Might fail clinical -

  1. Hi All,

    New here, so glad found a site where some of the issues of nursing school can be discussed! I have a serious problem and just need to vent.

    My clinical instructor and I are not getting along, there's a huge age difference, I'm an older woman (the oldest in my class), and he's a much younger man, nursing less than 5 years (and yes now instructing). We do not communicate with each other and have had many many misunderstandings and he has completely misjudged me as a person. As I'm 10 years plus older than him, I believe he is having a hard time understanding where I'm coming from, and I believe, I intimidate him, not the other way around. Unfortunately it seems to me that he has evaluated me on our personality differences and not my clinical nursing skills. To make it worse, I've been banned from from my unit because I am ill(flu/lower resp. infection) and the unit primarily deals with acute patients just released from ICU. Although I've argued with the school that my illness is NOT fault, they don't seem to care and have put me off the unit for an entire week! Eventhough I have straight A's in all other classes and did very well in last clinical , this does not matter. Subsequently it is up to the clinical instructor to determine whether or not we can afford to miss the time and still pass the clinical component. Today I was officially informed by him he does not know if he can pass me, eventhough there are 100 hours of clinical left. He says it is unfortunate that I am sick but that it isn't his fault. If I fail I will be put behind a whole year, as you need to pass each clinical to advance to the next one. I have no idea what I am going to do if I fail. When I ask him what skills I'm lacking in, he hasn't been able to address this question, he just starts to gulp and get red in the face and says that this isn't the issue.But I push back and say it is the issue because our skills are what we are being evaluated on. I can't believe that my entire nursing career is in the hands of this early 20 something instructor, barely out of school himself. Has anyone any advice for me. I'm going to start documenting every conversation I've had with him and every patient I've had and any issues that were failed to be addressed. Additionally, interestingly enough, I read in my evaluation criteria that notices of performance must be in writing and he did not put anything down on paper, this was all done verbally, so I'm not sure what weight this conversation holds without the paper. Anyhow ,any help or words of advice, encouragement, whatever would be SOooo darned appreciated!!
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  2. 19 Comments

  3. by   smk1
    I would make a list of things that YOU are willing to do to make up the missed clinical time. make copies and give one to your instructor and also to the head of the nursing department at your school. DO NOT BE DEFENSIVE. I know it may be hard but you have to take the hig road here and complaining about an age difference problem is probably not the way to go here. talk to your teacher and ask honestly and openly what he thinks you need to work on and tell him that you are willing to make improvements (even if you don;t think any are needed). Also make an appointment NOW to talk to the head of nursing in your program to discuss your options, focus on your grades and your (hopefully) previously impeccable attendance, if you have received great commendations from other teachers bring this up as well. Do NOT blame the teacher that you are having difficulties with, just mention the problem of possibly not passing due to unexpected illness and that you have brought the matter up with your instructor and that you were informed that he is undecided and you wanted to find out your options. Make sure they know that the program is very important to you and you ARE willing to make some sacrifice to come to an agreement. MAKE SURE YOU DON"T GO IN WITH AN ATTITUDE! good luck!
  4. by   epg_pei
    At our school there is a process or mechanism for dispute resolution. You deliver to the instructor a document detailing your concerns in detail, and wait for the response. If you don't feel the response is appropriate, you move up the ladder to the dean of the school. I don't know anyone who has ever used it, so I have no idea if it works or not.

    I know students have almost failed because of illness or other reasons for missed time. They have to pay to finish their clinical requirement, at ~$28/hr for every hour missed. But basically, unless you kill someone, you pass our practicals.

    I am really sorry to hear you're having difficulties with an instructor. It sucks! The written vs verbal discussion is one thing I am beginning to rely on more and more. I have a hard time verbalizing clearly to instructors/professors because of their intimidation factor. When I count to 1000000, then sit down and write a well constructed email, not accusatory, but requesting specific assessment of your performance. People are much more careful about what they write for some reason. I find I accomplish my goals this way, hopefully it might work in your situation as well. Good luck!!

    Edit:
    MAKE SURE YOU DON"T GO IN WITH AN ATTITUDE!
    Words to live by in nursing school !!!
  5. by   gij1
    Nursing school is so hard & to put on top of that a personality conflict with the instructor, makes school almost unbearable. You must remain professional, keep your cool. I agree with the other posts, write a letter clearly stating your concerns to the instructor & what you are willing to do to make up lost time. Be willing to go to any lengths, Even suck up, say sentences like "I appreciate the time you have spent on this situation. Your guidance would be so appreciated." Do not focus on that you do not get along with him. Just get through the semester anyway possible. Just drop the whole personality problem thing. Out in the real world you will not get along with everybody. Just make it work someway, somehow.
    I have had friends with the same problem. For some reason or another the instructor hated them, the semester was hell, but they got through it & never looked back. I have had some instructors love me & others not think much of me. I think the proof of a good nurse is not all in what clinical instructors thought, but how you are out in the real world of nursing.
    Keep us posted on how all is going. We are rooting for you!
  6. by   meownsmile
    Also,, the school has set policies to reflect how many clinical hours are needed to graduate, its not necissarily just based on skills you do or dont have. I know its hard to have to be set back like that, but it is usually not altogether a personal judgement by the instructor. They have baselines that are set by department heads and they cant adjust them for one and not another. If there are personality differences and he is letting that set the tone for the clinicals he isnt much of a instructor let alone a nurse. Does he not give the best care he is able to a patient he may not see as his ideal personality? Scarey huh?

    As far as paying X dollars per clinical hour missed, thats rediculous. That makes it all about the money and the school should be shut down as far as im concerned. Why not just pay off the clinical component and not bother with it at all? That sounds like a good way to make a real competent nurse.
  7. by   joey1967
    Hi Everyone,

    A BIG thank you to all of you...and a couple of things I failed to mention. We had an informal meeting together (i.e my instructor and I), with the director of this particular course and needless to say, well, I did defend myself to the hilt. I was a union negotiator so I know how to defend and I brought plenty of facts. I believe this whole problem with the instructor is stemming from an incident with a patient I had (which I had the good sense NOT to bring up). The instructor screwed something up and myself and another student witnessed it. He was just going to walk out of the room, when I called him on his "error". When he wouldn't act, I did, and believe me, I was looking out for the best interest of my patient. Thank god the other student was there to witness the whole thing, she told me later, thank god I stood my ground because it turned out that the patient needed my intervention. Bottom line, my instructor sucks and he is an awful nurse. I believe he's in it for the money, he doesn't care about the patient's comfort or care level, he only enjoys the "technical" aspect of nursing. He works in an area of nursing where he doesn't have to deal with real live patients, but those in end stage of life i.e. comatose, patients. He keeps saying that we should forget the 5 C's of caring and just focus on getting the job done. He also dislikes family members. Furthermore, he is trying to become a nurse practitioner and the competition is tough to get in and someone told him becoming an instructor will increase the odds. So bottom line, he doesn't want a crappy evaluation. You'd think this would work in my favour, but it hasn't and I truly believe he is trying to get me to drop out so that this little incident doesn't get reported. The other student also feels a little odd around him and is worried. So there you have it. And the meeting went so so, the director basically told me to try my best for the next few weeks. As far as the clinical hours go, I get that totally, but I was told that this isn't an issue as far as this course goes, that this is totally up to the instructor. Anyway, I'm not dropping out, I have 12 months leff!! I have worked my ass off and now this. Maybe it will all end badly, but, at least I can hold my head up and know where I'm coming from and what really went on.
  8. by   hopefully
    It is kind of bad to cross an instructor thou. Even thou he made a mistake, you should have let it go if it was not a very serious mistake.
  9. by   suzy253
    Quote from joey1967
    Hi Everyone,

    He works in an area of nursing where he doesn't have to deal with real live patients, but those in end stage of life i.e. comatose, patients.


    And the meeting went so so, the director basically told me to try my best for the next few weeks. .
    Not to be disrespectful but patients in end stage of life certainly are 'real live patients'.

    Yes, just do your best and they were absolutely right in pulling you off of clinical rotation due to your illness. Students in my school have showed up for clinical when sick and have been sent home. Must protect the patients!
    But personally, I wouldn't make waves over his mistake...do what you have to do and get the job done.
  10. by   orrnlori
    Quote from suzy253
    Not to be disrespectful but patients in end stage of life certainly are 'real live patients'.
    Yes, they certainly are real live patients. And they have families too.

    This statement concerns me.

    What is it that he did that you considered dangerous that you caught and saved the paitent from?
  11. by   Erin RN
    Quote from orrnlori
    Yes, they certainly are real live patients. And they have families too.

    This statement concerns me.

    What is it that he did that you considered dangerous that you caught and saved the paitent from?
    In my experience end of life nursing is one of most comprehensive/ demanding types of nursing that can be done. I have done acute (ER) nursing where the adrenilin rush is there leaving you tired by the end of the shift but I have also done Oncology and home infusion pain management for pts that are actively dying...the reason I left it is because it drains you both physically and emotionally. I just couldn't leave it at the door when I got home. The "real, live" comment is a little concerning..Erin
  12. by   purplemania
    Approach the Dean with recommendations in the above posts. Ask if there is something extra you could do, like an inservice to your classmates, or poster, etc. Do not focus on the personality issue.

    As for paying for extra clinical, the school will have to pay an instructor more for extra work, and I doubt if they want to absorb those costs since in their mind they are doing you a favor. What I don't understand is why should your illness be that great an issue, unless you are too ill to come to clinical? Has he never heard of universal and standard precautions? Are the nurses working that unit forced to stay home without pay when they have a cold or minor illness? Sounds arbitrary to me.
  13. by   joey1967
    Quote from Erin RN
    In my experience end of life nursing is one of most comprehensive/ demanding types of nursing that can be done. I have done acute (ER) nursing where the adrenilin rush is there leaving you tired by the end of the shift but I have also done Oncology and home infusion pain management for pts that are actively dying...the reason I left it is because it drains you both physically and emotionally. I just couldn't leave it at the door when I got home. The "real, live" comment is a little concerning..Erin
    When I say "real, live"patients, I mean patients that are actively engaging and participating in the course of their own care and recovery. I have had three immediate family members who have died, which is one of the reasons I went into nursing, who received terrible awful care, so of course I understand that patients at the end of their life are "real". Bad choice of words. My instructor does not work with the dying, and I would prefer to try and not spell out what he does, other than to say he has stated that he has chosen a line of work where there is minimal contact with families and minimal participation from patients themselves. It is sad when your instructor keeps telling you to forget about patient comfort and focus on everything but. As for the mistake he made, I really could not walk away from this or my patient, without having a clear conscience. I think the big problem here is that instructors who are now instructing have no business teaching. Why as students should we not expect the best when pay an arm and a leg for tuition. I have paid to be in this course, not the other way around. No one is paying me 10 grand a year to become a nurse.
  14. by   joey1967
    Quote from purplemania
    Approach the Dean with recommendations in the above posts. Ask if there is something extra you could do, like an inservice to your classmates, or poster, etc. Do not focus on the personality issue.

    As for paying for extra clinical, the school will have to pay an instructor more for extra work, and I doubt if they want to absorb those costs since in their mind they are doing you a favor. What I don't understand is why should your illness be that great an issue, unless you are too ill to come to clinical? Has he never heard of universal and standard precautions? Are the nurses working that unit forced to stay home without pay when they have a cold or minor illness? Sounds arbitrary to me.

    We cannot pay for extra clinical in Canada, just the way it goes, if anyone else out there knows different, please let me know. As for being ill on the ward, I am too sick to be there, so I won't argue with their decision, however, we do get sick in life, and there are no concessions made in this nursing school for real life events. I would imagine that in most cases, when students get sick, it doesn't really impact their performance because the clinical is spread out through several months. In my case the clinical is in block which means I go to work 5 days a week i.e. the hospital like a real nurse. So if you get sick, you are out that week. In most "conventional" nursing schools, if I got sick this week, and came back next week, I'd only miss one day of clinical. Unfortunately, the program has its problems, which again is something that is completely out of my control.

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