Nurses Eating Nursing Students

  1. It was our first day stepping foot on the floor.
    We were lost.
    We were scared.

    We've all been there. If you haven't yet, you will. Some of us were sweating. Some of us were shaking. Some of us were quiet. The one thing that we did have in common is that we were all scared. Here we are, stepping on a floor, full of patients that we needed to take care of but we knew NOTHING. "Go find your nurse" is what our instructor told us. Slowly, we strolled to the different pods and introduced ourselves.

    As I approached the nurse that I was to shadow the entire day, I became increasingly relaxed. She was an older nurse that looked mothering and I believed that I was going to learn a lot that day. "Ms. Martha? Hi. I'm Charlotte. I'll be your student nurse today" I widened my eyes and mustered the best smile possible, considering it is 6:30am. I was greeted with a blank stare, followed with an up and down glance that could make a dead man's veins run cold. She finally said, "Hmmmm. I already have a student nurse that is in her last semester. I need to focus on her and help her graduate. Where's your clinical instructor? Can you just be with her? If you have questions, you can ask. I just need to focus on my other student."

    Let's fast forward this day. My patient went to dialysis, meaning I will not have anything to do for 4-6 hours of my 10 hour day. Because my patient was gone, I volunteered my services for her other patients. I volunteered to empty foley bags, change bedsheets or whatever other tasks or errands that needed to be done. I asked questions. After the attempts of basically begging her to let me help her were denied, I even asked if I could just watch her and shadow her without even being acknowledged. (Mind you this was my first day. I know I sounded like a sad puppy but I had no idea of what else to do). Unsurprisingly, she shot those requests down as well. This is only a small insight to how my first day went.

    This is living proof that the advice that some nurses give about why nurses eat their young and all of things to do to avoid it is all FALSE!! "Make yourself available". Did that. "Ask questions and act interested". Did that. "Make sure to not come off as a know it all". Did that. "Sometimes, nurses are very busy and teaching a student will disrupt them blah blah blah!"

    If you are a nurse and do not want a nursing student, JUST SAY IT! It is very unfortunate that there are some nurses out there that do not want to teach. The cornerstone of nursing is teaching. You must teach the family and patient constantly during their visit. Also, "each one, teach one" should be taken to heart. Think about when you first became a nurse. You were frightened and scared.

    Fellow nursing comrades, if this has happened to you or if this ever happens to in the future, take it with stride. It is difficult to work with and hard to not take it personally. Just remember that day and vow to never EVER treat someone that is willing to learn and help with disgrace.
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  2. 195 Comments

  3. by   Pepper The Cat
    Perhaps your instructor should have just assigned you another patient.
    Rather then placing blame on a nurse who is already busy with a student plus whole full assignment you should place blame on the person who is being PAID to educate yo
    Last edit by Pepper The Cat on Jan 3 : Reason: Cat interferance
  4. by   hherrn
    Well, this is going to go well.
  5. by   AJJKRN
    From the post written, the nurse did tell YOU up front and then YOU proceeded to interrupt her throughout her shift because YOU are in need of learning, correct?

    YOU are paying the school to teach YOU, YOU are NOT paying the nurse to teach YOU, correct?

    Are you making a connection yet and realizing just how selfish YOU sound, correct?

    Doubt it because this post is all about YOU and YOUR needs, correct!

    There is NO NETY going on here, correct!

    Did YOU not take the time, effort, and initiative that YOU spent bothering the staff to instead go bother the clinical instructor that is actually getting paid to help YOU learn and let them know the nurse's concerns, correct?

    Are YOU even serious right now...correct!?!

    "I volunteered my services"...WOW...just WOW...
  6. by   quazar
    I will comment on one aspect of your post: the fact that your nurse stated up front that she already had another student. When I have a student, one of my primary concerns (other than teaching) is the patient's comfort level with having a student watching/participating in their care. Not all patients are comfortable with it, and the ones that are should not have their good graces trampled upon by allowing their convalescence to become a side show. Multiple nursing students at the bedside, regardless of how helpful, gracious, and kind they are, can make patients very uncomfortable. Some patients may be nice to your face and say nice things to you, the student, because they don't want to hurt your feelings, but will tell your nurse to find a way to keep you out of their room. Yes ma'am, that really actually truthfully happens. It is MY job as a nurse to protect my patients and honor and respect their wishes regarding their care and their dignity.

    Having BEEN a patient who has had a student (med student) angrily huff at me when I refused his observation at my very intimate, private, embarrassing exam, I can tell you that I really didn't give two beans about his imagined entitlement to gawking at my medical care for his learning experience. It was MY BODY and I said NO. He should have accepted that with grace and moved on. I had to become rude and abrupt with him to get him to leave.

    The nurse who you have so quickly judged as being mean and "not wanting to teach" may very well have been an excellent teacher who loves to teach. As Pepper The Cat stated, the person you need to be angry with is your instructor, for not doing his/her homework before making assignments. Whenever I am assigned a student nurse, the instructor always ASKS ME first. The failure is not with the nurse, it is with your instructor.
  7. by   Cisabel
    I appreciate your point of view but this was not the case. I teamed up with the MA that was helping with her patients. I didn't know at the time. She was perfectly fine with me cleaning up her patients and changing their linen. At first I questioned myself but after returning to that same floor and my other classmates experiencing the same thing. I wish shoe would just say that she did not want a student nurse. She gave conflicting emotions because she acted the way she did but also would say "If you have any questions, let me know!" I told my instructor and I just went around helping other people that wanted to be helped. My whole point is not to believe the other posts. They don't always work. I don't care about the nurse. I will just remember the way it was this day for me. If I am too busy I will let their instructor know.
    Last edit by Cisabel on Jan 3
  8. by   shedevilprincss
    Why are you focused on what happened as a student when it appears from your other posts you are now a new grad with a job?

    Take this experience forward into your practice, continue to seek out learning opportunities and help others on your unit, and be a great nurse. Being a new grad is hard enough on what sounds like a very hard but probably fulfilling unit and I am sure you will learn a lot. No need to dwell on the past.
  9. by   Guy in Babyland
    Quote from Cisabel
    She finally said, "Hmmmm. I already have a student nurse that is in her last semester. I need to focus on her and help her graduate. Where's your clinical instructor? Can you just be with her? If you have questions, you can ask. I just need to focus on my other student."
    She told you that she needs to focus on her senior student. Any time spent with you detracts from the student that is about to graduate. How is this NETY? Why did you not go to your instructor and state "My nurse already has a senior nursing student and needs to focus on her"?
    Quote from Cisabel
    Let's fast forward this day. My patient went to dialysis, meaning I will not have anything to do for 4-6 hours of my 10 hour day. Because my patient was gone.
    Now your patient is about to be gone for 4-6 hours and you still haven't talked to your instructor about being assigned to another nurse.
    Quote from Cisabel
    This is living proof that the advice that some nurses give about why nurses eat their young...
    Actually, no this wasn't an example of nurses eating their young. She was defending her senior student's right to get one on one preceptorship before she graduates.
    Quote from Cisabel
    If you are a nurse and do not want a nursing student, JUST SAY IT!
    She did say it when you met her. "I have no time for you, I need to focus on my senior student, go find your instructor."
    Quote from Cisabel
    It is very unfortunate that there are some nurses out there that do not want to teach. The cornerstone of nursing is teaching. You must teach the family and patient constantly during their visit.
    She was teaching her senior student. Yes, an important part of nursing is teaching patients, not students. There is no requirement that I teach students.
    Last edit by Guy in Babyland on Jan 4
  10. by   Cisabel
    Thank you for questions because I can correct you. #1 I did not interrupt her during her shift or in the middle of important tasks. We reported before shift report so we could be right there in the beginning. Also, she had one patient at the time. One was in dialysis, one was assigned to the other student and the other was discharged. I did not "bother" the staff as you put it. It was her nasty disposition that I'm calling out. If YOU don't want a student nurse then say so. When I asked if I needed another assignment she said no and told me to ask questions if I had any. So NO YOU ARE NOT CORRECT. My point is that I've read several posts where they say that students are engaged or show that they want to learn and I made sure that I did all of that. I did not "volunteer my services" as you're trying to put it. I was making myself available to do the tasks that I believed that would help. Again, it's my first day on any floor and I'm following what other nurses have said would cause someone to eat their young!
  11. by   verene
    I think when you found out this nurse already had another student you should have done as she suggested and found your instructor. This could have been resolved by checking in with your instructor immediately and either being assigned to another nurse/patient or working 1:1 with the instructor as your primary supervising nurse.
  12. by   Cisabel
    I did! I said it several times. And every time the nurse made a snarky remark, I told my instructor. My instructor came over there and the nurse made it seem like everything was fine. I was lucky enough to return to the same floor in a different clinical group and different instructor and she acted the same way with my classmates. I just steered clear of her. Then she would come reporting things about my classmates that we knew wasn't true.
  13. by   Sour Lemon
    I had good clinical days and less than ideal ones. I made the best of them, got my grade, and moved on. Why are you so desperate to be a victim? What are you getting out of "calling out" some unnamed, overburdened nurse you encountered while you were a student?
  14. by   Cisabel
    Apparently, people missed the point of the entire post. I don't care about the nurse. It is MY point of view of what happened to me on my first day of clinical. There are many snarky comments and things that happened throughout the day and I won't outline a full 10 hour day. The point that my instructor should reassigned me is something I can agree with. I did not volunteer my services or was begging for attention. I was more so trying to make myself available like other blogs have said Nursing students should. I am very aware that they do not get paid to teach students and when my instructor came she made it seem like it was not a problem for me to be with her she walked off and it changed every time. When I returned to the floor months later, she acted the same if not worst and she did not have another student. I overheard her saying things about my classmate and my second clinical instructor knew it wasn't the truth. After that, no one was with her again during my second clinical rotation there. I just want future nursing students or current students to know that there's no perfect way to avoid some things. I fell right into the trap of "this is what you do and don't do".

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