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Failed Clinical Early - Need Advice!

by Hannah73749843 Hannah73749843 (New) New Student

Hi all!

I am a nursing student and I recently found out that I failed my final evaluation for clinical (med-surg unit). There's a theory portion for the class and I'm doing well in that class. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, my clinical was suspended early (4 clinical days were left). Students were only able to complete 63% of practicum, and it is stated in our course outline that a student must complete at least 75% to pass. Long story short, I made a mistake and did not position my patient appropriately prior to feeding on the last day of clinical. I received a learning plan from my instructor which indicated what to do to improve, and that I would need to demonstrate my abilities during next clinical date. I studied and made sure I was prepared for the next clinical date, and then I found out clinical is suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

All students received an email stating we must complete a case study to ensure we pass. This did not make sense as the final evaluation (that students complete and instructors evaluate) was due last week so it would not include the case study. In addition, the email stated that those students who are on learning plans will receive an email from their instructor so that they can work on meeting learning needs on a case by case basis and ensure that students meet learning outcomes. I did NOT receive an email from my instructor. Rather, she emailed me and said I failed. A few minutes before that, she sent me an email and stated that I did not conduct a proper head-to-toe assessment and that I will be receiving another learning plan for that and that's also why I failed. However, on our weekly guidelines for clinical, it states the head to toe must be completed at the end of clinical. Also, we are still learning the assessments (in a co-requisite course). How did she expect me to complete a full head-to-toe assessment if I have not even learned the full assessment? And it has only been 3 weeks of clinical. She did not give a learning plan to the other students who stated that they did not conduct a full assessment when she asked them. I often found that she would single me out.

In addition, I would have had four clinical days to improve. My instructor has not emailed me about working with me to ensure my learning needs are met. However, another student in my group has passed, but she missed two days of clinical, placing her below 50%. I asked my peers who were placed in other locations and they stated they did not have to do a complete head to toe either. Their instructor's passed them and those who had learning plans worked with their instructor over email to pass (those students are going to receive online virtual simulation to ensure they pass).

I reported this to my year coordinator, but she did not seem to care as she completely ignored what was written in the email and sent a standard email back. She stated that I have failed so I must contact my academic advisor. It doesn't make sense to me because the year coordinator is the one who sent out the email stating the instructors must work with their students, as clinical was cut short this year and the students did not have a chance to demonstrate some abilities. I have informed my course instructor for the theory class and she stated she will be contacting me about this. I really do not want to fail practicum as I made one mistake and had four days initially to improve. I'm hoping my course instructor helps me because I believe what has happened is unfair.

A few weeks ago, I was applying PPE. I had just put my mask on and my instructor had walked up to me and looked very annoyed. She pinched my nose/nose piece of the mask and stated "that's how you get Corona". My partner was beside me and also saw it. Is she allowed to do that?

I'm not too sure what's going to happen but I really hope my course instructor helps me out. My clinical instructor is supposed to call me soon to discuss the failure (she has to call every student). From my understanding, everyone has passed their final evaluation, except for me. Even the students at other locations. I want to know what you guys think about this and if you have any advice on what to do! Would it be appropriate to mention all this on the call or would it be better to leave it to my course instructor?

Thank you!

Edited by Hannah73749843

I would write everything out in an organized manner and have that summary in front of you when you speak to the instructors. Also use it to draft a letter of appeal to the program director and read up on the grievance and appeal process in your student handbook. Get ready to do your best job to advocate for yourself. Best wishes.


Specializes in Former NP now Internal medicine PGY-1.

I would write that she touched you inappropriately. They shouldn’t pinch your nose under any circumstance who does she think she is.

Here.I.Stand, BSN, RN

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

20 hours ago, Tegridy said:

I would write that she touched you inappropriately. They shouldn’t pinch your nose under any circumstance who does she think she is.

I took that to mean she pinched the wire portion of the mask to make it conform to the bridge of the student’s nose

CommunityRNBSN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community health. Has 3 years experience.

In your discussion I would leave out the thing about her pinching or fixing your mask. It was inappropriate of her but it’s not related to your failure.


Specializes in Urgent Care, Oncology. Has 7 years experience.

4 hours ago, CommunityRNBSN said:

In your discussion I would leave out the thing about her pinching or fixing your mask. It was inappropriate of her but it’s not related to your failure.

Yes, I agree, please leave this out.

As stated before, write out a summary. I would bullet point the summary and address points by each area. At this time, I would not say "so and so" didn't fail because then it looks like you're checking up on the instructor. Save this for when you speak to higher level administrators (dean, provost, president), or even potentially a lawyer. I think there are going to be a lot of lawyers getting these claims in the near future, unfortunately.

Do not let this go. It doesn't sound like you're an incompetent nursing student, just probably in your second semester?

Yes, list everything. I found it hard to read the whole thing you wrote.

Don't bring up the wrong touching at this point. Address the failing only.

It does sound like the Instructor doesn't much like you or has picked you to be her scapegoat.

Have you ever had words with her? Argued with her? Embarrassed her? Given her any reason to choose you? Not that she should pick anybody but these Instructors seem to do that. I am just wondering.

Have you spoken to her directly? I guess I would start there. Good luck.

ClaraRedheart, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg. Has 7 years experience.

To me, the inapropriate touching is proof that she has singled you out. I would leave it. I've been singled out by a nursing instructor. I have anxiety issues, so it was terrifying, but she passed me. I feel like I spent far more time being lectured at the nurses station on the importance of wearing a watch (mine had quit working) or other piddly issues. My infraction? I couldn't find the conference room that we were supposed to meet in on our first day, so despite pulling into the parking garage on a huge hospital 20 minutes early... which I thought should be enough time, I was still about 7 minutes late. Others in my cohort noticed my singling out as well. Hopeful for justice for you!


Specializes in Adult Internal Medicine. Has 10 years experience.

3 hours ago, ClaraRedheart said:

To me, the inapropriate touching is proof that she has singled you out.

Isn't it also proof that nursing student could not appropriately don PPE? I'd think a student at that stage could be failed for that alone.

Closed Account 12345

Has 16 years experience.

I would start by sending your clinical instructor a message saying you would like to demonstrate your competence with patient positioning for feeding and physical assessment skills, in accordance with your learning plans, in a simulated environment since your clinical opportunities have been cut short. I would include "To date in this program, I have learned to complete the following list of physical assessments: insert list. According to the Nursing Assessment 101 course schedule, there are several aspects of a head to toe assessment that haven't yet been covered: insert list. By X date, I will be able to complete a head to toe assessment." CC your program director.

If that doesn't work, I would file an appeal according to your school's guidelines. I would note that you have already requested an opportunity to demonstrate your competence via clinical simulation on your two learning plans and were denied. My appeal would include calculations showing that you only would've needed to earn x% per remaining clinical day for the failed criteria to achieve the required 75% overall, and I would say you are willing to complete 4 clinical simulation days or clinical alternatives to earn those extra points if needed. I'd also mention that you did not receive a learning plan for physical assessments until you'd already been notified of your failure.

Do not mention that your instructor pinched the bridge of your mask to secure it in place. Although that wasn't professional, it has nothing to do with the 2 reasons you failed. It would also look like you're reaching to blame something or someone else for your failure instead of demonstrating personal accountability.

Don't mention any other students' performance and grades. That information is not your business, can't be discussed with you by an appeals board anyways, and you didn't have those clinical instructors. You had yours. As with any university course, some instructors are known to be easier or harder than others. You were enrolled in your section of the course at your clinical site with your clinical instructor. That's just how the cookie crumbled, so it doesn't matter what happened in other sections with other students. They weren't technically in your class. That has nothing to do with how you positioned a patient for feeding or your physical assessment skills. (This makes me think of when my students complain that their peer's instructor doesn't actually grade APA and gives full credit despite what the rubric says... What does that have to do with me, my course, and the abundant APA mistakes that do factually exist in my students' assignments? Nothing. The standard to grade against is a rubric outlining expectations and points, not someone else's grading.)

Now, if your first appeal is denied, I would go up the chain, and THEN I would probably mention that other students with similar, or lesser, performance were given the simulation opportunities that you were denied.

Based on what you reported, and your missed opportunities for improvement, I wish you the best in getting this decision reversed. I think you have good grounds for an appeal, and if I were part of an appeals committee, I would vote in your favor.

Edited by FacultyRN


Specializes in Psychiatric Nursing.

I would perhaps start with emailing your clinical instructor to explain you were emailed that students were to work with their instructors to make improvements, and that you would like to be able to have that learning opportunity since other students are. Say you feel like you would like to find alternate ways to learn your weak areas since you are unable to continue in clinical. If she straight up says its an automatic failure, then email the coordinator explaining you have tried to do as you were told by working with the instructor but was declined that option. Emailing the clinical instructor first would at least give a good paper trail to show you have tried to learn and improve in the time left in the course but have been rejected that option.

cov1dea, CNA

Has 3 years experience.

Take care of your clinical first. Don't worry about other things but do mention your miss opportunity. Your clinical instructor doesn't know probably that you had missed yours, or he or she ran out of time for you due to the pandemic.

Communicate then move on to the next chain of command if she definitely failed you.

Edited by cov1dea