Clinical Instructor Horror Stories


My very first clinical of nursing school, I had a terrible instructor. He was knowledgable, but had very poor communication skills, poor time management, and overall was just an intimidating person who became furious at students when they asked questions.

My first story about him was I was testing a patient's blood sugar. I opened the cap to the test strip container, and I set the container down on the counter. I inserted the test strip into the accu-check meter, and then I proceeded to close the cap to the test strip container. The instructor was enraged and explained that I let air get into the test strip container too long, and I ruined the rest of the test strips in the container. He threw the rest of the test strips away (what the heck???).

Secondly, I missed a day of clinical in the middle of the semester due to a bad case of the norovirus (throwing up every 15 minutes - yikes!). When I returned the next week, it was only the second time I ever passed medications. I had a question about the order in which I was supposed to scan the medications in the computer. He gave me this horrified blank stare and said "You have forgotten everything, and this could be very dangerous to the patient". This was at the patient's bedside and it began to make the patient very uncomfortable and anxious that something was wrong. The instructor and I had already previously prepared the medications, and ensured we had the right drug, right dose, right patient, etc. Later in the day in post-conference the instructor kept mentioning to the rest of my fellow classmates that "[wsunurse14] had forgotten everything" several times.

I could go on forever about this instructor, but I won't. What I really want to know is what are your clinical instructor horror stories?


360 Posts

Lets see....being screamed at in front of a patient by an "instructor". Being told I was incompetent and not performing anywhere near to the level of my other class mates.

Long story short...I quit , instructor was fired, and the school had in-the-toilet nclex pass rates.

guess it wasnt ALL me! :)


14,633 Posts

I guess I've been lucky -- I haven't had any "horror story" instructors. Some of my instructors were tougher and more demanding than others, but those often ending being the people from whom I learned more than I did the easier, "nicer" instructors.

Specializes in Psychiatry, Community, Nurse Manager, hospice. Has 7 years experience.

My first Foley on a real person. I open the kit and there are no foil packets of lube like we had in our lab kits. I had never seen a kit like that and was at a loss as to what ti do about it.

I said "I don't see the lubricant." Instead of telling me that the lubricant in this particular kit was in a syringe and not a foil packet, my instructor tells me to doff everything and go tell the nurse that I am not going to do the foley. I did as I was told. The nurse was clearly annoyed.

Then the instructor gives me a clinical warning, which is a disciplinary action.

The clinical warning was eventually dropped, and the instructor had a come to Jesus talk with the department chair about the situation. I was generally supported by faculty.

Even so, that instructor grilled me much harder than the other students about my patients, nitpicked every little thing I did and gossiped about me to the nurses for the rest of the semester.

The constant pressure made me work extra hard and I wound up learning so much.

So it was a horror and a gift.

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

He threw away test strips??? Those things are expensive. I had gestational diabetes with my youngest child; toward the end of my pregnancy I only tested once a day -- because I didn't want to shell out $100 for another canister. Also, in my observation, the cost of strips is a HUGE factor in the adherence among low income DM pts.

And really... it was a FSBG. It's not like you tried to advance a contaminated Foley, or access a central line without using a Chloroprep. You were closing a canister during a clean -- not sterile -- procedure.

If a person is truly enraged and can't control their impulses (e.g. throwing a hospital's property in the trash), I am concerned for them. That is NOT normal behavior. And to be clear, I will freely tell someone if they give me a special snowflake vibe.