Is it legal/ethical for preceptor to sabotage student? - page 5

by Roland

5,700 Views | 45 Comments

My wife recently posted about the difficulties she has faced in a new ICU job. She is recluctent to leave because it was tough to find the position that she now has. However, just the other day when her preceptor asked her how... Read More


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    In reply consider the following:
    1. My wife posted her own post on her issues with this ICU and they can be read with a simple search on the name OahuRN (I think she only has a couple of posts so it shouldn't be too hard).

    2. I am as certain as I can be that you have the whole story with regard to the chest tube incident. As I stated above she called me as soon as the preceptor confessed. In adddition, she has read the above posts and corrected me where I made a factual error.

    3. I respect your opinion that she should have reported the incident immediately, but am not certain that I agree (nor am I certain that I disagree). She has probably witnessed no less than twenty incidents that could have conceivably have caused the various nurses involved to lose their licenses or at least faced disiplinary action. It is not possible to report "every" such incident without being labeled "a snitch", and to quickly become unemployable in my opinion. In the real world of nursing such "errors" or deliberate acts of questionable ethics occur on a daily basis. Indeed, on those occassions in the past that she has gone forward with those types of concerns (not on this unit) she has been politely told to "mind her own business." With that said sometimes action must be taken and one has to choose which battles to fight and which hills to die upon. Perhaps this is such a hill and perhaps not. I am not knowledgeable enough to assess what if any risk the patient was exposed to (how important was the chest tube in this patient and did removing the suction for two hours place the client at any risk?). Keep in mind that the opinion that this preceptor relates to the manager tommorow at that meeting will effectively determine if my wife has continued employment at this facility as well as the conditions of that employment (it will also in part guide the nature of the reference available for any other conceivable employment). Again, two paychecks without pay, and our entire family would be on the verge of losing our home and automobile (which since we live ten miles out of town would be like losing almost everything).

    4. No where in my limited (two and a half semesters) of BSN nursing courses did we discuss this situation. The closest we came was "patient abuse" or "M.D's giving patients placebos" and I'm not certain that this qualifies which is one reason that I asked. Furthermore, I do not believe my wife was even told exactly WHEN the preceptor removed suction (not what date and not what patient), and her only evidence is the preceptors unwitnessed confession. Had she "turned her in" on the spot (not really possible since it was night shift, and the preceptor in question had many years experience/seniority on the charge nurse who probably fears her nearly as much as my wife) who would they believe if the preceptor simply changed her story and denied the confession? My wife who is new and struggling or the nurse with over twenty years experience on the unit?

    5. I have never stated anything on these boards that I did not believe to be true nor have I ever attacked anyone personally. I take exception to the comment that there "must be more to the story" based upon my history. Futhermore, I believe that such a statement may be in violation of forum rules against personal attacks. You may disagree with my opinions, but they are thatly that, my usually well thought out personal opinions.

    Also, as previously stated my wife has indicated that she will be writing her own response to this entire thread tommorow evening (however, I fear that it the thread keeps moving in this direction that it will be locked by that time). Thanks to all who have expressed their opinions and insights. Those who have expressed support are appreciated more than they will ever know and those who have expressed criticisms will have their thoughts considered and reflected upon to a much greater extent than they might expect.
    Quote from caroladybelle
    For those of us that have known the "history" that both the OP and his reports about his wife have on this BB, I am rather certain that there is more to the story than we are getting.

    And it has been mentioned repeatedly, that his wife may not be entirely happy with the role that Roland has in mind for her, in life. And no matter how wonderful, how perfectionist, how accomplished that one is....if they are not in the place/role that they are comfortable with, they may wish to try a more comfortable venue.

    One can succeed in a department, even if one does not like it. But invariably, people start getting "sick" alot, and can quickly become miserable and hate the job. And coworkers can pick up on that and feed into it.

    No matter how thoroughly Roland and his wife has "planned" a certain life and its goals, it might be best to step back for a bit and slow down. And not, the jobs/roles that they gave up, do not necessitate one of those individuals being miserable, as this job seems to be making her.

    On the matter of the preceptor. It is utterly inappropriate for a preceptor to endanger a patient's life/health to prove a point. If this happened as it is being reported very second hand to us, the preceptee (especially one that wishes to be in the highly assertive role of an ICU/CRNA) should have immediately brought it to the attention of the preceptor's supervisor. The preceptor being highly manipulative, and being a nurse means managing manipulative people. The fact that she did not also says something about her assertiveness about doing the right thing and ability to manage some of the issues. Grant you, she should not have to deal with this.....but all of us have to deal with unstable, inappropriate behavior, and manage it, reporting it/not reporting it appropriately, etc.

    And as the OP is a nursing student, he was well aware of the answer (is it ethical, etc.), as it covered in basic nursing 101. It makes wonder, what is the real question being asked.
    Last edit by Roland on Dec 15, '05
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    OK, the preceptor was trying to see if the orientee was paying attention. If the chest tube was supposed to be hooked up to suction, it should have been noted that it was turned off and the orientee should have started asking questions about it. Who turned it off? Why? She should have also checked the chart to see if an order had been written to d/c the suction and someone just hadn't told her. However misguided the preceptor's actions were, it sounds like her purpose was to see if the orientee caught the situation and then proceded to do something about it. Every nurse has to be able to assess and problem solve all kinds of situations on the job. This orientee may need to work on her observation skills.

    Isn't the orientee capable of writing a post herself? Second hand information coming at us isn't exactly the best way to get it. Makes me think there is a control issue going on in the bigger picture here.
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    Is anyone else just sick and tired of arrogant self-appointed straw bosses who can't seem to stop themselves from screwing with new nurses? Managers could stop this sort of ADHD behavior if they wanted to so, I'm convinced that most managers are either too weak or too goofy themselves. In the meanwhile, I'm learning new deliveries for the time honored message of "step off" cause in the end that's all they seem to understand.
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    Roland, I believe you. I wonder if this is my old unit. There was an experience nurse who was best friends with the manager. She did things like unhooking chest tubes from suction, and moving the level of your pressure transducer, among others. So I know these type things certainly do happen. (Among psychotic nurses that is.)
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    I need to close this thread for moderator discussion. It may re-open in 24hrs.
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    Quote from Roland
    Even within this thread I saw evidence of this attitude when someone above made a post about how standards have been revised downward. Really? What is your evidence of this? I know that in my nursing class of 60 over 200 applicants applied and that the LOWEST accepted GPA was around 3.4. In addition, we were required to take 40 hours of tough science prerequisites before we could even apply. Even after all that we had an attrition rate approaching 40% only halfway through the program. Personally, I think these people are nothing less than petty and indeed Evil. If there in any justice in the universe they will pay for their behavior either in this life or the next.

    Actually I was talking about schools lowering the experience requirements for graduate advanced practice programs.

    It sounds like your talking about RN school here and I'm sorry but I donít see that as nurses eating their young. RN's are responsible for other peopleís lives I for one don't want a fragile person doing that. School is hard and they make it that way because the academic and clinical requirements demand it.

    We all went threw it and many of us against high odds. I'm glad nursing school is hard because nursing is hard. You wifeís preceptor was out of line by what she did and maybe you can even say she was picking on your wife but nursing school isnít an attempt to make people suffer. It's an attempt to turn out well-qualified nurses.


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