A lamb in a den of wolves! - page 2

by Jinx322 2,869 Views | 25 Comments

The nurse that you're paired up with during your clinical rotations can make or break your love of a certain field. I fully understand that you (RN) has been at the hospital since 6:45am, or earlier, have 6+ patients who don't... Read More


  1. 0
    I agree with many points.

    I was once a nursing student not too long ago...yes, some nurses may seem as though they "don't want to be bothered" however, they are in the trenches doing what you will soon be doing, their job.

    As a nurse, my facility invites students in...I have seen nursing students genuinely interested in the experiences, and seem some huddle around or sit around and don't take initiative, even when I would suggest to shadow an experience...I once got a "I already did" comment...mind you, I work at a medical daycare, so you have people taking up chairs from the children who are there for nursing care and to learn! If I have came off as curt and abrupt, it is because you are here to learn, be engaged, and by all means let the child have a chair to sit down and learn!! ( ok rant here )

    I recently was in a situation where we are getting TWO schools rotating in, one in the AM, one in the afternoon. It can be really draining...Also, when most of the in depth nursing care is done in the AM, so a LOT of sitting around happens, and we are trying to end our day, so sometimes it may be a bit strained, but this group has helped out and has a wonderful instructor.

    Try to understand the variables, the milleu, as GrnTea put it, as well as other posters. Be aware of how your presence effects the flow of the nurse. I once had a student nurse AND a preceptor...needless to say, I tried my best, but I'm sure they may have had a totally different opinion than me, despite my reputation of being student friendly and a top preceptor.
  2. 0
    Quote from elkpark
    A couple immediate thoughts:A) In the scenario you describe, you are seeing what "real" nursing is about, and B) If the RN to whom you are (probably randomly) assigned for clinical for one day can "make or break your love of a certain field," you must not "love" the field too much to begin with.I don't mean to be critical; I've been a student, I've been a staff RN with students assigned, and I've been a nursing instructor in a number of different programs over the years. I don't understand this newer model of assigning students to a staff nurse and expecting that person to do the teaching for the day; when I was a student, and when I am an instructor, of course the clients assigned to the students also have staff nurses assigned and they do "cross paths" and interact during the course of the day, but I have never expected the staff nurse to be responsible for teaching or supervising the student -- that is the responsibility of the student's instructor. I have a hard time understanding the "here, take my student for the day" approach as anything other than laziness or inadequacy on the part of the instructor. And, OP, lots of other nurses feel that way and that's part of where the irritation or brusqueness from the staff nurse comes from. The instructors from your school are getting paid to be clinical instructors. The staff nurses are getting paid to do their own job; 99% of the time, they were not asked or given any choice in whether they want a student assigned; and a lot of them are thinking, "Heck, if I wanted to be teaching students, I'd get a teaching job -- why isn't the instructor doing her !@#$ job!" I've been in situations where I've gotten one or more students "dropped off" in the AM with no preparation or warning, either from an instructor or from my superiors (I've been in situations where I haven't ever seen an instructor; I've been in situations where I didn't even realize there were students on the floor until mid-morning!) It's not as simple as "they don't care about helping educate the next generation of nurses" -- it's more that staff nurses do recognize that it's a big responsibility, one for which we feel unprepared and ill equipped (while the person who presumably is, and is getting paid for doing it, is either nowhere to be seen or is cooling her/his jets in the break room all day ...)IMO, this is one of the many problems with many nursing programs these days, and one of the reasons hospitals are becoming increasingly reluctant to host students for clinicals. "This, too, will pass," as they say, and, before long, you'll be on the other side of this equation -- don't let your experiences with a few irritated nurses discourage you along the way, and remember not to take out your frustration on the students in the future! Best wishes for your journey!
    I completely agree! When we precept, our case load is modified to accommodate the student AND the patients. But when the students are "cast" upon us, we still have a full load and a student. I had a patient and the accompanying family which included a very unhappy attorney due some issue that transpired at admission a month prior. I told the students to OBSERVE ONLY with that patient and save ALL QUESTIONS until after we leave the bedside. I proceeded to care for the patient and IMMEDIATELY, the student began asking WHY and HOW and IMMEDIATELY, the family broke out the pen and paper! It was not that anything was being kept from the patient or students. There were specific instructions to not discuss the patient's status in the room. I explained all of this before we went in the room but apparently, the student went into student mode as soon as we went in. Students have to learn, as well they should. But as mentioned in the previous post, their instructor say at the desk until lunch time during a time when I was struggling to keep from telling a student to shut the hell up! This student was very overbearing with a know-it-all disposition up until i said to hold all questions until after we leave the room. I honestly DID NOT have the time to babysit someone who could not follow simple instructions!That was the only bad experience I've had with a student but it was enough to make me weary whenever I see them coming now.
  3. 0
    I've never really felt like I was being given a nurse. I look at it more like I'm being given a patient who also has a nurse. If the nurse doesn't want to collaborate with me my day is definitely less exciting, but there are still things I can do for my patient. There's a lot more research of my part and a lot more picking of my CIs brain, but it's worth something. And at the very least, I end up with GREAT rapport with my patients and a fantastically intricate care plan
  4. 3
    I was a psych nurse and my reaction to students usually ranged from enjoying them for who each was and sharing my knowledge, to "When will they leave?) I worked in a state hospital and many of our patients were capable of exploding with no notice and over seemingly nothing. Sometimes, a student would arrive with the expectation of what type of patients we had, and what their assignment would be, despite briefings beforehand by their instructors and be disappointed by the realities of their actual assignment when they got it. Our patients were there long-term for the most part and when the students got onto the building and realized that their assignment would be to talk with a patient, go with him to whatever was scheduled, and keep a student journal for the duration, they would quite often be disappointed and let down. They would usually have four patients total during their rotation. Some students were unable to understand that certain topics had to be avoided with certain patients. They also had problems grasping that most would never be cured despite whatever new razzle dazzle drugs were developed down the road. I enjoyed our students. I really did enjoy teaching them, but being smacked with the realities of our patients' day-to-day lives frequently proved to be too much to grasp for our mostly young students.
    Hygiene Queen, GrnTea, and nursel56 like this.
  5. 3
    I have come to the conclusion that as a nursing student often you are unwanted, a hinderance, someone that at times must be endured, and that is ok because nurses are stressed and overworked. These same nurses often complain about nursing students being lazy and not really interested in what the nurse is doing. Who really wants to be around someone when you know they don't want you there? Has it occurred to some of these nurses perhaps the student is in a clinical they have no desire to be in, OB, Psych, Med/Surg, etc and is only there because they are required to be? Unless my school is vastly different than others we have to go where we are sent, they don't take requests for clinical sites or units.

    Also don't forget that students have to do certain things required by their program related to each clinical such as write care plans, make drug cards, along with learning the drugs. There is more to their day than following the nurse around. Learning or practicing the tasks give many of us a break from the textbook. The tasks also help to reinforce what was covered in the classroom.

    I don't understand the thinking behind, Cut the nurses some slack because they are having a bad day, didn't ask for a student, etc... but the student that does not act or perform like a seasoned nurse is unrealistic in their thinking, lazy, stupid, uninterested, etc.

    Geez, you don't want a student and the student most likely does not want to be anywhere near you. You as a nurse have more say in the matter than a student does.
    Szasz_is_Right, Crazed, and MedChica like this.
  6. 1
    [QUOTE=HM-8404;7130541
    Geez, you don't want a student and the student most likely does not want to be anywhere near you. You as a nurse have more say in the matter than a student does.[/QUOTE]

    That's not actually the case. Staff nurses are given assignments - that include having a student. They don't have the option of refusing.

    I think that the early comment - about the lack of true clinical instructors (paid by the school) is the real problem. If you are lucky enough to have a real clinical instructor that is readily available to answer your questions and stand at your side and help you perform those new tasks..... you are VERY fortunate.
    MedChica likes this.
  7. 2
    Hang in there, and repeat, "it's because they have too much on their plate." if they seem perturbed.

    Assess the big picture, and see if there is any time consuming tasks that you can handle by yourself (toileting, feeding, grabbing supplies, etc.) and volunteer. The nurses will probably think of you, if there is any unique learning opportunities.

    I heard a lot of, "I'm not a CNA" crud when I went to school (oh lordy did I say it too? Probably, in a weak moment.) Resist! Be helpful, be kinda invisible, and work hard.
    Jinx322 and nursel56 like this.
  8. 1
    @Jinx322- I can relate, your post was right on the money. Whether anyone wants to admit it or not, there are those nurses that really dont want to be bothered, they could be sitting at a desk looking at personal email and still act as if your interrupting major surgery! I graduated in May 2012, I got a job in an SNF with a 60 bed rehab. My unit handles up to 20 pts with just me as the nurse and 2 aides and I still respond and teach my coworkers and try not to act as if your bothering me, cause I've had that done to me and I decided that that was the kind of nurse I was NOT going to be! When I was doing my last clinical rotation in nursing school I remember giving report to a nurse on her patient that I had taken care of all day for her (w/o asking her questions at all during the day) and she wouldn't even give me the courtesy of looking at me, she was on the computer- you guessed it- on FB. I wanted to tell her "look you had 5 patients today and I took care of one of them all day and you can't even give me the common courtesy of looking at me? So, I know that there are nurses on here that say "suck it up" or "your too sensitive". Truth is, some nurses are just plain RUDE!!!
    Szasz_is_Right likes this.
  9. 4
    I've changed my view after my first semester.

    I was assigned to a nurse my first day of clinicals who treated me like I didn't exist for 8 solid hours. She wouldn't talk to me, didn't want to show me anything, and was downright rude when I tried to ask her questions.

    I got assigned to her again a few weeks later and actually cried at the thought of dealing with her for the whole day. But, I did it and made it through, even though it was a horrid day.

    Fast forward to my last day of clinicals, my instructor sheepishly came up to me and told me she had assigned me to this nurse again. She had 2 palliative patients, and I'm very interested in becoming a hospice nurse, which my instructor knew. She was trying to give me an important learning experience. She gave me the option of having a different nurse, but no palliative patients. I decided to just suck it up and go with the "mean" nurse instead.

    I had the best day ever at clinicals. First off, the palliative experience was important. But, the nurse was awesome! She taught me so much that day. I got to see why she had been so rude the first two times; because her patients come before all else, including teaching a student. She was not there for me, but for the 5 patients she was in charge of. She had a little more time and showed me how to do a lot of things I hadn't done before, like tube feedings.

    I am grateful for all the nurses that had to put up with all my silly questions, and rudimentary knowledge.
    elkpark, sharpeimom, GrnTea, and 1 other like this.
  10. 1
    We often have clinical groups on our unit and they are not assigned to a staff nurse - they get a patient assignment, or some other unit wide assignment. While I am happy to answer a question here or there, or offer up an experience to the group, they have an instructor who is responsible for them. And, the instructors are always around and engaged. The only thing that I have to be careful of is whether or not they are passing meds for any of my group. The instructor has often asked around about the patients - which one would be good for the students, but that is generally the extent of my involvement with their learning experience.

    On the other hand, we also host precepting students who will work with a designated staff nurse for several weeks - side by side. This is voluntary on the part of the staff - we are not required to do so. I enjoy it, and I learn from teaching. HOWEVER, the more the student does, the longer things take. That is OK, and to be expected, but having students doesn't make anything easier for staff. It does feel pretty good to see the progress the student makes as the time passes.

    I do enjoy teaching, although I doubt you will ever catch me with an entire clincial group.
    elkpark likes this.


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