Having a difficult time with my Practicum Experience:

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    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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  2. 29 Comments...

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    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.
    loriangel14 and KelRN215 like this.
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    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
    medic9872 likes this.
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    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.
    loriangel14 likes this.
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    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 (:
    pc2801 likes this.
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    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!
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    mistymae22: I'm just trying to be honest with you. I hope it gets better.
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    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...
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    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...
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    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!!!
    mistymae22 and KelRN215 like this.

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