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Advice please re: evil clinical instructor

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:angryfire I have the clinical instructor from he** this quarter. I can deal with her bad attitude, the making students feel stupid, reaming us for not knowing things we haven't yet been taught and generally snotty demeanor but things have gone from bad to worse. I've started having nightmares on Thursday nights (clinical is Friday) and I dread going to the hospital.

Yesterday, my patient commented on how this woman talks to me (I'm not being singled out in any way, she's like this with all of us) and this is the second patient I've had who has been shocked by my instructor's way of speaking to me and commented on it.

I'm pretty confident in my brains and ability so I take the "this too shall pass" approach, but she is destroying the confidence and desire to learn of some of my fellow students.

Yesterday, she made a major error when administering TPN and lipids, which I attribute to her working a 12 hour night shift immediately prior to our 10 hour clinical.

My question is this... do I say something to her the next time her behavior is innappropriate, do I say something to the higher ups at school or do I keep my mouth shut and thank the heavens when this rotation is over??

Thanks for the advice!

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 27 years experience.

Does your school have a grievance policy? I think I would follow it on up the chain. Supervising clinicals after a 12 hour night shift just isn't possible in my book...

memphispanda, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg.

I would keep my mouth shut, and wait for it to be over. Having just finished nursing school in December 03, I learned from my fellow students mistakes. She who challenges the instructor or tries to "call them out" becomes she who has a "clinical failure". Half of nursing school is leanring to play the game.

If you can't talk to the instructor, is there another member of the faculty that you can talk? I agree that it is unacceptable for an instructor to work 12 hours and then supervise students. It's really unsafe. I would also talk to the director of your nursing program. I know colleges are short on instructors but you and other students should not be treated this way. It was sad to hear that a patient actually commented on your mistreatment.

ps. I've been a clinical instructor for 6 years and know i would have been reprimanded for that type of behavior.

ive had a similar experience, in fundamentals no less. she wasnt as bad as ur teacher, she was sensible enough not to berrate us in front a patient (that makes her look bad isnt it, and she doesnt like that) imagine how much discouraged and my confidence hurt by this instructor when i barely even started the program. i struggled to get through our 12wk clinicals and here i am, still in the program and graduating soon. we've complained, cursed her out to our classroom instructor. but the most that they can do is remind that person, let her know that students are complaining. in short we still had to deal with her the rest of the semester. but one thing though, ive never heard her take on a clinical group again after our semester. they tied her up in the skills lab where no one wants to approach her, lol. i dont suggest a student confront her, bec u will risk getting ur group into more trouble. sometimes the more u act irritated, the more it feeds into their feeling of power. so take it easy in clinicals, laugh about it if can, show her ur not affected. hang in there. just think that u wont be seeing her again after the semester is over.

as for the mistakes, be extra careful treating patients while with the instructor. check with the floor nurses. most of them can be pretty sympathetic to students with a bad instructor. bring a procedures manual and a drug book.

I feel your pain....I graduated 8 years ago, and had a clinicla instructor from hell back then. She was innapropriate to the students AND the patients. We decided that as a group (our cluster of clinical students under her care) we would write a greivance form listing all the issues, and submit it to the Dean of the program. We did, the instructor was investigated and eventually dismissed.

Remember you are paying for this education, and deserve the best. Be asservtive and go through the chain of command (as previously suggested).

The event has stuck w/ be for my entire career....mostly because of what our Dean said to us.

"There are good nurses and bad nurses. Learn from the both" Probably the best tidbit of info during my education and beyond. Strive to be like your best example, and strive NOT to be like your worst example. :rolleyes:

Good luck to you and your future career.

I feel for you. But I wouldn't feel like I was in the position to reprimand her if I were in your shoes. You are in a precarious situation being a student, and if I were you I would do anything to get by. When she was nasty to me or talked to me like I was a child I would be like "Yes Miss Scarlett...anything you say Miss Scarlett..." Because you only have to deal with it through nursing school and when you are finished and a nurse it will be a different story. If you think she is truly dangerous I might leave the director of the nursing program an anonymous letter just to apprise her of the situation but if it's just the lousy attitude that is getting at you just don't do anything except kiss the instructor's rear end because that will get you through.

Basically you have been told to stick it out and keep quiet and you will get by and that will be the end of it. That's the nurses motto. Complain loudly to eachother but don't ever stick your neck out and be a good girl(or boy).You'll see a whole lot more of that in your nursing career. I am not saying to get kicked out of school, but you have some rights, though very few at this time unfortunately.Students are at the mercy of the instructors, and nurses are the same with their management.

You have 2 choices. You can ignore this "evil"(more like pathetic) behavior and pass clinicals....or maybe she will fail you just because she wants to? The other choice is to go higher up. You could always do what I did when I had a really foul clinical instructor in 2nd semester(years ago). She told us ALL on the first day "Nursing is a horrible proffession and you are all making a huge mistake". NICE don't you think? Two of us went in on the day after clinicals and spoke with the director "confidentially". We told her everything. You may want to keep a journal and write each incident with dates etc and save that as part of your grievance.

LEt your track record speak for itself, and just hang in there.

Antikigirl, ASN, RN

Specializes in Education, Acute, Med/Surg, Tele, etc. Has 13 years experience.

When I had this probelm with one, I went to my instructor (our clinical instructors were different than our school instructor) whom I trusted and discussed the issue in a private setting with a box of tissues (I knew I would cry..and I did). She had a talk with the clinical instructor...then all the sudden I had another private meeting with both of them.....uhggggggg!

But you know what...she and I both got to vent, and I found out that she too had some issues with her job, and since no complained she didn't notice how her stress in her life and in her career came through to all of us! She had stress at home big time, then she was thinking of giving up clinicals and going back to work as a cardiac nurse, which was her passion. She really didn't realize her dissatisfaction with teaching was comming through so strongly..which is a suprise seeing as everyone was so intimidated by her!

She and I actually became quite close after that, and I encouraged her to go back to cardiology...which she did! It was a very hard choice for her, give up all the teaching she had done, which she had been doing for over 10 years...to take a risk being a floor nurse again! Took guts!!! Last I heard she was employed and very happy...a totally different person so I hear!

If I didn't have the courage to speak up to someone I trusted, and get this thing taken care of...no matter how uncomfortable it was for me (and believe me I was very very uncomfortable!!!)...well, I proably would have screwed up in clinicals being so nervous around her (she viewed me as her pet project before all this and followed me like a shadow...UHGG!), harmed a patient and expelled. She would have continued till she exploded and not followed her heart towards hearts!

It was a total win win situation, only because I spoke up as nicely and matter of factly as I could! And no, not in a million billion years could I have expected the outcome...heck no! But I will tell you, I feel so good about helping her even to this day! Who would have thought, I sure didn't!!!!!!!!!

Good luck to you!

i think most of us have had the instructors from hell.

i recall one particular one that just tried to break me down and would not let up.

at the end of the semester, she was giving me my evaluation.

when she was done, she asked if i had any questions.

i then took the opportunity to evaluate her in narrative form as well as give her advice.

she sat there speechless then asked if there was anything more i had to add.

i said no.

when i finally graduated, she said that was the most meaningful advice she had ever received. :D

that particular situation with that particular instructor worked out well.

but in gen'l, i encourage having a 1:1 w/the instructor. if that doesn't help, go to the next higher up, noting that pts had also questioned her demeanor.

much luck to you.....

leslie

SKM-NURSIEPOOH, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC/Peds/ICU/PACU/CDI. Has 25 years experience.

i feel your pain....i graduated 8 years ago, and had a clinical instructor from hell back then. she was inappropriate to the students and the patients. we decided that as a group (our cluster of clinical students under her care) we would write a grievance form listing all the issues, and submit it to the dean of the program. we did, the instructor was investigated and eventually dismissed.

remember you are paying for this education, and deserve the best. be assertive and go through the chain of command (as previously suggested).

the event has stuck w/ be for my entire career....mostly because of what our dean said to us.

"there are good nurses and bad nurses. learn from the both" probably the best tidbit of info during my education and beyond. strive to be like your best example, and strive not to be like your worst example. :rolleyes:

good luck to you and your future career.

basically you have been told to stick it out and keep quiet and you will get by and that will be the end of it. that's the nurses motto. complain loudly to each-other but don't ever stick your neck out and be a good girl(or boy).you'll see a whole lot more of that in your nursing career. i am not saying to get kicked out of school, but you have some rights, though very few at this time unfortunately.students are at the mercy of the instructors, and nurses are the same with their management.

you have 2 choices. you can ignore this "evil"(more like pathetic) behavior and pass clinicals....or maybe she will fail you just because she wants to? the other choice is to go higher up. you could always do what i did when i had a really foul clinical instructor in 2nd semester(years ago). she told us all on the first day "nursing is a horrible profession and you are all making a huge mistake". nice don't you think? two of us went in on the day after clinicals and spoke with the director "confidentially". we told her everything. you may want to keep a journal and write each incident with dates etc and save that as part of your grievance.

let your track record speak for itself, and just hang in there.

i would either approach the instructor as a group...say at the beginning or end of post conference. write an anonymous letter to her & cc a copy to your nursing director. write an anonymous letter to your nursing director directly without your instructor's knowledge (though this really doesn't sit well with administration...you should try to solve this problem among yourselves...it'll only goes towards your groups ability to be able to *fix* problems later as perspective charge nurses). you could arrange a meeting with your clinical instructor & say your class coordinator or nursing director (this way, there'll be someone from the facility that can moderate & *see* for themselves how you both communicate). lastly, i would contact the dean of students regarding the matter if the problem hasn't been properly addressed by the nursing dept director. having a clinical instructor work 12 hr shifts prior to supervising 10 hr clinicals *is* mad :angryfire!!! that only speaks volumes of her arrogance, pride/egoism, resulting in poor judgment & placing patients at risk. this clinical instructor may very well be a friend of someone within the nursing dept, & you won't want to piss anyone off. that said...i don't think the nursing dept facility will be wiling to sit by & allow a colleague to work such hr prior to clinicals. they'd *have* to address that conduct.

writing a clinical log is also a excellent idea & a good practice to have during your career as a nurse later. just keep patients' identity confidently by only using initials. be factual & keep personal feelings out of it (those are good for your personal diary & not a professional clinical log).

also, you've mentioned that a few patients commenting on your instructor's way of speaking to you & your group. no doubt the staff has noticed as well...if not then...i'm sure since *she'd* made a mistake/error with tpn & lipid administration! since this is a fact, i would ask those witnesses if they wouldn't mind writing a letter of complaint to your school's nursing dept director. doing this will also take a lot of weight off of you the student. hospital administration & nursing dept administration don't like complaints from patients, their families, & staff regarding students/clinical instructors. it make their program/hospital look badly. believe it or not, there are many folks who will write about what they've witnessed without even being asked. as far as you know, the patient(s) who complained about your instructor could've already sent such a note to the hospital ceo :)!

i think this instructor needs reporting...for nothing else...for *knowingly* placing patients (& students for that matter) at risk :(! this person worked enough years & have enough education behind them to know better than to work 12hr shift prior to supervising & supposedly teaching 10hr clinical shifts. that to me says this person is selfish & has no disregard for others! remember, you (you & your clinical group) as a prospective nurses have the responsibility to protect & advocate for patients! keeping quiet about this dangerous instructor just to *get* by this clinical rotations will speak volumes of your character, honor, & integrity (which are values many folks lost over these last 30yrs due to being scare of doing the right thing!!!). my question to you is, will you be able to look yourself in the mirror knowing what you know about this instructor? how many other patients should be at risk before someone bite the bullet & take a stand? how many other students & patient will have to be at risk before someone intervene? so you & your clinical group keep quiet & *slide though* this clinical rotation...but what about the next group & the group after that...don't you care about them too? if not...then by all means...keep quiet & let the cycle of abuse continue :rolleyes:!

cheers,

moe

I had a TERRIBLE instructor for my first clinical class ...almost made me quit.

Yes, you are right, THIS TOO WILL PASS. Stay strong.

I would try to make school administration aware of the problem. There is no reason to belittle students.

Roy Fokker, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER/Trauma.

Good posts all :-)

So far, I've had only good experiences as regards clinicals....

Our class had an OB instructor from hell, she was the talk of the class for our entire 2nd year. On my second clinical day, she began targeting me and I said, "Are we having another bad day again, today?" She left me alone after that - of course, that snide remark could have buried me. I think being a nontrad and catching her off guard was in my favor - I never could stand a bully. :angryfire Let us know what you decide to do...

Roy Fokker, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER/Trauma.

Let us know what you decide to do...
I concur!

GingerSue

Has 20 years experience.

Everybody makes mistakes.

You've got to get through your program. Can you find out from her about what she wants from you as students or what she wants changed? Do your best! And realize that she's a big part of the problem because she doesn't seem to be communicating effectively with you in productive ways, and it is her responsibility to facilitate your supervision needs.

Document everything chronologically - even for your own sake.

I'm fortunate that I had very good instructors, but I have encountered other people from time to time who were - well, I wonder if maybe they didn't realize just how awful they were behaving. One who was rather foul, but, well, at the end of my internship (a different field from nursing), she invited me to lunch - I really think they sometimes don't realize their own behavior, etc. I had a supervisor once who was rather "ghastly" to everybody - then when I quit, she demanded to see my resignation letter (I'd written it for the HR office), I think she was a bit paranoid - I openly showed it to her and there was nothing in it about her, I had stated simply that I was returning for more education. She later invited me out for lunch and also planned a going-away party for me with the staff. Many were complaining about her, and left after I quit. Then I learned that her marriage had fallen apart. Then she quit the supervisor job - she hadn't lasted a year at the job as a supervisor. I think she really didn't know the impact she was having on so many of the staff. I challenged her in staff meetings. I challenged any supervisor, and finally one of them, after a year of my ongoing challenging, phoned me at home to apologize - saying that she had gone to a higher supervisor and discovered that I was right!! Then she left when her year or so was finished and moved on to somewhere else. They really don't know how they're doing unless we find ways to let them know. But, you as a student - you have the additional pressure of getting through your classes, you must. I had another situation as a graduate student, my entire class seemed to wonder about the head of our program (not nursing)- but the result of our doing "nice" things for her - she gave us all A+ for one of the courses. I thought she disliked me, for reasons beyond my comprehension - other than that I was a mature student with a professional nursing background (I get kind of assertive) - but she sent me a personal card of congratulations once I had finished my thesis. I think she had lots of other stressors. So, you never know.

Good luck, I sincerely do hope it works out.

Or you could turn to Desiderata - I always liked this when I was younger, and it inflluenced me (within reason, of course) - "go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, be on good terms with all people. Listen to others, even the dull and ignorant, they too have their story."

Take care and know we do care about what happens. And we want you to get through. And we want safe, compassionate care for patients.

i had a terrible instructor for my first clinical class ...almost made me quit. yes, you are right, this too will pass. stay strong. i would try to make school administration aware of the problem. there is no reason to belittle students.

what a great post! my first clinical teacher was the biggest b**** you could imagine. beliiting her students in front of staff, patients and expecting us to be independant in all of our duties when it was all new! anyway, by the end of two weeks (four week placement), we as a group sat down in a debriefing session and confronted her about the excess and unrealistic pressures she'd placed on us. she ignored iit and said that we were lazy. we then took the minutes of that meeting to the subject co-ordinator who took it to the dean. the dean stated that she had to go as she was indeed belittling students, as well as promoting bad practices.

she was dismissed. a part of me still feels sorry for her.

the point of the story is that your paying for a service, you should be getting the best you can for the $$$. evaluate your practice; if it's you - fix it. if it's her, tell her "as a friend" (she may be b****y b/c she doesn't know how to relate to you - age is no barrier) and ask her what she expects from you. if things are still tight - speak to your year level co-ordinator or the dean about it (email is best & keep a copy of what you wrote for legal purposes). if still not working -> go to the student conselling service and the student respresentative council for help.

let us know what's happening.. good luck and the s*** will pass, they're not all that way. good luck!

~jelli

It's truly amazing what you learn as a supervisor. I had always suspected that one of the problems (at least when I worked in the computer industry) was that my higher-ups had all gone to meetings and were on one wavelength, but were unaware of the fact that us underlings didn't go to all those meetings and weren't privy to all that information...(good reason for supervisors to give meeting reports to their underlings...)

When I became a supervisor, I also discovered that people had expectations that I was completely unaware of!

I also, even though I was aware of the pitfalls of supervisors assuming their supervisees shared the same level of knowledge about company happenings, I was caught having changed the priorities of one of my supervisees without him knowing about it! (embarrassing.)

It's also interesting why people might treat you in a way you don't expect: I became an employee at a company where I'd been a contractor, only to find out that another employee had thought that he would get that job--and resented me because I got it instead!

Moral of the stories? You never know what's motivating people, so always be nice to them...who knows, you may need that kindness returned some day!

NurseFirst

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