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

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

1 Follower; 22 Articles; 35,586 Visitors; 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 6 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.

mclennan has 8 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in CCM, PHN.

21,355 Visitors; 684 Posts

Believe me, I "get" the OP - all too well. I have seen, experienced and heard about time and time again, that style of precepting in nursing. It is pervasive and dominant and leaves very little not to "get" about it, even to non medical people.

I just don't like it. I'm a revisionist who thinks we need to explore different approaches that serve the profession and therefore the patients better. This militaristic method of mentorship makes many new nurses bitter and angry way before their time, and that is tragic.

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925 Visitors; 3 Posts

Your posting was both courageous and (sometimes brutally) honest. While my approach to leading and precepting is softer, in the end we're all trying to keep ourselves and the patients safe. In the process, we have to develop a little tougher shell and look at the big picture. I wish there had been better preceptors for me who either withdrew their sharp claws they unsheathed just for the joy of it, or gave me a swift kick in the seat when I needed it. There always has to be a balance. It's called tough love.

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6,461 Visitors; 113 Posts

Nice vent BUT... hey we all learn in different ways and at different rates. You sound burned out, seems like a reflection of the times rather than the fault of the students. Great teachers have different methods, yours sounds full of ego, I think I had a preceptor like you and it made for a negative experience. How about a little adaptation to the mentee, its not easy from that side either. Sorry you are so burdened by the all your wonderful experience that you must share. (but it sounds like you don't share the information). Get over yourself- part of your job is training new grads. Pardon my honest opinion.

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creativemom has 5 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Med Surg, Telemetry, BCLS.

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When did it become acceptable that "abuse" in nursing, is acceptable?

You can do all of the above without the hard nose and still help precept a great RN. Really, I see it all the time where I work.

I agree you shouldn't have to coddle folks, but you don't have to have a :devil:itch attitude either. Attitudes don't make the nurse, rather skill, hands-on experience, knowledge, critical thinking, etc does. What you foster is what you'll be breeding on the floor. I very much would dislike working with such hostile attitudes.

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4,988 Visitors; 205 Posts

The best teachers I have been kind and honest about performance. The worst ones have been mean, unhappy with their station in life, and selfish when it came to sharing knowledge. I'm not one of those that need a trophy for successfully clocking in right. But I feel like if you are taking the responsibility of being a preceptor, you are also taking the responsibility of being a teacher as well. I don't know why those are two separate entities, based on the original post.

It sounds that the OP may have preceptor fatigue, and may need to take a break from it. It would be hard to be in constant teacher mode. You teach enough to the patients and their family everyday!

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OnlybyHisgraceRN is a ASN, RN and specializes in LTC and School Health.

16,943 Visitors; 738 Posts

This is not an issue of getting it or not getting it. Some posters disagree with the approach. I think the OP is wonderful because he/she truly does have a new grads best intentions.

This is an interesting read. I love to read the responses, it goes to show that there are different strokes for different folks. I guess.

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amoLucia specializes in LTC.

45,488 Visitors; 5,040 Posts

Can't compare law enforcement to nursing.
Yes, you can compare the two. Did so for a comparative paper when I was in school.

Both professions see humanity at its worst at times.

Both professions make life or death decisions re situations they encounter.

Both professions are one sex-dominant.

GOOD cops vs BAD cops; GOOD nurses vs Bad nurses --- for all the reasons we can expound on.

Looked at educational preparation for entry to practice, career mobility & options, marital stability, drug & alcohol use, lifestyle impact. Considered historical origins, economic and sociological influences.

In a nutshell, VERY comparable.

But back to the original post, we all see that there are two very different approaches to preceptiing. Either very no-nonsense or more relaxed. And there are two very different approaches to article writing about them - either no-nonsense, like OP, or more relaxed and laid-back. It may be difficult to see beyond the no-nonsense style of OP that elicits a strong reader response.

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5,452 Visitors; 219 Posts

I know plenty of people who would thrive with a preceptor like the OP, but I am definitely not one of them. I don't need skittles and rainbows and hugs, but I also don't need the cold and militant attitude. There is no one-size-fits-all best teaching style. Not everyone needs to be "broken down." That is just insane. I'm glad OP acknowledges that there is such a thing as a mismatch. It's a shame that some people don't think so. Nobody should ever be made to feel like ****, and something that would not make you feel that way might make the next person feel horrible. What's wrong with trying to be considerate of a personality difference by reigning in your attitude?

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4,346 Visitors; 204 Posts

I have read the OP 3 times and I cannot see any ill will towards students in this post, unless some of the sentences are taken out of context. The OP did not say they would make anyone cry. In fact they said they would take the pt. load and let the student go to a private place to cry if needed. I interpret that as someone else may make you cry but don't give the offending person the satisfaction of seeing you cry, hence the do not cry.

I am there to learn, not socialize, so I don't care for the chit chat. I don't think that makes the OP a mean person, but then again I am not easily offended and I understand that there are introverts in nursing, myself included. I prefer to have deep conversations and to build my knowledge rather than talk about menial topics.

I have trained many people in other various jobs and I have found that you have to be assertive with people and instruct them on what needs to be done, at least in the beginning. Giving someone instruction, encouraging them to try new skills, or pushing them to be their best is not the same as being militant. I have trained in this fashion and no one has ever told me that I was ordering, bossy, or militant.

And last but not least the eyes and ears. If anyone has ever worked in an environment with a lot of people, particularly women, they should be well aware of all the gossip and watching that others will do out of curiosity. Word can spread fast in this type of environment and if something happens you can bet everyone working will know by the end of the shift.

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

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I am not going to go into too much detail as to why they are not comparable. Nurses as a whole deal with the sick and defenseless. Its backbone is caring and advocating. Cops as a whole deal with criminals and delinquents and law enforcement's role is to enforce the law and punish those who break it. Nurses aren't dealing with murderers and other hard criminals in the same capacity as cops who are seen as disciplinaries. Cops HAVE to be hardasses or there would be no justice or organization in this chaotic world.

I could go on but the two are just not comparable for so many reasons and if you can't see it, then oh well.

Yes, you can compare the two. Did so for a comparative paper when I was in school.Both professions see humanity at its worst at times.Both professions make life or death decisions re situations they encounter.Both professions are one sex-dominant.GOOD cops vs BAD cops; GOOD nurses vs Bad nurses --- for all the reasons we can expound on.Looked at educational preparation for entry to practice, career mobility & options, marital stability, drug & alcohol use, lifestyle impact. Considered historical origins, economic and sociological influences.In a nutshell, VERY comparable.But back to the original post, we all see that there are two very different approaches to preceptiing. Either very no-nonsense or more relaxed. And there are two very different approaches to article writing about them - either no-nonsense, like OP, or more relaxed and laid-back. It may be difficult to see beyond the no-nonsense style of OP that elicits a strong reader response.

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4,473 Visitors; 50 Posts

Hear, hear...There is so much truth in this letter.

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

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Yes you can compare the two professions on many levels-the two are service industries-cops can be kind and compassionate, so can nurses, nurses can be military in their style and caregiving-authoritative and can change up on a dime for the safety of themselves, their peers, and the patient. Cops and nurses see people at their most stressed and vulnerable. The service provided may be different, you see the gun and the law enforcement-I see the shot and the standards. A lot of comparisons. And if you ever work in trauma, which I hope everyone has the chance to do, police and nurses have a lot to share. They serve and protect, so do nurses. If you can't see that, then you are someone narrow minded and literal in your view.

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