What exactly is expected of a student in nursing clinicals?

  1. I just failed Peds/Ob for the second time!!! They didn't want me to graduate from the school!! Really, I was about to take my last class. I passed theory both times, the first time I wrote a letter complaining about the teacher and I think I was failed the second time in retaliation. I was put on probation and told not to fail the class again. The clinical instructor has the final word though and even though at about midterm she told me that I had started out a little shaky, but had improved she said she would pass me if I handed in a "perfect" careplan. I just looked at her, of course I would try, but what exactly is "perfect". Why was I being held to this standard when other students were given back a care plan to make corrections if necessary. I was very upset. I went to register for the final class because I knew I had passed the final. I was told I had received an "F" I couldn't believe it. All my dreams, about $9,000 and one and half years out of my life were wasted. To make matters worse, when I went to meet with the Academic standards Committee (who my clinical instructor is on) she lied. She said I had "safety" problems very vaguely. I asked her what she meant specifically. She said once I was taking care of a child with acute bronchitis and I didn't know what to do. I told her I had let the nurse know the pulse oximeter kept going off and she said to ignore it , it was not working properly. We are supposed to get evaluations at mid semester and a final clinical evaluation. I got neither in either class!! I can't understand how they are getting away with this. I sought legal advice and was told these kind of cases are next to impossible to win as the law always favors the school. What if the teachers lie, is this ok. I refuse to believe there is nothing I can do about this, but it seems as if I can not get any justice through the school. I am going to take the issue to the state, but do not have too much hope the this will be a success. Anyone have any suggestions???
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  2. 26 Comments

  3. by   Daytonite
    Apply to your state board of nursing to take the NCLEX-PN to get an LPN license. You might be able to do this through educational equivalency. Many states allow something like this when students have problems completing RN school depending on how far they have progressed through their RN programs. Why not work as a CNA or LPN for a while and then attempt to get back into school after some on-the-job experience?

    I'm a little concerned that there is a feeling that the school has been the bad guy here. A negative attitude holds people back from making any kind of progress. Perhaps some personal counseling would help with that.
  4. by   LovebugLPN
    I hate when people suggest RN fail outs become LPNs. If this woman had difficulty taking care of a patient and her instructor felt she was unsafe, why would anyone want her to care for them as an LPN? RN students do everyone a favor and don't become an LPN if you are a scary RN student. I suggest she be a CNA where she doesn't have to make any medical decisions.
  5. by   allthingsbright
    What really stinks is that they didn't eval you properly so you have no written record and they have no written record of what happened according to your story. If you were unsafe, you should have been written up. And if you had a beef with your instructor, you should have gne to the director of the program with something in writing and taken care of it the 1st time around. I'm sorry this happened to you!

    We get midterm and end term evals as well as weekly progress reports we have to sign and write comments on. We ALWAYS know where we stand. In our program if one clinical instructor fails you, you are AUTOMATICALLY placed w/ a different clinical instructor the next semester.

    I agree--try to get your LPN. And make sure you always document exactly what happens in these kinds of situations. That gives you a leg to stand on should you need to fight!

    GL!
  6. by   Jules A
    Quote from LovebugLPN
    I hate when people suggest RN fail outs become LPNs. If this woman had difficulty taking care of a patient and her instructor felt she was unsafe, why would anyone want her to care for them as an LPN? RN students do everyone a favor and don't become an LPN if you are a scary RN student. I suggest she be a CNA where she doesn't have to make any medical decisions.

    I agree with LovebugLPN! Not speaking about the OP since I don't know her but the students that were released because of problems at clinicals in my class were downright dangerous, imo. In fact a couple of the ones they did graduate weren't all that sharp either.
  7. by   puggymae
    If you were suppose to get a midterm evaluation and a final evaluation and it is stated in the Syllabus, then you can appeal that. You cannot fail students at the very end (unless you would commit some horrific error) without giving them a chance to improve. If you need to improve you should be given a measureable goal so that it can be ascertained if you succeeded in improving or not. Your instructor has obviously never heard of the nursing process.
  8. by   Myxel67
    Quote from Daytonite
    Apply to your state board of nursing to take the NCLEX-PN to get an LPN license. You might be able to do this through educational equivalency. Many states allow something like this when students have problems completing RN school depending on how far they have progressed through their RN programs. Why not work as a CNA or LPN for a while and then attempt to get back into school after some on-the-job experience?

    I'm a little concerned that there is a feeling that the school has been the bad guy here. A negative attitude holds people back from making any kind of progress. Perhaps some personal counseling would help with that.
    I understand that when someone complains too much that they are always on the receiving end of mistreatment from school, the government, or other authority, we tend to assume that much of the problem lies within that person.

    However after starting nursing school at age 43 in 1992, I tend to be more trusting of such complaints. I received a BA degree in English and Secondary education in 1971. I graduated with honors.

    After working 20 years in employee benefits & actuarial work, I lost my job at 41 due to company downsizing. It was a great time to lose my job though because my son was 2 months old and I was happy to stay at home.

    I have always loved school and been a good student. I had a perfect 4.0 average in the few pre-req classes I had to take (A&P, Microbiology, Organic Chem, and Human Growth & Develop. The nursing program, however, was a horrendous experience. Certain teachers seemed to be trying their best to flunk students. Explanations were cloudy, test questions were poorly written, and instructors were treating those of us in middle age as though we were 18. I know that I certainly had good critical thinking skills at this point in my life. We started out as a class of 94, and there were 30 of us left at the end of the program. Lest you think I bear a grudge because I finally met an educational program I couldn't master, I was number one in my class.

    From my experience, a successful clinical experience requires that the student be on time, be prepared, and be safe.

    Being prepared means that you know and understand the meds you are to give, why they are being given, and expected response. This is your responsibility entirely.

    You should also know what is expected of you in the clinical. Both you and your instructor share responsibility for this.

    Sitting for the LPN exam sounds like a good idea. The classes you have passed should have prepared you for that. Then you can enter a transitional program for LPN to RN which takes about a year. Many of the students who flunked out early in the program I attended went on to a 1 year LPN program and then directly into the transitional program. Most of them are successful RN's today.
    Last edit by Myxel67 on Jan 27, '07 : Reason: typo
  9. by   Daytonite
    it's hard to know what is really going on in a situation like this because we are only hearing one side of the situation. it is highly unlikely that we are ever going to hear what the school has to say as it would be a serious breach of confidentiality. when i was a manager i had to fire people from time to time--it's part of the job. letting people go from a job, or from a nursing program, carries a great responsibility to the ones doing the dismissals. the person being forced to quit should not be surprised in the first place as previous counseling as to the jeopardy they were in should have been ongoing. also, at the time of termination they should be informed of the options available to them. with employees there was always a sit-down with human resources to discuss the effects on their benefits and what they could expect insofar as future references were concerned. i believe that a nursing school has similar responsibilities when dismissing a student from their program. the student should be told what options are available to them insofar as any future nursing career or other allied healthcare career is concerned. it's hard to know if that was done in this case as the nursing school can't respond or defend their position here. but, i would like the op to know that if she was as mistreated by the people in this program as she has led all of us to believe, then she is best out of this situation and would, perhaps, flourish, learn and grow much better at another school.

    i don't have a problem with " rn fail outs becom[ing] lpns". work places are usually a lot harsher when it comes to evaluating the safety and practice of newly licensed nurses than any nursing program! coworkers should also be vigilant and report unsafe practitioners. we all have a duty to do that, but you will find that most fail in that thinking it should be someone else's problem. i have faith that most people who are really unsuited to nursing finally "get it" or quit the profession due to their poor job performance when (1) they realize their jobs are in jeopardy, (2) patient and kind coworkers take them in hand and help them to learn, or (3) coworkers and bosses put pressure on them to quit when they refuse to learn and improve. people with negative attitudes are often self-destructive anyway. combined with anger their nursing careers extinguish eventually.

    an education is never wasted! there are plenty of non-clinical healthcare related careers that do not involve hands-on nursing care or state licensure that require similar pre-requisites and pay very nice salaries, some more than nursing.
  10. by   MrsWampthang
    I'm sorry your going through this. I had a clinical instructor that everyone had some type of problem with. Several students went to the dean of the program without results, and from what I understand this instructor is now a classroom instructor. She was so obviously biased during clinicals it was unreal. The students she liked were given good grades on their clinicals and thier databases and careplans, the students she didn't like were given the least amount of points she could get away with giving, I guess so the students wouldn't have a legitimate gripe, because they still passed although with a low grade. She wrote on my daily clinical eval once that I seemed uncomfortable with my pediatric patient! Well, DUH!!!!! She didn't bother observing that I sat on the bed with the child read to him. But GEEZ! Of course I would be a little nervous as this was my first experience through the peds rotation! If it was just me that had a problem, I would have said it was my problem, but numerous students complained about her so it wasn't just me. And nothing was done. So, I guess I can sympathize with the OP. There are clinical intructors that are dragons and there are some that are nice. You just have to do your best and hope they are fair.

    Pam
  11. by   Lisa CCU RN
    Don't they have to be specific about the reason you failed?

    At our school, we have a checklist that says met or not met. Basically, you do everything the list says and you pass. Leave something out, you fail and have one chance to repeat.
    That eliminates most of the subjectivity of passing clinical students.

    In your case, I really don't know what advice to give because I wasn't there to see what happened nor do I know the grading policies.

    As far as the comments made about becoming an LPN, I don't see how that would help because LPN's work in the hospital as well and have some of the same responsibilities as RN's, so if they are unsafe as RN students, why would they be safe as an actual LPN?

    I'm sorry I have no advice.
    Good Luck.
    Last edit by Lisa CCU RN on Jan 28, '07
  12. by   allthingsbright
    If this student has passed the required classes to qualify to sit for the LPN in her state, then she has every right to do so--her ability has been judged by the classes she has passed--not by what we know of the situation here on these boards.

    In our state you cannot sit for the LPN after two semesters in an RN program--you have to actually graduate from an LPN program. I happen to know an excellent RN with a BSN who is working on her masters (and teaches clinical) who previously failed out of an ADN program, went on to get her LPN and take the rest in increments. Thank God she stuck it out! Good clinical instructors are hard to find--or so I have heard.

    Lots of people deserve second, and yes, third chances. I don't know the circumstances of the OP, but I hope people out there always find a way to perservere if nursing is their dream.
  13. by   LovebugLPN
    Allthingsbright,
    I do not think anyone should "give up" and that is not what I was suggesting. What I was saying is if she was determined to be unsafe, and we don't know what happened the first time around, maybe she should not be taking the NCLEX PN until she is sure she can perform patient care safely. The OP also posted a thread asking about lawsuits after posting this one. It seems she is looking for everyone to blame, from both of her posts, and needs to be sure she is blaming the right person. I hope she thinks about that before she works on your family member.
  14. by   Lisa CCU RN
    The OP has been an LPN for twelve years, so I guess it doesn't really matter.

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