frustrated/disappointed with my nursing internship - advice?

  1. So, I recently started a nursing internship at an area hospital. I was so excited to start - have never had a clinical rotation here, but only heard good things. In addition, everyone I have met at this hospital so far has had only the best things to say about my preceptor, no exaggeration. Unfortunately, after the first week it has not been what I expected at all. I received little orientation to the unit in terms of where things are kept, processes, equipment, etc., etc. From the minute I got on the floor with my preceptor it was go, go, go. I did not feel that I was getting most things explained to me unless I asked. I watched my preceptor do a lot of tasks, a lot of very fast computer charting and tried to take in as much as possible, but it's hard when feel like you are being someone's shadow and slowing them down by asking questions.

    In addition, I observed some big no-no's from a student's point of view. Nurses talking loudly about patients right in the hall or at the nurses' station. Giving meds with out asking a patient their name, DOB or even checking their ID bracelet, no gowns/gloves in isolation rooms, etc... Does this happen everywhere? I guess I am so used to the basic safety rules being drilled into us as students that I was very suprised.

    I got very little feedback overall without asking. Good job, bad job, tell me something for Christ's sake! I have no problems asking questions, but I feel like communication should be two ways. Like I said, everyone keeps telling me how great my preceptor is, so I keep wondering if I am the one doing something wrong that's making this a bad experience. I don't feel comfortable saying something because it's only been a week and I don't want to jeopardize my chances of getting a job here if I like the hospital.

    I should add my preceptor has not been impatient or rude at all, and seems like a very nice person.

    Any advice???
    Last edit by eagerSN2011 on Jun 19, '11
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    About eagerSN2011

    Joined: Jun '11; Posts: 2


  3. by   33762FL
    Welcome to real world nursing. It's very different from school clinical. Nothing you mentioned is abnormal, just learn as much as you can. This is really a golden opportunity, you will learn volumes more than your classmates who didn't have an externship, and you will a better candidate for a job once you graduate. As for getting feedback, in the real world people don't constantly give you feedback like in a school setting. Look at it this way: "no news is good news", so if they're not giving you feedback it means you're doing things right.
  4. by   eagerSN2011
    thanks for the input. that's a good way of looking at it that I hadn't thought of.
  5. by   baldee
    Relax, its job security for old nurses. They wave things in front of you so fast, you won't grab their job. Its all subjective and omnipotent knowing. Keep your mouth shut, shake your head yes, and talk good things about your instructor constantly and you will do fine. Its not a collegiate environment, and the real education will be your responsibility! Clinical is cool though, so don't hesitate to ask questions about your specific patient real-time. RN's at hospital do not know things correctly sometimes due to cost-cutting measures (illegal unqualified RN's, LPN's, etc...). There is always a lot of opportunity for me and you, so RELAX and do the very best possible for the patient at hand (and pretty much to hell with the rest at that time). Clinical's are magic when you change someones life for the better :-)
  6. by   A&OxNone
    Baldee, I dont agree with your statement,"They wave things in front of you so fast, you won't grab their job." That fast pace, quick charting is the real world! Sometimes you dont have time to explain everything to somebody watching you. OR, sometimes you think students just kind of understand what you are doing and it doesn't need explaination. I have never heard a nurse say... I'm not going to teach them so they wont take my job. Ultimately, nurses want other nurses that work with them to know how to do their job, because if they dont, it ultimately means more work for them.
  7. by   baldee
    Well, that was my orientation. Next semester looks much better. But I did learn not to depend on ANY instructor's advice except at realtime clinical situations. And I don't think I'll make an instructors job any harder since there are thousands of students waiting to get in. Nor will I make someone's job in the hospital harder when they are not performing but the minimum duties required (they are on the way to be rotated out anyway). Hopefully my experiences with instructors will change. But my patient interactions were the best, and I felt I did the very best to those who entrusted their care in me. Instilling blind hope in instructors is definitely a greater wrong than preparing someone to trust themselves mainly. How you can presume you can align everyone's motivations to your blind wishes is not therapeutic, nor realistic advice.