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avoiding evil CIs = RN

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by amianurseyet? amianurseyet? (New) New

it seems that, for the most part, failing nursing school has primarily to do with getting pegged off in clinicals. sometimes this is easily justifiable (e.g., truly dangerous action on the part of the student, general lack of professionalism, etc.). however, based on many of the stories i've read here and elsewhere, it is often unjustifiable (e.g., a nasty CI targets a student and makes a case to fail them). i have heard many stories regarding specific CI's at my school that i plan on avoiding throughout my time here, if at all possible;not because i can't or am unwilling to work with "difficult" people, but because i am unwilling to be failed out of nursing school. i am curious as to how many people here have been strategical about their CI selection, and to what extent they (or others they might know) attribute this to their surviving nursing school.thanks. has "rate my professor" been of any assistance?

TheSquire, DNP, EMT-B, APN, NP

Specializes in Urgent Care NP, Emergency Nursing, Camp Nursing. Has 10 years experience.

however, based on many of the stories i've read here and elsewhere, it is often unjustifiable (e.g., a nasty CI targets a student and makes a case to fail them).

Because the stories here are a completely unbiased accounting of events... /sarcasm

Boog'sCRRN246, RN

Specializes in Utilization Management. Has 10 years experience.

it seems that, for the most part, failing nursing school has primarily to do with getting pegged off in clinicals. sometimes this is easily justifiable (e.g., truly dangerous action on the part of the student, general lack of professionalism, etc.). however, based on many of the stories i've read here and elsewhere, it is often unjustifiable (e.g., a nasty CI targets a student and makes a case to fail them). i have heard many stories regarding specific CI's at my school that i plan on avoiding throughout my time here, if at all possible;not because i can't or am unwilling to work with "difficult" people, but because i am unwilling to be failed out of nursing school. i am curious as to how many people here have been strategical about their CI selection, and to what extent they (or others they might know) attribute this to their surviving nursing school.thanks. has "rate my professor" been of any assistance?

At my school, we were not able to choose specific clinical instructors. We submitted our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice of day and location, but clinical instructors were rotated throughout different levels of the program.

I tend to agree that most of the stories that you read on here about tyrannical CIs are extremely biased. No one is going to openly admit wrongdoing on their part when it comes to failing out of nursing school; it's almost always going to be someone else's fault or someone was out to get them for whatever reason.

i want to believe both of you about the bias. and by all rights, particularly based on my education in social psychology(e.g., theories like "self serving bias""), i would. however, i've even witnessed unwarranted targeting (probably should have mentioned that?). so, i can't agree that it's all lack of accountability on the part of the reporter. anyway, i suppose this thread is an attempt to get the viewpoints of people who actually have experienced/witnessed this and/or successfully survived/avoided it. thanks for your input.

oh, but i should have asked you both: what, then, have you witnessed in the clinical setting that has resulted in a student's dismissal, did you or did you not think it was justified, and why?

Boog'sCRRN246, RN

Specializes in Utilization Management. Has 10 years experience.

oh, but i should have asked you both: what, then, have you witnessed in the clinical setting that has resulted in a student's dismissal, did you or did you not think it was justified, and why?

In my program, basically the only way to fail clinicals is through gross incompetence/unprofessionalism that has been witnessed and documented by nurses who work at our facilities, other students, and the CI. And those cases are rare because we have so many channels of remediation. In every case I have actually seen that resulted in dismissal, it was most definitely justified. Examples (b/c I know you're dying to know what I've seen :p): two students engaging in a fist fight in the middle of a critical care unit (they were separated, but managed to pick up the fight outside the doors of the unit); and a student attempting to administer tube feeding...via a trach :uhoh3:

you're putting me on, right? wow....bwahahahaha. that's got to be the worst i've ever heard. yep, definitely justified there.

kgh31386, BSN, MSN, RN

Has 4 years experience.

i've even witnessed unwarranted targeting (probably should have mentioned that?). so, i can't agree that it's all lack of accountability on the part of the reporter.

Do elaborate a little on the '"unwarranted" part. I've only seen students dismissed for not being prepared, not having assignments, being extremely late, and other things along those lines.

Moogie

Specializes in Gerontology, nursing education.

In all honesty, yes, there are clinical instructors who are unfair or unable to teach. Student assessment is difficult work and it's hard for many instructors, particularly novice instructors, to know how to grade objectively rather than subjectively. In many cases, clinical evaluation can be standardized, to an extent, by use of rubrics and other clinical evaluation tools that can guide the instructor's assessment of students and decrease the chances that a student is being unfairly treated due to personality conflicts or unrealistic expectations on the part of the instructor.

Having said that, many clinical instructors lack formal education in teaching/learning approaches and have no idea how to objectively evaluate a student. Someone going through a nursing education master's will have those courses but again, schools often hire clinical instructors without that educational background because they can't find enough bodies to fill faculty positions. All too often, schools hire nurses with clinical expertise who have no experience or education in teaching---while clinical expertise is certainly a desirable trait, being a clinical expert does not mean that one has the ability to teach.

Moreover, there is often a lack of mentoring of new or adjunct faculty and the novice instructor is left to fend on his/her own with little input or support from the institution or experienced faculty. Clinical evaluation is not rocket science but it can be daunting to try to figure it out on one's own. Some instructors are too lax in their assessments---as a new clinical instructor without the benefit of nurse educator courses in teaching/learning theories and approaches or coursework in assessment and evaluation in nursing education, I was a bit too laid-back and could have been a bit stricter with my students. However, I have had peers who have been equally inexperienced who have been way too harsh and unrealistic in their expectations of students. I've also worked with experienced, well-educated faculty who have had personality issues.

Most nurse educators are not trying to ruin their students' lives. They want to see students succeed but they also are cognizant of their responsibility to protect the public from unsafe practitioners. While most of my experiences were positive, with instructors who were fair in their assessment and tried to help students to learn, some experiences were less than positive. For what it's worth, I've had similar experiences in the workplace---some of the supervisors I've had have been amazing people and others have been complete jerks. I wish I could say that having had a couple of experiences with unfair instructors prepared me to deal with unfair bosses, but it has not been the case. Some people are inexperienced and don't know how to deal with others. They can learn. Some people are downright mean and, when they get into positions of power, whether as nurse educators or managers, they can make the lives of their students or staff miserable.

There is a huge difference between an instructor who is unfair or inept and the instructor who is tough or has high standards. Some of the best instructors I've had have been the toughest---they've had high standards and I have worked hard to meet and exceed those standards. Toughness and rigidity are not synonymous. There's a huge difference, too, between constructive and destructive criticism. Constructive criticism, while not always easy to take, is meant to help the student improve his/her deficiencies. Destructive criticism tears the person down and strips him/her of his/her dignity. Unfortunately, there are some educators who don't seem to know the difference. I wish I had words of wisdom to help you to avoid these people but I don't know how to avoid them myself. Am just working hard to try to make a difference so that I won't be the instructor about whom students are complaining here on AN.

However, it is my observation that many posters here on AN are here to vent. Not many are going to start new threads about how wonderful their clinical instructors are or how well things are going. Most folks come here with issues of some kind and a need to get peer feedback regarding their experiences. It's normal and it's human nature. How many of us are going to complain if we get poor service, say, at the local store, but we say nothing when we get good service? I think it's the same here. I do read many of the student horror stories and, keeping in mind that I am getting only one side of the story, I do think that some posters come on here with legitimate concerns and that they have been treated unfairly. Some, however, do tell only part of the story and are looking to blame someone else for their problems. Again, it's human nature. I'm also not sure I'd put a lot of stock into a website like Rate My Professor because it seems that most students are venting against what they perceive as unfair treatment. It might be better to ask upperclassmen for their recommendations and, more importantly, why they like or don't like a certain instructor. Then you can make up your own mind.

Best of luck to you in this...hope this rambling treatise helped.

2ndyearstudent, CNA

Specializes in CNA.

It is always up to you to successfully interact with your CI.

I've had great clinical instructors, and I have had one horrible one. With the one I didn't see eye to eye with, it was my job to make sure this didn't affect my nursing school track. I was successful at this, but it involved me biting my tongue a lot and I am so glad I did.

It really is a roll of the dice sometimes, but suck it up and get it done.