Bad day at clinical

  1. Hi everyone,

    I had the worst day at clinical today.

    We're in a long term care facility for the next six weeks. We began clinicals yesterday, and I actually had one of those "I know I want to be a nurse" days yesterday, and I was really excited that I "knew" I was in the right place, even though I've been feeling like quitting for the past several weeks.

    Today, I may have been pushed over the edge. We only have a short clinical on Fridays, pretty much just long enough to help do feedings and to do assessments on our patients. Keep in mind, this was only my second day -- I fed my first patient ever yesterday. Today, my instructor told me to follow some of the NACs around that were passing trays so that I could learn to do that, and I somehow got roped (by one of my fellow students, no less!) into being the sitter in the dayroom, where three of the residents eat. Two of the three eat fine by themselves, but have some strange habits that keep them away from the other residents, but the third is a food thrower. The NACs were very specific in telling me that I needed to give her one thing at a time to eat or she'd dump or throw her food.

    So, that's what I did. I gave this resident one thing at a time, and it was fairly frustrating, since she wasn't very interested in eating. She dumped her water on the floor and kept throwing her spoon, but it wasn't anything I couldn't handle. Meanwhile, one of the other residents in the room kept motioning me over and pointing to his plate. I honestly had no idea what he wanted, and I acknowledged him as best I could while trying to keep food off the floor from resident three.

    The med nurse on the floor was finishing up her rounds, and was glaring at me through the window. My instructor refers to her in class as "the troll," so this gives you some indication of what she's like. She came storming in and demanded that I put all of resident three's food in front of her. I told her that she had told me she was done, and was refusing to eat anything else. She again demanded that I put the rest of her food in front of her. So I did, and I'm sure you can guess what happened next...scrambled eggs and oatmeal all over the floor. This med nurse in the meantime had sat down to feed resident two (the one that had been motioning to me), and then said, "Why don't you go over to the kitchen and...oh, never mind. You don't KNOW anything, anyway." Imagine that said in the nastiest tone you can, and that is how it was said to me. She then got up and left the room. I cleaned up the mess from the floor as best as I could and moved the table away from resident three and asked her if she'd like for me to help her put her slippers back on. I was reaching down for the slippers when the med nurse came back in the room, pulled the tray back in front of the patient, right between the patient and I -- and VERY abruptly, I might add -- and then slammed down a nutritional drink in front of the resident, then went back over to feed resident two. Of course you know what happened next -- nutritional drink on the floor. The nurse just glared at me. I walked out of the room, saw another of my classmates in the hall and just started bawling.

    She pulled me into the bathroom and I recollected myself, and then my teacher found us and I started crying again. She pulled me into the conference room, reassured me that this was nothing that I had done and that the behavior of the nurse was unacceptable, then she took me to the nursing director's office where I had to repeat my story again. Then they called the nurse in question in and talked to her (my instructor also had some other problems with her that she had already discussed this morning). After she got chewed out by the director, she kept trying to corner me, but thankfully my instructor kept telling her to back off, that she had traumatized me enough for one day. Then on my way out after we were done for the day, she grabbed my arm, and I said, "Look, I'm not doing this today," and I removed her hand from my sleeve. I cried all the way home.

    Knowing that I am a new student, this nurse could have poked her head in the door of the dayroom and said something like, "Looks like XXX would like a little help eating this morning," instead of barking at me about the other resident and then doing the feeding herself. I think making suggestions is usually more effective than barking orders, particularly when this was not a life and death situation.

    I can't believe I'm paying tuition to be treated like that by a nurse on the floor. I also feel like I never want to set foot in there again. I've been teetering on the edge of wanting to quit, and after I got home, my husband and I discussed what would happen if I left the program. I just don't know what to do; I just know I never want to go back there. I also feel like a total baby for being upset about this; I mean, I know I'll have to deal with this kind of crap out in the real world, but being a student is hard enough without nurses that just can't be bothered by what they perceive to be idiot students. Maybe I'm really not cut out to be a nurse.

    What a miserable day.

  2. Visit KristaB profile page

    About KristaB

    Joined: Jul '01; Posts: 153; Likes: 6
    Nursing Student


  3. by   kimtab

    I'm still doing pre-req's so I don't have any wisdom for handling clinicals to lay on ya'. Hang in there. The more difficult people you deal with, the better you become at handling them. Don't let this nasty woman spoil your learning experience and your future career! In 6 weeks you'll never see her again, and when you graduate, you'll probably be a much better nurse than she will ever be

    Kim (also a future CNM)
  4. by   BrandyBSN
    OK Krista, here I go

    1) That nurse had no right to treat you that way, and you have every right to be extremely upset and angry.

    I can assure you that most nurses I have met, and I have met hundreds (literally), while they may not like precepting students, they realize that students are just learning.

    Feel Sorry for her if you can. Maybe she is jealous of you? Maybe she is threatened by the fact that she realizes that you are smarter than she is, and will go further in your career, and she is directing all of her anger about her own situation at you. One thing that I have learned in school is that people are very intimidated by logic and intelligence. If people realize that you are smart, and they feel inferior, they will try to put you down and belittle your ambitions. Don't let her win. She is just scared that smart young nurses will come and challenge her for her job. If she treats others that way, she is probably on her way out of a job, and she knows that, which is making matters worse.

    2) Although we might not always agree on topics, I can tell that you are a very intelligent individual. Because of that, you have to be aware that others are not as swift as you, and that they may perceive you as a threat to their authority. When people feel threatened, or cornered, they can become very hostile. This is not your fault, and you have done NOTHING wrong... some are just too immature to face up to the real problems in their lives, and think it is much easier to find a scape goat. It seems that this nurse has picked you for that purpose. Do not let her win by quitting. We need smart, innovative nurses with open minds and warm hearts. If you quit, the profession will lose one of those types of people. You are needed!

    3) We are always here for you if you need support. Realize that some nurses in LTC or ANY area are just burned out and bitter. That is not your fault, and it is not your job to "fix" them. Try to get through this the best that you can, and then move on.

    Besides, we would miss you
    Keep up the great work, and remember, if someone is hostile, it is normally because they feel threatened. Don't let some burned out bitter nurse-ratchet keep you from you goal

    Good Luck Krista
  5. by   moni rn
    i couldn't put it any better than brandy did!

    keep your head held high! keep up the great work!
  6. by   peaceful2100
    Krista I am so sorry for your bad experience. Remember just last week or the week before I was talking about my bad clinical and it was the first week and the nurses was very rude to the students and my clinical instructor.

    Well in your case the nurse grabbed your arm and that was totally uncalled for. That nurse should be ashamed of herself. I just can't believe how SOME nurses are treating students while they are trying to learn how to become the best nurse possible. Well MOST students try to learn how to become the best nurse possible. I know some who are not trying their best and not working very hard because they are lazy but that is a totally different story.

    Krista don't give up because of this nurse. I know the next 6 weeks is going to be hard but we will be going through it together maybe not physically together but we can share our experiences online. You are going to feel like you don't want to go back to your clinical location and I feel the same based off my experienced.

    I will tell you this much I will be DARNED if ANYONE especially a RUDE, self-centered nurse get in my way now after coming this far. That is what I tell myself and that is what you as well as anyone else who have this problem must tell themselves.

    One day when we do become nurses we will have co-workers like those nurses who are treating us now as students. Right now we are in school to learn.

    A nurse like the one you dealt with should have been giving a warning. If she keeps doing it then she should be told to find another job. That is just my opinion. I feel a nurse like that does not have a very good temper and just think if she is grabbing students by the arm and insulting them she may end up doing the same to a patient one day. This nurse has no right to do that to ANYONE.

    Keep strong we can do this.
  7. by   JillR

    Don't let this bitter, mean person push you out of a profession that you will be wonderful in. You have just experienced the nurrse eating their young phenomenon and it sucks. By letting this nasty person intimidate you (by letting her know she intimidated you) you are allowing her control over your future.

    We had a couple of these nurses from hell in our clinicals and one very smart instructor told us that when we work with nurses in clinicals we are seeing how things should be done usually, but sometimes we have to look at it as "this is the kind of nurse I don't want to be". It's a learing experience either way, although not a very pleasant one.

    Brandy had some very intellegent comments about how this person is problably not very confindent and is just showing her ingorance. Don't take it personal when others do this to you, this is their problem, not yours. Do not allow them to make it your problem.

    Sometimes the best way to diffuse a bully is to call them on thier bluff, unfortunatly sometimes this makes things worse. your best bet would to completly ignore this person at all costs.

    You only have to be there for 5 more weeks and then you will be on to bigger and better things.

    At my school, we had to do an evaluation on each clincal area we were sent, my class did not hesitate to mention by name those that were the bullies and those that practiced questionable nursing practice. If you are given this opportunity, do not hesitate to use it, these tools are there for a reason. When the facility gets the results of these evals, thing usually change real fast.

    Please hang in there, I remember wanting to quit three or four times each semester, but I hung in there and am grateful i did.

    Good Luck.

  8. by   Genista
    Krista, sorry to hear about your horrible day! That nurse was a real bully. It's too bad you had to face a grump like her when you were already feeling nervous. But, I agree with previous posters. Please don't let that bully scare you away.

    I do know how it feels to be bullied. I had a run in with a nasty OR tech when I did my OR rotation. I was witnessing a surgery one day, and I was out of the way in the corner of the OR with another student, prior to surgery. We were gowned & gloved, and we were quietly talking with our backs nearly to the wall, just prior to surgery. Well, the the OR tech who was first to arrive in the room, really let us have it. It must have really bothered her to have us there! She snapped at us, and sneered, and barked orders like an SS Officer. We were petrified of even speaking to the staff by the time they entered the room.

    She had even hissed at us ahead of time, that we "weren't allowed to talk to the doctors!" (A rule that she made up, by the way...the docs were actually trying to engage us in conversation & teach us during surgery). We felt so unwelcome because of her actions! Later, after discussing it w/ our nursing instructor, we came to find out we weren't the first people to have a bad run in with her. She was later counseled and disciplined for her behavior. So, just think, if this mean nurse treated you badly, I'm sure she is awful to others as well. She's just a poor example of a person. And she shouldn't be allowed to get away with it.

    You did the best job you could that day. All you can do is give your best! You didn't do anything wrong. Sometimes crazy things happen at work (like food being tossed onto the floor). Talking it out here & with friends will help. Let your instructor know if you have problems with that nurse again (or any other). You sound like a smart & caring person, and I'm hoping you hang in there.
  9. by   ICUBecky
    what that nurse did really sucks. she is simply "eating the young", and obviously doesn't remember what it was like when she was a new student nurse.

    i have been out of school for a little over a year now, and in my student nursing and "real world" nursing experiences, i have met a few of these nurses. you just have to blow it off!! they are not happy and they never will be.

    i am so glad that your instructor got involved. at least she is on your side. not all instructors are like that.

    keep your chin up...and please don't quit nursing because of this one experience!!!'ll get through it!
  10. by   essarge
    Everyone here has given you great advice and I would like to add one more thing to it. I am 46 years old and a nursing student, I have done jobs from waitressing to management and have run into mean, nasty, unhappy people in all of them.

    Now, this may seem kind of strange, but it really does work. Whenever I ran into someone that was like that I did the following things.

    1) Look them DIRECTLY into the eyes smile and say "thank you". Nothing else...just "thank you".

    2) When I got home after a "day like that", I would take a piece of paper and write down what happened, what I would like to do about it and set it aside until the next morning. I would then re-read it that next morning and throw it away. I always felt better after I did that.....kind of like "letting it go".

    Give this a try and see if it doesn't work for you. Stress is not a good thing and being a student doesn't help much. When you smile at people, it disarms them and they don't quite know what to do about it.

    Hope this helps!!
  11. by   peaceful2100
    Essarge your ideas did not sound strange at all. Next time I have a bad day I am going to do exactly what you said.
  12. by   MRed94

    I just wanted to second everything everybody here has said already.

    YOU aren't the problem, Nurst B*tch is.....

    I had that happen to me this morning as I was leaving my night shift, trying to help out the new agency nurse that was taking over for me.

    The "Staff" nurse made a bunch of snide and nasty comments about "Everything she needs to know is in the medix, and if she can't handle it, then she should go home." This as I was attempting to tell the agency nurse who spits, throws food, takes meds with ice cream, etc....

    Her "just let her find out" attitude is the same one I dealt with when I started working there as an agency nurse.

    I lived through her, and will continue to work there in SPITE of her. I know I am a damn good nurse, better by far than Ms. Staff Nurse, and I know that the CNAs don't hide when they see me coming.

    Rise above, and prove to yourself that you are a good nurse, and will get better with time.

    As luck would have it, I get to work with Ms. Staff Nurse for the day shift tomorrow.

    I will think about you and send prayers and positive thoughts to you.

    Hang in there, Krista.

    Not all of the nurses you encounter will be like her.

  13. by   essarge
    Let me know how it turns out! Hope it works for you!
  14. by   KristaB
    Thanks, everyone.

    I'm studying today for my theory test tomorrow, so I guess that means I'm not leaving this week. I'm still dreading the thought of going back to clinical on Thursday, but I'll deal with that later this week...

    Thanks again. I'm going to print out some of your responses to keep with me for when I get discouraged.