Threatening clinical instructor - page 2

Hi everyone, I have a clinical instructor during my preceptorship that is something else. I said one of my learning objectives during clinical was proper medication administration, and she said... Read More

  1. by   cardiacRN2006
    Quote from daytonite
    i definitely wouldn't make any waves and clam up no matter how hard you want to argue back with her.
    i totally agree! at this point, just get through your program! don't make things worse for yourself.
  2. by   jov
    Quote from Elle.p.enn
    She has also said derogatory comments about me in front of the rest of the clinical group, as well as other students, mainly about our intelligence...She makes threats with our grades...is generally rude and nasty.

    Should I say something to her or someone else about this? I understand she wants us to be tough, but this is going a little far.

    What would you do?
    depends on a few things.
    1. What is your school's "corporate culture" regarding this type of thing? If your school seems generally interested in teaching by leading for example, you might have a better chance with confronting the behavior. One way to find out is to go to another instructor that you feel you can trust and that you feel is generally objective, and ask her (off the record) what she thought would happen if you confronted the behavior.

    If you felt the school was generally supportive, I personally would confront the behavior. I believe in the old Dr. Phil's "you teach people how to treat you." If you put up with it, you just taught her that you agree that is acceptable behavior.

    That being said, I would type a letter with specific examples of what she has said and how you feel it is objectionable. I would make an appointment to speak with her. I would share the letter with her and I might add something like, I understand you might have reasons for doing what you did or saying what you said, and I am willing to listen to whatever explanation you might have, but I am not willing to accept that treatment. I hope we can work out our differences. Then give her an opportunity to respond. Document what happened in case you need to go further up the ladder. The nice thing about the letter is you can compose it when you are calm and able to think, and it is good documentation of how you handled the situation professionally.

    I find most people will only push around those that they can get away with. I've had instructors that seemed to prey on weak persons and said and did things to others that I KNOW they would never have said and done to me, but then again, I'm a "grown up" and I sometimes see instructors treating the 20 year olds different than the 40 year olds...

    good luck. Do whatever fits your style best. That's what counts.
  3. by   GratefulHeart
    I agree with Daytonite about being extremely careful around this clinical instructor. From years of experience working in the corporate world and watching the games people play, I can tell you that she knows exactly what she's doing and how much she can get away with. One of the most intriguing things I've noticed since being in nursing school is how certain instructors seem to overly relish their power. It's bizarre, and I'm not why that is, but unfortunately that*is* just the way it is.

    I think you'd be very wise to realize that this CI holds A LOT of power over you right now. Unless you can ensure that she's not in a position to take vengeance on you, I wouldn't be confronting her directly - not even in private - and I wouldn't be going to the director either. That's why I mentioned waiting until after the semester is over, and then only writing a letter if you're absolutely sure you'll never have her as an instructor again. Her lack of respect and ruthlessness with you in public indicates where she's coming from, and she didn't get that way overnight. She's probably been carrying on like that for a while and knows exactly how far she can push the envelope.

    BTW, it's naive to think that she's going to somehow be chastised into behaving more nicely toward you if you confront her in private. That rarely, rarely, rarely ever works, and in fact you would be taking a great risk!

    IMHO, it's better to lay low, let it go, and find a way to make it through this semester without arousing her ire any further.
  4. by   Sheri257
    Quote from jov
    I find most people will only push around those that they can get away with. I've had instructors that seemed to prey on weak persons and said and did things to others that I KNOW they would never have said and done to me, but then again, I'm a "grown up" and I sometimes see instructors treating the 20 year olds different than the 40 year olds...
    I have found this to be true also.

    Quote from GratefulHeart
    BTW, it's naive to think that she's going to somehow be chastised into behaving more nicely toward you if you confront her in private. That rarely, rarely, rarely ever works, and in fact you would be taking a great risk!
    Not my experience. If I let people get away with it, they behave even worse.

    What you say rarely works ... actually works for me every time. I actually had more problems when I didn't stand up for myself.

    :typing
  5. by   GratefulHeart
    *Not my experience. If I let people get away with it, they behave even worse.

    What you say rarely works ... actually works for me every time. I actually had more problems when I didn't stand up for myself.*


    I stand by my position! This woman is NOT her peer. She is her nursing instructor and in a position of power over her. She has also sent up numerous other red flags. That ought to tell the OP something about her character.
  6. by   RN BSN 2009
    sigh.. it makes me wonder WHY these people are allowed to become instructors!
  7. by   Sheri257
    Quote from GratefulHeart
    I stand by my position! This woman is NOT her peer. She is her nursing instructor and in a position of power over her. She has also sent up numerous other red flags. That ought to tell the OP something about her character.
    I don't care what position of power they're in ... whether they're a corporate boss or a nursing instructor. This type of behavior is intolerable.

    The bottom line is people are often afraid to stand up for themselves. And maybe rolling over and taking it works well for them, but it doesn't for me.

    I just cannot tolerate being treated that way, period ... no matter what the risks are.

    My instructor had power over me also but, ultimately, it didn't matter. Her behavior was so out there ... she knew she better back off. I knew that that underneath it all ... she was a coward, like most bullies are.

    They have no spine. They're all hot air and have nothing better to do than pick on people they perceive as weaker than they are.

    If the OP doesn't want to do what I did that's fine. But this is what works for me ... whether it's in the corporate world or in nursing school, it's all the same.

    If you let them get away with it, they will. If you draw the line, they don't.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Nov 3, '06
  8. by   GratefulHeart
    Quote from lizz
    I don't care what position of power they're in ... whether they're a corporate boss or a nursing instructor. This type of behavior is intolerable.

    The bottom line is people are often afraid to stand up for themselves. And maybe rolling over and taking it works well for them, but it doesn't for me.

    I just cannot tolerate being treated that way, period ... no matter what the risks are.

    My instructor had power over me also but, ultimately, it didn't matter. Her behavior was so out there ... she knew she better back off. I knew that that underneath it all ... she was a coward, like most bullies are.

    They have no spine. They're all hot air and have nothing better to do than pick on people they perceive as weaker than they are.

    If the OP doesn't want to do what I did that's fine. But this is what works for me ... whether it's in the corporate world or in nursing school, it's all the same.

    If you let them get away with it, they will. If you draw the line, they don't.

    :typing
    Well, good luck! I'm glad it's worked for you (so far at least).
  9. by   Bala Shark
    Quote from BSNtobe2009
    I disagree with the tactic altogether. The military is a different animal, you are training someone to not think outside of following orders, and in boot camp, they have alot of people that come in with a chip on their shoulder that needs to be knocked off. You are training someone to face death in the face that may have to one day kill or be killed.

    Nursing is no different than any other profession as far as the potential for getting a nasty boss/co-worker. I have had bosses that have thrown files across the room, been screamed at, cursed at, I refused to lie in court on a case ( a loan we were getting sued over) and my Divisional Vice-President said that if I wasn't prepared to do everything to protect the company (never mind I didn't want to go to jail for perjury) then I was no better than a whore that wouldn't take up for her pimp.

    Nasty bosses/co-workers come in every job, however, I can't think of a single profession where you get treated like a substandard citizen during your training. That just isn't professional on any level and I would have no choice but to tolerate it to get through school, but I feel it's a symptom of someone that is burnt out in teaching and needs to get out of the profession.

    They should be doing everything they can to support you, not everything they can to sabatoge you. It's not their job to determine if nursing is right for you, you got into the program or you wouldn't be there....it is their job to teach you, and if you perform to standards that are required professionally and efficiently, that is all that should matter.
    Yea, in the military, lives are at stake also..If you are training to be an officer in the marines, army, air force, lives are at stake..Same as with nursing, you are responsilbe for people's lives..If you are an officer in the armed forcies, lives are at stake also..Officers are responsible for the lives of their men..And nurses are responsible for the lives of the patients..So, yea, boot camp mentality is not bad at all...Nursing instructors might give you crap but you toughen up and do it better next time so they would not get pissed off..
  10. by   DaFreak71
    I am both a pragmatist and an assertive person. If I were being treated poorly by someone I would absolutely confront the situation in such a way that the problem could be resolved, or at the very least it wouldn't be worsened.

    Sucking it up to get through the program is one avenue, but often it betrays our character to sit there and experience an unethical situation without speaking up. It's amazing to me that we student nurses are taught to be our patients advocate and yet we are too fearful of repercussions to advocate for ourselves.

    Lizz, I am glad that you did what your conscience felt was appropriate. Good for you! While it's true that we should choose our battles wisely, there are some situations that demand to be brought to light. Treating people cruelly or threatening them is not conducive to learning. You are a paying customer as other poster pointed out. You are also a human being who has an obligation to yourself to determine how you will be treated.

    As a pragmatist, I will sometimes not address a situation when I think I should simply because I have weighed the pro's and cons of such an action. Sometimes it is better to suck it up BUT this is something that only the individual can make, there isn't a hard and fast rule about shutting up 100% of the time or speaking up 100% of the time.

    Best of luck to you Lizz :wink2:
  11. by   jov
    [quote=GratefulHeart I can tell you that she knows exactly what she's doing and how much she can get away with....
    this CI holds A LOT of power over you right now...
    She's probably been carrying on like that for a while and knows exactly how far she can push the envelope.[/quote]

    Here's what I think the difference is.

    your posts demonstrate exactly what lizz and I are saying. She knows how much she can get away with. And that is defined by each person's reaction to what she says.

    What I am trying to say is each one of us draws our own line as to what we will take, or not take. Some people will take crap and they have taught this instructor where their line is. OP needs to show this instructor where HER line is (wherever that might be).

    BUT you have to believe in yourself. I know I am articulate and have good negotiating skills, plus I have professionalism and good ol' fashioned manners to back me up. If you go in knowing you are In The Right and you handle it the right way (professional, neutral), I think most people will come around.

    Meet privately first. At the very least, they can't help but respect you and will think twice before they do the public humiliation nonsense.
    If it continues in public, you can choose to confront the behavior in public.
    It makes people very uncomfortable (including yourself) if you stop them in the middle of it, in front of other people, and request, graciously but firmly, for them to stop. The uncomfortableness to yourself is why most people won't do it, but the beauty is it's also uncomfortable to her. I figure if she makes me uncomfortable, we'll share the wealth. The discomfort alone will often do 'em in.

    BUT as I said, you have to go into it believing in yourself. If you are trying to do it only because lizz and I tell you to, it won't work.
  12. by   Sheri257
    Quote from jov
    BUT as I said, you have to go into it believing in yourself. If you are trying to do it only because lizz and I tell you to, it won't work.
    This is an excellent point.

    :typing
  13. by   Elle.p.enn
    Thanks to everyone for the extremely thoughtful and helpful advice

    My gut instinct is to wait for now, if it gets worse, I'll send her a nonconfrontational email.

    Thanks again :spin:

close