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Abused by instructor---what to do?

Posted

Last week I had clinicals with this particular instructor for the first time. The instructor and I have been on friendly terms and have ran into each other socially a few times. She has always been quick to make a joke or laugh at mine...

A few times during lecture (no, several times) I have come to her rescue when she misquotes facts we should know and/or contradicts herself (this happens alot). I have defended her behavior to other students.

She can be terribly impatient and intimidating...even during lecture but I was absolutely stunned at how she treated all of us during clinical. Please know that I do not throw the word "abuse" around lightly. I understand that lives are on the line and tempers are at a fever pitch. I do not expect to be babied or carried around on a feather pillow. Roll your eyes, call me names under your breath but just teach me has been my motto. I worked with the public for fifteen years before I began this profession...there is not a name that I have not been called and no cut-down that has not made it's way to me at least once. But, we got much more than eye rolling and under the breath names. She was not satisfied until she had made a meal out of four other students before me (reducing them to tears after screaming that she would send them all home or reducing them to red faces demanding they answer her shaming questions through clenched teeth).

Her behavior was so hostile that two of the patients demanded that she not come back into their rooms.

She has been barred from the another hospital in our community (found this out this weekend). She also does not work any place but the school (gee, wonder why). She has been sued over a dozen times. And I have heard her verbally abuse the "president" of our program (she takes it without doing anything either).

What on Earth should I do? I made detailed journal entries on both days and discussed it with several people...

Now what?

Report her. Don't confront her. She sounds like a psycho! Demand she be fired and bring to light everything you've learnt about her thus far. Have someone go with you , preferably someone who feels the same way. Sounds like that shouldn't be too hard to do. And do it quick. I dont know how she's still teaching to be quite honest with you. :uhoh3:

change schools...

I would not give my money to a program that condones, accepts or tolerates this kind of behavior.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 15 years experience.

I recently complained on an abusive clinical instructor. He's been employed at my school for 8 years and numerous other students have complained on him.

However, the school does not want to get rid of him. The salary for nursing instructors is quite low, so attracting new instructors would be hard and time-consuming. The people who are not cut out to be staff nurses or administrative personnel are the ones who will settle for the low pay of a nursing teacher. That's the way it is.

Fiona59

Has 18 years experience.

Reminds me of the old saying "those who can DO, those who can't TEACH"

Reminds me of the old saying "those who can DO, those who can't TEACH"

I empathize with the OP, but I disagree that only people who can't do better end up teaching. I've had a few moody instructors at my school, too. But overall I've had many more good instructors than bad ones and some of them are exceptionally good. This instructor sounds like a true psychotic, and who knows what she might do if she totally freaks out one day!

I encourage the OP to discuss the situation with others in the clinical group to get to a consensus about making a formal grievance complaint to the nursing department and demand that the teacher be replaced or that you will all have no choice but to file a harassment case against her and the college. Colleges fear lawsuits more than anything else because most of them are already running at a deficit and cannot afford the legal fees. Believe me, they will be anxious to resolve the situation once they hear "lawsuit". If everybody stands together then no one student needs to fear any reprisal for 'stirring up trouble'. I agree with the poster who said that the college may not want to do anything to get rid of this woman because its hard to find an experienced nurse to teach for the low salaries that some colleges pay. But, you guys are paying tuition to learn, and the instructor has no right to treat you this way.

thank you everyone...I have left a message with a good friend of mine who is an attorney to try to run down my options.

Unfortunately, none of the other students would be willing to stick their necks out to file a formal complaint (I have brought it up to each of them). They are all afraid of the consequences of raising a big enough stink to really be heard. I doubt seriously if I could count on many of the nurses that were present that day either, with the exception of one who was openly disgusted by our instructors behavior. We are already running on a skeleton crew of instructors and I feel like this is why she is retained. The college that we attend has the vast majority of its enrollments because of nursing school hopefuls. Read: big $$$. With the long wait-list, people are desperate to get in despite the reputation of some of the instructors---a calculated risk that I decided to take as well. The school would certainly fear a lawsuit but, I also fear what could happen to my education if I get wrapped up in something like this.

And did I mention that I am dead broke?

But, I am also too old to witness something like this and do nothing. :o

The town where we live is very small and a squeaky student could face all sorts of complications. Luckily, I do not plan on practicing here after graduation.

I am sure that my friend will give me some good advice...Thank you so much for all of yours.

begalli

Specializes in Critical Care/ICU.

Unfortunately, none of the other students would be willing to stick their necks out to file a formal complaint (I have brought it up to each of them). They are all afraid of the consequences of raising a big enough stink to really be heard.

Unfortunately, these are the nurses who will get walked all over when it comes right down to it in the real world of nursing (and I'm NOT talking about nurses "eating their young").

Good for you for not taking the abuse. Seems that in many cases, this is where it all begins. Speaking up for yourself now primes you for speaking up for yourself AND your patients later.

Good Luck!

SmilingBluEyes

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 24 years experience.

Reminds me of the old saying "those who can DO, those who can't TEACH"
you know that is just rude. To the OP, I am sorry this is happening to you. DO report this,and DO consider changing schools if nothing is done about it.

Timewood,

Yours is an unenviable position. You state you worked in another position/career field position for 15 years suggesting to me that you probably know something of human behavior and the "real world."

Other posters have brought up some good points. Among the more important is soliciting classmates to reinforce your claims. There is safety in numbers.

I strive to stay strictly with the facts. If I repeat rumors (something done most judiciously!) or perceptions, I emphasize that these are rumors or perceptions. Credibility is of paramount importance. You mentioned that none of your classmates wanted to back you up--too bad. As a slightly older person, you probably are aware that if nothing is said, the situation is likely to continue unabated condemning junior classmates to the same behavior. You mentioned the instructor has been sued 10(?) times. How do you know that as a fact... and what bearing does it have on your case? If you lodge a complaint formal or otherwise, stay with the facts as they pertain to you. I suspect administration is probably aware (first or second hand) of the number of times one of their faculty has been sued. An exception might be if the behavior occurred at another school, administration was unaware, the information could be verified, and is germane to your case.

You mention being in a small town and that the squeaky wheel can get adverse attention to include following you after graduation--valid point. You also mentioned, "But, I am also too old to witness something like this and do nothing." I think that has become an ethical crisis for you. I endured horrible treatment from an instructor and said nothing until classmates highlighted my plight... after I had to repeat the class. I told my story which was corroborated by yet another classmate. The interviewer seemed to listen to me with a genuine concern which was all I really could expect. As another poster mentioned, faculty can be difficult to secure and I feel schools take who they can get to various degrees; that's a reality.

So what do I suggest? Remind classmates to complete honest class/evaluations if your school offers them. They are mandatory at mine. Failure to complete evals precludes continuation to follow-on classes... resulting in (I suspect) evals or dubious value. Again, numbers speak volumes. At my school, evals allegedly are shared with faculty about a year later putting some distance between students and concerned instructors.

On a personal note, I know it can be difficult to be brave enough to grab the "lightning rod" and lodge a complaint. I attend school in a large town with several nearby nursing schools. Students will remember me at their places of employment. Students liked or disliked me as do/did faculty. Both groups can impact my ability to get hired. My classmates are scattered all over the surrounding region. Faculty has "contacts" in all surrounding hospitals and larger places of employment. I think my profile was high enough to warrant possible repercussions even though I reside and probably will seek employment in the same city of my school. Still, at the end of the day, I know I did the right thing for those coming up behind me. I believe in my heart that others in positions of power will be on the lookout for behaviors I described. Hopefully, no one else will be treated as I and that is all I can reasonably hope to expect.

Good luck...

unfortunately, nursing schools attract control freak personality types. imagine her feeling of power. it's impossible to switch schools, and there you are.... basically helpless. she can sublimate her need to bully through you. i'd say your situation isn't that uncommon. and yes, the school will stand behind her. nursing programs are full of those who are self appointed gate-keepers to the profession, with a grandiose mission of weeding out those they don't deem worthy. authoritarian personalities suck.

as a male student, i'd wouldn't consider attending a nursing school for this exact reason. it's better (not to mention much faster) to go through medic school and then test my way through excelsior.

Is there enough students in this class interested in obtaining a adequate education that a committee could be formed? An agenda for concerns drawn up and presented to the Dean of the Program. This instructor can be reported to the state nursing board too. With the record you describe and behavior such as hers, it will not take long to get her booted out if the students really work at getting rid of her. The school paper could write a blurp in the gossip column about her being bnned from the other hospital too. I know some of this sounds underhanded, but we had a instructor that was guilty of verbal abuse and battery, no one would listen at first, by the time we finished, the state gave her a choice of surrender her license or be charged and lose them. Guess what she did? Good luck and if it nothing works, look for another program. :( :smiley_ab

thanks everyone.

Actually I am a staff writer for the school magazine and (ironically enough) had began the research to compose an article on horizontal violence. I plan on using my instructors behavior as a example of what this is. I also found some information from the EOC that defines what harassment is...She was truly guilty.

I brought up the previous lawsuits because she actually wears them as a badge of sorts. She has told us repeatedly and in great detail about each time she was involved in a lawsuit. She is of the old OLD gaurd of nursing that sees nurses as victims of docs and lawyers, not members of the healthcare team...so she turns around and (horizontal violence) projects/vomits her helplessness onto others. You are right when you say that they are not legally relevant however, they were relevant in explaining the type of person I am dealing with.

I also have a friend that is the editor of a large freebee paper in this area that has a decent readership. If I can make the article a really great one, I am hoping he will publish it as well.

I might be very limited in what I can do while I am still in school but, I will have much more time/ability/clout after receiving my license...I might not be able to be much of a help to upcoming nursing students until then.

Thank you again...

unknown99, BSN, RN

Specializes in Inpatient Acute Rehab.

Report her to the dean of nursing. She should not be allowed in nursing period if that is the way she acts and talks, especially in front of the patients.

If going to the dean gets you no where, then take it to the president/ceo of the college. If that does nothing, then report her the the joint comission who does the school's accredidation. And report her to the state board. I would also speak with the director of nursing at the specific hospital.

Timewood

I admire your moxie and hope you will get some vindication. No doubt you'll be a great nurse and leader. Best of luck.

jeepgirl, LPN, NP

Specializes in Pediatrics, Nursing Education. Has 4 years experience.

I recently complained on an abusive clinical instructor. He's been employed at my school for 8 years and numerous other students have complained on him.

However, the school does not want to get rid of him. The salary for nursing instructors is quite low, so attracting new instructors would be hard and time-consuming. The people who are not cut out to be staff nurses or administrative personnel are the ones who will settle for the low pay of a nursing teacher. That's the way it is.

That is not true. Some people enjoy teaching and are good at it. Don't cut people down like that.

So, in response to your above post... that ISN'T the way it is.

thank you everyone...I have left a message with a good friend of mine who is an attorney to try to run down my options.

Unfortunately, none of the other students would be willing to stick their necks out to file a formal complaint (I have brought it up to each of them). They are all afraid of the consequences of raising a big enough stink to really be heard. I doubt seriously if I could count on many of the nurses that were present that day either, with the exception of one who was openly disgusted by our instructors behavior. We are already running on a skeleton crew of instructors and I feel like this is why she is retained. The college that we attend has the vast majority of its enrollments because of nursing school hopefuls. Read: big $$$. With the long wait-list, people are desperate to get in despite the reputation of some of the instructors---a calculated risk that I decided to take as well. The school would certainly fear a lawsuit but, I also fear what could happen to my education if I get wrapped up in something like this.

And did I mention that I am dead broke?

But, I am also too old to witness something like this and do nothing. :o

The town where we live is very small and a squeaky student could face all sorts of complications. Luckily, I do not plan on practicing here after graduation.

I am sure that my friend will give me some good advice...Thank you so much for all of yours.

What about approaching the hospital where you are doing clinicals. You said several patients requested she not come back into their room. Surely the hospital dosen't that kind of PR.

I recently complained on an abusive clinical instructor. He's been employed at my school for 8 years and numerous other students have complained on him.

However, the school does not want to get rid of him. The salary for nursing instructors is quite low, so attracting new instructors would be hard and time-consuming. The people who are not cut out to be staff nurses or administrative personnel are the ones who will settle for the low pay of a nursing teacher. That's the way it is.

I totally don't agree. One of my best instructors that I learned so much from had been a Cardiac Nurse for many years. Cardiac ICU, taking care of patients that had just had transplants. She was going back to school in her spare time for her Ph.d. Wonderful nurse who had a calling for teaching. And thank goodness she did.

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