how to deal with a know-it-all?


Yikes! This guy in my class is driving me crazy. I'd normally just steer clear, but we got assigned clinicals together, so I'm stuck.

This person drives me crazy with his attitude that he knows better than everyone, including our instructors.

We just learned how to do blood draws and in lab as I was waiting my turn, this person came up and said "have you done yours yet? all you do is xyz..." I just said "uh, huh." He had done his stick a whole 2min. before I did mine:rolleyes: It wasn't like he was some great wealth of information. Now, I'm all for asking for help from students who have some background in a particular skill, but really? You know as much as I do :angryfire

On top of that, he hovers over me during clinicals and critiques and corrects what I'm doing. The first time I did an assessment, he came into the room and watched while instructor checked me off. I was already nervous, but then that just totally stressed me out. Because I was nervous I kept asking my instructor questions, even though I know how to do an assessment :uhoh21: Then he kept answering for the instructor :bugeyes:

I'm a very laid back person and it really takes a lot for me to get upset about things, but I just don't know how to handle this person. How do I politely tell him to back off! He's not taking the hint when I walk off mid-sentence when he's "instructing" me :rolleyes:

I have much better grades than this student, I'm a smart, competent person, but this guy is making me dread my clinical time because I feel he's adding more stress than I need and I never get a chance to just learn on my own. Every time we get a new skill this person jumps in and does it first, and then bosses me around when I'm doing it :down:


38,333 Posts

When he approaches you and says something, say "Sorry, soso, but I've got a bad headache and I really don't want to be bothered right now." Then turn around and walk away. Keep on doing this. Before that happens again in clinical, go to your instructor, and tell her/him that you find soso just dropping in to your area to be intrusive and it bothers you. Tell the instructor that he hovers over you and invades your body space and makes you uncomfortable in general not just in the clinical area but elsewhere as well. Tell her/him that you have tried to make it known to soso that he is bothering you but that he won't stop it. Then see what your instuctor says. After all, you are paying tuition and deserve a comfortable experience just like any other student. Chances are high that soso bothers others also and that enough complaints to the instructor will cause him to be corrected by the instructor. Good luck.

Specializes in Peri-op/Sub-Acute ANP.

Just say as politely as you can and with a smile on your face, "Thank you for the advice, but if I want to know how to do something I will ask my clinical instructor". Sometimes being blunt and to-the-point is the only way you will get through to these people. If this doesn't work, then you probably will need to speak to your CI.


1,006 Posts

Specializes in Telemetry. Has 10 years experience.

I have one like that in my clinical group and she does not have much experience in patient care but she thinks she knows it all. I ignore her totally because she needs to be humble to learn. She tries to corerect students on the discussion board at all times but I think she needs to do another class in english because she does not write very well. I totally ignore this fool and keep moving!

9livesRN, BSN, RN

1,570 Posts

Specializes in SNU/SNF/MedSurg, SPCU Ortho/Neuro/Spine. Has 2 years experience.

just say: that is great that you know,just excuse me for a second so i can understand it on my way! thanks!


266 Posts

How FRUSTRATING! I'm so sorry. What I do in situations like this (I have a brother-in-law who is a bit like this)---is say "Thanks, I got it," or "Thanks, but I don't think I need any help right now." Since he's standing over you, you may need to ask your instructor to intervene. This can be so frustrating and there is always one of them in each group. Hang in there!

Boy do I understand how you feel. I have one just like that in class. He works in our local emergency department here, and he just knows it all and lets the instructors know it as well. :twocents: I used to be good friends with this person until this semester (our first semester of nursing school). Just like you, I also am getting better grades than he is although he knows it all (he just states that he doesn't understand the type of questions they are asking him). I used to sit right next to him until this week.

Hopefully by being firm with this guy and telling him that there are instructors around for a reason (hint: he is not the instructor:nono:) and stearing clear of him, he will get the hint. If not, get firm with him and remind him that he is in nursing school just like you are, and that you are on the same even playing field as he is.

Good luck and know that someone out there feels your pain. :bluecry1:


60 Posts

believe it or not, he may be trying to help! I know its frustrating though...

Our clinical instructors WANT to see us helping each other, watching/observing techniques, else will you learn? And they have told us that better grades do not necessarily mean a better clinical student!!

good luck talking to this person though!


20 Posts

Specializes in all types. Has 20 years experience.

sometimes you just have to be blunt and speak your mind,and then just ignore that person.

jschut, BSN, RN

2,743 Posts

Has 20 years experience.

Ahhh.. just let him keep going on and on and on.... let it go in one ear and out the other. It gets easier eventually!


51 Posts

Specializes in ER, Trauma, Advanced Care.

Haha, I believe I would take a more direct route than mentioned above. Ignoring this type of person usually doesn't work. I would say, "I know you think your all that and a bag of chips, but I really don't need your help with this, if I need it in the future then I will ask for it.":smokin:

Trust me, it works. I'm sure if he is doing it to you then he is doing it to other people. He will leave you alone and go and mess with others


gr8rnpjt, RN

738 Posts

Specializes in Case Management. Has 38 years experience.

You should also enlist the help of your instructor. She SHOULD have intervened during your assessment, when he started to interject.

Make it clear to your instructor that this person is making you nervous when he intervenes in these situations. Your instructor should be made aware.If things don't get better ask that next clinicals you be reassigned to another group.

I also agree with those who have said to put him in his place. You don't need words. Just walk the other way when he comes around you. After a few episodes of this, he should get the hint.

This topic is now closed to further replies.