Abusive Nursing Instructors-LPN

  1. Hi,

    I am going out on a limb here as I am not a nurse but I have 2 daughters in LPN school. Their grades are good and they are on their third clinical rotation. One daughter is 24 and the other is 17. My 17 year old was given very high grades for her first two rotations. But then while in a patients room one day the patient asked my daughter how old she was. She told him 17. The nursing instructor who is notorious for making fun of girls, degrading them, insulting them and making them cry asked my daughter how she got in an adult program at 17. She explained she graduated a year early, passed the entrance test and would be 18 by the time she graduated. She just shook her head. My daughter(the 17 yr old) got the same instructor for the 3rd rotation and this time it was a different ball game. She verbally tears her up, told her she should have worked a year before she entered the program. She said she is never prepared enough. This is the same instructor that gave her very high grades on her last rotation. My daughter is not the only one she targets, there is an 18 year old she tears up verbally too. I feel bad as my daughter is getting discouraged. She works hard. My older daughter will get this same instructor next hospital rotation. This instructor seems to target the younger girls. She told one girl that she had no business trying to be a nurse. I checked all of the education credentials of all the instructors and they all have extensive education. But I noticed this particular instructor has her R.N. but not her Bachelors. She is an older instrcuctor. One of the other nursing instructors that has the highest degree in nursing told my 17 yr old that she was going to make a fantastic nurse and she could see her going all the way. But yet you have another instructor that says she should not be there ???? I am really confused by all of this. Its hard for me to give my daughter advice when I have no nursing knowledge. What could I say to her ? She is half way through the program and since this instructor she has come home crying twice. I feel so bad. She did say she makes lots of girls cry. Is this the norm of some kind of teaching method ? I would think it would violate a persons rights to insult them. It really ticks me off that we are paying A LOT of money for her education to have just one instructor tear her to bits. She has her two more weeks and then moves on. The rest of the instructors are decent. She has even worked with the head instructor and been told what a great job she did. Any Help ?????
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  2. 45 Comments

  3. by   nursesaideBen
    This is surprisingly common believe it or not, some nursing instructors are extremely negative and think that insulting and degrading their students is beneficial in the education process. The truth is, no instructor no matter what her credentials are is worth quitting or failing the program over. Your daughters will make it through this they just have to keep their eyes on the prize and take the negativity of others with stride. Easier said than done, I know, but if the other instructor has made positive remarks on her job performance, why give this gloomy guss any attention? Best of luck to your family through this difficult time!
  4. by   abooker
    Some people are just plain mean, and there isn't a whole lot we can do about it. I had an instructor that some of us thought was targeting students who came from low socioeconomic backgrounds. I told these friends that I thought it was, like, "hazing" for fraternities and sorrorities and it had a purpose; that the abuse made you more loyal to the profession.

    We've discussed on this board how some nurses "eat their young" and also how some students eat their teachers. I suspect mean teachers grow from mean students, but most of us are supportive of each other. I've seen humor used to cope with one teacher; that the reason she is heavy is related to all of the nursing students she has eaten. We tried to understand why she behaved the way she did, and the consensus was that she is just a sad, lonely person who feels compelled to share her hurt with others.

    I can't begin to understand what's going on with your daughter's teacher, but maybe she can. Maybe she feels threatened by students she worries are smarter than she is. Maybe she perceives herself as being a "gatekeeper" and only a certain stereotypical kind of student meets her qualifications. Maybe she was picked on by a group of 17 year olds in high school. Who knows?

    It sounds like your daughter is doing great, and is well on her way to a sucessful career. I hope she understands it isn't her fault; that there is nothing she can do about her instructor's bias against young people. And your daughter will be older next year. Next year, her teacher will still be a jerk.

    Take care,

    Rose
  5. by   linzz
    Couldn't have said it better myself. This is very common. Nursing school is tough and it is not just the work, dealing with people is a challenge. Tell her to keep going, don't quit over one teacher.
  6. by   nurselala33
    thanks for the kind words!
    Last edit by nurselala33 on Jan 25, '07
  7. by   ILWannabeRN
    I am in my first year of clinicals, and I have the same problem, and unfortunately it is VERY common from everyone I know that has been through nursing school HOWEVER....now that I work in a hospital, the Rn's and Lpn's are like my sisters, and I just adore them! Becuase of them I can forget all about the icky instructors and move on.

    Nursing is SUPER hard emotionally, and if they can make it through this, they can certainly handle being a nurse! Tell them to look at it as a test, and they ARE better than that instructor. Some people just get a kick out of being nasty. It's not worth causing a stink over becuase it will only make things more difficult.

    Good luck to your girls, but they're adults now, and have to face all the worlds ickyness!

    Tell them to hang in there! There are great jobs out there, with TONS of great people to work with....this is NOT a good idea of what being a nurse will be like. Most nurses are very supportive of eachother. The RN's I work with as a CNA are just so sweet, helpful, and nice to me, and want me to learn since they all know I am about 1/2 way done with my ADN. They help me with homework, and even one had coffee with me at 1am just to help me study for my pharmacology test. Nurses are wonderful, Instructors are NOT!
    Last edit by ILWannabeRN on Jan 25, '07
  8. by   abooker
    I wonder how much hazing goes on in nursing school? There's a research paper in there somewhere ... I do think some folks behave cruelly, but I'm curious about why so many of the rest of us let it happen. I'm bothered by the fact that the other nursing instructors have to know this is going on; that the school probably sees the crying students, and does nothing.

    Hazing (or being mean to newbies) might serve the following purposes:
    - establishes the social dominance of senior members (pecking order)
    - ensures rules and norms (unwritten rules) will be followed
    - pushes newcomers into new identities (you identify with the abuser)
    - continues the status quo
    - makes you value membership (you worked hard & cried hard for it)

    I think some folks in school and in the workplace believe that the longer a new person is kept "outside" through hazing (they wouldn't call it abuse) the more desirable being "inside" becomes.

    I'm stealing this from the article, "Hazing: uncovering one of the best-kept secrets of the workplace" by Natasha Josefowitz and Herman Gadon available at http://www.findarticles.com/p/articl...v32/ai_7739137
  9. by   txspadequeenRN
    My LVN program was ran by military nurses and if they caught on to someone that was the least bit scared or unprepared they laid into them. I agree with the other poster that some instructors think that if they are hard on you it will be beneficial to your education. They think they can make you tough or something. I do think that instructors can cross the line and make it twice as hard for students. LVN school is hard, hard, hard , no way around it. The instructors are there regardless of whether they have a BSN or PHD you are somewhat at their mercy . I found myself learning the way each instructor operated and changed my student practice based on who was the teacher for the day. It does not matter that one teacher says she is good and one says she will never make it... What matters is she is still in the program. If she was dangerous or not doing well she would have been out like a light. This is what I would do (and did) get tough real fast. When she says something like you should have known that ...just say you know what you are right I did not realize there was a difference and it wont happen again. Do not let her see your daughter cry or breakdown because if she is the real witch you are saying she is..thats what she wants and she will break you down to the ground. I have been out of school many years but I can still remember some things my teacher got me on especially inserting Foley's...Now when I insert a Foley i see this witch and hopefully will never break sterile tech again.....Good luck to your daughter.. I hope things work out
  10. by   purplegrape
    I am a nursing student. The coursework is hard and the instructors are responsible for preparing students to be nurses. Not all patients will be pleasant. It's a good time for your daughter to decide if she wants to deal with people who may treat her like dirt. Nurses typically see people at their worst. The stress of illness often causes people to behave in ways they normally wouldn't. It may not be fair or nice the way this instructor deals with your daughter, but maybe her concern is that being so young, your daughter hasn't had a lot of life experience to teach her that some people are just difficult. Maybe this instructor is not only teaching your daughter the curriculum, but also how to handle herself professionally, with dignity, to respect those in authority, and not to take things personally. Good luck!
  11. by   daisey_may
    Tell your daughter to stick it out even though it's tough. She will regret later if she doesn't.

    I'm the youngest person in my class...I'll be 19 when I have my RN, but I've been lucky with supportive teachers. Sometimes other nurses will say something about my age (and I look even younger). I've taken care of patients who want someone who looks older because being or looking older means that a person has more experience, I guess.

    This is just a bump in the road. This profression doesn't have a "traditional" student, this may be a second or even third occupation or degree. Your daughter will probably hear from patients and families and nurses about her age, but she shouldn't be discouraged. It sounds like the instructor is taking advantage of her. Don't let her lose confidence in herself.

    Daisey
  12. by   Simplepleasures
    Homeschool Mom , I went to LPN school 30 years ago run by nuns, VERY MEAN,to the point of screaming at the students. Just give your daughters alot of comfort when they come home. We, as mothers try to make everything OK for our kids, sometimes when they leave the nest to go out in to the world, it is shocking to see the reality. Especially in nursing, as stated above, nursing is a TOUGH profession, nurses are the brunt of alot of frustrated people, family, doctors, administration,the BON, even each other, THEN a nurse needs to learn to cope with the equally TOUGH working conditions, short staffing, overwork, the risk of making an honest error and being either sued personally OR worse, being prosecuted by the Dept.of Justice. I am not saying your daughters cant prevail and be GREAT nurses one day, but this is the way things have been and continue to be. Tell your daughters that this too shall pass and give them alot of hugs and kisses. My own daughter is an RN in the Navy and whew, talk about TOUGH!
    Last edit by Simplepleasures on Jan 25, '07
  13. by   abooker
    I'm a newbie, but I don't think there is a difference in stoma care techniques, whether it is a colostomy or an ileostomy. The info in the chart was wrong, and that happens, but that isn't really the issue, is it? If your daughter's difficult teacher is like mine, she would've continued asking questions until your daughter was unable to answer one, and then pounced and said, "You should've known that!" And that's silly, because if your daughter already knew what an LPN is supposed to know, or if she already knew how to find out on her own, or if she were psychic, then she wouldn't need a teacher at all.

    In my experience, it is the norm to ignore mistakes in the chart or mistakes by colleagues. You just make sure you don't repeat 'em and keep on going, like if someone plays the wrong note in an orchestra, you just keep playing and hope nobody notices.

    Newbies notice mistakes. It distracts us and we don't know how to continue or what to do, so we ask questions, and in the asking we reveal sometimes that the emporer is naked, and the senior members hate that. They know, but we can't *say* it because that's disloyalty. I saw a physician order morphine when he had the patient's chart in his hand and it said she was allergic to morphine. My classmate caught it, and whispered it to me, but she didn't tell our instructor. I mentioned it to our instructor, but I don't know what happened after that. Later, I saw the nurse give what looked like Tylenol. Was the physician called, or ... ? I still feel strange about that. We're not supposed to ask; we're not supposed to tell ... that seems to be the norm.

    The purpose of this instructor's comments was not to educate your daughter about patient care. I think the purpose was to haze her, to "help" her become a valued member of the profession, and to "teach" her we don't ask questions about the chart. This teacher must really have strong feelings about your daughter, to spend so much energy in "instructing" her. It could almost be flattering, in a sick and twisted way. Your daughter should get some kind of award, a Purple Heart or something ... she is having to deal with a lot. Thank goodness she is almost done with this rotation!
  14. by   Jules A
    Like others have said this is not unusual for nursing school. I am sorry that your daughter is having to deal with this at such a young age but she sounds bright and capable so I'm sure she will get through it.

    Since she is taking on an adult role now being suppportive is great but I would let her work some of this out for herself. Imo getting too involved in the politics of school even if your intentions are pure really isn't going to help her become independent. As we all know learning to deal with difficult people especially if she is going to be a nurse is just a part of growing up. She'll work it out, Mom!

    Tell them about this site and maybe they will join us. Jules

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