New RN on Med/Surg and so frustrated between 2 preceptors

  1. Hi,

    So I just recently graduated in May and I have been working on a Med/Surg unit for the past month now. I have been orientating with 2 preceptors. At first I really needed work with my time management and documentation, I have been trying so hard to address both. My Preceptor A has said that I have had a lot of improvement and I am doing great. Whereas, my other Preceptor B keeps coming up with lists and lists of changes to my documentation and everything else that I am apparently doing wrong. I am just so frustrated and confused, where one person tells me I am fine and then the other shoots down my confidence in 0 sec flat. My Preceptor B also goes and tells my nursing supervisor about how I am not competent and need a lot of work yet, whereas the other says I am doing fine. I am just so confused because when I have to work with the one preceptor I absolutely hate going into work. I feel that no matter what I do it's just not good enough for her. I have talked to my manager and she says she knows what's she doing...I guess I am just confused and frustrated and could just use some advice. I really do love being a nurse, but according to one of them I just suck and shouldn't even be working.
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    About eileeny21

    Joined: Aug '12; Posts: 6; Likes: 1


  3. by   eleectrosaurus
    Quote from eileeny21
    ...Whereas, my other Preceptor B keeps coming up with lists and lists of changes to my documentation and everything else that I am apparently doing wrong. I am just so frustrated and confused, where one person tells me I am fine and then the other shoots down my confidence in 0 sec flat...
    I've been through this one! I understand how your feeling! When everything was said and done my "preceptor B" and I got along really well!

    Sounds like your "A" & "B" have different standards.
    Do not tie your confidence to this persons feedback! You are psyching yourself out way too early! Take it as an opportunity, nurse B probably has TONS to offer. Accept that she is nit-picky, to super-newgrads (such as yourself) and so-so new grads, because she has high standards, not because of the person. I bet she really does want you to do well.

    Also accept that she probably isnt all huggy feely, she probably does approve of some of your work but isn't the type of person to compliment. She said "I am not competent and need a lot of work yet" she said you need work.. who doesn't? she could have said that you wont make it, wont fit in etc.

    One of my last shifts with my "B" she ran me like a dog and nit-picked like mad. After our shift she said "Do you feel proud?!" I was like hun? "Cause you should be, you did everything on your own!"
    That was my first and last compliment from my B.

    Good luck!!
    Last edit by eleectrosaurus on Aug 26, '12
  4. by   amarilla
    Cosign the above and adding:

    of course you will need to work on putting the pieces together, you're a new nurse! You'll have those 'new nurse' jitters for some time, (check out the 'first year after licensure forum' to assuage your doubts), and that's to be expected. Orientation is difficult enough without having to switch back and forth between two preceptors, but...

    learn all you can, ask all your questions, do every skill offered and available, and work your rear off and it's going to fly by. As someone told me one awful day during my orientation, this is only for now; soon you'll be on your own and will develop your own style of practice. Don't sweat that your style doesn't jive with someone else's - just like in clinical, hold your breath, nod, ask some questions, observe, try, get it down and move on.

    With the preceptor who is driving your confidence down, try asking her for specific examples and ways you can improve. Getting her input can clear up whether she's just being tough on you or if you may have a weakness in that area. Sometimes med-surg nurses want so much to put you through everything that they can to toughen you up and get you ready that it can feel like a real kick in the pants every single day, (I know it was for me, I wanted to quit! *laugh). But - it isn't forever. Keep working to improve and keep your boss in the loop on specific examples of what you've worked on and how you're improving; you don't want the only voice she's hearing to be a critical one, after all.

    Good luck.
  5. by   amoLucia
    Do you have any kind of checklist or interim daily progress report to help? Maybe your program should have some kind to help keep track. Ask.
  6. by   FurBabyMom
    Take a deep breath and relax a little. Transitioning to being a nurse and orienting to a unit is difficult.

    I am orienting to the OR after a year of neuro med surg tele. When I oriented to my unit I worked on for most of the past year - it was rocky at best. The facility made new RNs orient 40 hours a week on day shift only. Over my orientation, I oriented with about 10 nurses on this unit. Was it frustrating? Sure it was. But the fact of the matter is - there are a LOT of things each person you are with has to offer. Each person had something they were super good with. Know what? I learned something from all of them.

    One of my coworkers, one of our charge RNs explained why she always nitpicked - she wanted everyone who oriented to and worked on our unit to be "good enough for me and/or my family." A few months after I went off orientation, one of her family members was admitted to the hospital. She called the transfer center/bed board and demanded placement on our unit. She called the unit and asked us to make sure we held a tele bed for her family member. Her family member spent over a week on our unit. Think about that. It kind of sucked ping ponging around from preceptor to preceptor. But I learned so much. All of my coworkers learned a little bit about me and how I handled situations.

    It's going to feel rough for a while yet. A skill we have to use as RNs is self assessment. Assess your own progress, what are you getting better at, what are you needing work on? Maybe it will help preceptor B see more growth if you take more intiative/become more assertive about your orientation and learning. Make yourself a brain sheet / checklist to help organize your routine and thoughts and documentation. Other than that, it's a ride and it will get better. Difficult days on orientation or difficult situations help prepare you for reality on your own. I think if you keep at it, you'll do awesome.

    Previous posters are right - one probably just expects more. It's easy to clear the bar and do the very minimum, but why not become super super super at your job? I worked with nurses who did the minimum and nurses who were awesome and knew a lot and were great resources. People could complain about getting patients that 'so and so' had because they didn't do a great job. I didn't want to be talked about like that and I wanted to be super super super at my job. And I would rather hear criticism from someone directly than as gossip later. It's possible your preceptor B wants to save you time and hassle of learning something the hard way later.

    Best wishes to you, it really will get better
  7. by   classicdame
    try to arrange a meeting with the three of you, and possibly the manager, together. State you are getting conflicting information and need to know where you stand so you are not wasting anyone's time. I have trained preceptors and find that some feel they are not living up to the job if they do not find something to criticize. Remember, this too shall pass.
  8. by   tokmom
    Sounds like you have Nurse Ying and Nurse Yang!

    In nursing school, I had two different med/surg instructors. OMG, both polar opposite. I finally learned when i was with instructor A, I did things her way. If it was a instructor B day, I did tasks how she liked them.

    Once you are on your own things will be a lot better. You can then practice how YOU want and not how somebody makes you.
  9. by   eileeny21
    Thank you everyone who has has really helped a lot and has helped given me some new insight for when I go to work. I have 1 week left of orientation and then I am on my own. Hopefully everything will go well