Overprotective clinical instructor & too many students??

  1. I just finished my last clinical for my first year. We had 6 students in an ICU with high acquity and my instructor seemed overwhelmed at times. She made us (all of us) get her to double check everything before we did it from sq lovenox to charting to hanging antibiotics, which left us waiting for her and made us look late on things. It was so frustrating esp since we've been in clinicals all year and have done all of this over and over and over. I could understand watching us once to check us off --- but she can read our previous evaluations from other clinical instructors & see our compentancy level and this continued the entire time we were there. Plus we know when to seek out help and when we're comfortable with something.

    I don't know if it was having so many students that made her overprotective or what.

    Anyways, I'm frustrated ... bad clinical experience. But hey, I'm out of school on Friday and off to the beach!!
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   Rena RN 2003
    i think it seems that way when you are a student. but if you think about it, anything you do is ultimately putting her license at risk.

    i'm working pretty darn hard (and i'm sure every nursing student out there is also) to get my license. you can bet that i'll do whatever i feel is necessary to protect my livelihood.

    i do hope that your clinical experience gets better. even if the term is almost over for you.

    have fun at the beach!
  4. by   Love-A-Nurse
    congratulations on the completion of your 1st clinical year. your clinical instructor license are on the line as well as patients lives. i would not take offense to having an instructor being as cautious as she/he can be. some who have been nurses for years, make mistakes, so you being a student can make them no matter what your previous performance has been. do enjoy your vacation and keep up the good work in school.
  5. by   kittyw
    ok ... just a little clarification... I can understand protecting her license, but I just think that she wasn't able to take the time to get to know us and our ability level. Then it would be a judgement call on her part as to what we could and could not do. And I think that she was compromising pt care by not being available to do her supervision when things were due, thus some things were late. I felt that I had the responsibility since it was my patient but none of the authority to act. Then she would complain that we weren't caught up on our charting ... well she had to review everything before we could chart & we would have all the notes written down on a separate sheet of paper ready to go when we could catch her. She wouldn't even let the experienced ICU nurses to watch us.
  6. by   live4today
    originally posted by lpn,future, rn
    congratulations on the completion of your 1st clinical year. your clinical instructor license are on the line as well as patients lives. i would not take offense to having an instructor being as cautious as she/he can be. some who have been nurses for years, make mistakes, so you being a student can make them no matter what your previous performance has been. do enjoy your vacation and keep up the good work in school.
    ditto ditto ditto!!!

    kittyw....after you are working as a nurse, you will eventually learn the seriousness behind laying your license and career on the line for newbies, students, etc. until then......just be patient with instructors who are there to cover you, and must also cover themselves in the process. it is not the responsibility of a staff nurse to take it upon herself/himself to monitor students in the clinical areas........that is the sole responsibility of the instructor over the students. it may not appeal to your liking, but it is what is legally required by the bons. be grateful that your instructor is doing her job the right way.....regardless of her pace in getting it done.

    i know the impatience of it all is not good, but even as a nurse, you will need to learn patience and a great amount of discipline so you do not rush through procedures too quickly, then regret your error later......and yes......you will make an error -- or more -- as a nurse.....we all do.

    i use to be an instructor of cna students, and the same thing applied with them. they had no choice but to be patient so all their classmates had an opportunity to experience certain treatments on patients, etc. with me at their side instructing them. that's what the continuing education department at the community college hired and paid me to do, therefore, i had to answer to my boss......an individual the students never had to come face to face with.

    i think you are being impatient, and that is something that perhaps warrants some soul searching on your part. your instructor, or no one else can mature that area of your life...only you can work on that discipline in your life.

    please don't take my post the wrong way since i'd rather help you out here on this bb so you will not suffer in the clinical area and not pass, or....worse yet.....after you become a nurse, you look back on this experience and either say "thank you" to these nurses here who are taking the time to share their hindsight with you in regards to becoming a nurse, or you will be saying "why didn't i listen to them." hang in there, and know that we are here for you to help you through to graduation and beyond. :kiss
    Last edit by live4today on Jul 31, '02
  7. by   kittyw
    No offense taken cheerfuldoer ... I'm just wondering how my school compares in clinical instructor to student ratio .... is this normal?

    Surely my instructor not being available to give meds on time could and would cause her problems ... that might be avoided with fewer students in this area where the meds & treatments are given quite often. Plus, if we have a patient that is going down the tubes and my charting is on a separate sheet of paper waiting her approval, what would we use in an emergent situation? I've had the patient's RN ask me @ the chart or even start charting later in the day before I could get my instructor to approve my charting then the actual chart is messed up ...

    And, isn't the patient's assigned RN also responsible for the patient? What about their license ... how does that work if the instructor makes a mistake that harms the patient (ie not giving meds or not noticing something that the RN could have intervened in?)

    I've learned a lot from my instructors ... and appreciate it ... but I'm just concerned that we're not providing the best care under these circumstances. (And considering what I pay I should have one on one instruction :chuckle)
  8. by   peaceful2100
    KITTY, your clinical instructor student ratio is good. Most schools have about 6-8 students per clinical instructor. Some even have 10 which makes it even harder. Don't take it too personally. Like everyone else said the instructor has to help you out and at the same time cover herself to make sure nothing bad happens because she can get in trouble too. She does not want other experienced nurses doing her job because for all she know "the experienced nurses" can be covering their tracks doing something they should not do. It usually don't happen but sometimes it does and you just never know. You don't ever want to trust someone else when it comes to your license because it can ruin YOUR life. When it all boils down to it everyone has to look out for themeselves before anyone else.

    The patient's assigned RN is in charge and you should be collaborating with the RN with the care of the patient. IF your instructor is unable to do something and don't do it even though you asked your instructor then the RN should do it because they are still ultimately responsible for that patient. Many hospitals make that clear in their policies.

    Sometimes it is tough and every once in a while all your clinicals will not be joyful but just hang in there. I know exactly how you feel but look at it as a learning experience. In a few years once you have been an RN for a little while you will realize why things are the way they are.
  9. by   kelligrl
    When we started out, each clinical group had 12 students. Now we've lost a few and are at about 9 per clinical group. So actually you're doing pretty good!!
  10. by   kittyw
    Yikes!!! 12 students??? So I won't or can't complain about 6:1 ...

    Peaceful2100 ... I have at points begged the RN to go ahead and give the medicine for the patients sake .... & then I've taken that time to observe them and learn from them. I have to say most of the RNs I've worked with during this last clinical have been WONDERFUL ... the RTs too. Then during post clinical conference I'd talk with my instructor to see if what I saw was correct before I'd file it away in my head...

    The patient:RN ratio for this clinical was usually 2:1 so the RNs have time & expressed a desire to work with us ... teaching their learned tricks. Yesterday my RN only had one patient (he would have the next admission but it never came).

    Just 6 more months to NCLEX!!!
  11. by   MickiLPN2
    Hi...I feel your pain as I've had a nursing instructor who must have gone to the same school as yours. She treated us like we were children and seemed to relish the power she had over us. We had patients and staff nurses alike ask us "what's up with her?" She'd berate us in front of anyone and would also do things to embarrass us...like have 3 of us to hang one secondary IV, acting like none of us were smart enough to do it on their own. As a human being, I felt humiliated...as a nurse for 20 years...felt degraded and foolish in front of that family and patient. In the classroom, no one could come close to her teaching skill and ablility to make us think. In the clinical setting, she seemed to change...like Jekyl and Hyde!
  12. by   llg
    I coordinate the student activity for all of the schools who use my hospital at as a clinical site. If an instructor allowed unlicensed students to give meds without double-checking them first that instructor would never be allowed back in the hospital. You have to have a license to be giving medications -- and undergraduate students do not have that. As part of your nursing education, you might want to read your state's Nurse Practice Act and have a class discussion on how it is commonly interpreted as to what is legal and what is not.

    Good luck with school.
    llg
  13. by   MIA-RN1
    Our instructors MUST supervise our preparation and administration of any and all medications. The 30min - 1hour window around medications allows for each student to pass their pt meds with the instructor overseeing.
    Your instructor may have been feeling overwhelmed because of the acuity of the patients. Your group is a good size, ours average about 6-8.
  14. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I'd be overprotective too if 12 students were under my license.

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