S.O.S. - please help!

  1. I am a BSN student in the last half of the last semester of my senior clinical rotation. Until this point I have met or exceeded expectations on all my clinical assignments. I just returned from a surprise meeting with my clinical instructor who tells me that she "has a feeling" that I am not meeting clinical expectations at this time, and although she "can't put her finger on anything specific" (no complaints from my preceptor, patients, staff on any level at the clinical assignment) that her "instincts" tell her that something is just not right with me because I often "go above and beyond". She is concerned that I "take the job home with me" and says that it is "just a job". Then I am presented with a shopping list of non-specific isues and discussion taken out of lab case study similations where my "aproach" is questioned. She insists that I sign this 2 page document indicating that I have read it - and states that it does not indicate that I agree with it. She refuses to provide me with a copy - stating that "it does not leave this room" Her tone and manner was freindly n the surface, but the document read like a list of unfounded accusations, riddled with enough small items taken out of context to lend it the flavor of truth. She insisted that if I wanted to answer this I needed to do it instantly by writing "my little heart out" in the margins. Take my time - but keeps looking at her watch and giving me the "are you done yet" stare. I feel that I am being treated poorly. What is my best plan of action to complete this nursing program successfully? Please help!
  2. Visit royr profile page

    About royr

    Joined: Apr '05; Posts: 151; Likes: 12
    School Nurse; from US
    Specialty: 2 year(s) of experience in school nursing

    25 Comments

  3. by   winter99camp
    unless she can supply documented witnessed incidents, I would not sign anything. I would approach it as If "I am doing something wrong, I need to know specifically what it is to address it, and you are not providing me with enough specific information with your "hunch" to correct it." If your past performance has been documented as positive, then that is your proof that you conduct yourself at expected or above level during clinical. You should have been given a list of course objectives you need to meet at the start of the semester. I'm sure if you look at it, you will not find "takes job home with her" in the criteria. She maybe genuinely concerned about you emotional well being and your potential for burnout once you graduate. But, are you being graded on that? Why don't you ask her about it? Sometimes professors need to feel that you find their guidance and input to be valuable, aside from input they give that is directed from you getting a good grade.
  4. by   pkapple
    I am sure you have already signed it. I hope you wrote in the margins, even if all you wrote were ?marks or not entirely true statement.
    In the future at jobs or whatever if yo are faced with a similar situation ask for and demand a witness to any surprise meeting. Many facilities provide for this and union sites have a specific protocol. Even if there is nothing in place for this you have the right to request a manager or even an admission clerk to be there if they are someone you trust. Another management person is not your witness, always ask for someone the manager has not provided!

    That said, in my opinion what you should do now is make an appointment with another instructor or the head of the program ASAP. Tell them you were uncomfortable and felt pressured to sign the paper, and that you are unsure of just what the meeting was intended to do. Please do this as professionally as possible, do not accuse or imply any wrong doing on the instructors part. Ask for and receive a copy of the forms you signed.

    Good Luck
  5. by   Daytonite
    Tell me you didn't sign this form?

    Stop what you are doing right now and call the dean of your nursing program and tell them what happened and that you would like to get a copy of this report immediately. If you can, go in person to have a face to face. Then, sit down and start composing a letter of a step by step factual account of what happened yesterday as best as you can remember it and state that it is a reply to the written counseling you were given yesterday which you disagree with. Make sure you address, in particular, the parts about being refused a copy and told you must sign the form to indicate the intimidation you felt you were under. Do this while it is still fresh in your mind. Some of the things you were told were inappropriate and without proper documentation to back them up.

    Over my career as a manager and supervisor I had to write quite a number of evaluations, counselings and disciplinary actions. Specific incidents always need to be stated. If the person evaluating you can't give specific incidents then you have to question that they even know they are referring to the right person because they don't even have facts about these things. For all you know, they could be confusing you with someone else! But, they can't prove it because they didn't document anything!

    Now, go get this straightened out! And, for the record, you don't have to sign anything on the spot. You can always say you want to think about it first. It's not a big deal whether a counseling form gets signed today, next week or ever.
  6. by   morte
    yup, twenty twenty hindsight......"i need a copy for my attorney to review," would probably have worked wonders.....
  7. by   IrishIzCPNP
    Quote from royr
    I often "go above and beyond". She is concerned that I "take the job home with me" and says that it is "just a job". Then I am presented with a shopping list of non-specific isues and discussion taken out of lab case study similations where my "aproach" is questioned.



    You go above and beyond....isn't that what nursing is about. I'm always looking for ways to go above and beyond because it helps the patients and their family.

    It sounds like you took the time to write things in the margin as she suggest...good. Now I would sit down, while it's fresh in your memory, and write a detailed letter stating why you don't feel that her evaluation was fair. I would try and hit on some of the points she made in her eval and state the truth or how you see it. I would keep it very much to the facts and do not accuse her of anything...just tell your side.

    I would request that this be added to your file. I would send a copy to the dean. Is there a class coordinator for that particular session? I would send him/her a copy as well...we have coordinators for each semester and I'm sure not every school has that.

    I would put something in writing...more then just the margins of her eval and I would get it into my file.

    I know failing clinicals in my school means failing the class even if you have a solid A in the lecture portion. Don't risk her failing you in clinicals if it's not fair.
  8. by   MMARN
    Quote from Daytonite
    Tell me you didn't sign this form?

    Stop what you are doing right now and call the dean of your nursing program and tell them what happened and that you would like to get a copy of this report immediately. If you can, go in person to have a face to face. Then, sit down and start composing a letter of a step by step factual account of what happened yesterday as best as you can remember it and state that it is a reply to the written counseling you were given yesterday which you disagree with. Make sure you address, in particular, the parts about being refused a copy and told you must sign the form to indicate the intimidation you felt you were under. Do this while it is still fresh in your mind. Some of the things you were told were inappropriate and without proper documentation to back them up.

    Over my career as a manager and supervisor I had to write quite a number of evaluations, counselings and disciplinary actions. Specific incidents always need to be stated. If the person evaluating you can't give specific incidents then you have to question that they even know they are referring to the right person because they don't even have facts about these things. For all you know, they could be confusing you with someone else! But, they can't prove it because they didn't document anything!

    Now, go get this straightened out! And, for the record, you don't have to sign anything on the spot. You can always say you want to think about it first. It's not a big deal whether a counseling form gets signed today, next week or ever.
    I agree with everything Daytonite has said. Any type of documentation should have some kind of "canon" and/or specific examples of evidence. I would go to the dean of your school immediately and tell him/her exactly what was said in the meeting and what you were required to sign. This could potentially jeopardize your career as a nurse, and should not be taken lightly.
  9. by   morte
    any updates?
  10. by   royr
    Hello everyone - thank you so much for your help in this matter. I met with my advisor - who sent me to talk with the course coordinator. She was very nice and told me that this is the first she has heard of any complaint against me - and for a complaint to be "official" it would have to come thru her. I explained my concerns about not understanding what I need to do to improve my instructors "feelings and instincts" about me not meeting clinical expectations as she was not specific on what I could do to make her feel better. She said that she would talk to her and get back to me.
  11. by   royr
    Update - two solid days of clinical hell - teacher riding me about like a donkey and concentrating on me. I should have never went to the course coordinator for help - and she has not even gotten back to me yet. The last 2 clinical days have been so bad for me that one of my classmates started crying just watching how things were going. So the teacher sent her home and told her she needs to make up the day. I guess I am not allowed any simpathy or support from my project team members in clinical. Even my preceptor was in tears by the end of the shift. She values my contribution to our unit and was getting angry, but did not want to make things worse for me. I just kept taking "constructive criticism" with a smile and did not flinch. When my teacher asked me to do any proceedures that I had not done before I was honest and I simply said that I had no prior experience in the proceedure - could you please show me or walk me thru it the way you would like to see it done. What she wanted was never the same way twice, so I was always wrong on the second try, and the third, and the fourth, and ..... Please help - suggestions needed - I just want to make her happy and be a good nursing student!
  12. by   caliotter3
    Look her square in the eye and give it back each and every day. She is most certainly (unless she was instructed not to) going to fail you, so don't be surprised. Go again to the coordinator. Describe what happened exactly like you did here. Request to see the Dean of the program and get ready to go to other resources, like the student grievance committee or the honcho above the Dean. You are to be commended for sticking up for yourself so far. Keep it up until the end. Good luck.
  13. by   EmerNurse
    Let your instructor "overhear" you talking to another student. "I guess it'll take another year to get through school but at least I'll have the money form the lawsuit to pay for it." Said in all seriously, with *no idea at all* that the instructor is within ear shot.

    Then if the instructor brings it up "Are you thinking of suing??" you can get that wide-eyed look and say "What? Where would you get that idea? My lawyer said I could but WHY on earth would I want to do that?" <sweet smile> "now what was it you wanted me to do?".

    Yes I'm evil but sometimes these little stage plays work, if you're good at it.
  14. by   discobunni
    That is outrageous...tell me you've gone to the Dean about this? Don't let this go! Pursue until something gets done about it! She obviously has a red a** for you now, so you'd better get to documenting every little thing and taking it over her head...over and over again to prove later if she does fail you that she had other motives! I am anxious to hear more and I am in your corner....this is ridiculous! UGH!!! I hope that stupid witch gets hers, she sure deserves it!!:angryfire

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