Abusive and Cruel Clinical Instructors: Why?? - page 8

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   moreilly
    My daughter is attending nursing school in Oakland and appears to be the target of abusive behavior of the director of the RN program. She has received A's in her courses but has been blocked by the director from rotating in the the ER during her last semester before licensing. She found this out indirectly through one of the nurses in the ER, who initially said she had an openning but then withdrew the offer after the director spoke to her. The director never spoke to my daughter beforehand about any problems.
    My daughter is a strong woman but it is incredibly stressful for her to have somone in a position of power pursuing a vendetta of some kind.
    How can she possibly deal with the situation when her future career is on the line? She still has another year and a half to complete the Nurse Practictioner semesters after this one.
    I just want to strangle the woman or sue the school or take it to the newspapers.
  2. by   caliotter3
    Perhaps she should consider another program for the NP portion.
  3. by   CuriousMe
    Quote from moreilly
    My daughter is attending nursing school in Oakland and appears to be the target of abusive behavior of the director of the RN program. She has received A's in her courses but has been blocked by the director from rotating in the the ER during her last semester before licensing. She found this out indirectly through one of the nurses in the ER, who initially said she had an openning but then withdrew the offer after the director spoke to her. The director never spoke to my daughter beforehand about any problems.
    My daughter is a strong woman but it is incredibly stressful for her to have somone in a position of power pursuing a vendetta of some kind.
    How can she possibly deal with the situation when her future career is on the line? She still has another year and a half to complete the Nurse Practictioner semesters after this one.
    I just want to strangle the woman or sue the school or take it to the newspapers.
    I wouldn't necessarily assume that there was abuse. I'm sure your daughter is a great student. However, I know that my school is very careful about who they will place in the ED as a Senior Practicum. Someone could be a 4.0 student and still not be a great fit for the ED.

    Additionally, the Director might have been speaking for the school (ie the decision that faculty made) which is why, even though she hasn't worked with your daughter, she was the one to speak to the hospital.
  4. by   mspontiac
    Quote from LiveToLearn
    As a nursing instructor, I can say that I find students have the best retention and success when I ask a LOT from them, but am open about all my expectations up front. I expect the best from all of my students, and will push them to excel. However, this does NOT mean being rude, abusive, unfair, or harsh. The students respond best when they know I will never let them off easy, but that they will never be abused. They feel safe to learn and grow, knowing I am not trying to fail them, but also that I am not just "letting them loose" unsupervised with no expectations or rules.

    You can "make" someone bend to your will by being nasty, but that type of "learning" only extends to the end of the class in most cases. My goal is to get students to a point where they recognize all that they are capable of. Many have had people tell them they aren't smart enough or capable enough their entire lives. When they realize how much potential they have, I don't need to motivate them anymore! They want to be their best for the personal satisfaction of doing so, and my goal is to give them the tools and knowledge to succeed.
    You are the type of instructor I LOVE to have (and they're rare). I enjoy being pushed to expand myself, without the threats and fear of punitive actions for petty reasons. Tough instructors are the ones who create the best RNs because they make you think. They simply cannot be cruel or harsh because of their own power trip or it will backfire.

    I had a very harsh clinical instructor last semester who happened to like me very much (thank goodness), but she would still demean me in front of patients for the smallest infraction. If I didn't administer medications quickly enough, she would scold me at the bedside for having "poor time management." I viewed it as being safe...I preferred to look at the medication package, take my time and be careful, etc. She was always full of complaints about every student. One of the other students had a patient comment after the instructor left the room that she felt sorry for us. Now, if the patient is made to feel uncomfortable and is commenting on it, it's gone too far. She gave an "unsatisfactory" to one student because she didn't have gloves in her pocket and had to go back to the wall to get some before administering an injection...."unsafe patient care." None of us wanted to attempt new experiences with her, and spent much of our time avoiding her. For the most part, the only time we tried anything new was if our RN was wonderful enough to let us try with her/him at our side. That said, I did learn a lot about being efficient and charting, etc. because she had very high standards for us.

    Too bad the woman often addressed patients (and students) by the wrong names after being corrected. It made her look like a hypocrit because she couldn't even get a name right.

    I'm 40, have a lot of life experience to bring to the table, and am smart and capable. Many of my friends in the program are the same way. We've learned that when someone holds your grade or even your passing the class in their hands, it's best just to pick your battles and let them have their jollies if that's how they tend to be. If an instructor gets too out of line I wouldn't hesitate to say something but fortunately it's never come to that. I have the rest of my nursing career to stand up to lateral hostility from other RNs, and I'm not afraid to do it if I have to. But for now, I try to be tolerant of nutty instructors and just get through it.
  5. by   llg
    Quote from moreilly
    My daughter is attending nursing school in Oakland and appears to be the target of abusive behavior of the director of the RN program. She has received A's in her courses but has been blocked by the director from rotating in the the ER during her last semester before licensing. She found this out indirectly through one of the nurses in the ER, who initially said she had an openning but then withdrew the offer after the director spoke to her. The director never spoke to my daughter beforehand about any problems.
    My daughter is a strong woman but it is incredibly stressful for her to have somone in a position of power pursuing a vendetta of some kind.
    How can she possibly deal with the situation when her future career is on the line? She still has another year and a half to complete the Nurse Practictioner semesters after this one.
    I just want to strangle the woman or sue the school or take it to the newspapers.
    What makes your daughter think the Director's decision was personal? A lot of students make that mistake -- thinking that everything is "about them" when it may have nothing to do with her. They think "personal vendetta" when it was just a policy decision. The Director may simply have decided that ED placements would be inappropriate for any student as the experiences there would not be a good match with the course objectives or your daughter's current learning needs.

    Just because you get A's in your courses, doesn't mean you still don't have learning needs -- and that your clinical experiences don't need to match up well with what those needs are. There may be any number of good legitimate reasons as to why your daughter didn't get her first choice of a clinical placement. Does she have a bad history with this Director that you haven't told us about? If not, then there is no reason to think that your daughter is anything other than "another student" to this Director and no reason to think the Director is "out to get her" in some way.

    If there is nothing more to the story ... it would best for your daughter if you didn't feed her paranoia fantasy about being the victim of an abuser. She'll be much more successful in the workplace (and in school) if she learns to tell the difference been "real abuse" and "not getting her way."
  6. by   milksteak
    It totally throws you off when an instructor is like this. You're there to LEARN!! Being stern is part of it but being down right DISRESPECTFUL, rude and condescending is terrible. And don't even THINK of standing up for yourself, they'll put you down and even write you up for it!
    I had an instructor, not in clinical just in class, that seemed nice. When it was time to be checked off for certain skills, she was a wench. She would hurry you and do some of the things for you if you were "too slow"!!!! how is this any way to learn?? and then when she'd go over everything (say bed making) and look at the folds- she'd say how bad they were and make you do it over EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS THE ONE THAT DID THE FOLDS because i was "taking too long"!!!! AAAAH!!!! I'm with you on this one honey!
  7. by   latebloomer74
    Because they can, and 9 times out of 10 get away with it. I still shudder to think of my classmate who got slapped in the face by her clinical instructor. The student was having trouble getting the needleguard up on the needle and the instructor says get away from me with that needle, and I guess the student was still struggling to get the needleguard up, and because the instructor was afraid to get a needlestick she slaps the student in the face.
    That instructor is damn lucky that student didn't report her, what she did was CRIMINAL.
  8. by   Moogie
    Quote from studentkk
    Because they can, and 9 times out of 10 get away with it. I still shudder to think of my classmate who got slapped in the face by her clinical instructor. The student was having trouble getting the needleguard up on the needle and the instructor says get away from me with that needle, and I guess the student was still struggling to get the needleguard up, and because the instructor was afraid to get a needlestick she slaps the student in the face.
    That instructor is damn lucky that student didn't report her, what she did was CRIMINAL.
    Shocked speechless by this. I wish I could say I didn't believe you but unfortunately, I do.

    Did your classmate stay in the program after this happened? Is the instructor still teaching at that school?
  9. by   latebloomer74
    Quote from Moogie
    Shocked speechless by this. I wish I could say I didn't believe you but unfortunately, I do.

    Did your classmate stay in the program after this happened? Is the instructor still teaching at that school?
    Yes my classmate did stay in the program and has since graduated. I think the reason she did not report the instructor was out of fear that somehow they would prevent her from graduating and she was only weeks away from graduation. This was an older student, and actually she was a kiss***, but she had no reason to lie, I totally believe her. I have no idea if she reported the instructor after graduation. I would like to think the instructor is not working at that college anymore, but I really, really doubt it.
  10. by   Imscray
    Interesting reading here. I'm currently in CRNA school, and have experienced exactly this same kind of clinical instructor behavior. Inappropriate and unprofessional behavior, extreme hard-ass on students (even when we were totally green and brand new in clinicals), and just generally a jackass. Not sure what the motivation of people like this is, but it does nothing whatsoever to make people want to stay in the profession. If all they're looking for is a bunch of cowering sheep, that may be what they get. I'm an older student (mid-40s), and I have a hard time putting up with behavior like this from anyone - whether a physician, teacher, or whatever. I may yet get in trouble with this person, but there is only so much I'll put up with.
  11. by   Seas
    We had an evil clinical instructor too, who would love to pull students' legs and make them fail out of the school. She finally started trying to get the instructors in trouble! can you believe this?! Thankfully, she got fired this semester for causing too much trouble! Thank God.
  12. by   NurseGuy30
    Quote from AOx1
    As a nursing instructor, I can say that I find students have the best retention and success when I ask a LOT from them, but am open about all my expectations up front. I expect the best from all of my students, and will push them to excel. However, this does NOT mean being rude, abusive, unfair, or harsh. The students respond best when they know I will never let them off easy, but that they will never be abused. They feel safe to learn and grow, knowing I am not trying to fail them, but also that I am not just "letting them loose" unsupervised with no expectations or rules.

    You can "make" someone bend to your will by being nasty, but that type of "learning" only extends to the end of the class in most cases. My goal is to get students to a point where they recognize all that they are capable of. Many have had people tell them they aren't smart enough or capable enough their entire lives. When they realize how much potential they have, I don't need to motivate them anymore! They want to be their best for the personal satisfaction of doing so, and my goal is to give them the tools and knowledge to succeed.
    That's awesome. I have to say that I have been very lucky in my nursing school so far. The clinical instructor I have now has a reputation for being tough, and she is. But I know she has only the best intentions. I know that her motivation is an overwhelming concern for the quality of our nursing grads and the care nurses should be giving patients. And because I know this, I will take every constructive criticism she gives me to heart, because I know she is trying to make me better. I am more motivated in this clinical than I was in last--not because I'm afraid of this instructor, but because I'm afraid of ever disappointing her.
  13. by   nikkismom
    I had a clinical instructor from hell during the chronic care part of my clinical. She was something else, she has two favourite students and the rest of us she wasn't keen on at all. She would let her favourites get all the opportunities that came up. Whenever I had to perform a skill in front of her she wouldn't emphasize everything I did wrong instead of telling me what I did fine. When it came to the year end review she gave me a horrible review, gave me countless things that she felt I needed to work on. Well, after that review I wanted to drop out of nursing and not go back. I had a semester break, and I am thankful I did. I did much thinking on that semester off and decided I wasn't going to let her opinion of me drive me out of school. I also had support from my husband who told me if i really wanted to be a nurse I could be. It was also stressed to me that it was an opinion not necessarily the right opinion. When school commenced I was very apprehensive about clinical because it was in med/surg and much more was expected out of us that term. I am thankful I did go back, I had the best clinical instructor, that treated all the students appropriately with respect. I needed that to rebuild my confidence after my experience from the previous term. My point is whatever a clinical instructor thinks of you doesn't matter, it's what you think that matters.

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