Nursing Students: How can we (your primary nurses) help you succeed??

  1. Hi all!

    I have been the primary nurse to several students floating through NICU/PICU/Peds while I was working. Having only graduated 2 years ago, I can identify with some of the needs of clinical students. However when you get out into the real world and have a patient assignment and a few students to watch over, you sometimes lose focus on students' educational needs. :icon_hug: SO... please comment. If I were your Preceptor/Primary RN for the day, what can I do to help you the most???

    Please Comment!!
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   woody436
    Sounds to me like you're very concerned and care about the student's clinical experience. BRAVO!

    I can tell you, and I'm sure you're aware, that many nurses at the clinical site are less the enthusiastic about precepting a student for a few hours. More often then not I'm faced with "Oh God, another student?!" "I told them I don't like students". They say it under their breath to a colleague but just loud enough so we get the point. I asked one of the nurses that made that comment last week if she was ever a student or did she just pop out of the womb ordained a nurse? She warmed up to my sarcasm and we pressed on. But the initial response can really set a bad tone for the day, particularly if you're not as thick-skinned as I am.

    Thank you for caring about the students. Seem as though you're not going to allow yourself to forget what it was like when you were a student.

    Jeff
  4. by   Daytonite
    stevern21. . .these are all the links i have in a file on precepting. check them out at your leisure. you might find some helpful information in there for you! good luck with your new endeavor!

    http://www.lcahec.com/images/thepowerofthepreceptor.pdf - power of the preceptor: shaping the next generation of rural health professionals. the powerpoint presentation that accompanied a lecture about the role of a preceptor. if you don't have acrobat reader, download it (it's free) and save this file so you have it. there is valuable information here for anyone who is in the role of a preceptor!

    http://www.health-disciplines.ubc.ca...ment/tools.htm - what a preceptor does

    http://education.ast.org/clinical/xi...evaluation.pdf - a sample of an evaluation sheet to be filled out by students evaluating their preceptor

    http://www.vnip.org/preceptor.html

    http://www.hprovider.com/preceptor_training.htm - advertisement for a course in how to precept - lists the roles and responsibilities of a preceptor
  5. by   Tweety
    Good links Daytonite.

    I precept students frequently. USF has their students scattered throughout the hospital, rather than have an instructor present we precept them one-on-one. I worked with a Semester I student last Thursday and probably will this week as well.

    I'm all ears.

    Hopefully this won't become a students bashing unwelcoming-unfriendly-floor nurses-who-forget-they-were-once-students-thread.
    Last edit by Tweety on Jan 23, '07
  6. by   sddlnscp
    Thank you so much for caring! As you already know, being a student is intimidating, so just showing that you care will help tremendously!!! Smile once in a while to remind us that even though you have high expectations, you understand and you do care about us. And give praise if you can, nothing is better for the spirit than hearing someone tell you that you did something well, even if it is something little, it will mean so much. Don't be afraid to give direction, if you see us doing something that you don't care for, let us know right away and help to guide us through it, mold us into what you want us to be. Give us opportunities to try new things. I'm sure this can be scary on both sides, but we will learn more and be able to help you more by doing the hands-on part, of course that is only on things that are within our scope however. Don't lose your temper no matter how much you want to scream and yell, take a deep breath and then explain why you are upset. It is inevitable that no matter how patient you try to be, someone will eventually push your buttons. Just remember when you do get these types that not all students are this way and make sure you leave your feelings with that student rather than passing them on to the next one. (I had a clinical experience where I had to make up for the girl before me who was very rude and refused to do the basics because "those are CNA things and I'm not going to be a CNA" (yes, feel free to scream - and no, she is no longer in the program, thank goodness), but that was hard because the nurse already had low expectations for our class and although I won her over eventually, it took a lot of work and caused a lot of undue stress.) At least, these are things that I would appreciate as a student anyway.

    I have not had a bad clinical experience yet (the one I mentioned above actually turned out great in the end, the only exception was the beginning), all of the nurses I have worked with thus far have been very warm and helpful to me and I deeply appreciate it. They have done most of the things I have stated above, which has been great for me. I know I can't expect that throughout my entire schooling, but the schooling itself is stressful enough, it's nice to have someone who cares, so for all the nursing students out there, I deeply thank you for caring!

    Best of luck and enjoy your students!
  7. by   LKG6
    My addition to the post above:

    During my clinicals, I like when the nurse let me ask questions. I know that many times you don't have time to answer so it's OK to say: let's discuss this later.

    I love to observe nurses. There are skills that I am still not allowed to do, for example venipuncture, so I really appreciate when nurses let me observe them doing this procedure.

    About documentation. I know it's a legal document and it has to be accurate. You have to let me do it. I always work with nurses and talk to them before charting anything.

    I have almost forgotten about change of shift reports. Let me ask questions during report because there can be things that I don't understand.

    And if you don't have any student for the day but there are some of them on your floor, find them and tell them that there are skills that they can do on your patients. For example, one time a nurse came to me to ask if I was ready to put in a straight cath. I did it and I was happy to be asked. That nurse didn't have any students that day but she let us know if there were any skills to do. I think it was very nice of her.
    Katie
  8. by   NeosynephRN
    I spent some time in the NICU as a student over the last couple weeks. I had GREAT nurses. Things they did...tell me why you are doing what you are doing..I know it sounds dumb, but at this point in my education I am very versed in the care of adults...but the care of peds and even more so neonates is very different and you do different things for them. Allow me to help...even with what seems like dumb things to you..weighing diapers, changing diapers, help feed babies. My nurse taught me how to do an assessment and explained why she was doing things in a certain order..which is important to those of us that have never assessed a 32 weeker before. I am a very question oriented student...I will ask you questions till you are ready to strangle me...if I start to annoy you...then tell me and we can take a break from questions...if you do not tell me to stop asking questions for a while I probably wont...haha!!! More than anything remember what it was like to be a student...in an area you have NO real knowlegde of or experience in..it can be scary for us and just a kind word or smile to acknowledge we even exist goes a long way!!!!
  9. by   smk1
    Quote from LKG6
    My addition to the post above:

    During my clinicals, I like when the nurse let me ask questions. I know that many times you don't have time to answer so it's OK to say: let's discuss this later.

    I love to observe nurses. There are skills that I am still not allowed to do, for example venipuncture, so I really appreciate when nurses let me observe them doing this procedure.

    About documentation. I know it's a legal document and it has to be accurate. You have to let me do it. I always work with nurses and talk to them before charting anything.

    I have almost forgotten about change of shift reports. Let me ask questions during report because there can be things that I don't understand.

    And if you don't have any student for the day but there are some of them on your floor, find them and tell them that there are skills that they can do on your patients. For example, one time a nurse came to me to ask if I was ready to put in a straight cath. I did it and I was happy to be asked. That nurse didn't have any students that day but she let us know if there were any skills to do. I think it was very nice of her.
    Katie
    I agree with this. Also allow the student to gather supplies for a procedure even if they can't actually DO the procedure yet. It helps!
    The question thing is BIG, we sometime feel like we have NO IDEA what is going on, so answering some questions for us really helps. Help us with charting. Sometimes it is hard to put something into words and we need a bit of help with the lingo and how to chart things. I would also love it ifthe clinical instructors could let the nurses know the skills that the students would like to work on so that if apprpriate the shift before we come on can leave things like (D/c IV's, D/C foleys, PKU sticks etc...) this would help us get comfortable with more skills. Let all the nurses on the shift that are working with students know that they can do things like put in IV's, draw blood, put in urinary catheters, trach care etc... this way even the nurses who are not assigned students may remember to save a procedure for a student. Try to remember that if we are unsure if we are supposed to do _____, we HAVE to run it by our instructor first or we could be in a lot of trouble, (even if it seems really ridiculous).
  10. by   Tracey2bRN
    Thank you so much for asking. Last semester I almost dropped out of nursing because of the facility we did our clinicals with. The nurse I was under was unbelievably mean spirited, and according to the other students, they had some bad ones, too. They hid equipment from us, making it impossible to get the vitals done on time. ( I heard an RN and tech talking about it and laughing, so I know it was on purpose.) I didn't sleep well the entire time we were there and hated to go to clinicals to the point of being physically ill in the bathrooms before start of the shift. I don't think there was a student in my group that didn't leave in tears at least once. I though, OMG, if this is what nursing is really like, I've made a huge mistake!!

    This semester we are at a different facility and it has been WONDERFUL!! I actually count the days until we go back each week. I have yet to meet a nurse that hasn't been helpful to us. Questions are answered promptly and thoroughly. They realize that IV pumps are different in every facility and don't act like we were stupid when we ask about them. They are quick to find us to show us things that we might not have experienced yet, and actually seem proud of us when we master new skills. I caught an error on the MAR and showed it to the charge nurse. (Nothing life threatening, just an IV flush redundancy) She seemed as thrilled as if I had discovered the cure for cancer and told me "good job". If they have a better or easier way of doing something, they tell us privately, not in front of the patient. (My nurse told me that it was as much for the patients as for us. After all would you like to have a nurse that you didn't have confidence in?) I sincerely hope this facility has an opening for me when I graduate in December, because I would love to work in that atmosphere!!

    Tracey
  11. by   WDWpixieRN
    It's amazing the difference in facilities...as evidenced by last semester's clinical experience v. Day One of our current semester's experience yesterday -- there ARE actually nice nurses and techs on the floors of hospitals!! WOW!

    Seriously, let us ask questions and be patient with your answers -- if you're busy or distracted, say so, and tell us we can discuss later -- we can understand and appreciate that!! Just don't blow us off and make us feel like bad children for asking questions...

    Anything you can do to involve us is really appreciated....after spending a semester doing baths, changing beds, and standing around because everyone was too busy for us, yesterday we were running from room to room observing, helping, LEARNING, because this floor and our current CI is BIG in to TEACHING us....this included everything from charting on paper to IVs to emptying ileostomy bags (half of us had this experience, half of hadn't)...we truly get so little time in the hospital as students that we're hungry for anything that gives us hands-on experience or viewing....
    Thanks for thinking of us!!
  12. by   sacrdhazel
    This is a wonderfully good idea for a thread as this is definitely an obstacle in the clinical portion of school. I also find it even more enamoring that it is several make RNs who are up for precepting. I can honestly say that when I did my externship, I had 2 male RN preceptors and I was like... "oh no".. but I learned so much from them and they really did treat me normally and were excited to teach. But, everyone in that unit was super nice...moving on...

    I always find that in the first 5 minutes of meeting the floor nurses, I will know if it will be a miserable semester. My last semester, the RNs wouldnt help us get in to the locked med room, they would tell us wrong places to find supplies and they would look for any reason to yell at us in front of the professor. ("You are taking too long using the BP machine", "Your talking too long with the patient")

    But the one RN who was amazing, was patient, understanding and just overall had the nice demeanor that we werent ruining her day. I always work better independently and when I'm not stressed out. And the professor breathing down my neck is already stress enough, but to add on the mini melt down I would have if I had to ******* ask someone to open the med door for me is just ridiculous. I would say what I would like is...

    Patience for all types of relevant questions.
    Time to think.
    Patience for when we take the chart.
    And to try and be proactive.. when youre going to do an interesting procedure, take us with you. Have us interact. Thats how we learn.
    And above all else, just common courtesy. I'm not asking for empathy, just treat us like youd want to be treated.
  13. by   sissyboo
    Please remember that you were a student once too! You had hard times in clinical just the same as us. Always be willing to take questions, but don't be afraid to tell us you're busy--it can be discussed later! We don't like to ask for too much as much as you don't like to be asked for too much. So explain things clearly to us and don't be one of those "evil" nurses who only tells us off in front of our instructor orhides equipment from us--that will only cause you more trouble as well.
  14. by   hlfpnt
    This is a great thread! I'm no longer a student, but would like to add something anyway. Please don't abandon the student (not that I think you would...). I remember once in my first semester of Adult Health my assigned nurse left the floor for an hour & a half...all she said was "I'll be back in a minute". I remember I was so scared because I was alone, then she wanted to know why I was so stressed when she got back!

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