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Competence & Safety of An Instructor?


I am in a dilemma, as to what to do. I am attending a school to become and LVN. I am a 1st Term student who is half way through the rotation for clinicals in this term. We are normally at our SNF the last 2 days of the week. However, our regular instructor has had his hours cut and he is only there Fridays now. Our Thursday shift has been taken up by an LVN with very questionable skills. I am seriously afraid of this nurse, and this is not because I liked our first instructor better. It is because of 2 things that happened while this new instructor had "taken the reigns" during clinicals.

First - she halted our clinical time on the floor of the SNF, while we were in the midst of doing our ADLs, Vitals, and Feeding. And why? Because she wanted us the "Feel what it was like to be poked during a blood glucose test." She said, "I want you to know what the pain feels like, so that when your patients ask you this, you will know first hand." Exact words, I wrote them down. Ok, she had us actually poking ourselves using the facilities machines and strips while the Treatment Nurses were doing their rounds right at that time. They were ****** that their blood glucose meters went missing. You think it would have stopped there, but it didn't. This "instructor" then told us that she didn't want to see us leaving sharps out, and that not all rooms have sharps containers - so use the glove and put it in our pockets for safe keeping. This includes syringes. I have never heard of this "technique" in all my years as a CNA. Quite frankly, even a place as remote as Guam and Palau - in their facilities - they have SHARPS containers. We are in California, I think most places have SHARPS containers here - either in the rooms, restrooms, med carts, or in the utility rooms.

The Second thing that makes me question the competence of this nurse, is that she was presented with a patient who was presenting with SOB and went into Cardiac Arrest. However, that patient was not the patient that we were working with - the room was share between Patient A and Patient B. Patient B was having their vitals taken just as a matter of routine, when patient A who was bed ridden and unable to speak or talk began presenting with labored breathing/SOB with light seizures. We tried to get her to pay attention to the patient, but she told us, "do not to deal with that patient because they are not your patient." We were the only "nurses" in that area at the time, and it wasn't until one of my classmates in the hall hit the "Code" button.

We are all scared of what is going to happen if we bring this to our Administrator's attention, because we are just students. But what scares me even more is having this person teaching us. :banghead:

What can we do? What should we do?

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN, CNS

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

I would document your concersn (they sound legitimate from this info) and pass it on up the food chain to your dept director.

We all have been documenting what we have observed. But we are finding that our DON of our school seems to favor this nurse for whatever reason. The nurse in question has gotten our school blacklisted from some of the facilities that our 3rd and 4th Term groups were going to. Reasons stem from inefficient time management when passing Meds to psych patients (meds were supposed to be passed out by 0700 - she had them going out at 1000). Grossly unprofessional responses and communication to resident employees - conducting pre conference @ the nurse's station during report of change of shift, she was asked not to come back to a facility because she kept upping the volume of her voice to compete with a charge nurse who was trying to give report and pass assignments to the staff. This is what we the students and school were dealing with prior to our group being saddled with this "nurse".

I've tried to talk with a few nurses here in the area to get a feel for what I should do. But they seem to think that if I don't get proactive or involved in this matter, it would be better for me in the long run. However, the main concern that I have is that this lady is going to end up either "throwing one of us or all of us under the bus" when she screws up again or she is going to get one of us seriously exposed to something that is a a no-brainer for anyone trained in dealing with HAZ-MAT. The day that we poked ourselves in the facility, there were 2 transfers from an acute hospital in the area with persons recovering with MRSA - they were admitted into our section.

I don't know if the D.O.N. at our school is going to do anything. She reports to the Dean of Students...should I just bypass her and go directly to the higher administration? Or maybe an anonymous email addressed to both D.O.N. and Dean? :banghead: I've been so ****** the last couple of days about this. I came to this school to learn competencies - and this is the crap they send our way :no:

bluegeegoo2, LPN

Specializes in LTC. Has 11 years experience.

I would probably just go directly to the dean, in person. A face-to-face meeting will likely hold his/her attention more so than an anonymous letter. It would likely help if you had a couple of your classmates with you to back the story so as not to become a "he said/she said" situation with the instructor in question. Of course, you should voice your concerns about retaliation if the instructors found out who talked. Just in case, I would also carry a separate notebook to document any hostile actions toward you if things do go bad. It does sound as if she is very unsafe and I applaud you for recongnizing that. For the record, I learned a lot from observing what NOT to do on clinicals. Believe it or not, experiences like that are shaping what kind of nurse you will be when you get out here, and for the better, of course! Unfortunately, you have some very difficult decisions to make. Even if you decide to do nothing right now, I would still document her "shortcomings" so that after you graduate, her ineptness can be brought to the attention of the appropriate persons. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

Agreed that this person sounds horrible.

I thought an instructor had to have RN/Masters in nursing? Ours did.

We also had an instructor like that, and she made our lives a living you-know-what. She failed 65 percent of the class before we were through. Her tests were complete madness - anything could and did show up on her exams. She routinely had 30% of her test questions as select all that apply - even on finals. There would be 6 possible answers. It was awful. She was always mad at the class, refused to lecture - you name it.

Several students went over her head to the dean, and nothing happened, except the students in question failed out. I wrote an anonymous letter to all the powers that be/were - and it seemed to help considerably. I'm talking the dean, the president, head of H.R... everyone.

Anonymous letters, when well-written and articulate, can be wonderful things when placed in the right hands. You get your point across, and nobody knows it was you. If the school has any ethics, they will investigate and deal with the matter.

That's my advice. Write a letter and tell nobody.

pagandeva2000, LPN

Specializes in Community Health, Med-Surg, Home Health.

I also always felt that a clinical instructor should be a Registered Nurse, not a Licensed Practical Nurse.

I also feel that battles in nursing school should be dealt with cautiously. I hate to say it, but many times, things go south for those that openly bring problems to administration, because in most cases, they are aware of what is happening, and are doing nothing. I am not defending the school, but facts are that it is hard to get clinical instructors because the pay is too little, so, many times, you get what you get. Too much time, effort and money has been taken to enter and complete a nursing program. In many cases, if you are thrown out, you have to begin the entire process again in another program, wasting even more time.

I am all for sending anonymous, articulate information and not sharing it with a soul in your class. Many times, groups of people speak loudly, and when the chips go down, they usually incite one person to go and advocate, but do not back them up (the same in nursing, for that matter). And, I have also learned over time that for each ridiculous thing a person in charge says, I am already working out in my mind how I will work around it. Sometimes, sad to say, it is easier to pretend to go with the flow until you graduate and practice using your better standards, than to fight them (openly) and never get a chance to actually become a nurse. I have seen it happen too much already.

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