I flunked out of clinical today.. - page 3

by Student2001 17,506 Views | 77 Comments

I`m devastated.. This was my last semester.. 3 weeks away from graduation. What happened is I didn`t have my watch for clinical and that was a break in dress code.. and when I went to take a vital sign i was confronted with the... Read More


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    Quote from Student2001
    I have not had any strikes this semester.. I had a few "not mets" for writing my anecdote improperly and needing to re-do it but no serious write-ups. No warning.. just got call from administrator.. called into office to talk about "grave concerns about clinical performance" .. I honestly never even thought that something so simple as a watch could do so much damage BUT from the way the clinical instructor was talking she made it seem like a question of character/integrity.. that I falsified vital signs to cover up not having a watch.. i was shown in the worst light possible and I was so unprepared for it I just kind of stumbled though, got all tongue tied and cried. I don`t know how i`m supposed to prove I am honest and have integrity .. cuz the instructor is INSISTING that i`m lying and should just say the truth.. i`m like almost thinking of just agreeing to whatever she says just because I don`t know what else to do.. dean is on her side because she has a clear story.. her point of view is clear and when i am telling them what happened she stops me and says that is not true. how am i supposed to handle that. ugh. such a mess.
    First off, do NOT admit to something that you did NOT do. That could affect you for the rest of your life.
    Now what? You can dispute this? You have to reappply for clinicals? You have to redo the semester? I would get out my notebook and think about a cover letter. Of all the things that the pp have suggested. Provide some character references. Perhaps from some of your classroom instructors. Were there any other nurses who you perhaps worked in clinical with who you clicked with? That the nurse praised you and your skills? Ask if that nurse would be willing to write a letter on your behalf to add to your packet. Once you have all of the information to support you, make an appointment with the administrator. See if the school guidance counselor can facilitate the meeting. I would also be honest that this is the first you have been told/learned of "grave concerns" in your clinical performance. (and quite frankly, that is on your clinical instructor for not pointing any grave concerns out to you prior to this...just my own thoughts, don't say this!!). The school has your transcript, and has on file that you have passed successfully up until this incident. The pulse rate is just ONE thing that is looked at, did you get the other vital's correctly? Do you have a job where your boss can attest to your integrity and character? And I would top it all off with "I was unprepared for the initial set of inquisitions. Should my intergrity been questioned, I am shocked that it took until 3 weeks prior to graduation for this to come to light. I am not a liar. To suggest so on hear-say is inappropriate, and equally as shocking. I made an error, and I readily admit that I did. With time and experience, my reaction would be more controlled to being reprimanded and demeaned in such a fashion". At this point, to stand up for yourself is the only way to go. Bring written proof of your character and integrity as a person and in your clincals. Even if they say, OK, another chance, you will most likely want an alternate clinical instructor. Or perhaps take your transcript, transfer it to another school, and retake clinicals in a different school. Good luck with this, and do NOT go into another meeting unprepared to defend yourself. Even if you have to say "I understand what you are saying, and I need the opportunity to defend myself. Can we re-convene next Monday and what would be a good time to do so?" Deep breaths, try not to cry. Also, just another thought, do you have a person at the school who is your counselor--meaning the person that you go through to talk about what classes you need, etc? Do you have a class/student rep? Speak at length to them about this as well. I continue to question the motives of a clinical instructor who--3 weeks prior to graduation--is that over the top on one part of a set of vitals. NOT that it is ever correct to make stuff up--and it is not, and you know that, but honestly, something smells fishy with all of this.
    WantToBeMidwife and tsm007 like this.
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    Just read you could not meet with anyone, anymore. So be 100% sure that the packet of stuff you present for the review board is over-kill. And that you are prepared to face them with this information. Really make use of student services as well. Good luck and let us know what happens.
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    I am sorry you are going through this, it must be very stressful, but life will go on, and one bump in the road will not ruin your career or life.

    From an outside perspective, if I were on the review board, this is what I would think:

    1. The smaller problem is this issue about falsifying medical records. The story just doesn't seem to add up, and unless we are missing something about how this was documented, then honestly I see this as a technicality that the instructor is using to bring up a bigger problem.

    2. The bigger problem here, based on this story, is that you don't seem particularly comfortable or competent in your role as a RN. Not having a watch is not the issue. Not feeling a good pulse is not the issue. The issue is how you handled it. You didn't think it through and you didn't seek out a colleague for help, instead, you seem to have guessed at a heart rate. You then charted a value you didn't feel comfortable with. That shows poor judgement for a final semester student, and it could have put this child at risk. Have you done this before? Have you put false values in other charts? Have you struggled with other tasks an covered it up? These are the questions I would be wondering about in deciding to dismiss you.

    How old was the patient? What heart rate did you initially document after palpating? What heart rate did you get apically? What rate did your colleague report? What did you change in the chart?
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    I highly suspect that we are not getting the full story here. Clinical instructors do not suddenly decide to make up stories about their students to get them kicked out of the program. An instructor with which the student has no previous complaints would not suddenly take a mistake so simple as forgetting a watch and falsely turn it into an infraction that gets the student dismissed from the program. Students pay for nursing school, which in turn pays the instructor's salary. What could possibly be her motive for lying about a student?

    It sounds like the instructor might have seen you doing the vitals with no watch on, and no clock in the room, and documenting them. It's impossible to accurately count a heart rate or respirations with no way to keep time. Doing so would be a falsification of documentation, irresponsible, and potentially cause harm to the patient. Now, if you really used your cell phone to record time, did you tell her that? Or would admitting to cell phone use also get you reprimanded? Perhaps since your instructor never saw the cell phone she thinks you were lying about using it, and instead were just estimating the vital signs.

    You stated that you knew you forgot your watch, "had your back to the door because you weren't so sure your instructor wanted to see your cell phone out." That was a deliberate attempt to hide your phone because you either 1. knew you shouldn't have your phone or 2. Didn't want anyone to see your phone and find out you were using it because you forgot your watch. You stated that you "couldn't feel the radial pulse so well" but continued to take the vital sign anyway then you "were nervous (because you knew you were doing the wrong thing?) and recorded the wrong number" (because you were hurrying and not paying attention so you wouldn't get caught with your phone?)

    Now, I don't have nearly enough information to know what really happened, but it's clear form what you wrote that 1. You knew at the time that more that one of your actions were wrong and 2. My advice would be to honestly admit your mistakes, apologize, and ask humbly to be let back into your clinical.
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    Well.. first off this was my ED rotation. I have only had this instructor 2 times. we don`t just have one instructor for the entire semester.. there is ED, Peds, Med-surg, etc. She doesn`t know me at all and is very sure of herself that I just made up a number. The thing is they claim academic dishonest. I know this seems like oh big deal its vitals but they really hammered it into me that It looked like I just made up a number.. i tried to explain otherwise and i get a great big NO.. THATS NOT WHAT HAPPENED from the instructor.

    de2013:
    I totally understand where you are coming from. I have never gotten bad vitals before and have never charted anything inaccurately. I have never covered any other tasks.. but they said right when I was talking to them I wonder if you would be truthful in making a med error/mistake if you did something like this- it really has to do with character. patient was 2 yrs old, HR was under 98 the first time and 160 when doing apically .. the colleague did not do the HR, he just went in with me to let me use his watch.

    I think because it was so close to graduation that they were presented with a very negative side of me from the instructor.. who has only known me 2 x .. and that they trust her word over mine because she was more composed and insistent. By the way, all of these suggestions are a god-sent-- THANK YOU EVERYONE! I see a lot of amazing suggestions and i`ll definitely have something worthwhile to present to the director
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    I would request an appeal of the decision. I get the impression the watch was not the big offender. The Instructor evidently believes you lied and that is worse.

    In real life, if I got to work without my watch I would borrow one from somebody or get the vital signs another way. You cannot quit being a nurse over a mistake like that.
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    Based on what you wrote, I would infer that the instructor felt that based on how you handled the situation during and after (how scattered your words and thoughts were about it and how much anxiety you had) she may have felt that you were in no way ready to graduate in three weeks. This sounds like something that would occur to a first semester student, not one in their last semester expected to graduate in a few weeks. There were so many other things that you said you did wrong: no watch- you should have asked to borrow one from someone when you saw there was no clock in the room. We are never told to use cell phone timers to take vitals. While you may have felt you would have got in trouble by asking to borrow, by asking to borrow a watch you would have been showing you realized you made an error in not bringing it, but were taking the initiative to get one so you could take correct vitals.

    You then said you couldn't even feel the pulse all to well? That sounds like you're saying you DID in fact make up a vital. How were you able to accurately count when you said you couldn't even feel it? Did you tell the instructor that as well? Also, the fact that when you and the other person took the same vital and yours was way off kind of gives the impression you don't even know how to take a pulse. Which you should, you should know how to accurately take vitals by now

    Either way, it comes down to you made errors in judgements, actions, and then when confronted about it, you weren't even able to explain yourself clearly. Based on how you say you responded to the instructor I would think you were lying too even if you weren't. Based on your really anxious actions and behavior, and then inability to even effectively communicate what happened, I wouldn't think you were being truthful about what happened. You admitted yourself you said some false things when asked because you were so nervous. You then trying to correct yourself could be seen as changing your story. (lying by the instructor)

    From what you're telling me, and how you handled it sounds like the instructor had her reasons for saying you falsified the records, and were lying to her. Even though it was a mistake, and it was due to your nervousness and inability to explain to her correctly, you kind of did.

    I would just try my best to EFFECTIVELY explain what happened throughout the entire ordeal. You telling them exactly what you wrote here doesn't sound really good, so I'm not sure if I would say all of that. It makes you look and sound incompetent and not ready to graduate.

    I hope you don't think I'm just being mean. I'm just telling you what it sounds like to someone looking in on the situation based on the things you said that happened.

    GOOD LUCK, I REALLY HOPE THINGS WORK OUT FOR YOU.
    Last edit by jtboog2003 on Nov 16, '12
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    I can't believe they would throw you out for this. This is why I think nursing school is not reality. If you were on the job you would find a reliable way to take the pulse. Being that your grade is on the line you have to "make do" if you've forgotten your watch because you will get in trouble. I know the strickness is preparing us but this is ridiculous.
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    Quote from cjoy55
    I can't believe they would throw you out for this. This is why I think nursing school is not reality. If you were on the job you would find a reliable way to take the pulse. Being that your grade is on the line you have to "make do" if you've forgotten your watch because you will get in trouble. I know the strickness is preparing us but this is ridiculous.
    Just curious what year nursing student you are?
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    Student 2001,

    I feel your pain. I have had a couple of instructors that were such **********! I had a friend during clinicals go through something similar, the instructor wrote up an incident report and I guess made up some stuff to cover her own **** (I was there and witnessed the incident, which was not even a big deal but one of the doctors threw a fit about it so the instructor had to cover her own and what she wrote was not the truth) but regardless, they took her side and put my friend on probation. It it was our last day of clinicals ever! Somehow or another the instructor threw my name in there while she wrote up the incident report and I got a call from the coordinator about the incident as if I had part of it... My reply?: "I had nothing to do with it, I was just a witness and I will not hesitate to contact my attorney should my name be mentioned again in any manner whatsoever regarding this matter... They dropped it right then and there...

    I told my friend to fight it but she thought that it would be best to admit to it even though it was not true, she got put on probation and got threatened with dismissal.

    Never, ever, ever, ever... admit to something that you did not do. Last resort, start throwing "my lawyer" around... it's three years of your life and it sounds to me like it was some stupid silly thing that got out of control and you are being accused of something really serious.

    BTW I forgot my watch a ton of times and I always had my cell phone with me.. sorry this is the real world
    Last edit by JustBeachyNurse on Nov 17, '12 : Reason: ToS--removed veiled profanity


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