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Dear Nursing Students/Orientees: A Love Note from the Preceptor from Hell

Students Article   (103,182 Views 130 Replies 2,091 Words)

CheesePotato is a BSN, RN and specializes in Sleep medicine,Floor nursing, OR, Trauma.

1 Follower; 22 Articles; 35,589 Profile Views; 228 Posts

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So often what we do pushes us to our edge where we struggle to not only live the moment we are in, but to redefine ourselves and our goals. Written in an exhausted, frazzled moment after an insane day and a night of trauma call. Posted because I know there are more orientees like mine and more preceptors like me. You are reading page 5 of Dear Nursing Students/Orientees: A Love Note from the Preceptor from Hell. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

BlueDevil,DNP has 25 years experience as a DNP, RN and specializes in FNP, ONP.

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Although working at a strip club might be a bit much too. Or did you mean candy striper? :)

heh. Yes, better that, because somehow I doubt someone unwilling or unable to keep it together and cope with the OP for a few measly weeks as a preceptor is going to be able to manage the stress and demands of a career on the pole, lol. ;)

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cm8816 specializes in Oncology, ICU.

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Anyone who has ever reared a child or trained a dog understands that kindness works better than the hostility and anger you seem to value. I have mentored using kindness and I can assure you, the preceptee is educated BETTER than when having been beaten over the head with a stick. No, I don't discuss recipes or go for drinks, I am just plain kind to the learner.

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RxOnly has 4 years experience and specializes in Psych/Substance Abuse, Ambulatory Care.

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I'm working on my Master's in Nursing Education for the very reason that *I* had a horrific substandard clinical experience in nursing school and feel a drive to be part of the solution.

I can understand some reasons why you wrote this. Dealing with student nurses all day would get to anyone. But you really could have made your point in about 10 fewer paragraphs. And honestly, it is WAY over the top. I finally just shut down and laughed at your paragraph describing health care as a jungle of predators or whatever. Come on: lighten up.

And, frankly, it is exactly this mentality that is part of the problem plaguing nursing these days. This whole old school, break-their-spirit, chew 'em up & spit 'em out boot camp garbage is just embarrassing and outdated. Nursing school doesn't have to be some survival of the fittest death race to glory. It is not the military. I beg you, stop perpetuating negative stereotypes! Express your feelings but be aware of their destructive influence.

I had good and bad preceptors. The bad had personal issues that had long since become demons bigger and more important to them than their reasons for teaching any more; 6 years later, I look back and can see that's really what the problem was. They were bitter and angry about the healthcare system and took it out on their students. The really awful ones enjoyed doing so, and saw preceptorship as a blood sport. Stupid. All they managed to do was make everyone as miserable as they were. No one learned anything.

The good ones were relaxed but firm, kind but stern, supportive but not coddling, realistic but not threatening. They treated me like a human being, not an enlisted soldier. They had a sense of humor. They didn't think or behave like paranoid, predatory prowlers with a chip on their shoulder. They were just people who shared their knowledge and acted as mentors and that was IT. No overthinking it beyond that. They also seemed to be less "over involved" in the job and had healthy lives and interests outside of work.

You sound like you are up all night licking your chops and plotting your students' demise.

I know precepting has its frustrations but jeez. You're a terrific writer and I think it would be put to better use on something more constructive and realistic.

::applause:: THANK YOU!!!! Couldn't have said it better myself!

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cdsga has 37 years experience and specializes in ICU, PACU, OR.

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As a preceptor-sometimes you just get an orientee thrown in on you-no time to meet/greet, just cursory hello then jump into a day that already has started. So the way things start are sometimes not the best situations for the orientee/student.

On those wonderful occasions-I ask "Can you follow?" If the answer is yes then I take the lead and teach by doing-asking questions of the orientee along the way, explaining rationale and the facility's policy for this or that. Once that is established, we move on to the orientee showing me what they know and don't know. It's about getting the feet wet.

If the answer is no, then I want to scream, NEXT!!!! You cannot put a patient through a confused situation. We are not working in a car body shop. Human lives, outcomes are at stake-which put the preceptor in an urgent state of mind. I loved the quote "there is nothing in this world more frustrating, more gut churningly irritating, than someone wrapped in indifference and swaddled in ego." Nobody wants to be derided in public, nobody wants to be seen as unknowing or unskilled. We as preceptors have to practice some tact, but on the other side, if you are causing a problem-get out of the way. You'll surely get your chance to shine and get more experience-there are good days and bad days-fast days and slow days. One thing is for sure-each patient is different, each case is different, some tried and true skills just don't work, and that is the challenge.

I've said it before-new nursing students are not ready for the reality shock-like it or not-they aren't given enough clinical experiences on and off the school clock, and that is the reason for the precipitous decline of retention in new nurses.

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roser13 has 17 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC.

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Wish I had the time to tally up the responses between those who get it and those who don't. Just reading responses over the course of the last 24 hours makes me think that those who do get the OP outnumber those who don't and consequently think that OP is an old battleax.

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135 Posts; 3,445 Profile Views

Probably a really dumb question but I am going to ask. Does a nurse have a choice in being a preceptor? Is this something you choose to do or is it just part of the the job?

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ThePrincessBride has 3 years experience and specializes in Med-Surg, NICU.

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This is how precepting should be done, every time.

If you can't take it, be a candy stripper.

No. It shouldn't. I don't believe in a "one size fits all" philosophy. Some people need a type A, militant, "break 'em" preceptor like the OP. Others, like myself, respond better to a more Type B preceptor.

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ThePrincessBride has 3 years experience and specializes in Med-Surg, NICU.

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Wish I had the time to tally up the responses between those who get it and those who don't. Just reading responses over the course of the last 24 hours makes me think that those who do get the OP outnumber those who don't and consequently think that OP is an old battleax.

It is not about "getting" or "not getting" the OP but rather disagreeing with her "tough love" approach.

I have had some clinical instructors like the OP and I pray I don't get someone who acts like I'm a soldier in combat military school.

But I've noticed in general that women are so unnecessarily difficult on other women to the point that it lacks productivity. Not saying that all nurses are women, but it is a female dominated field, or that all women are like this. But I find women in general to be far nastier to each other than men.

Edited by ThePrincessBride

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anggelRN specializes in OB.

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There is a difference between not understanding and not agreeing.

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roser13 has 17 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Med/Surg, Ortho, ASC.

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It usually depends upon alot of things: the facility's procedures, staffing issues, and sometimes just plain who's available. I've even heard of new RN's (less than a year of experience) being told that it's their "turn" to take an orientee.

And that's unfortunate. Precepting shouldn't be forced on anyone. People like the OP obviously have vested time and energy into their orientees and want to help them succeed. Others who are forced into the role often fail miserably (on purpose?).

Probably a really dumb question but I am going to ask. Does a nurse have a choice in being a preceptor? Is this something you choose to do or is it just part of the the job?

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RNperdiem has 14 years experience as a RN.

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If this poster was a man precepting another man in a male-dominated profession, law enforcement for example, would this post be controversial?

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ThePrincessBride has 3 years experience and specializes in Med-Surg, NICU.

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If this poster was a man precepting another man in a male-dominated profession, law enforcement for example, would this post be controversial?
Can't compare law enforcement to nursing.

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