Nursing Instructor Anger Management

  1. I have a problem and I need some advice... I am a non traditional adult college student (I'm 39 years old). After raising my daughter, I felt it was time to go back to college and complete my nursing degree. Currently, I'm in the 4th semester of a ADN Nursing Program at a local community college. I'm supposed to graduate this coming May 2018 (only 3 or so months away).

    The Spring 2018 Semester just began a couple weeks ago. Our instructors made it clear they didn't want to see anyone on their cell phones. If a student is caught on their cellphone in the middle of class, the student would be asked to leave. Today, I had our Pediatrics class, which is taught by my favorite instructor. Being the oldest student in the nursing class, I got a seat in the front row almost in front of the instructors desk. Before class was started, I turned my iPhone on silent and placed it in a pocket located on the bottom front of my shirt.

    About 40 minutes or so into the class, I hear my phone alarming. I thought to myself, "Oh No! That's MY phone alarming! I know it was on silent, how can it still be alarming!?" I didn't know that, even if an iPhone is on silent, it will still alarm. So I grabbed my phone really quickly and pressed all the side buttons, praying one would shut off the alarm. As I pressing every single button on the sides of my phone, I glanced up and noticed my instructor giving me a look that, if looks could kill, I'd definitely not be breathing right now. My instructor put her hand out and I placed my phone in her hand. She uses my phone to point at me and say, "Next time I will ask you to leave!" I apologized and told her it wouldn't happen again. She walks over and places my phone on her desk. After a few minutes, it dawns on me that the alarm probably has "snooze" on so it was going to be alarming again soon.....and I was right! My phone did start to alarm again. I immediately attempted to explain to my instructor that, when my phone went off initially, it was an alarm and now it's alarming again due to snooze being on. I apologized to her again and told her she was more than welcomed to turn the entire phone off. Before I could finish my sentence, my instructor picked my phone up from her desk, grabbing it by a corner and threw my phone at me! Had I not caught it, it would've hit me pretty hard in my lower face and neck area. I was extremely surprised that the instructor had thrown something at me in anger. The entire class went very quiet. The instructor told us to take a short break.

    I understand completely that I should've ensured that my phone was completely off. I wasn't texting or even looking at my phone. Had I been blantantly disrespecting my instructor, I could've somewhat justified what happened.

    Now, I feel I will be targeted by this instructor. I have clinicals for 12 hours every Monday with the same instructor. I don't feel comfortable having clinicals with this particular instructor. She has failed students on the spot during her clinicals and I feel I will more than likely be one of the students she will fail this semester.

    Does anyone have any suggestions??
    Last edit by Joe V on Jan 19
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  2. Visit sarahky79 profile page

    About sarahky79

    Joined: Mar '16; Posts: 7; Likes: 7
    from KY , US

    56 Comments

  3. by   Hospcorp
    Wow! Pretty sure that's assault. I would normally advocate for talking with the instructor first when situations arise, but I would be at the Dean of Nursing office in a hot second. I understand not wanting to cause waves, but you do not deserve that. That's abusive. I would have had no problem with her asking you to leave the class, but she crossed a line.
  4. by   sarahky79
    Thanks so much for your advice. Almost everyone is telling me to go to the Dean of the entire college as the Dean of the Nursing Department would probably "circle the wagons" around this particular instructor and somehow minimize the incident. I received several messages from fellow classmates stating they couldn't believe the instructor behaved the way she did - that she was way out of line. Some students are telling me to go to the Dean and/or even an attorney. Others are advising me to keep my head down and graduate in 3 months. I would very much prefer to stay quiet and graduate but, Im worried because I will be having clinicals with her as my instructor for 12 hours every Monday for over two months. She has been known for failing students on the spot during clinical. I feel like if I don't make this known and she fails me, no one will be aware of what happened and will just see it as me being failed out of the nursing program for a mistake on my part when it may not have been.
    As I mentioned in the initial post, before yesterday, this instructor was my absolute favorite - I even considered her a friend. I even feel bad for considering going to the Dean and make him aware of the incident which will possibly cause many problems for her.
    Last edit by sarahky79 on Jan 19
  5. by   meanmaryjean
    Have you spoken 1:1 with the instructor? I think that should be your first step. You both have some blame to bear - and it sounds like the relationship could be mended.
  6. by   Hospcorp
    while I understand you do have some of the blame to bear, what she did was so far over the line. Again, it's assault. Honestly, I know you say you see her as a friend, but she's your instructor, not your friend. Maybe after nursing school you can be friends, but for now...it's a professional relationship. It's completely up to you on how you want to handle this. I understand wanting to put your head down and grind through the next 3 months and graduate. I might be willing to talk 1 on 1 with her if you feel that it would help, but as you mentioned she has failed people on the spot...sounds like she has some serious anger issues. Whatever you choose to do, I would at the very least document the incident with the date, time, and a detailed account, and maybe even gather witness statements from your classmates in case any other issues arise. You don't have to do anything with it, but at least you have some documentation if you need it. I really hope everything settles down for you, and the rest of your semester is calm and smooth
  7. by   CelticGoddess
    You're best bet is to start by discussing this with your instructor. If that fails, go up the chain of command. (This is something you are going to need to learn, always start at the bottom).

    This might now sound fair but it is a hard truth: Should this go beyond your instructor, be prepared to have a target on your back. You mention "circling the wagons". You go directly to the Dean of Students without first talking to your instructor, I can guarantee you'll have that target. And it might happen if you do find you have to go to the Dean of Nursing. Just be prepared.

    BTW: I think the instructor was wrong to throw your phone at you. Nobody should have to put up with that. I'm just warning you. As you are graduating soon, if it were me, I would talk to your instructor and try to salvage the relationship.
  8. by   katyq82
    Quote from CelticGoddess
    You're best bet is to start by discussing this with your instructor. If that fails, go up the chain of command. (This is something you are going to need to learn, always start at the bottom).

    This might now sound fair but it is a hard truth: Should this go beyond your instructor, be prepared to have a target on your back. You mention "circling the wagons". You go directly to the Dean of Students without first talking to your instructor, I can guarantee you'll have that target. And it might happen if you do find you have to go to the Dean of Nursing. Just be prepared.

    BTW: I think the instructor was wrong to throw your phone at you. Nobody should have to put up with that. I'm just warning you. As you are graduating soon, if it were me, I would talk to your instructor and try to salvage the relationship.
    I completely agree with CelticGoddess... Yes, the instructor was wrong in the way she reacted. Unfortunately you were also in the wrong (I know it was a mistake and something that could have happened to anyone-- but still violated the classroom rules). Show her that you are a professional and email her asking to meet individually and discuss what happened in class. I would apologize for my part in the incident and give her a chance to possibly apologize or at least give an explanation. Even if she doesn't, I would state that you want to maintain a positive student-instructor relationship and ask her if you can both put the incident behind you and move forward. Just a bit of honest flattery about how you were really looking forward to having her as a clinical instructor this semester will smooth the path. Let her know that you don't want this incident to mar the rest of the semester. Most instructors will appreciate your professionalism and move on.

    Have you heard of the feedback sandwich? This convo is a spin on that... Start on the positive- by saying how much you have learned from her, etc. then move to the negative.. "I want to apologize for what happened with my cell phone, I thought it was off but I accept responsibility, etc.. I felt embarrassed and afraid when the phone was thrown in my direction... I realize that it must have been very disruptive to your teaching and it will not happen again (or whatever) then end on the positive- "I was really looking forward to learning from you in clinical this semester and I hope that we can put this incident behind us and move forward, etc.."

    I really would NOT go above her head without talking to her first, that is a surefire way to make this worse than it already is. Again... I agree that it is awful that she threw the phone at you. Unfortunately she may have had something terrible happen earlier in the day and have things going on that you don't know about in her personal life. Not that it would be an excuse but just something to think about. As much as I hate to say it, this is great practice in remaining professional while caring for patients who are not being their best selves and who are not easy to care for.

    Good luck! I would be interested to know how this turns out.
  9. by   meanmaryjean
    Just an addendum: I in no way, shape or form was trying to condone the instructor's behavior in throwing your phone. That was wrong. And you owned the part you played in the disruption- which is good. The two posters above have given you great advice. Please let us know how this turns out.
  10. by   opalbee
    I don't think this is something to "talk with the professor about"; it should be escalated. She could've seriously injured you or another classmate by throwing your phone. Her behavior is absolutely disgusting, and she 100% should not be working in the healthcare profession OR as a teacher with a terrifying temperament like that.

    Not to mention, that if she has a habit of failing students on the spot and tries to treat you unfairly later on in your studies, it would be important perhaps that this event was noted.
  11. by   Mavrick
    Quote from katyq82
    I completely agree with CelticGoddess... Yes, the instructor was wrong in the way she reacted. Unfortunately you were also in the wrong (I know it was a mistake and something that could have happened to anyone-- but still violated the classroom rules). Show her that you are a professional and email her asking to meet individually and discuss what happened in class. I would apologize for my part in the incident and give her a chance to possibly apologize or at least give an explanation. Even if she doesn't, I would state that you want to maintain a positive student-instructor relationship and ask her if you can both put the incident behind you and move forward. Just a bit of honest flattery about how you were really looking forward to having her as a clinical instructor this semester will smooth the path. Let her know that you don't want this incident to mar the rest of the semester. Most instructors will appreciate your professionalism and move on.

    Have you heard of the feedback sandwich? This convo is a spin on that... Start on the positive- by saying how much you have learned from her, etc. then move to the negative.. "I want to apologize for what happened with my cell phone, I thought it was off but I accept responsibility, etc.. I felt embarrassed and afraid when the phone was thrown in my direction... I realize that it must have been very disruptive to your teaching and it will not happen again (or whatever) then end on the positive- "I was really looking forward to learning from you in clinical this semester and I hope that we can put this incident behind us and move forward, etc.."

    I really would NOT go above her head without talking to her first, that is a surefire way to make this worse than it already is. Again... I agree that it is awful that she threw the phone at you. Unfortunately she may have had something terrible happen earlier in the day and have things going on that you don't know about in her personal life. Not that it would be an excuse but just something to think about. As much as I hate to say it, this is great practice in remaining professional while caring for patients who are not being their best selves and who are not easy to care for.

    Good luck! I would be interested to know how this turns out.
    I cannot improve on this advice. Just gave everyone a chance to read it again.

    You are right, she was wrong to throw your property at you. But don't be "dead right".

    There used to be this traffic safety PSA about being right that it was your turn at a four way stop. The other person was in the wrong at 30mph and the person in the right ended up dead anyway. Sometimes it is in your best interest to let them be wrong.
  12. by   opalbee
    Quote from Mavrick
    I cannot improve on this advice. Just gave everyone a chance to read it again.

    You are right, she was wrong to throw your property at you. But don't be "dead right".

    There used to be this traffic safety PSA about being right that it was your turn at a four way stop. The other person was in the wrong at 30mph and the person in the right ended up dead anyway. Sometimes it is in your best interest to let them be wrong.
    I don't see the situation as who was in the right or wrong. It doesn't matter if OP is in the wrong for not having her phone silenced. It's not a debate about who is to blame. The point is, is that her MENTOR lost her temper over a ringing phone and threw it at her own student.

    Yes, the instructor was in the right to be angry at the ringing phone (I'm sure that gets annoying for them) but throwing an object in anger at her own student is in a completely different realm. The phone ringing becomes irrelevant. All that matters is that she assaulted her student.
  13. by   ItsThatJenGirl
    I'm so sorry that happened to you. Since you have a decent relationship with her, I'd address it with her personally if you feel comfortable doing so. If not, that's okay, take it higher up. Best of luck to you.
  14. by   fibroblast
    Quote from sarahkyRN
    I have a problem and I need some advice... I am a non traditional adult college student (I'm 39 years old). After raising my daughter, I felt it was time to go back to college and complete my nursing degree. Currently, I'm in the 4th semester of a ADN Nursing Program at a local community college. I'm supposed to graduate this coming May 2018 (only 3 or so months away).

    The Spring 2018 Semester just began a couple weeks ago. Our instructors made it clear they didn't want to see anyone on their cell phones. If a student is caught on their cellphone in the middle of class, the student would be asked to leave. Today, I had our Pediatrics class, which is taught by my favorite instructor. Being the oldest student in the nursing class, I got a seat in the front row almost in front of the instructors desk. Before class was started, I turned my iPhone on silent and placed it in a pocket located on the bottom front of my shirt.

    About 40 minutes or so into the class, I hear my phone alarming. I thought to myself, "Oh No! That's MY phone alarming! I know it was on silent, how can it still be alarming!?" I didn't know that, even if an iPhone is on silent, it will still alarm. So I grabbed my phone really quickly and pressed all the side buttons, praying one would shut off the alarm. As I pressing every single button on the sides of my phone, I glanced up and noticed my instructor giving me a look that, if looks could kill, I'd definitely not be breathing right now. My instructor put her hand out and I placed my phone in her hand. She uses my phone to point at me and say, "Next time I will ask you to leave!" I apologized and told her it wouldn't happen again. She walks over and places my phone on her desk. After a few minutes, it dawns on me that the alarm probably has "snooze" on so it was going to be alarming again soon.....and I was right! My phone did start to alarm again. I immediately attempted to explain to my instructor that, when my phone went off initially, it was an alarm and now it's alarming again due to snooze being on. I apologized to her again and told her she was more than welcomed to turn the entire phone off. Before I could finish my sentence, my instructor picked my phone up from her desk, grabbing it by a corner and threw my phone at me! Had I not caught it, it would've hit me pretty hard in my lower face and neck area. I was extremely surprised that the instructor had thrown something at me in anger. The entire class went very quiet. The instructor told us to take a short break.

    I understand completely that I should've ensured that my phone was completely off. I wasn't texting or even looking at my phone. Had I been blantantly disrespecting my instructor, I could've somewhat justified what happened.

    Now, I feel I will be targeted by this instructor. I have clinicals for 12 hours every Monday with the same instructor. I don't feel comfortable having clinicals with this particular instructor. She has failed students on the spot during her clinicals and I feel I will more than likely be one of the students she will fail this semester.

    Does anyone have any suggestions??
    Nursing school gets more ridiculous every semester. Angry about a 'cell phone' really? There are patients that she so called teaches about that are DYING and she's angry about a cell phone. These instructors just get me.

    Is there any way you can switch instructors, or ask this instructor about why she threw your phone at you. Give her a chance to justify her behavior. Ask her, 'Is there any reason you threw my cell phone at me? I wasn't aware of any bad feelings between us.'

    I had an instructor that I was on bad terms with in my first semester, but she reached out to me (she stepped up and resolved it). ended up having her for clinical. After we became close but she still made 'side' comments. I could have asked her, but I chose not to as I enjoyed my relationship with her beside the fact she made remarks. Just trying to 'win' type of issue. But reinforce that the phone going off is not a reflection of your performance as you are in your final semester.
    She dug the hole, but is there any way you could go and resolve this? If she isn't completely nasty, she may be relieved that you came to her. If not I'd head to the dean.
    Last edit by fibroblast on Jan 19

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