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Do you think this was unfair?

Has 2 years experience.

Hi everyone.....so right now I am a nursing student and i am not very happy with my school right now. A lot of students aren't. We pay so much money and the school is so disorganized, the teachers are rude, and I find myself dreading every day I have to go. I miss my old school. I wish i never left at times. Here is my dilemma....please tell me what you think and if you would feel the same way I do or what you feel I should do.

Recently I just had my first care plan due. I finished it a week before it was due. I worked so hard on it and I know I would have received an A on it. Well, my teacher told us that she wanted us to turn it in as a hard copy to her at the start of clinical on the Thursday it was due. That Thursday, at about 1 in the morning I found out my aunt had passed away a couple days prior and that her wake was going to be later that day. I was late in knowing about it because I had not been home for a couple days since I was studying at my Godmother's for two exams and doing a research project- that's where I go when I need peace and quiet for exams.

So I came home Wednesday night - more like Thursday morning because it was 1 am - and found out that the wake was that morning (Thursday). I have a son (toddler age) that normally my mother or my boyfriend watches for me when I have clinical. However, my boyfriend had work and because of the death in my family, my mom and dad and my entire family had to go to the wake. Both my parents work on Thursday so this meant they had to go early as possible and they planned to stay until they had to leave for work. Therefore, I had to stay home with my son. If i had a choice, I would have gone to the wake but my son is very little and I just wasn't comfortable with him going to a wake yet at his age. So, when I found this out at 1 am......I emailed my teacher right away and I let her know. I had her house number but I didn't feel comfortable calling her house at 1 in the morning when on her paper it says the time to call her house is between 6 and 6:30 am. So I emailed her and told her the situation. Then, I thought to myself that I should just email the care plan just in case since i wouldn't be able to make it in. i just got a new MAC so I was still a little new to using it and because it was our first care plan....of course I had issues.

We were allowed to send our care plan in for review since it was our first one and I did the week prior. I did it in the format that the instructor has us download and everything seemed fine and I saved it. I sent it to my teacher and when I received it back from her, she said it wasn't in the correct format and that it needed to be but that she could tell I did a lot of hard work and that it was really good. I opened the document back up, and like she said, it was no longer in the correct format. It no longer had the box format and the lines, etc... So to make her happy, I copied and pasted everything back into the original format and printed it out when I had completed the care plan so that way my hard copy was at least in the right format.

So back to the wake/not being able to go to clinical dilemma.....so at 1 in the morning, i sat there trying to figure out how to make it work and stay in the format. I even tried sending it to my yahoo email and tried pulling it up on my HP computer, only to have it cut off words, make the paragraphs long but not wide, and half of a page was not showing up but if I clicked by it, some of the words would come back up but as soon as I clicked away or printed it out, it didn't show up again. I tried four times sending it to my email in different ways and nothing would work. Therefore, I decided to forget it because my hard copy was in the correct layout and I didn't want to send an online copy that was all messed up and have her grade that one instead. Mind you, this whole time I was never thinking I HAD to send an online copy because our instructor wanted it as hard copy. I checked my email throughout the day and right before bed and never received nothing from her.

The next morning, I saw her email saying that she never got my care plan and that because I did not turn it in on the due date that most likely I will not be graded from the final care plan and that she will see if she can use the care plan I turned in for review - a care plan that did not have the reference page complete, did not have the AMETHOD complete, did not have the surgery step by step complete. We have to receive a 79 on the care plan or else it is considered failed and if you fail a care plan, it says in the syllabus that means you fail the class. I am hoping I am reading this wrong because I think this is insane!!

The very next day I turned in the hard copy of my care plan. My instructor knew I did not make up this excuse, she knew I had to have had my care plan done because I was one of the few that turned it in for review and didn't save it for the day before it was due. On Monday, the head instructor talked to me (this is who I am unhappy with) and told me they would not be accepting my hard copy of my care plan. I told her that I had a death in my family, my aunt, and I did not have any choice but to miss. i told her I didn't even get to go to the wake because I had no one to watch my son. I have never had anyone treat me as rude as this woman did. She basically implied I should have found a babysitter....because right... finding one at 1 am is so easy!! And with my whole family being at the wake, there wasn't anyone to watch him. My mom does a lot for me and the least I could do was let her and my father go to a wake for someone very close to us. This instructor then had the nerve to say, "And what was your aunt's name?" As if I was lying! I told her my aunt's first name and she's like, "and last name?". I couldn't believe it. She had me in tears when i walked back in the classroom. My whole family is just shocked by the insensitivity of her behavior....the school says they stand for compassion and respect, but where was that when she was talking to me?? To leave me in tears and because my aunt died i may possibly be kicked out of nursing school??? I am so upset right now.

I told her that I was never told to send it through email, that my instructor wanted a hard copy. I told her that I DID try to send it online just to make myself feel better and as proof it was done but I even said in the email to the instructor that I would try and email it if it worked but that I knew she knew I finished it because she saw my review and that was almost finished. I told the instructor that I tried to send it and it had parts missing then and the whole layout was lost with the boxes and lines. She told me I should have called some tech place. As i have come to find out, this tech place is for online classes for the school! The syllabus did not say A WORD about this tech place. I emailed the tech place to find out if in fact they deal with MAC/HP incompatibility problems but I'm thinking they deal with blackboard/computer problems, not what I am having a problem with.

What I don't get is how rude and insensitive she was about my aunt passing away....and how she couldn't even be understanding for the FIRST care plan when OF COURSE people are going to have issues. I don't see how it is my fault that my computer is up to date and hers is 2003. I don't feel I should be punished for that. I wish I could have recorded the way she talked to me because it was just so low, as if I was nobody to her. Why do I pay all this money and here I am going to a religious university and yet, they aren't even understanding when a family member dies??? Yet somehow I was suppose to still turn in this care plan with the files not working and with not even knowing I 100% needed to turn it in online. I emailed my instructor twice and she had all day to write me back that day and did not. If she had told me to email my care plan, I would have just emailed it the way it was but I never received an email telling me to email it to her so how was i suppose to know that they would be THIS insensitive and act like my situation meant nothing.

If you were me, would you go to someone higher about this? I truly feel my final care plan deserved to be accepted. I did not use an excuse because I didn't have it done.....I did not miss just to miss. I had no one else to watch my son and my family including myself was mourning for my aunt. I turned it in the very next morning, bright and early, and yet that was not good enough. The lady has my hard copy sitting in her hands and yet she is refusing to accept it. I honestly cannot believe this school...I am so sick of going here and dealing with such cold, heartless people. We get our care plans back this week & if I pass, I probably will just be the bigger person and let it be.....but if I don't pass when I know very well I should have and after knowing how some people did it the day before it was due and didn't do half the work I did....then yeah, I am going to have a problem because I am not letting this woman kick me out of the nursing program when I have a 4.0 GPA and have worked so hard to be where I am at right now.

Thanks to everyone who listened to me vent and any advice posted. I truly do appreciate it.

Then, I went to bed.....because I was on 2 hrs of sleep and knew I would be getting up pretty early with my son.


Has 5 years experience.

I don't want to come off as mean or rude however it is your responsibility to make sure you can turn in your homework or have a babysitter, not your schools. In my school you would have been dismissed for missing clinical not even to mention the consequences for not turning in your paperwork on time. Also did you call her at 6-630 to let her know your situation? Since you were at home with your son did you try to take the paperwork to her and drop it off? Did you call a class mate and ask if they could pick up your paperwork and take it in for you? All of these things are what my teachers would expect of us if we could not make it into clinical?

Good luck in your future and at the very least you have learned something from this.


Specializes in none.

I think the head instructor should not have done that. It was only the 1st careplan. We go through 3 careplans every week. If it were a major care plan... it probably would be reasonable for the intructor to deal with this like that. If it was the head instructor that treated you like that, and if I were you, I would go to the dean and tell him/her everything that you just said in here.

Boog'sCRRN246, RN

Specializes in Utilization Management. Has 9 years experience.

I'm sorry to hear about your aunt. What does the school's student handbook say about absences/missing/late work? There has to be something about illness, family deaths, etc. The situation is crappy, but the school can't make exceptions for one student. At my school, they may sympathize with us about life outside of school, but they will make no exceptions because of it.

ShantheRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatric Hem/Onc. Has 4 years experience.

I'm sorry about your aunt. Truly. Death in the family is never an easy thing.

That being said.....there are a lot of college students that use the death of their 3rd grandma in as many weeks as an excuse. It's wrong on a lot of levels, but it's a fact. Your school gave you the rules for the class. As ridiculous as you might think they are, you chose to abide by them when you showed up for the first day of class. I hope your care plan gets a passing grade. But if it doesn't, I'm thinking it'll be a lost cause to fight it. I can't fault you for trying, but be prepared for a fight and possible disappointment.

As for the missed clinical, you missed it because you didn't have a babysitter. I understand you didn't want your son there, but the fact is...if you'd actually been at the wake, school policy might protect you.

As for the care plan? I could see the dean asking, "why did you wait until the last minute to turn it in?" which will be followed by a mini lecture on time management.

It's a slippery slope for the school once they start making exceptions for folks. I don't mean to be mean or harsh, but this is the reality of nursing school. If you were working as a nurse and missed things like this, it could possibly turn out poorly. I think that's why schools are so rigid about the rules. They have to prepare us.

Hopefully things will work out for you - good luck!


Has 17 years experience.

I'm sorry that your aunt passed away. With that being said, I agree with the other posters it was your responsibility to turn ithe careplan in on time and your responsibility to find a babysitter. Life happens and things don't always seem fair or work out the way we want.

DolceVita, BSN, RN

Specializes in IMCU. Has 9 years experience.

I agree with what the others have said. Going forward you are going to have to ask the person who has committed to look after you child to keep that commitment. I have had to do that and it is VERY hard.

I do suspect that she would have been a bit different if you had actually gone to the wake. Essentially it came down to an issue of no child care and schools have zero tolerance for that. Her message isn't so much the problem but her delivery was a bit much.

When I have a situation like that I bring proof with me when I return to class (e.g. when my mother had an MI I had the Dr write a 2 line note on headed paper). It is a pain in the bottom but I just don't want to get the reaction you did (it would upset me too much).

Sorry for the loss of your auntie and sorry for the meanness of your instructor. In truth I don't agree with they way schools deal with some of this stuff but I also know that they have had students who have abused lenient policies. I hope it all works out for you.

SolaireSolstice, BSN, RN

Specializes in Adult Oncology.

These are going to be times during school where you may come across this type of conflict again. Remember that the school is also not responsible for your personal issues, as callous as that sounds. These is nothing in the handbook about it being required to be "fair" and infact, it is fair because everyone is treated the same. Unfair would be if another student was allowed to turn theirs in late (for whatever reason) and you weren't.

My recommendations:

-Find a backup plan for babysitting JUST IN CASE. God forbid another issue comes up that involves your whole family, but it might. Find a drop off day care that you can utilize in an emergency.

-Take your computer into a Mac store and find a nerd to help you figure out what the issue is.

- Never expect personal issues to be taken into account if you have an assignment or class that you are required to complete. I have yet to have an instructor cut anyone slack on these issues.


Specializes in Med/Surg/Tele/Acute Rehab.

Try going to the director of your program. Who knows, might help. Shouldn't hurt.

In my opinion, I think that you were treated unfairly (or at the minimum very callously). A death in the family is something we have/will eventually go through and reasonable/decent people understand that a family crisis should be met with compassion and allowances for sudden and tragic situations. Particularly in a field that espouses concepts such as grief and compassion.

I attended a nursing program where they actually required proof of a family members death from the funeral home. An obituary wasn't sufficient proof. Additionally, you still had to make up the work, but they would refrain from kicking you out of the program. To add insult to injury, an Aunt wouldn't even qualify as a "valid" family death. They were limited to parents/spouse/children. And yeah, this was in the Bible belt. Nice "family values".

I'm not sure what you should do about this. I understand it is causing you a lot of stress. I'll tell you this much though, if my husband died while in school/work/wherever and anyone had the gumption to require a letter from the funeral director--oh boy! That would be met with an extremely unpleasant reaction. Trust me. :angryfire

To the other poster who mentioned that you were not treated unfairly, that in fact if allowances were made for you THAT that would be unfair....that is patently absurd. If everyone is treated the same and that is considered fairness, then let's just all agree that if a prison guard (insert situation here) beat a prisoner, they would be required to beat all of them just to be "fair". Being a fair minded person requires that you assess each situation individually and attempt to come up with a solution that addresses the core issue. Your care plan being a day late doesn't have any real life implications with regard to your intellect or other characteristics such as being responsible.

What if instead of her Aunt dying, it was her son....I'll bet (or I sure as heck hope) that the responses to this thread would be vastly different. We can't anticipate every single emergency. For those who think it's reasonable to have a back up plan for everything....good luck with that. There's a reason for the term "emergency"...it's something that cannot be planned for in advance.

If you're on the fence about whether or not you should bring this up to the Dean now, or wait to see your final grade, I would suggest doing it now rather than later. Nip the situation in the bud if possible and don't allow them to counter you with "It's convenient that you waited until your final care plan to make an issue of this".

For all the rhetoric about being advocates for others, it would be nice if it actually extended to ourselves.

If I may give you a tad bit of constructive advice, if you do go to the Dean I would present your situation in a more concise manner. I wouldn't want them to perceive you as "rambling", which your post sort of did. I'm sure it was due to frustration, just something to bear in mind when you address it to the Dean.

Best wishes to you. I'm sorry for your loss. :o


Specializes in Neuro, Neuro ICU.

First-sorry to hear about your aunt :(

And i can sympathize with your situation. As for the documents though, i have some advise because this may not be the only time you need to email an assignment.

A teacher of mine had a MAC computer and at first whenever we sent her things from our computers she couldnt read them. To solve that issue, when we would save our documents in microsoft word, we would save them as RTF instead DOC (right below where you type in what you want to name your document)

this is what she did when emailing us, and i never had a problem getting any of her emails, and they were always formatted perfectly.

I believe by clicking RTF from the drop down list, it allows the document to be opened in microsoft word, works, wordpad, etc...


Has 2 years experience.

Dafreak, I do tend to ramble when I am emotional or feel strong about an issue...lol. It is hard to say exactly what you mean when typing. It is a lot easier through words. :)

As for the last minute thing - it was not last minute. This care plan had a set day, set time for it to be turned in as a hard copy. So we were all turning it in at 7 am on our clinical floor.

As for finding a babysitter - that honestly would have been impossible. I have three set people to watch my son. My whole entire family was at the wake & so there was nobody available to watch him. It was very late notice for me when I found out so I never would have been able to find someone during the hours of 1 am to 6 am. This was more of an emergency type of situation but even so if you don't have the funds available to you (child care is expensive) and you don't have additional people to help, then there is nothing that can be done about it and it's on you as a mom to take responsibility. All my friends work, my boyfriend had work, my family was at the wake, and my son's Godmother lives in Ireland so I really did not have a soul to watch him. Normally my mom would have but she had the wake and as I stated before, she does enough for me and I cannot ask her to not go to the wake just so I can go to clinical for the day when we are able to make up clinical if needed.

Which missing clinical is not a problem as long as I make it up. I am going an additional day, normally a day that I would be off to make it up. There was once a girl sick in pre-conference with a runny nose/etc... and she was sent home and made it up another day. So they are pretty okay with that as long as it is a reasonable excuse and isn't a lie. I would never lie or miss clinical just to miss as obviously that is how we learn.

The other instructor, the one who did stick up for me, talked to me and told me that my care plan was very good & that my review was good enough to PASS so I DID PASS. Luckily I worked really hard and put a lot of time into that care plan and finished early enough to where I turned in the care plan for review pretty much completed....so that definitely worked out in my favor. I am just happy with passing and I only felt the need to go to someone else if I didn't pass because I just did too much work to not receive at least somewhat of a grade. But in the end, it did work out. My one instructor was pretty nice about it and now I know next time to call no matter what hour as that is way better communication than an email. The head instructor, well, she still is rude to students and many of the girls aren't really fond of her because of how she talks down to us but I am just going to deal with it as best as I can and hopefully make it through this. :)

Thanks to everyone who responded. I know it is hard to understand the situation through an email because it's hard to get the true story across. However, I believe that family is important and if we didn't care and one of them passed away during nursing school and we didn't give them time in our lives - you know how guilty we would feel when it was all said and done and we didn't have another second with that person? At least, that is how I feel. I love my family & to me, they come first. Yes, nursing school is important but I could never live with myself if I didn't make time for the ones I love. I already sacrifice more than enough for nursing school. I devote every day to it. I study every single weekend. I get good grades and have made it through everything so far. So my aunt's death is a time I feel should be given to my family, not nursing school. I think so many of us worry about school, school, school, and trying to measure up and we often put aside our family and God. I think nursing schools should let students have time with their family here and there - even just a day. I feel I rarely get the time to relax. Today has been the first day in a LONG time and it is long overdue.

wow the head was definitely an ass.


Specializes in ortho, hospice volunteer, psych,. Has 20 years experience.

first of all, i'm very sorry to hear about your aunt's death. it will become easier to bear as time passes.

my husband is a college professor and teaches many nursing students each semester. so many many students invent relatives and then kill them off when they need a convenient excuse to miss class or not turn in a paper when it's due that it's very difficult not to be cynical when the next student announces a death. i'm in no way implying that your aunt didn't die, rather that the timing of her demise was unfortunate. what students do when something serious comes up unexpectedly, is exactly what you did -- notify the instructor or professor promptly. another thing you might have done was to print out your project in the correct format (if possible) and then taken your son with you and slipped the hard copy under her office door with a brief explanation of your situation, and the promise of the final copy later in the day or, at the latest, by the next day. i would include a copy or even a xerox of the obit with your package. could another student have babysat while you were at clinical? my husband has had moms bring babies, toddlers, kids with them to class in such an emergency. do you belong to a ywca? many yw's have very low cost daycare available plus programs for kids beginning from age two to six. you might check. our public library has several programs for little kids and toddlers. do you have a neighbor you could use in a pinch? check with your local senior citizens center because most are loving caring grandmas and would love to babysit and spoil your boy. remember not all faculty members are identical. most are understanding, accommodating (when possible), and will work with students within rules, some are stricter than others, and a few are pretty unreasonable. i assume, from your post, that you're a single mom. most professors will be more inclined to cut students like you a break that an 18 year old living in the dorm who misses class after class because s/he was up until 5 am drinking and doing who knows what. as soon as you know what's going on when something comes up, email your professor. i know my husband would much rather have a rough draft and a promise than nothing, but don't do it regularly!! get yourself a backup babysitter plus daycare and a preschool/toddler program. that way, all your bases are covered.




My father died at the inopportune time when I had several midterms and projects due. I left the area immediately to tend to my distraught mother. When I returned, all of my instructors were compassionate and allowed me to make everything up, except one. The head of the nursing department, who happened to be my instructor for one class, gave me hell and literally threw me out of his office within earshot of all the nursing office personnel. They were staring at me as I left in shock and in tears. An F in that class would have put me in line for failure from the program. It was only after some time and groveling on my part, that the man reversed his decision to give me an F on the midterm. That was for my father. Heavens, if it would have been my aunt.

That story being told, it is your responsibility in the end to see that things are attended to. If you have a list of three or three hundred people to act as sitters, you still are responsible to deal with childcare issues successfully. The issue with the computer, same there. You can't wait until the last minute to deal with computer issues. I had issues with my computer just this term for my first online class. I got chewed out by a brand new instructor for an important class, who told me in no uncertain terms that I should have resolved my computer issues at the time I enrolled, not when the first project was due. I understood her point of view. You have to plan for, and deal with, unforseen circumstances often in life, or life will be more difficult than it is to begin with. Have had several family deaths recently, including my mother so I am sorry to hear about your aunt's death.


Has 5 years experience.

We set up an agreement with some of our fellow nursing students that had clinical on opposite days. Ya know...I will watch your child for you in an emergency if you would please do the same. It worked well for us and helped prevent some of the types of things you are referring to AND it helped reduce our stress because we knew we had a backup plan. It didn't work out for class days since we were all together, but it did work really well for lab/clinical days.


Specializes in ortho, hospice volunteer, psych,. Has 20 years experience.

a couple more thoughts:

as other posters have said, the ultimate responsibility for getting things done is yours.

you remember those things your mom said as you were growing up that you absolutely swore you would never ever ever say to your own kids? one of my mom's fits perfectly here. part of being a responsible adult is being willing to live with the consequences of your actions . . . this just may be one of those occasions. it may be a hard lesson and one you'll never forget, but that's how we learn, unfortunately. another of her phrases was to have all your ducks in a row. for you, that would be back up baby sitters outside your family plus daycare arrangements as emergency backup.

my husband read your initial post and my first answer and his thoughts were that frequently individual programs within a university havetheir own established guidelines

and that instructors frequently have less latitude than professors do. his other thought was that if you emailed her at 1:00 am, she may well not have checked her email until she had a chance later in the day.




Specializes in Peds/outpatient FP,derm,allergy/private duty. Has 33 years experience.

Boo on the snippy lady that asked you, "name?" etc. OK, yeah. We get it that she's been in the field for decades and seen it all, heard it all, etc. But every story is not B.S., and clearly she did not know you, your work ethic, etc. It's great that your instructor had your back. You sound like you're a responsible person, and this is probably a one-off incident, which is good news because you NEVER want to be on that lady's radar screen again!! Also, never hurts to have little Plan C, D, E, etc.. Redundancy!!

I really admire people with young children who go through nursing school. It's just so stressful. Good luck with the rest of the program!! :up:

Sorry to hear about your Aunt. I use a MAC so I know what you are talking about. When I make a document up using "Pages" I then have to go to the File menu. I then click on Export under the File menu and chose Word and then click on Export. Your document will then have the tag of .doc at the end of the document instead of .zip. You can go into your sent email files and see how your file was originally sent. It probably went as a .zip file. Hope this helped for future documents.


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