Abusive and Cruel Clinical Instructors: Why?? - page 12

Forgive me, but I've noticed on these boards when a student is afraid of a overly harsh clinical instructor, there seems to be a running theme: angry clinical instructors that embarrass students,... Read More

  1. by   nrsmela
    In our program we had a very strict professor who was also a clinical instructor (everyone dreaded having her)

    -She would tug on students hair to remind them that their ponytale should not touch their shoulder
    -Single students out in class and ask question after question, even when their answers were going nowhere, many felt humiliated by this
    -Send students home from clinical if they were not prepared (again many thought this was harsh)
    -If you asked her a question she would ask you question after question until you finally just ended up answering your own question
    -her exams were the most difficult out of all of the other classes, year after year

    We started with 80 in our community college, at the end of first year when it was time for her final there were less than 60. We found candy waiting for us at our seats and a speech about 'save the red ones for last' for the question you are really stuck on.

    I remember being so overwhelmed one day and she came to me and gave me a shocking 'pep' talk instead of lecture.

    When we were almost done with our 4 year program there were probably 20-30 of us. Attending seminars with her we learned about how respected she was in the community and all of her former students would always come up and thank her (while we of course rolled our eyes). We learned how hard she had to fight to ensure we received the great clinical experiences that we did, some students at the university (joint partnership) folded towels at the salvation army as part of their clinical experience.

    Looking back, I believe it would have been easier for her not to care, to give us all the answers and not challenge us. I believe that she wasn't too harsh or singling people out, it was a combination of her teaching style coupled with our own, thoughts, fears and anxieties. It is because of her that all of those who graduated from our program are excelling in their careers. Of course we all came out of school and were still a bit shocked about the responsibilities, work-load etc but we had some sort of preparation for this. The questions that I ended up answering myself, well those are the answers I remember. I am able to think scenarios through and consider many variables thanks to her guidance. Needless to say, the people who really hated her and complained were the ones who never made it past 2nd year and most of them (since I knew them personally I think I can say this) never really did anything with their lives, they thought nursing was an easy degree which would lead to a great job with lots of money. She provided them with a much needed reality check before they wasted their time and money in a 4 year program.

    Of course I realize that this is not the case for everyone and feel that there is no excuse for some of the horrible clinical instructors that have been described in this thread.

    I am forever grateful to this particular professor/clinical instructor.
  2. by   student88
    Hi, I have just finished my 2nd clinical placement today. I was the only student who did not complete all my competency tasks. I was pulled aside 3 times during my placement. I was scolded because he believed that I didn't listen to him. He told me that I was behaving like a teenager (I am 36), and he doesn't know what to do with me. He mentioned that the feedback he had from my buddy EN & RN confirmed all of the above. I was speechless and sad. I asked one of my buddies (she is my senior and very professional) she told me that I was helpfull, polite, professional, and a nice student to work with, and that the clinical teacher hadn't ask for her feedback at all, although I spent most of my clinical hours with her. I spent 5 minutes crying in the pan room, he caught me and told me to suck it up and continue, or go home. I composed myself and sucked it up. Then I got ready for the next assessment, I did s'thing else wrong maybe because I was nervous after all that, he scolded me again and told me to stop and throw everything away, so I did. He then scolded me again for doing so. Feedback from him, goes like this, "you have an attitute problem, unsafe, and should reassess your career choice. I'm now left feeling defeated..
  3. by   student88
    Hi, I have just finished my 2nd clinical placement today. I was the only student who did not complete all my competency tasks. I was pulled aside at 3 times during my placement. I was scolded because he believed that I didn't listen to him. He told me that I was behaving like a teenager (I am 36), and he doesn't know what to do with me. He mentioned that the feedback he had from my buddy EN & RN confirmed all of the above. I was speechless and sad. I asked one of my buddies (she is my senior, well regarded, and very professional) she told me that I was helpful, polite bedside manner, professional, and a nice student to work with, and that the clinical teacher hadn't ask for her feedback at all, although I spent most of my clinical hours with her. I spent 5 minutes crying in the pan room, he caught me and told me to suck it up and continue, or go home. I composed myself and sucked it up. Then I got ready for the next assessment, I did s'thing else wrong because I was so nervous after all that, he scolded me again and told me to stop and throw everything away, so I did. He then scolded me again for doing so. I did not talk about this to anyone, as I didn't want it to turn into gossip, and I want to pass this course, as I only have 8 months to go. Other students, seem to like him and did not appear to have any prob throughout this placement. I later overheard a different buddy nurse, mentioned that she was instructed by him not to help me with my assessments but may do so for the other students. He said, I should stick with Social Work (because I used to work as one) Feedback from him, goes like this, "you have an attitute problem, unsafe, and should reassess your career choice", I need to learn to start from the bottom and understand the hirachy of the medical profession. Everyone went out to celebrate their success with him at the end of the placement, he avoided eye contact with me. I did't join them because I felt my presence wasn't welcomed. I am dissapointed that I didn't do well, and that I didn't stand up for myself. I know he will make it very hard for me for the rest of this year, and I have a family to support, I must consider my options. I felt defeated this time. Life has it's way of correcting itself, the best may yet to come for me. I believe that everyone should be respected and put downs shouldn't be justified. I also believe, everybody has their own reason for being the way they are...but I will not be comfortable treating them the same.
  4. by   studentnurse1985
    What if the program is like a cult and most of the students including myself feel like they can't go to the dean because he/she will not do anything about it. Nor do i feel like i can go to the theory instructors.

    I've had one clinical instructor toss one of my medication in the garbage on purpose to see if I would catch it. I have not gone to the dean about this because I feel like nothing good will come out of it ..if anything they will think I am trying to "rock the boat" and get rid of me faster. I am frustrated. I feel hopeless and I really don't know what to do. My program is really bad. If one clinical instructors dislikes you for whatever reason they will try to get rid of you through clinical in some way. This is not fair and i don't know what to do about this to help myself not be a victim.
  5. by   studentnurse1985
    Quote from sncoldphan
    I recently started a new semester of nursing school with a different CI, and am already seriously concerned that she is going to fail me. Today she continuously singled me out in front of my 5 other classmates. During our group meeting, she interrupted my report on my patient, insinuated that I was making stuff up about my patient's status, said I needed to work on it, and asked the next student to start her report. When I later pointed out to her that my patient did in fact have a condition that she just previously remarked she did not see, she completely dismissed the fact that she had embarrassed me in front of my classmates. Whenever we ask her questions, she always gives condescending, snippy remarks like "Well, yea." and "Obviously no." leaving us feeling stupid and on our own. She is extremely insensitive and will share things with the class that students have hoped she would keep confidential. Basically I have an instructor who makes us feel stupid when we ask her to teach. I don't know how I will ever learn how to properly document on my patient's progress unless I seek help from my other teachers. I actually considered going to our administrator about this, but do not want to start anything if it will only cause more trouble and no solution. I doubt that I can be transferred into another clinical group considering all the other CI's at our school already have more students than my own CI. I just have this awful fear that I will do well on my written exams and reports and still won't be able to continue nursing school, because my CI failed me.
    Seriously, I will take a nursing instructors who just makes me feel stupid or incompetent over a nursing instructor who intentionally throws my patients medication away before I have to give it on purpose to see if I would catch this. THIS IS A HUGE ERROR. and in my program you can get kicked out for med errors. Is this even legal? can nursing instructors toss away students medication purposely? I have 11 more weeks left of this program and I am afraid of going to clinicals im afraid she will do this again and I won't catch it this time.
  6. by   danlee
    Where I went to school, there were a few toxic teachers. :angryfire Some of the students were unfairly singled out. A group of students went to complain about the one teacher in particular. The teacher did get talked to about it. So do speak up. The teacher was nice as pie after that... She seemed to even control her mood swings somehow.

    I did that with two teachers but it was combination of very hostile females and unsupportive clinical teachers

    the students were bullies and exclusive I saw none during my first clinical and wanted it that way. I don't like being put down constantly called names and being swore at

    the first clinical instructor was awful I was left alone the whole rotation. never saw her. one we did peri. she told me to throw the dirty towel on the ground rather than waste time getting the cart. 2 other times she had the accucheck loaded. I poked. I basically didn't do much. the pt family came in and dressed my patient and wouldn't allow the nurses or students to do it. so I talk to her. I asked her what would be the process of obtaining more assistance. she kicked me out. so I complained to the head. she was on contract. so it was easy to not renew her contract.

    the clinical teachers were kinda of mean to me in class. I had one teacher who taught clinicals give me crap for asking him to discuss my returned essay. I wanted to know what I did wrong for my own benefit. after that I had to do a test twice in row. my teacher ******* me. so I went to the same head. I said I didn't need to make a complaint that I only wanted to know how to work better with this teacher. before he gave us the end of the year evaluations he ******* out three students and ******* out me for not following his instructions. next term he was humble pie. bad evaluations and he lost teaching one class and clinicals

    I also had another teacher who also taught clinicals. she asked me how clinicals was going in front of the class. I told her not so well. before the incident she was sweet as pie. but this time, she said " don't blame us if u fail"

    in clinically I got shredded by the nurses and my clinical teacher. I refused to do something the nurses said to do. it was outside my scope of practice so I told her it would jeopardize patient safety. after this the teacher ripped me left and right. one time she was waiting for me in the locker room. I cant believe this teacher. she was yelling and scream and said shut up at least 5 times. after she emailed me to say do not make a mistake at least 5 times. she once called me and had me return 30 minutes to the clinical site to identify my signature on the mar. I think she was paranoid delusional about the medication. valproic acid. iam still wondering how much valproic acid is needed to harm a patient cause the stuff I had was well within safe dosage and the pt condition didn't suggest toxic reaction or overdose.

    they seem like they are under extreme pressure. but it could be that my reputation as complainer/trouble maker got me. I do believe they were trying to silence me and I do believe that getting rid of me was the objective in order to prevent other students from getting organized and doing the same.

    but I also think a lot of it has to with keeping a clean outward appearance so they can keep the contracts with the hospitals so there is enourmous pressure on the clinical instructors. the other agenda is to enhance there stats by targeting students who don't fit there criteria or don't seem like top quality nursing students
  7. by   thcml314
    I am having a similar issue except my instructor has taken it a step further. for my care plan, I was not given access to my information on my client until the day our care plan was due. I had attempted to contact my instructor numerous times before this due date expressing that I did not have the client information in order to complete the care plan. At first she did not even reply to my messages. When I finally got a response from her, I was told that she was too busy at work to help me and to do the best I could. I was at a panic level of anxiety and the toll it took on me was huge. I reached out to my lecture professor for guidance and he could not believe what my CI was putting me through. He was very understanding and apologetic that I had such anxiety about it. When I was finally able to get my client information, I immediately started working on my care plan to finish it. Unfortunately, the client I chose to write this assignment was not the best decision due to a lack of information. This made my task even harder to complete my care plan. Again, I attempted to communicate this with my CI and was told not to worry about due dates and to make sure I did the care plan correctly because that was the most important thing. Being a student forced to trust my professors and CI's, I believed her and attempted worked ferociously to finish it. Three weeks after the initial due date of our care plan, I was called in by my lecture professor to discuss a clinical concern. When I met with my lecture professor, he asked me what was going on with clinical and why I had not turned in my care plan and said it was 3 weeks due. When I heard this, I was flabbergasted and stunned. He stated that my CI reported to him that my assignment was late. I couldn't believe that this was happening and became distraught. My lecture professor told me to email my CI stating that we had a meeting where I learned my care plan was 3 weeks late and for my CI to clarify the due date of the care plan. This gave me a temporary sense of relief but was worried that my CI would set me up (as she has done to myself and one other student all semester). My CI emailed me and the lecture professor back stating that he was right, my care plan to her knowledge was 3 weeks late and that I had to suffer the consequences. This was the ultimate blow for me. I have an A in this class and have received recognition from the school for having a perfect grade in the class. It took me 2 years to get into nursing school and take my education and opportunity in nursing school very seriously. I find myself numb and hopeless about my situation with my CI and don't know if I can pass the clinical now because of this CI lying. I spoke to my advisor about what was happening (because I have kept her up to date on my progress in this clinical because I don't trust my CI) and she couldn't even believe that this was happening. I don't know what to do and feel that this will make me bitter, cynical and lose my passion for nursing. I recognize that I cannot make every person like me and that I will encounter people like this my entire life. I understand that. However, I feel that I cannot take the higher road on this because I am at risk for failing this clinical and class which will push my graduation date back one whole year. I do not have the finances for this to happen and fear that it will result in me leaving nursing school all together. Please, if any of you have any advice or words of encouragement please send it my way. I don't know what to do and feel hopeless.
  8. by   Anna S, RN
    This thread was started in '09.

    I figured it was old, as so many posters mention the "nursing shortage" lol.
  9. by   danlee
    yes I got that in my first clinical my twacher would not instruct me and nurses wouldn't work with me. teacher didn't get contract

    I was then failed out by psycho instructor in new class

    I transfered school and right away was accused of sexual inapprpriate comments ..I was told to sign the letter or o wouldn't proceed in this program .

    I didn't


    so I have all A marks but the hostility from.studemts and teacher and sexual harassment stuff was too.much
  10. by   steven885
    Sorry, need to vent here...

    I too this semester have been dealing with an impossible clinical instructor. If you know what you are doing and are prepared, in her eyes, you are still unprepared... have a question? she redirects and says look it up, but now now... Medications take forever to give because she assigns too many students to give multiple medications at similar times by different students, medications can only be administered with her presence making it impossible to give medications on time. End result is medications are given late and it is you (the student) who needs to improve on time management...

    Repeatedly throughout the semester, I am told I need to improve time management. I beg to differ because I seem to have no problem juggling 11 patients or more as a PCT in a busy ED including and not limited to helping triage new patients, EKGs, blood work, trauma/stroke alerts etc in a timely manner.

    Just as at work, I am here for the patient!

    Hopefully, I don't have her again. Very difficult to work with someone like this, full of unnecessary stress.
  11. by   Lev <3
    Quote from thcml314
    I am having a similar issue except my instructor has taken it a step further. for my care plan, I was not given access to my information on my client until the day our care plan was due. I had attempted to contact my instructor numerous times before this due date expressing that I did not have the client information in order to complete the care plan. At first she did not even reply to my messages. When I finally got a response from her, I was told that she was too busy at work to help me and to do the best I could. I was at a panic level of anxiety and the toll it took on me was huge. I reached out to my lecture professor for guidance and he could not believe what my CI was putting me through. He was very understanding and apologetic that I had such anxiety about it. When I was finally able to get my client information, I immediately started working on my care plan to finish it. Unfortunately, the client I chose to write this assignment was not the best decision due to a lack of information. This made my task even harder to complete my care plan. Again, I attempted to communicate this with my CI and was told not to worry about due dates and to make sure I did the care plan correctly because that was the most important thing. Being a student forced to trust my professors and CI's, I believed her and attempted worked ferociously to finish it. Three weeks after the initial due date of our care plan, I was called in by my lecture professor to discuss a clinical concern. When I met with my lecture professor, he asked me what was going on with clinical and why I had not turned in my care plan and said it was 3 weeks due. When I heard this, I was flabbergasted and stunned. He stated that my CI reported to him that my assignment was late. I couldn't believe that this was happening and became distraught. My lecture professor told me to email my CI stating that we had a meeting where I learned my care plan was 3 weeks late and for my CI to clarify the due date of the care plan. This gave me a temporary sense of relief but was worried that my CI would set me up (as she has done to myself and one other student all semester). My CI emailed me and the lecture professor back stating that he was right, my care plan to her knowledge was 3 weeks late and that I had to suffer the consequences. This was the ultimate blow for me. I have an A in this class and have received recognition from the school for having a perfect grade in the class. It took me 2 years to get into nursing school and take my education and opportunity in nursing school very seriously. I find myself numb and hopeless about my situation with my CI and don't know if I can pass the clinical now because of this CI lying. I spoke to my advisor about what was happening (because I have kept her up to date on my progress in this clinical because I don't trust my CI) and she couldn't even believe that this was happening. I don't know what to do and feel that this will make me bitter, cynical and lose my passion for nursing. I recognize that I cannot make every person like me and that I will encounter people like this my entire life. I understand that. However, I feel that I cannot take the higher road on this because I am at risk for failing this clinical and class which will push my graduation date back one whole year. I do not have the finances for this to happen and fear that it will result in me leaving nursing school all together. Please, if any of you have any advice or words of encouragement please send it my way. I don't know what to do and feel hopeless.
    The thing to do is to speak with your adviser and your lecture professor and have them contact the dean ASAP about all that has transpired. Request a meeting with your dean, clinical instructor, and adviser. Hopefully things will work out for the best.
  12. by   Ariyal82
    I am two months from graduating and I really feel like I've learned a lot. However, unlike my other classmates who are LPNs and techs, I still feel behind in very practical ways during clinicals. It's very frustrating! When you can explain a disease process but need help hanging a piggy-back med, you look like an idiot nursing student (or at least you feel feel like one). Im trying to psych myself into believing it's normal and I just need more floor time, but it's very damaging to my confidence. Has anyone else had this same experience?
  13. by   vintagemother
    Quote from Ariyal82
    ..., unlike my other classmates who are LPNs.... It's very frustrating! When you can explain a disease process but need help hanging a piggy-back med...Has anyone else had this same experience?
    I'm an LVN turned RN. Set to graduate this semester. I also feel like I have 6 fingers and 2 thumbs while hanging IV bags!!

    It's alright!!!

    I tell myself that it's a skill that will come easier as my muscles develop muscle memory.

    I'm just a little awkward and overly cautious with double and triple and quadruple checking everything when I hang IV bags!

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