Nursing instructor putting student through embarassment and singles out

  1. In my nursing lab we have an instructor who does not teach us details (such as giving us different scenarios) on handling patients. She's impatient and is not very professional by the verbal and nonverbal actions she makes towards students(ie. negative comments and making faces of disgust. Lately, everyone has noticed she has been singling out one specific student. She constantly picks on her when we practice our skills. She has trouble making a bed perfectly and every week she makes sure to yell out to her to work on one, even if she is performing other skills such as vital signs, etc. She will say something like, "why aren't you doing the bed like I told you to." Mind you, this is a BSN program. She will make remarks about her to other students like," can you help her, she still is not getting it." Everyone in class has noticed how the instructor is focusing on her, it's become pretty obvious. I think the breaking point is when we had a skills exam and she was grading her very harsh, had her repeat it and still told her she needs to go back another day. Part of the skill was something the instructor did not really practice with us.(actually there was some things she told us we had to do the day we had our exam,wth right? so many people were deducted points for that. Anyway, instructor told her during her skills exam," why do you want to be a nurse?" in a disgusted face when she was nervous performing the task. Throughout the exam, the instructor would tell her everything is wrong. Who wouldn't get nervous if the instructor is being extremely negative? How can anyone learn through embarrassment and harsh criticism? The girl cried as she left the classroom after her exam with the instructor. I think if the instructor feels a student needs more improvement, she should talk to them personally and not do it in front of others. With the stress put on her by her very own instructor, how can anyone function? It's a freaking beginning nursing class!

    What would you guys suggest? Emailing the professor about the situation. Email her higher superior. Or, talk to the dean? Or, email the professor and bcc the superior and dean to let them be aware of the situation? Nursing school is expensive, I am shocked an instructor would treat anyone this way..esp if the person is very smart, kind and courteous.
    Any input would be very appreciated. thanks.
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    Joined: Sep '09; Posts: 3; Likes: 2


  3. by   kittykatty
    Maybe a show of solidarity by her fellow students might help to get the instructor to back off. If a few of you got together and subtly let the instructor know that you are there and backing up a fellow student she might think twice about what she is doing to her. Doesn't have to be dramatic--just something to get her attention.
    If that doesn't work what you mentioned before might help--so sorry for the girl--all the more reason to stand up for yourself immediately when someone tries to belittle you--remember your tuiton is paying that instructors salary.
  4. by   Michifura
    How sad that you have to go through that in nursing school! This is where the instructors serve as role models, mentors and a support system to help you reach your goal.

    I would meet with your instructor in person (no emails) and a mediator (the program's coordinator, advisor, etc) and make the instructor aware of her attitude, behavior and how all that makes you all feel. Her behavior is unacceptable, unprofessional and someone needs to put a stop to it, asap.

    Start getting into the habit of following the chain of command, it will benefit you in this situation and in the nursing workforce.

    Best of luck!
  5. by   nyteshade
    I think this is terrible. No one should have to feel sick to their stomach just thinking about showing up for class. This instructor is unprofessional, and just flat out cruel. I would report it. I know nursing school is serious business, but bed making is not priority. The goal is to graduate a safe, prudent nurse...not a perfect bed maker. It won't matter how nice the corners look on the bed if the patient is coding. There is a shortage of MSN and PhD prepared instructors, I'm sorry you have encountered one of the burnt out ones...
  6. by   shoegalRN
    This is surely something I don't miss about nursing school.

    Really, who gives a damn how a bed is made in the real world of nursing? Instead of focusing on bedmaking, this instructor should be focusing on how to take vital signs properly, because there won't always be a Dinamap machine available.

    These little games they play in nursing school is sickening. Nursing school is notorious for playing the "weeding out" game because all they care about is NCLEX pass rates. It's bad enough most BSN programs don't get a lot of clinical time as it is, the little clinical time that they do get should be spent wisely instead of focusing on something as minimal as bed making.

    I am irriated and feel sorry for that student. Nursing school doesnt prepare one for the REAL world of nursing. That poor girl probably will have self esteem issues related to that instructor, who by the way is being very unprofessional.

    I would go to the instructor personally and express my concerns. Let her know it makes you and the other classmates feel very uncomfortable when she reprimand this woman in front of everyone. If nothing changes, then follow the chain of command.
  7. by   rn/writer
    If there are a number of you who agree that this student is being singled out in an unfair way, you could go as a group to the instructor's superior. Be prepared to give factual, non-emotional information with concrete examples of the kinds of behavior you have witnessed.

    The approach you are describing sounds highly unprofessional, not to mention demeaning and unkind.
  8. by   (::[bandaid]::)
    I'm sorry to hear about your situation. The instructors I have encountered at my school so far have been pretty fair, and surprisingly kind at times. So it makes me sad and a little nervous to hear stories like this. As you said, nursing school is're paying these people to teach you.

    That said, I personally think it's up to this girl to speak up for herself. Even with the best intentions, meddling can just make things worse. You just don't know what kind of effect your complaint may have on the girl's livelihood in the program - or yours for that matter.

    If you are really concerned about this girl, I think you should befriend and support her. It could be a lot more meaningful and yield better results than going to war with this instructor. If she snubs you then I would just wash my hands of it, keep doing your best and let the girl worry about it herself.

    Good luck!
  9. by   Circejane
    I gently disagree with the above poster. One of our jobs in nursing is being an advocate for our patients. This classmate is not a patient, but she clearly needs an advocate. Many times people who are in this situation feel that they deserve this treatment, and feel helpless to do anything about it.

    In most situations, it's proper to talk to the instructor first about an issue before going over their head. If you have reason to fear reprisal, however, then I would say to go directly to the administration.

    I would draft a letter in a clear and professional manner (spellcheck is everyone's friend!) stating, in this order:

    Intro: Issue/s with the instructor, and why you are not going to her directly but are rather going right to administration.
    Body: Here is where you detail the issue/s, giving concrete examples. Name the student, cite specific examples, and keep emotion out of it. You can state how you feel this student is being singled out, but back it up with facts. Try to avoid terms like, "Picked on" or "mean" of "disgusted", instead use terms like, "inappropriate and negative facial expressions, eye rolling", "behavior bordering on verbal abuse, directed only at this student", and "different expectations for this student than for any other". You can also state that the student in question is unaware of your letter--and I would KEEP her unaware, honestly, until you've sent it.
    Summary--make it short and sweet, but sum up your issue and state what you would like to see happen. Don't say that you want to see this instructor fired--be constructive in your goals. You would like to see more professional behavior on the part of the instructor, and to see all students treated fairly and equally, yadda yadda. State how you are available to explain and/or discuss this further, if the administration has any questions.

    If there are others in your class who you trust and who would be willing to sign this letter, get them to sign and then take it to the Dean of Nursing, as well as the advisers. An anonymous letter will be given very little weight, but a signed letter shows that you are serious about this.

    I'd also encourage your classmate, without talking about this letter, to go to talk to the instructor, and see if she can work this out. Sometimes just going to the instructor and saying, "I seem to have difficulty doing what you are looking for, and no one else does. What can I do to improve? What can you tell me that I need to work on?" If the woman's a total hater, she's not going to be constructive, but it's a step that this student needs to take before she goes to the dean about this issue. If she does go to the dean, your letter is there, corroborating her story.
  10. by   kittykatty
    Maybe a show of solidarity by her fellow students might help to get the instructor to back off. If a few of you got together and subtly let the instructor know that you are there and backing up a fellow student she might think twice about what she is doing to her. Doesn't have to be dramatic--just something to get her attention.
    If that doesn't work what you mentioned before might help--so sorry for the girl--all the more reason to stand up for yourself immediately when someone tries to belittle you--remember your tuiton is paying that instructors salary.
  11. by   goodstudentnowRN
    hmmmm...another egotistic instructor strikes again. When is this going to end? I am sick of these instructors trying to be validated in class because they are not being recognized at home. They need prayers, may God have mercy on their souls
  12. by   ~Mi Vida Loca~RN
    I am very glad something like this so far has not happened in my school and we appear to have wonderful teachers. I tend to always defend the underdog when I feel they are being bullied. (in high school I bullied the bullies if that makes sense) so I can see something like this totally being my downfall in nursing school because I would end up opening my big mouth and calling the instructor out.

    I am not sure what should be done but I do feel something needs to be done. If the person is not the type of personality to stand up for herself then I don't think that should be her bad luck. Usually bullies tend to pick on people that are introverted and not people that will stand up to them. But again, I am not sure how this situation should be handled.
  13. by   cookienay
    OP- perhaps if you cross referenced this post on the nursing education forum and asked nursing educators what recommendations they would have if their students were experiencing this? they are more familiar with the academia culture and the expectations of instructors. just a thought.
  14. by   Ms.SJnurse2b
    In my nursing class we dealt with this also. And to the horror of it all, it was both of our teachers at times. But AS A CLASS, we talked to our teachers and let them know how we felt and what problems we had with them. We also had classmates that went to the superiors also. But this wasnt happening to one girl, it was happening to many. So as a unit we dealt with it.