Shooting at nurse's college in Tuscon, AZ?? - page 9

I am watching FOXNews and they just reported they have received a "bulletin" about a shooting at a nursing college in Tuscon. They will break in more more news as they get it. Two women have been... Read More

  1. by   nurs4kids
    now I've read the letter..

    sad..very sad. There is no excuse for what he did, but through his message, I understand his pain. I agree with him and RN IS harder for a male student...unless, that is, he takes on the butt-kissing role..or the typical female submissive personality..then he is usually the instructor's "pet".

    I have a coworker..male and yes, a little "different". Smart as a whip and a dang good nurse. He's within two months of graduating with his masters..nurse practitioner. The dean called him into her office and "advised" him that he should change programs..that he's not "fit" for this field (he has a 3.5gpa). They have nothing on him other than the fact that he's outspoken "disrespectful" other words, he's not kissing their arses, imho.

    Right now, I'm precepting a male student. Again, smart..assertive, will be an awesome nurse. He, too, has had the same type conflicts with the nursing program..same school as my coworker. I have no doubt it's harder for male students because men are not accustomed to being being "beat down".

    As I read this guy's letter, I could remember incidents from my days in the nursing program. I remember staying up until 4am doing care plans only to arrive at clinicals at 6:30am to have a cocky instructor tear them apart..with poor explanations as to what was wrong. We've all been told you can't work a job and safely or effectively do nursing school. Everyone isn't born with a silver spoon in their mouth..most people HAVE to work while attending nursing school..i sure did. I remember having to stand throughout a clinical and in report..even if there were ten vacant chairs.."because the instructor said so". Three weeks prior to graduation, I came down w/ conjunctivitis (probably d/t fatigue)..missed a clinical, had a doctor's excuse. The instructor told me I would not be allowed to make up the; i would not graduate. I went to the dean of the school and was able to make it up, but that was senseless stress. There is absolutely no logical reasoning to the kind of stress that is placed upon nursing students. Stress decreases's a viscious cycle.

    I don't like what this man heart goes out to the victims and their heart also goes out to this man and his family.

    However, I do think in this tragedy, he has left us an opportunity..
    the opportunity to gain more control of our profession, the opportunity for us to publicize our concerns, needs, etc..
    he opened the can of worms...

    we can either sit back and call him crazy..pass him off as an isolated nutcase..or we can say, "what he did is inexcusable, but not incomprehensible under the circumstances..."

    now i'll join helen and don my flame-proof suit...
  2. by   Roland
    1. There is NO excuse for premeditated murder (and he makes it very clear that he thought long and hard about the deed). Furthermore, no victim of that crime deserves such treatment no matter what their offence.

    2. That said one cannot but conclude (assuming his account portrays an even remotely accurate portrayal of the actual facts something very much in question) that this guy was treated in a very unfair manner. Specifically, it seems as if he was an agressive student who is sometimes seen as a "know it all" (not unlike myself I too sometimes ask alot of questions in class the way I see it I'm paying a great deal of money for these people to teach me). His problems seemed to rapidly mount AFTER he complained to the Dean of students about being ignored in class when he would ask questions. From his perspective this complaint SEALED his fate within the nursing program. I would be quicker to discount this version of events if so many people on this site had not cautioned ME to be careful to avoid the same fate (that is to say being perceived as a "know it all").

    3. In addition it seems that a "confluence" of factors acted to exponentially increase his distress making him percieve his situation as hopeless. These were primarily:

    a. The relative "iron clad" nature of student loan repayment (unlike other debts it usually cannot be written off in bankruptcy no matter how bad your economic circumstances). Thus our villian felt that if he could not complete school he would have to pay his student loan debt (in addition to his other expenses such as child support) or face collection actions including revocation of his LPN license.

    b. The relative iron clad nature of child support payments seemed to be another motif in his dispair. The killer felt that if he was kicked out of school that he wouldn't be able to continue child support payments espcially in combination with student loan payments. Certainly not without his LPN license.

    c. The perpetraitor felt that he had been railroaded out of the program. He describes an incident where the instructor "stepped out of the room to say hi to a co-worker" while he was administering meds to patient. He was disciplined for this violation. Another incident involved a mandated care plan due the next day with part of the requisite material having to be downloaded from a computer. Despite his experienceing technical difficulties and asking for help, his paper was late and the tardiness was NOT excused.

    d. The killer also had a plethora of health problems the most severe involving dental problems, and possible Gulf War related back injuries. These were exasperated by his working a full time job (out of necessity) while in nursing school.

    Again, this guy is a murderer and deserves his fate (many believe that it will be eternal damnation although thats for God to decide). No one can justify murder. However, one cannot help but feel that a little more simple, and common sense kindness on the part of the institution MAY have averted this trajedy. I was struck by the dichotomy of the thread which described someone who had to work with a now accused terrorist who seemed impervious to being fired no matter how extreme his actions (again assuming the Flores letter remotely represents the true facts of the case). In this case it seems we had someone who was trying his best of above average intelligence and who had proven to be a good LPN, who was still insufficent to pass the program.

    The theme which seemed to permeate the letter was that when "the world" gets you down it does so in spades.

    Michigan Nurse asked about the NRA publications. I let my membership laspe last year (I'm a BSN student and poor!) but I think they are called American Handgunner, and American Rifleman. Your NRA membership comes with a choice of ONE of the two publications. It seems if I remember correctly that the accounts of guns being used in self defense were within the first five pages of both publications.
  3. by   Stargazer
    No flames from me, Tracy and Helen. I completely agree with both of your posts.

    If any good whatsoever is to come of this, every nursing school in the country needs to take a long, hard, honest look at its pervasive culture and ask whether that culture is flexible, nurturing and inclusive--or judgemental, unyielding and biased. And individual nursing instructors need to do some serious soul-searching and figure out whether they truly treat all students equally and fairly, and if not, why not.

    Then we as a profession need to ask ourselves whether accepting and supporting this kind of toxic status quo is really okay or whether it's perpetuating everything that's wrong with nursing right now, by teaching and enforcing the same destructive "rules" and behaviors, i.e.:

    Your opinion doesn't count
    Every person for him/herself
    I have the power to decide whether you deserve to be in this profession or not
    Who ever told you life was fair?
    You're worth exactly what I tell you you're worth
    You can't beat the system so don't even try
    We're not looking for individuals here. We punish independent thought.

    No wonder nurses are so beaten down from the outset.
  4. by   Charity
    As a former nursing instructor, I don't doubt that any of that happened to him. I have too many memories of students going through the same things. (Not in MY clinicals, however!) Naturally, we can't know the entire story, but I must admit that I was not surprised. Like someone else noted earlier, when I heard about it I knew "why". I have been there when we told a student that he would not be allowed to continue in the program (next to last semester) because he failed the course by 0.5 pt. And this was this third time through. (yes, 0.5 pts seems SO close. But we had fudged to get it that close. Just no way to find the extra) Don't think we were not worried about his harming himself. But we did not just say "so long". We worked on his options with him (oddly enough, LPN licensure), and encouraged him not to give up.

    On the male aspect, I do seem to recall that most of the conflicts in my own school days involved male students. The biggest "troublemaker" was career Army. A medic with Special Forces. Great guy. Gave the teachers fits. Another guy (LPN) was pulled into our clinical group from another teacher's in the middle of the day. Their confrontation on the unit was much talked of. (It was the policy at my school that no student could be failed in clinicals by one instructor. They had to be evaluated by two at minimum).


    BTW, the instructor in me couldn't help but notice that his letter included a title page.
  5. by   Roland
    IF there is indeed an "atititude" that is pervasive within nursing schools could it be what Sociologists like Emile Durkheim or Talcott Parsons would have termed "functional". Let me put it another way. For many years nursing was seen as a "servile" profession both to the doctors and health care facilities which they served (and from some of the posts on read on this board it still is by SOME). Our hypothesis is that this lingering "attitude" (for lack of a better term this describes the locus of negative traits that may be associated with certain nursing programs and or instructors) practiced by these schools is an acknowledgement of this situation. Thus, if this viewpoint is correct then these schools could be seen as "breaking" the students so that those who successfully graduate are willing and able to "function" within THAT paradigm. Now males are for the most part a recent development within the profession espcially the "type A" breed that might have been more associated with medical and business school in the past. Could it be that they are "running up against" this paradigm?

    What we find fascinating about this concept if it is indeed correct is that it implies that nursing schools (via their teaching practices) are helping to perpetuate the very conditions within the profession that many no doubt oppose within their personal belief systems. Does this just sound like so much psychobabble or does it seem to reflect reality?
    Last edit by Roland on Oct 31, '02
  6. by   kmchugh
    OK, so, I've read this guy's letter, and am sickened on a number of levels. Yes, it's true, this guy was self serving, and sought to place the blame for his failures everywhere but where it belonged, which was squarely on his shoulders.

    On another level, I am reminded of one of my nursing school classmates. There were three men in my class, and one of them was in some ways similiar to this guy. Generally, he was thought of as kind of a weirdo. He was in the Air Force. He had some problems in nursing school, particularly with one instructor. He defended his every action, no matter how wrong he was. About six weeks before graduation, he had been having some problems with his wife (soon to be ex), and broke into her house. After a short stand off with the Air Force Security Police, he shot himself in the head with a rifle. Now I wonder, how close might we have been to the same kind of incident that occurred in Arizona right here in Wichita, Kansas?

    On a third level, I am shocked to find that there are some things this guy wrote that I can kind of identify with. (No, nothing justifies his actions, needs to be said immediately.) While in nursing school, I ran into the same anti-male biases he talks about. I know one instructor who told a roomful of female nursing students that men DID NOT BELONG in nursing. That same instructor made OB so horrendous for me that, in my third semester of nursing school, I came within a hair's breadth of quitting, in spite of a 4.0 GPA.

    I have time and again heard nurses, and nursing school instructors tell me, and other male nurses, that there is no anti-male bias in nursing. Bunk. Nothing justifies taking the lives of these women, who dedicated their lives to teaching others to be nurses. But, what I do fear will happen is that this guy will be chalked up as another psychopath (which he was). No one is going to take the long, hard look that needs to be taken at nursing schools. At how male students are treated. At the pervasive attitude among much of nursing school academia that they are on the pedestals, dispensing academic life and death to students, often on no more than a personality conflict, or worse, a whim. Those who don't bow and supplicate properly must be smashed, taught a valuable "life lesson."

    And people wonder why more nurses don't stand up to physicians.

    Kevin McHugh
    Last edit by kmchugh on Oct 31, '02
  7. by   rosy
    Originally posted by JMP
    If you can not see it, look at the facts. Look at Great Britain and Canada and then look at the US and compare death stats related to guns. The facts don't lie. [/B]
    Lest we forget the Constitution of the United States of America

    Amendment II

    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

    Frankly we Americans fought long and hard for these freedoms, and will continue to fight to defend and retain them.
  8. by   CMERN
    To agree with someone hwo posted earlier..I too "knew WHY when I heard about it".... I will tell you NURSING SCHOOL is Hell and "some" instructors are HEARTLESS and EARLESS!....I also read this deceased mans letter. He had LOADS more issues...and chose his violent end... He harmed and injured families, everything revolved around him. He was a sad, sad, case. I wonder if he was bit of a drama master. He saw all coscequences of life as caused by "them" ----outside forces. Yes he seems self-centered, but in reality his SELF dependent on all outside people and circumstances. Geez,...and people are dead because he was probably to chicken to just once VENT and say oh KISS my BUTT! and mean it...... WHY THE KILLING> anger passes ...but dead people are always dead... my prayers are with the victims families.
  9. by   CMERN
    Sorry to post again... but I almost forgot ,.. while I was in first Year. The night before midterms 2 instructors took it upon themselves to personally call 6 students (I wasnt one). and tell the students that they should not even show up for the midterm and consider dropping out all together as THEY the instructor did not "feel" that these students "had what it took" to be an R.N.
    What these students did have were BIG mouths thank god and we all collectively had a wall climbing fit and notified the state board of this incident. This was not the only shananigans the " instructors" tried in the following two years. Upon the month of our graduation the State Board of Nursing came for inspection and Placed that school of nursing on Probation and began requireing copious amounts of paperwork and evidence that the INSTRUCTORS were competant HAHAHAHAH>> :chuckle So yes..students Should not LIE down and take it ..WE PAY (dearly) to get an education.... ! I dont remember signing up for "INSTRUCTORS OPINION 101"
  10. by   Danielle4
    I think that it is a good thing he didn't make it through nursing school. I think that the stress in school is to prepare us for the stressful role of a nurse. If he could not handle the stress in school he may not have been able to make it as a nurse.

    I think males make great nurses probably because in order to endure it they really have to have the ambition to do it. I also think that women have to endure things when being in a male dominated role too just the same as men in a female dominated role. Look at all the problems women have had becoming police officers or fire fighters even in the military or the computer industry or the business world. They are all male dominated. I just think it comes with the territory. They knew that when they signed up for nursing school about it. Not that I do not sympathize, but it is the way the real world is. I definitely think that it should not be this way, but reality is that it is.

    I agree something should have been done especially if he threatened this beforehand. I still do not think that gives him an "excuse" for what he did though. He was still 41 years old and last I checked that made him an adult why did he do so much whinning? I still think one does make a choice to be depressed. I think we all are adults and should take responsibility for his actions. He should have signed himself up for counseling or something. I do see why he felt the way he did don't get me wrong, but I still think everything one does is a choice in life. He should have sought help from someone. There are programs out there that you do not have to have insurance for. Maybe he should have joined a church to make some friends. I don't know, but he should have reached out to someone. Why couldn't he see his kids if he was paying child support. Couldn't he have gotten his wife in trouble for moving so much? Doesn't she have to keep them in one state? I do not know the logistics behind it, but it sounds like he was not there for them to begin with. I just think yes he ruined his own life, but why did he have to go and ruin other lives by killing and does his sad life justify what he did. I just don't think so. I don't think his life was that bad that he had the right to take other lifes. Didn't he worry about what his kids thought of him?

    I think your posts in remorse for him are nice of you. In fact, I think that is what makes YOU a good nurse. You have the compassion he was missing to finish the program. We should be glad he weeded himself out because he would not have made a good nurse. He may have been smart, but he could not handle the stress and I think when people are depressed they blow everything out of proportion. There is hormonally depressed and yes maybe that is not by choice, but I still think environmental attributed depression is by choice.
  11. by   Q.
    Just a minor note: he already was a nurse, just not an RN, BSN,
  12. by   Danielle4
    Sorry, I guess he was an LPN.

    I don't understand why he was not happy that he was already a nurse then. I guess he was just frustrated and he did not think he was going to make his goal to get his BSN.

    How sad.
  13. by   rncountry
    Thank you Tracy, for saying such nice things. I always enjoy your posts too.
    Danielle, why should it come with the territory, so to speak? Why should it be ok to treat a male in the nursing program poorly based on his gender? As a woman I howl when I believe that I am being treated less simply because I don't have a dick, and I don't see that it should be any different for a man being treated badly in a female dominated field.
    It is my belief and has been for some time, that the pyschology of nursing school is exactly what Roland pointed out. Whether it is actually thought out or not, there is an element in which the way we are treated as students is perpetuated by the institutions that we work in, as well as being perpetrated by many physicians, who know they will not be reprimanded by the facility. The hierachy that exists in nursing also perpetuates this. Danielle you wonder why Mr. Flores was not simply happy being an LPN. Why does any LPN go back to school? Money, more prestige, more independence in the practice, and self satisfaction. Why does anyone decide to continue in any education? Why do ADN's opt to get a BSN, particularly when in many cases it doesn't even bring more money? Career advancement, the "right" to be called a professional from the viewpoint of some, and again personal satisfaction.
    You know why the biggest reason I don't go back and get my BSN? Because nursing school was so painful to have to do, worked full time, my husband stationed elsewhere so no support there, my children 2 and 5 years old and I did my prereqs. with my nursing classes, that I cannot imagine having to go through it all over again. Not to mention this time around I am not the same person who would keep my mouth shut so I could graduate. I have become plenty assertive, and would likely get myself in trouble. I look back at nursing school and have no idea how I managed it. Real life nursing is not nearly as stressful as school was. To me to use the excuse that real nursing is stressful and it is therefore acceptable to use intimidation tactics to "weed out" students is a bunch of horse pukey.
    I have seriously considered writing the paper in which this letter was published just to say, yes, nursing school is exactly like Mr. Flores described. And then it gets perpetuated by older nurses on newer nurses and we stand there and wring our hands and wonder why we are so damn nasty to one another?
    And I also have to say this to Danielle. No, the Friend of the Court will not hardly ever, keep someone from moving your kids wherever they want to go. No matter how many times they are moved. At one time my husband's ex moved their children to AZ. He knew only that they went to that state and nothing more. He didn't know where his children were for two years and NO ONE GAVE A DAMN! Not the state of Michigan and not the state of Arizonia. He finally tracked them down through family members and by back tracking on some old phone numbers from those family members that were willing to share information with him. And when the child support is set, they don't care if you have enough to live on yourself or not. There are preset scales, at least in Michigan, based on your wage. There is no consideration given for housing prices, what your bills may be already etc... Nor is there anyway to ensure that the money for child support is actually going to support the children. My husband pays $154 a week for two children, but the child support was not going to the kids. For over 4 years we paid child support and also bought all the school clothes, school supplies, winter coats, winter boots, then spring coats, new tennis shoes, summer clothes and right on down the line, until I was fed up. Do you know how hard it is to have to say I can't do this anymore? I know they are your children, but I can't put a dime in the bank and we have children that are needing to be able to go to college? And just because their mother and stepfather have an inability to actually get and keep a job themselves because then they might have to haul their lazy asses out of bed in the morning. We repeatedly went to the FOC and got nothing. Both boys were failing in school, one has medical problems and is on anti seizure medication, with repeatedly missed Dr. appts, no drug levels being drawn when they were supposed to be, still nothing from the FOC. Then there was the day that the youngest at 8, told me about a day his stepfather had choked him until he passed out. Did child protective services do anything? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Their answer? It was rough play that got out of hand. I **** you not. And I will tell you that if there was anytime in my life I seriously wanted to shot and kill someone it was then. I brought two boxes of documentation of this stuff to the FOC and they did NOTHING. My husband is one of the nicest, easiest going men you would ever meet, but trust me when I say the stepfather would not dare to lay a hand on either boy anymore. When all other legal avenues fail what do you do to protect your children? You put the fear of God into the person who has harmed your children. What I am saying is don't assume that Mr. Flores was the bad guy in his marriage or in lack of followup with his children.
    I do not believe that killing others is a solution, but I certainly can understand the forces that drove him.
    And thanks guys for not flaming me. I truly expected it to happen.