a 20 year old kid who those kind of antics might work with.

    However, if that kind of "breaking down" had been attempted on me or the majority of my classmates, I'm sure the preceptor would've been in for a surprise.

    Little kid games don't work on grown ups.
    anotherone, silenced, lorirn58, and 3 others like this.
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    I'm a second career nurse. Still appreciate the post. Even second career nurses still need to learn the world of nursing.
    Rensoul and CheesePotato like this.
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    Thanks for posting, MusicalCoffee. I'm a new nurse in orientation myself, and first thought that being more emotionally sensitive is a weakness. In actuality, it can be a great strength if you know how to avoid taking certain things personally. This is challenging at times, but having a strong preceptor makes all the difference. One like SweetPotato can teach you this.

    My only recommendation to SweetPotato is to keep this mind, that some people have a more sensitive nature. Not because they are weak, but because it's just part of who they are. I believe you touched on this a bit in your article. And please, no arguments about how perhaps these people are not cut out for nursing, because I know that I can be a great nurse!
    Rensoul, echoRNC711, MusicalCoffee, and 1 other like this.
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    Quote from joanna73
    I'm a second career nurse. Still appreciate the post. Even second career nurses still need to learn the world of nursing.

    Of course every new nurse needs to learn the "world of nursing."

    However, most older nurses who often have more life experience than many preceptors don't need to be taught how to handle their emotions, or what your non-verbal cues mean, or be told that "no question is a stupid question."

    They generally just need you to do your job so that they can watch and learn the requirements/routine of the job vs. being praised for "putting the bed low" or learning what their preceptor's tone of voice really means. They definitely don't need to be told that real life is not like a text book.

    It just seems a little juvenile so I assume those are the antics that work with people less experienced at life and work in general vs. the world of nursing.
    dclong, daverika, and CheesePotato like this.
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    Wow....didn't expect to see this thread still alive with active dialogue. Interesting.

    So many great thoughts and responses. I appreciate each and every one of them.

    You know, on the topic of those that are second career nurses, would it strike you all as strange to know that some of the folks that have the hardest time adjusting to the idea that nursing is not the glorified field they thought it was were second career nurses?

    I would never have suspected something like that to be the case, but ::shrugs:: these are things I have seen and even experienced as a second career nurse, myself. Former Candy Stripper. Oh yeah. I went there.

    Other thoughts about modifying the manner of precepting are very valid and absolutely should be practiced. No preceptor worth their salt tries to do things the same way every time with every new individual that orients with them. Such a thing would be foolishness. There is no one size fits all. Take it from the girl that firmly believes such sizing tags lie to your face and are the mark of the devil.

    But just as those labeled articles of clothing, one can only stretch so much within their own personality and style. As I stated in my second reply, if a mismatch occurs (and it does), a proper fit must be found.

    Incidentally, one can be both congenial and direct. I find it fascinating that a direct approach is immediately associated with various feelings which conjure, to my addled mind, images of combat boots and riding crops.

    ::quirks eyebrow::

    Thank you, again, all for your various vehement replies and thoughts. Lovely, yummy things which will keep my brain busy on this night rotation. Ick.

    Have a safe night and a fine tomorrow.

    Regards,

    ~~CP~~
    Last edit by CheesePotato on Dec 5, '12 : Reason: So...this is the second time my space bar has gone AWOL...turns out there was a hunk of Pringle wedged beneath it. So yeah..
    Rensoul, MusicalCoffee, wooh, and 1 other like this.
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    I have precepted for close on 20 yrs. At first I was a woman on a mission and was dubbed "the General". Yes, orientees learned and were well trained. I had sheets made out to have them account for time and compete with themselves until they could be 1 hr ahead of schedule (to always make room for a potential code )
    However, I do cringe now when I look back on it. My heart was in the right place but honestly it need not have been that difficult for either of us. Perhaps I have softened . I now look at orientees and ask myself more often "what does this nurse need right now " and I try to facilitate that. Mostly I tried to encourage them to step out that I am on their side. The very first words I tell a new nurse is "I am not here to judge you but to facilitate learning. I welcome mistakes because it means you are stepping out and making decisions.I will be behind you .I want you to feel safe to tell the truth and that way we can figure out where you feel weak and strengthen those areas " I also give honest feedback if they are slacking I tell them. I tell them they set the pace,if they want to learn I will tell them everything I know but if they want to skate then that is their choice. I precept because I love both teaching and nursing. I do privately hope that they will go on to do this for other new nurses and raise the profession higher where we take care of each other better.
    OP I don't doubt your sincerity or passion and you sound like an entertaining teacher. There is room for all types of nurses including tears. Most nurses have cried somewhere in their career.Making it a teaching moment. Everyone is teacheable if they are helped to find confidence the rest is simply experience and developing organizational skills. Thank you for taking the time to teach ,we need to do it more in our profession.
    Rensoul, Wise Woman RN, wooltie, and 1 other like this.
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    You did say in your post that you know it may not apply to "our" exact set of circumstances. That didn't go unnoticed.

    I was just saying, in my opinion, most of the things you mentioned would be relevant to someone with little to no working experience or life experience in general. On the other hand, I've seen 50 somethings (new nurses) who act like nervous lost puppies so there are always exceptions of course.

    Assuming that most new nurses need as much guidance and/or praise as your article suggests would be as naive as believing every preceptor does a good job or even knows what they're doing. My preceptor, for example, was younger than me and had only been a nurse herself for 2 years. She was constantly using her acrylic nails (uh, no) to text on her iPhone.

    But it was a good article overall when applied to the type of students/new nurses it represents.


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