A lamb in a den of wolves!

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    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 all understand that you are trying your best to care for their needs. Have more than likely been peed, pooped, and/or vomited on, and are more than likely late with your assessments because of a difficult patient but please, I beg you, don't take it out on me, the young naive nursing student that is following you like a lost puppy; because I want to do is learn something other than what's in the text book. I'm here to learn, to see what 'real' nursing is all about and who knows, I might be a colleague in a few years. We as students are truly like a ball of clay and how you treat us during these rotations does mold us. Remember, you were a student once too!
    ShaynaSmart likes this.
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  5. 11
    This has nothing whatsoever to do with lambs and wolves.

    Students overwhelmingly think that clinical is all about learning tasks on the lab check-off list. They're all, "Ooooh, you got to put in a Foley, you're so lucky!" Trust me, Foley insertion (and injections, and NG tubes, and dressing changes), while essential things to know, will not be such exciting moments six months after you land a job. That sort of stuff is, believe it or not, a very minor part of what you are learning in clinical. You'll learn the tasks eventually; we teach them to lay people all the time.

    A large part of what you should be mindful about is learning about the nursing role and milieu. Observe how people take report from each other, how they ask for help, how they give help. How they organize, prioritize, make nursing care decisions. Yes, and how they think about students in their work space. Ask about those three times as often as you think you should. The responses may gratify you-- I would have been very pleased if any of my students thought about that independently once in awhile.
  6. 5
    The students that we always love are the ones that are on time, follow the rules, aren't afraid to answer a bell and make good use of their time.
    GrnTea is right, it's not about the tasks.
  7. 0
    Quote from GrnTea
    This has nothing whatsoever to do with lambs and wolves.

    Students overwhelmingly think that clinical is all about learning tasks on the lab check-off list. They're all, "Ooooh, you got to put in a Foley, you're so lucky!" Trust me, Foley insertion (and injections, and NG tubes, and dressing changes), while essential things to know, will not be such exciting moments six months after you land a job. That sort of stuff is, believe it or not, a very minor part of what you are learning in clinical. You'll learn the tasks eventually; we teach them to lay people all the time.

    A large part of what you should be mindful about is learning about the nursing role and milieu. Observe how people take report from each other, how they ask for help, how they give help. How they organize, prioritize, make nursing care decisions. Yes, and how they think about students in their work space. Ask about those three times as often as you think you should. The responses may gratify you-- I would have been very pleased if any of my students thought about that independently once in awhile.
    I know where you're coming from and I apologize if what I meant was misinterpreted. I was simply stating that some of the nurses that I ,and a few of my fellow classmates, have been paired up with simple didn't want anything to do with us. We seemed a bother to them. I've been one of the lucky ones who's already been able to experience all those skills related tasks. When I say 'real' nursing I mean the real nitty gritty; the prioritization, organization, and taking report. I just hate the feeling that I'm not wanted and I shouldn't be there, I have unfortunately felt that more often than not. I know that all nurses are not like that, and am not implying that they are. I've had my far share of AMAZING nurses that were a fountain of knowledge and wanted to answer any questions I had. I just wanted to vent on how I felt and to let nurses know that even though you might be having a bad day, we're sorry, but we still want to help and learn.
  8. 2
    I didn't see OP mention anything about tasks, but only about how some nurses take it out on the students.

    But you'll see these kind of people no matter where you go (although I admit that it's strange considering that part of the role of a nurse is to educate). They think they want to teach, or they're being told to, but they don't really want to bother; or they make assumptions that because you're a student you are stupid and lazy, and know absolutely nothing. You have little control over this type of folks other than keeping a professional attitude. Continue to observe and offer help, and remain assertive in getting answers to important questions. If they become nasty (I mean it would have to be really outrageous), perhaps try to switch.
    WantToBeMidwife and Jinx322 like this.
  9. 0
    Thank you umbdude, I was actually questioning my post and the point that came across.
    I've learn how to remain humble with the "bothered" nurses and not take their attitudes too personally. I'm in school and 'this too shall pass.' I just breath, work my hours and try to help in any way possible.
  10. 1
    To the OP, please realize that nursing students are assigned by the charge nurse, or your nursing instructor, or you picked our patient for your care plan. We didn't ask for you! Also realize that you might not be the only school in our unit. Some of us don't like students for various reasons: we don't like to teach, you annoy us because you aren't helpful, you aren't interested in our patient population, you sit around and expect to do a few tasks and then take a long lunch and then sit around looking up stuff for your care plan, etc.

    Is this true of all of us? Nope! Personally I like to teach which is why I precept all the time. Certain nursing instructors look for me when their students come. The charge nurses usually don't assign students to me to give me a break from teaching. Do I try to engage students so they might become interested in working with us? Sure! We interviewed a new grad who remembered me as her RN who showed her something cool (she touched a patient's beating heart)...did I remember her? Nope! Did I feel bad about that? Absolutely...I left an impression on her but I couldn't recall her! But here's my perspective: I must have showed a dozen nursing students and few new grads that patient's heart so I didn't feel bad for long.

    So when you come to clinicals: pay attention; try to learn something; interact with the nurse, patient, and family; try to be helpful in ways that aren't necessarily procedure oriented. If that nurse isn't interested in teaching you that day, make the best of it and hope the next time is better. Just remember we aren't all out to get you. Good Luck!
    ShaynaSmart likes this.
  11. 0
    Fortunately where I work you only end up precepting a student if you want to. Nurses volunteer to be preceptors so a student never ends up with an unwilling teacher.
  12. 6
    Quote from Jinx322
    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 all understand that you are trying your best to care for their needs. Have more than likely been peed, pooped, and/or vomited on, and are more than likely late with your assessments because of a difficult patient but please, I beg you, don't take it out on me, the young naive nursing student that is following you like a lost puppy; because I want to do is learn something other than what's in the text book. I'm here to learn, to see what 'real' nursing is all about and who knows, I might be a colleague in a few years. We as students are truly like a ball of clay and how you treat us during these rotations does mold us. Remember, you were a student once too!
    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!
    Last edit by elkpark on Jan 20, '13
    GrnTea, ShaynaSmart, HouTx, and 3 others like this.
  13. 1
    I had a very prickly primary once.

    I sent her a thank you card. She was the most organized and on task person I had ever seen. I don't want or need for them to hold my hand, or tell me their life stories while I tell mine. I want to see how they do their jobs, how they manage their time, and how they become more efficent.

    Some like teaching, others like being observed. I think the onus on us, the student, to find out what kind of primary we have.
    nursel56 likes this.


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