floor staff being unkind to students in clinical

Students General Students


Hi everyone!

I'm a senior nursing student, with only 3 more semesters til graduation! In my clinical rotations this summer, I noticed something that really annoyed me... RUDE nurses and doctors! It seems as though many of them really despise nursing students. I understand the common "reasons": such as they aren't paid enough to teach us, students can be know-it-alls, students make mistakes, students take too long, etc. etc.. but have they forgotten when THEY were students? The attitudes from the RN's and LPN's on one of the floors I was on for six weeks were not positive. It was only subtle things.. such as when I'd walk onto the floor and say "Good morning" to the staff (sitting around the nurses station) and maybe 1 out of 8 would mumble "morning". Or it would be the little comments about "man, I wish I were a student and could do such and such...." while they were rolling their eyes. There were other things as well. I just needed to vent. Has anyone else had similar experiences while in clinical?

I just hope that when I am a seasoned RN, when dealing with students I will remember how I felt.


smk1, LPN

2,195 Posts

i hope when i start nursing school the majority of the staff will be somewhat friendly or at least tolerant of us! maybe some of you nurses out there could make a list of things students can do to make your day easier when we are on the floor? (what do you expect from us? what kinds of things make it a joy to have students around?)

Specializes in Interventional Pain Mgmt NP; Prior ICU and L/D RN.

I am sorry you've been treated badly by staff at your clinical site. There are plenty of us seasoned nurses that DO remember what it was like being a student. I have never minded a SN asking questions. Yes we can be a little irritable with the short staffing and the political side of working (which you will understand when you start working), but they could at least say good morning. The only thing I have ever expected from a SN is the eagerness to learn, respect, YES ASK QUESTIONS, honesty about not knowing how to do something...the normal to me. The only problem I have ever had is when students foget they are students. Trying to give report to the oncoming shift after 12 hrs and the student takes the seat instead of allowing the RN to sit down while giving report. That may have been the only time they had a chance their entire shift. Don't let the few bad apples give you a bad impression. Just smile and kill them with kindness.....GOOD LUCK :)

Specializes in Med-Surg.

Every once in a while I hear someone on my floor complain about the students, and being a new grad I can now sort of understand a little better, but still...

At least they are nice and helpful to the students when on the floor.

Part of it is that having one or two patients taken by a student often gets your routine off. Yes, it's nice to have someone else working with that patient, but the RN is still responsible for making sure everything is done for that patient, so it can be a little stressful.

Anyway, I think the bad attitude you mention towards students tends to spill over into other areas as well, and those types of floors tend to be yucky places to work whether you are a student or not. They also perpetuate their short-staffing problem (if one is present) because students don't tend to go to work on floors where they were treated poorly. Hopefully it says something positive for my floor that we have 5 new grads starting in a few days--almost all of whom have had clinical experience on my floor.

I would chalk up the negative experiences to just that--experience. Learning to work with people who aren't particularly friendly and coping in less than ideal circumstances are both things that will help you be a better nurse. Although hopefully it won't be your co-workers who are less than nice!


159 Posts

Specializes in hospice.

I know what you are saying ... when I was a student we all got treated the same way. as a nurse, I am delited to have nursing students on the floor...plus, I am going to be wuite honest here and say, when I was a student nurse we causght things that the regular nurses didnt catch, or even the docs for that matter....we were there to find problems and solutions, I think that is what made the nurses angry....we called them on their mistakes.......so hats off to you as a nursing student and mark down the names of the nurses who were mean to you and the facilities so when you graduate you can apply there and BE THEIR BOSS:) have a good one and good luck in your final semesters.


157 Posts

Specializes in orthopaedics, perioperative.

All but 2 or 3 RNs & RPNs (never working the same shifts) were nice to us. The rest hated us. Only the custodians were nice to us. I think it varies with each institution/environment, and depends on what floor you are on. Something to think about when it comes time to get hired... I don't care how short-staffed they are or how much they wanna pay me ----> I'll remember how unpleasant things were and NOT work there! :p


2,029 Posts

Specializes in PICU, Peds Ambulatory, Peds LTC.

Megan, I agree with you about the rude nurses and doctors . :(

During my final semester of my ADN program we were on a critical care unit.

Those nurses were NASTY. Some of us couldn't even ask them a simple question without them rolling and sucking there teeth. Now that I'm an RN I will treat nursing students with the up most respect. "They are our Future" Like you said.... We have to remember when we were students. I will enjoy helping out those wide eyed nursing students. :eek: It's fun just to see them take the whole day to bathe and change patient's beds. :rotfl: :rotfl:

Good Luck! :)

Specializes in ER, Medicine.
megan, i agree with you about the rude nurses and doctors . :(

during my final semester of my adn program we were on a critical care unit.

those nurses were nasty. some of us couldn't even ask them a simple question without them rolling and sucking there teeth. now that i'm an rn i will treat nursing students with the up most respect. "they are our future" like you said.... we have to remember when we were students. i will enjoy helping out those wide eyed nursing students. :eek: it's fun just to see them take the whole day to bathe and change patient's beds. :rotfl: :rotfl:

good luck! :)

ari saves the day!!!

i have heard stories about cranky butt nurses...the bsn instructor told us today that if and when we encounter it to not take it personally. that's going to be hard to do...but don't ever go down to anyone elses level of meaness and crankiness. most people are ashamed at themselves when they stop to think how rude they are. you just continue to be nice sweet you. smile and move on.:rolleyes:


2,016 Posts

Specializes in Telemetry & Obs.
I will enjoy helping out those wide eyed nursing students. It's fun just to see them take the whole day to bathe and change patient's beds.

I'm offended!!

It only takes HALF the day :chuckle


4,516 Posts

Just try to tell yourselves their bad attitudes reflect on them, not you...smile and go about your work and don't let the turkeys get ya down. Not all nurses are going to be against you...but yes you will run into a few who try to make your lives miserable (just like in real life)


63 Posts

Boy, these nurses must have been born with a cap on and an RN after their name. Stressful as it is, they don;t recognize that being "nasty butt nurses" has another effect on the student nurses-they never want to work on your nasty butt unit or in your nasty butt hospital-so those nurses that complain about not having enough staff and then treat the students like they are a burden deserve to be understaffed-OK, I'll hop off my soapbox..... I agree kill them with kindness, even if you aren't met with the same....

Good luck! ANd let your nursing instructors know what's happening, they need to give some feedback to the nursing management about their staff....

Home Health Columnist / Guide


11 Articles; 18,064 Posts

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

I had experiences like that....back in 1977 as student practical nurse!!!!

First hospital experience on Medical unit in "Premier" teaching hospital with diploma program. RN's looked down their noses "your JUST a student, don't know anything."

Second hospital, intercity teaching facility "Great another pair of hands!"

Thirty years later the premier facility has fallen on hard times and can't get nurses to stay... too many years of eating their young destroyed it as a nurse friendly environment. Union voted in 5-6 years ago cause nurses needs not heard or appreciated. Intercity hospital still with nurse friendly environment.

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