Having a difficult time with my Practicum Experience:

  1. I feel awful. Practicum experience is suppose to be one of the best learning experiences in nursing school. I am working on the postpartum unit, and it was my number one choice. I thought for sure that I would love it; however, ever since week 1, I have just been clashing with most of the nurses on that unit. I found a lot of them seem to be either lazy, clueless, or both. I was assigned to a preceptor, and I constantly asked her what I could do to help. I always consistently checked on the patients and was willing to help her out and the other nurses out as well! Well, she went to the manager at the end of my first week and told the manager that "I wasn't interested in what she was doing....." When I worked with her, she was so lazy, sitting at her computer the whole time and kept talking about her pregnancy. She barely checked on her patients...all she did was complain about her nausea feeling and how it will be like 9 months from now..... Anyways, I got really upset but the manager did change my preceptor.

    Now my new preceptor is much better at teaching me and is more pro-active than the other preceptor; however, I feel like she thinks i'm a dummy because I forgot how to do some nursing skills, since I didn't work in the hospital for about six months. And it's been a year since I was in OB clinicals. I don't trust that she would give me a fair and accurate evaluation report. I was suppose to work with her this week, but she had another job to do on the unit, and she wasn't assigned to patients that day; therefore, she could not precept me that day. The manager told me not to show up even because she had no one to work with me. Basically, in nice words, "no one who is working that day will wanna work with you...."

    I only know one nurse on this unit who likes working with me and likes to teach me. She lets me do most of the skills and I learned from her in one day more than I have the past 5 weeks I was on that unit. Unfortunately, she can't be my new or secondary preceptor because she's a new nurse

    I basically feel alone and unsupported at all. I've tried talking to my school instructors about this, but they don't say or do anything about it.... I've tried talking to my friends about it, but they don't understand because they have awesome working relationships with their preceptors. I tried talking to my parents, but they just blame me and think i'm just bugging the nurses and that's why they don't want to work with me.....This is one of the worst experiences in nursing school...and I do not know what to do.....

    Luckily, I'm half way done with my practicum....but it has been stressing me out, when it's suppose to be a learning experience for me..... Any tips or ideas on how to deal with this practicum misery????
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    About mistymae22

    Joined: Feb '13; Posts: 19; Likes: 2


  3. by   mariebailey
    You think they are lazy and clueless? Try, try, try to see the positive in people, and maybe they will, in turn, see the positive in you. I think your parents are right. I hate to break it to you, but your interpersonal skills are more important than your nursing skills. These nurses owe you nothing. You need to learn from them, so you have to open them up to teaching you again. You better start bringing doughnuts or muffins ASAP. Smile and be gracious and thankful, and do it with sincerity...for the rest of your practicum.
  4. by   mistymae22
    When a patient was complaining of shortness of breath, they didn't know what to do and were running around the unit disorganized, like they weren't trained or experienced. So yah, they looked clueless at the moment. I don't owe them anything either! Definitely not doughnuts or muffins.... I didn't do or say anything to them, so I don't even know how I closed them off to teaching me. All my former preceptor did was sat on her butt and did nothing, so that's my fault? Um, ok....

    I've worked on other units, and they do not treat me like that. They know what to do in emergencies, are calm, and go out of their way to teach students. So I know this is just not a "me" issue. Your comment was a bit uncalled for.

    Btw, yes, interpersonal skills are crucial in nursing. However, when a patient is is de-sating or complaining of shortness of breath, bringing doughnuts or muffins isn't going to save the person's life... Nursing skills are more essential in this case...don't you think?
    Last edit by mistymae22 on Feb 9, '13
  5. by   mariebailey
    The doughnuts & muffins are optional, but learning what you need to be a competent nurse is not. What you've been doing thus far clearly has not been working. You will have to re-frame your thinking & change your attitude for your practicum to be successful if your school isn't willing to place you elsewhere. Maybe someone else will chime in with better advice; I'll cross my fingers for you.
  6. by   mistymae22
    What I've been doing isn't working?? Well, maybe I will just sit around and not do any work, and not ask any questions....maybe that will make me a part of the team (:
  7. by   mistymae22
    Maybe how I said things sounded like an attack on all nurses. I'm just reporting my experiences and what I saw on my unit. Like I said, I've worked on other units where the nurses do such outstanding work and they let me in their team! Such amazing teamwork on those units. Not all the nurses on my unit are clueless, a lot of them are smart and check in on their patients consistently. However, some of them, including my first preceptor, are lazy...and that is fact! I guess I'm just not into their speciality, and that could be why I clash with the unit in general. But I never go to clinical with an attitude that they owe me anything. I always go to the unit with a respectful attitude, and I always offer help to all the nurses. I will bring them treats on my last day of clinical....but as of now, all I can do is offer help, smile, and try to work with them. That's what I 've been doing, you are telling me it doesn't work...then I honestly have no idea what to do other than do the complete opposite...which I won't do because that behavior is just unprofessional!
  8. by   mariebailey
    mistymae22: I'm just trying to be honest with you. I hope it gets better.
  9. by   mistymae22
    Well, you can't say it's all my fault 100% without even being there and seeing it yourself. I appreciate your honesty, but you blaming me 100% is uncalled for. Maybe I come across as a know it all student and that can be a turn off, but I always try my best to be respectful and I try to help them out. You make it sound like I go to clinical with a disrespectful attitude, when you haven't seen me in the clinical setting. And that isn't fair...
  10. by   mistymae22
    mariebailey: You are right when you said that nurses don't owe students anything; however, these nursing students are going to be the future's nurses someday. You would think they want to build up good nurses for the future...
  11. by   HH_RN13
    I think it's important in your situation to take pp advice and try to make nice with the nurses. In the beginning of my preceptorship I felt my nurse wasn't really into teaching, but I just followed her around while staying open minded and trying to absorb every piece of information I could from my nurse as well as others on the unit. I realized that what could be perceived as laziness in the beginning is not laziness at all. Experienced nurses just get comfortable at what they do. They don't freak out over something that I would have perceived as emergency. I've learned that just staying positive and nice to every one around opens up way more doors than blaming a person for one eventless shift :-) as I was moving forward with my rotation other nurses have started calling me to see interesting cases they had. My nurse was always supportive and tried to allow me to really experience what it's like to be a real nurse. I realized that what I thought was laziness in the beginning was really her way of teaching me to be independent and to come up with my own ways to manage my day and patient care. Just keep in mind that every person has a different teaching style. Just keep an open mind and try to learn as much as you can :-) good luck!!!
  12. by   mistymae22
    Thanks VeronikaRN! I sounded quite negative on my first post. I should try being more positive. That's a trait of mine that I've been trying to work on. I haven't had all bad experiences. My main preceptor still lets me do things and the nurse I worked with let me do a lot of skills. Some days, the nurses are appreciative of my help, and they say thanks many times to me. Even my former preceptor who complained to the manager about me, when I see her on the unit, I am still polite and I smile and I say hi to her. I mean, that's all I can do. This week was just difficult, because the day I was suppose to work, there were not many nurses that wanted to take in a practicum student for the day, and my preceptor was doing another job. It depends on the nurses who work on the day, if I clash with em or get along with em. I notice I get along with the older nurses versus the younger nurses, in general. And the newer nurses, are the best teachers because they understand what I'm going through the most. I do get what you mean about the different teaching styles, and how one seems lazy, but aren't. I am just used to a certain style...I was always taught to always keep busy on the unit..and when i see nurses on the unit gossip/talk about their personal lives a lot more than check on their patients, I find it odd. But i guess it makes sense for my unit to do that a lot, because there cases aren't as critical or intense as other units..... I just have a different personality than them, and I'm more like, "go go go go go" whereas, they like to sit and chat when their patients don't necessarily need them at the moment.....

    I figured, that I fit in way better in a med-surg unit. lol
  13. by   HH_RN13
    Lol yea I know what you are saying. I did my final preceptorship on a med surg unit and I really loved it. Back at my ob rotation on postpartum I was dying of boredom. It's just not my kind of thing. I enjoy fast paced, busy, multi-tasking, running around like crazy kind of shifts :-)
    So just try to make the best of the rest of your school, then pass your NCLEX and you can be the kind of nurse you want to be. What I've noticed is that in nursing positive attitude and a little humor can go a long way. Even when some are being mean or ignoring you, don't let it hold you back. I've had nurses say straight to my face "oh no I have a student?", but I've made it through my 2 years and so can you :-)
  14. by   mistymae22
    Thanks! I'm almost done. 7 more clinical days to go on the unit! Next week, I'm going to do 3 days...so after that, I will have 4 more left. It goes by so quickly. It's also difficult when my preceptor looks at me like i'm a dummy for not knowing how to do something or not remembering material from a year ago. Before this clinical qtr., I haven't stepped foot in a hospital in about 6 months! So, I haven't had practice clinically wise. I know I looked and sounded dumb my first two weeks especially, but I'm starting to feel more comfortable as I am in the hospital more and more. In fact, the more i'm in the hospital, the more i'm loving nursing (: I love taking care of the adults lol. But the babies are such cuties (: I will try to get my eval done by the nurse that I worked with this week, because she let me do a lot with her; therefore, I feel like she'd give me a more accurate and fair eval than any other nurse i've worked with. Hopefully it goes well!! I just wanna pass and move on, pass my NCLEX, and work on a medsurg floor (: