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Failed, venting, don't know what to do =\


I'm a male, young, and tall, so I tend to stick out. My grades have always been good to great, my clinicals have all gone well, but on the last week of second semester in my ADN program, my clinical instructor failed me. I was completely shocked, all of my classmates were shocked, and my other professor was even shocked. I'm not some slacker who 'had it coming', I'm an extremely dedicated, hard-working student.

From day one I felt I was targeted (previous students have even said this instructor picks one person every rotation and gives it to them the hardest) and overly scrutinized compared to the other students who were in the same rotation, and if you would ask any of the students in my clinical group they would agree 100%. I was constantly fed spoonfuls of fear and anxiety from my instructor. She yelled at us all the time, verbally abused us, called us the worst clinical group she's ever had, told me I would never become a nurse, and even called a girl in my rotation retarded. She played favorites, and I was undoubtedly on the bottom of the totem pole.

Everyday I would show up to my clinical site scared for my life knowing that I might fail today depending on the mood of my instructor. How can anyone perform under those conditions? I truly felt she was just waiting for me to make a mistake, no matter how small or simple, in order to have the opportunity to fail me. Before passing meds one day, she quizzed me on a med (one that I've neither previously encountered or had been taught about). I answered her question on what classification it was incorrectly. Without any warning of being warned or punished, I was immediately put on probation. I'm just a student, I make mistakes...Besides, isn't that why we're going over the medications before we pass them? I was never 'worked' with afterwards. I was told to take a remediation exam early the next week. I went to take it, and out of probably 30 questions, I got one wrong, and it was a tricky one...most people would have gotten it wrong had they taken it. I asked what the pass/fail criteria was, and the faculty member told me, "It's up to your professor." I thought, "Oh great..."

The next week I arrived at class, was pulled into her office, and was being notified of my failure. THE LAST WEEK OF CLASS. There was no, "good luck, I know if you work hard you can come back from this" kind of talk, no encouragement, just, "You've failed, you cannot attend lecture, and you cannot attend clinical tomorrow. Give me your badge. Goodbye." It was so cold and calculated...that's what I hated the most about it all...Almost as if she planned it, and it all worked out. All the instructors were busy and had weird hours because it was finals week, the instructor who failed me refused to talk to me afterwards, the dean shuttled me off to other people, my request to re-apply was denied, and basically I had no power. The faculty all have each others backs, and work together...I felt as if I was blacklisted and shunned off. It was terrible for me...

Needless to say, I've been confused, angry, depressed, on edge, and very unproductive for about 3-4 weeks now, and I truly have no idea what to do with my life. Nursing was it, that's all I was focused on for about 2 years before (prereqs) and the one year during the program, but after this experience, even thinking about nursing makes me sick...I don't know what to do really...I feel a bit lost. In some way I want to do something completely opposite of nursing, but I'm afraid of having to start all over again...Just venting here really.

Edited by Eithanhunt

HappyWife77, BSN, RN

Specializes in Gerontology RN-BC and FNP MSN student. Has 21 years experience.

That is awful. I would try another campus....if that is possible. We have students that have came to our campus after failing certain classes at other campuses.

Sorry you went through this. But please do not give up.


pmabraham, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice, Palliative Care. Has 3 years experience.

Hugs Eithanhunt. I'm so sorry for your experience which should have been extremely different. Don't give up on yourself!

Usually when students say they are being targeted specifically I think they are trying to rationalize. However, your instructor sounds absolutely horrid. Did you get talked to about your progress weekly? Also, did you go the night before to gather information and their medication list? Because if I was about to give a med and gave wrong information it was an immediate failed clinical (one clinical not failed program).

We didn't get weekly progress talks, we weren't able to go the night before, but we were allowed to research the meds before we presented them. I just happened to be so scared for my life, and as a result not thinking straight, that I read the page on the left (different drug) rather then the page on the right (correct drug) in my drug book. There's no doubt I made a mistake and I'll own up to it 24/7, but it was a drug I was completely unfamiliar with, and that we were never taught about, so I didn't know the information was wrong when I took notes on it, but that's why we go over the meds before we pass them. I just didn't think the punishment fit the crime.

Don't forget that you can talk to the Vice President of instruction and president of the college. If they are of no help, you can even bring it up to the school board during one of their meetings. If you have written communications documenting some of what you've said, it will go greatly to aid your cause.

I'm sorry. That is awful. Can you make an appeal? I wish you good luck. Take care

SopranoKris, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 6 years experience.

You can appeal to the provost of your college if your appeals to the nursing program go no where.

CrunchRN, ADN, RN

Specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health. Has 25 years experience.

You have my sympathy. I had one of those types 23 years ago. I was a 3.9 student and "older" at the time because i was late 20's. He made my clinicals a living hell. I would ask for a meeting with the program director to get more clarity about why they felt you were not a good fit in the program.


Specializes in ER, ICU, Education. Has 15 years experience.

I hope you will try a different school. I am a nurse educator, and name-calling is never acceptable. I would hate to see anyone attend such a school. Fill out your evaluations very factually and cite specific incidents.

I would report this to a higher level (see your school's organizational chart) and get statements from any witnesses. In any case, I would not attend such a school. You could also notify your school's dean of students or campus ombudsman, if this exists at your campus. An instructor like this would be quickly fired from my school if this were reported and witnessed by others.

Ugly behavior is a reflection on the person doling it out, not ont he person receiving it. Look back to see if you received any useful, non-cruel feedback: perhaps from a nurse at clinicals, or from another instructor? If so, address this and improve. Disregard any useless feedback, such as being told you are terrible without being given any direction to improve. A good instructor gives formative and summative feedback for most issues. A good instructor makes expectations clear, points out when theose expectations are unmet, and helps a student improve.

There are lousy students and lousy instructors, but thankfully both are fairly rare. Go find some instructors that have earned the right and privilege to educate future nurses. They do exist. And, for goodness sakes, if that is your real name, change it. This "educator" sounds cruel and possible insane, and you don't need to deal with any more drama that people like this enjoy causing.

applesxoranges, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER.

One thing I good clinical instructor should be able to do is to give you feedback.

Are you allowed to attempt to be readmitted into the clinical? Most places allow you to have at least one failure.

Isn't Ethan Hunt the character from Mission Impossible?


Specializes in hospice.

Something similar happened to me. At the time I just rolled with the punches, found another school, and finished my education (waving bye bye to all the money I put into school #1.) In retrospect I came to realize that it was a disability issue and I should have pursued some kind of legal redress. I was plunged into an anxiety state so extreme that it interfered with my ability to think. I believe I was deliberately targeted.

Listen. You can take several roads from here forward. You could try to use any appeals process that your school offers. You could go over the director's head. You might get satisfaction that way. It might be more productive to find a school that will give you credit for the work you have already done, and just get the %$#@ thing finished. A few years from now none of this @$#&&^%*@ will matter. Just keep your eyes on your goals and keep plugging away. You will be a better nurse because of this.

A great life is the best revenge.