Staff nurses displeased with clinical students-- need advice!

  1. I need some advice. Apparently, the nurses where I have my med/surg clinical had a staff meeting and were complaining about my clinical group. They feel that the students are impatient with them and/or antisocial (and my name was one mentioned). It was very upsetting for me to hear this and I want to know how to change their opinions! It is a very busy floor with lots of travellers and staffing problems, and I know they are extremely busy, so my approach is usually to be as unobtrusive as possible and bother them as little as possible. But, if we bother them too much they feel like we should be looking up more info. on our own and are being impatient. So, how do I strike a balance between bugging them and leaving them alone? For those experienced nurses out there, what can students do to make your life easier, and what kind of students do you like to have on the floors? For current students, what have you done that has helped the staff nurses to be more receptive? I always tell the nurses what we are/are not allowed to do, but they always forget and do things that the students should be doing or ask us to help with things we aren't allowed to do. Advice please!! Thanks guys!
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  2. 19 Comments

  3. by   emily_mom
    Personally, I don't think you can change their attitude. It sounds very "us vs them". Some just don't like students. The nurses on my floor love students. Where is your instructor in all of this? Sounds like something you should talk to her about.
  4. by   essarge
    We had a similar situation at our school and a clincial site. It turned out that a student found a mistake made by one of the nurses and she started a bunch of crap. It was straightened out and now everything is fine.

    My advice would be to just ignore it. You are only there for a short period anyway. The only people you need to be concerned with are your fellow students and your instructor. Unless you are approached about the "situation", I wouldn't make any waves (even small ones).
  5. by   RNIAM
    We don't have this issue as we have our instructor for most of the questions we have. If we have to ask the nurses anything we don't seem to have a problem. I seem to have more of an issue with the tech's than the nurses. It's an equipment issue with the tech's. Everyone needs to do vital signs at the same time. My advice is to just be yourself and let it go.
  6. by   baseline
    Perhaps you could have an informal meeting with the staff.....bring in some dougnuts and some nice coffee.....set the tone and flat out ask. "What are your expectations of me, of students in general." Nothing like good coffee and goodies to open up good conversation.
  7. by   EmeraldNYL
    Actually my professor is the one who notified us of this problem, apparently she was approached by the nurse manager of the unit. I have talked about it with her, and she is not very supportive or helpful (I get the feeling that she hates teaching). It is frusturating because all of my other clinical experiences have been wonderful, so I don't know what is going wrong at this particular site! There's only 4 more weeks left though, so I guess I will have to hang in there until then.

    P.S. I like that idea Baseline, I will suggest it to my professor. Unfortunatly the unit is so busy/short-staffed I don't know if they will have time to have an actual meeting with us!
    Last edit by EmeraldNYL on Feb 25, '03
  8. by   Sleepyeyes
    you might want to try a "cheat sheet" thing that lists what you can/can't do nursing-wise. make it short, give a copy to each nurse you work with each day, and make sure that your instructor approves it before you do anything.
  9. by   MelRN13
    We had an experience like that at one of my clinical sites, but because it was at a larger hospital, our instructor chose not to send us to that floor anymore.

    Good luck, I hope it gets better for you.
  10. by   Nurse Keli
    I think this happens everywhere in clinical sites. I have the same problem sometimes. I think that we need to do what is best for the patients, and for the nurses who complain about students; they need to remember what it was like when they were students.
  11. by   RNforLongTime
    I LOVE students! But unfortunately since I work straight nights, I don't get an opportunity to work with them anymore. Some Nurses I worked with could be downright MEAN to students, not me though. I remember being in their shoes and avoiding the MEAN ones. Don't make waves, just ignore it as best you can cause no matter what you do, some people are just a**holes!
  12. by   kittyw
    two words ....

    krispy kreme!!

    seriously - it never hurts to bring in some goodies to soften them up and let them know that you appreciate them.
  13. by   Asiancutie
    i was thinking of the same thing kittyw.... hope they like krispy kremes.. :-)
  14. by   OBNURSEHEATHER
    You've gotten alot of good advice here.

    Some nurses love students, some don't. You've got a bum group. You don't have to spend more than 1 clinical rotation with them, right? You'll probably never change the opinions of this particular group of nurses, so I would kinda just grin and bear it through this clinical. They're not the ones grading you.

    In the future, when you're paired with a nurse, perhaps you could just pull her aside before you start the day and talk to her. Give her the generic speech, my name is _____, this is what I'd like to do today, if you think of anything else please let me know, and outright ASK them how they want to participate. I've had students ask me "I hope you don't get mad at me for bugging you, or would you just rather have me ask my instructor?"

    To which I always reply "NO! GET ME!" (I love to hijack an instructor's students!)

    Also, I want to commend you on the maturity with which you posted this. It is very nicely worded and diplomatic, without emotionally filled generalizations ("MEANIE NURSE EATERS HATE STUDENTS!" or "LAZY ANTISOCIAL STUDENTS BUG NURSES!")

    Good luck!

    Heather

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