Some advice on groups in class (Im worried!)

  1. Hey guys! If some of you recall my situation with certain students in class, there is a clique of a few girls that treat me very badly. They are the same girls that refuse to give bed baths to patients, always come late to class, talk rudely to the instructors and other students.

    Our teacher for next term, (fourth term) came in today to tell us about her class and what we could expect. She also stated that the entire class was to be broken up into groups to which we will do everything with. (Projects, presentations, clinical, ect) Now it is almost certain that I will be placed with one or more of these students which makes me very nervous. I understand being professional and trying to get along with people, even these girls who loathe me.

    I of course have no problem grouping with them, because in life you cant always choose your co workers, so this will be a learning experience. I am however concerned about the clinical aspect, and projects. In clinical they are known for treating thier patients coldly, and often refusing basic care saying it is beneath them. I am the exact opposite, I am a patients advocate. Also a few of them completely ignore me. (i.e. one of them needed a pencil for her test in clinical, so trying to do the right thing I handed her my extra pencil and told her "good luck" on the test. Not only did she not thank me, but she threw the pencil out and I had to find out from my instructor)

    My question is how should I deal with this potential issue? I am trying to think positive. I know that I have no problem talking to them, its just very one sided, theres no communication because they simply hate me. Unfortunately, some students have come to me saying they overheard these girls simply dont like me because I am a white male, which really scares me. I tried to talk to the teacher about this issue but she didnt want to hear anything of it. Im very worried and scared about this. I understand in a working environment you cant choose your co workers. But in a learning environment if I am put with these girls, I am afraid it will hinder my learning experience.

    What can I do? :uhoh21:
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    About Thedreamer

    Joined: Dec '06; Posts: 395; Likes: 184
    PCU
    Specialty: 4 year(s) of experience in PCU/Hospice/Oncology

    16 Comments

  3. by   WDWpixieRN
    Wow.....I'm really sorry I don't have any words of wisdom except do whatever you have to get through it!! Blech!!

    I will say they will have their pretentious little eyes opened when they start actually working. I have started an internship this summer and of the four 12-hour days I have worked, we have had a tech onsite for about 10 of those hours. And you KNOW those docs aren't doing the scut work!!

    Just remember that what goes around, comes around. And best wishes...hopefully you'll have a number of decent students in your group to round things out and you won't have to deal with this alone. :icon_hug:
  4. by   Thedreamer
    Im hoping for the best!

    How should I go about doing group projects and such? What if they refuse to communicate or work with me?
    Last edit by Thedreamer on May 30, '07
  5. by   angel75
    As you mentioned before we will have to work with individuals of all sorts after we graduate. Try to think of this as a learning experience that will prepare you for the real world. I have ran across situations that I do not feel welcomed and it was tough. Remember that this is YOUR future you are working towards and you must stay focused!! During group projects our instructors have told us that we must work out our differences and problems on our own. Just do what you need to do to get through these group projects. You don't have to be best friends with them, but do what you need to do to get through the assignments. I know this must be hard at times but stay focused and before you know it you will not be working with these brats anymore!:spin: Good luck!!
  6. by   emmycRN
    I absolutely HATED group work in nursing school. Especially writing research papers in groups. I remember one time I was in a group that kept putting off getting together to do an assignment and we ended up having to do it over Christmas break, I had to cancel plans and everything. And when we finally did get together at their convenience, they wouldn't listen to ANY of my suggestions and I ended up having very little input into the project. Anyway, my point is that lots of people have issues like yours in school. Try not to let it get to you too much. These girls can't make or break you in that class, you are the only one who decides if you make it through or not. So just ignore them and remember--you NEVER have to associate with any of them again after nursing school.
  7. by   miss arron
    If it were me I'd say something like this if I had to work in a group with them:

    "Listen, I know you don't particullarly like me, and quite frankly I don't care - but we're stuck working together so let's figure out a way to get through this and we can go our seperate ways."
  8. by   Thedreamer
    Its very hard for me to be frank or rude to people =/ Slowly I am learning that in this field, and probably in life, there is a time and place to be curt. I guess being thrust into such a social environment means having to take all the good AND the bad that comes with that. When I thought of growing it never crossed my mind that before I could become a nurse, id have to get very thick skin as well.

    p.s. I got my clinical evaluation today. "Very commanding and meticulous with his patient care, safety, and medication administration. Very professional and reliable in the workplace." = what my instructor wrote on my eval! I am so elated! Its nice to get some positive reinforcement now and then
  9. by   Daytonite
    you always start out doing your best to treat people fairly and equally. it sounds as if you have been doing that. one of the things i've learned over the years about working with difficult people is that even though they may be acting out and making big emotional scenes, they are still taking in what is said to them, how it is said and how they are treated. no matter how badly they treat others, they are always aware and remember how others have treated them. behavior is a funny thing. psychologists have been trying to predict behavior for years. they do studies in an attempt to do this. sometimes they are right on, but people are still people and there are so many different factors that can go into what affects a person's behavior that you just can't know what's really going on in each mind. i would hope that with the girls being separated from each other for projects that they might act a little differently without their buddies to support their bad behavior. that moral support that they get from each other helps feed their power trip and it is how they are able to get away with a lot of the things they do.

    i'd be cordial with each, but i wouldn't go out of my way to extend any more helping hands to them (i.e., lending a pencil). you know one thing about this one person, at least. she is manipulative and will take what she needs but doesn't return the same in kind.

    if you land in a group project make sure that someone steps up to get the project organized. if one of these girls is in the group and does it, that's probably all for the better. sit back and let her call the shots as long as it's looking like she's doing a capable job. however, in groups, if no one stepped forward to lead, i did. i can't stand chaos or not knowing how things are progressing. you always have to plan on at least someone not doing their share of the work and have a plan already devised to cope with it. start work on the project early and try to get most of the work done as early as possible. this is how you find out who is not going to pull their share of the load. one of the things you are supposed to learn from working in groups is delegation and prioritizing. with delegating out tasks also comes the job of follow-up and supervision to make sure that things are getting done as specified. read up on the rules of delegation so this is clear to you. i've posted the rules of delegation a couple of times on allnurse threads.

    i suspect that the instructors must already know that these girls are a problem. unless the instructors in your program are really dense, they have probably already heard complaints about these girls and had some discussion about the success or failure of these girls in the program. all i can say is ask for help from the instructor if you feel you are being bullied. notice i didn't say complain, i said "ask for help". there's a difference. ask what their suggestions are to help you work through any problems you are encountering with any of these girls if they start any trouble. that makes you appear to be very professional as well as approaching your problem in a positive way, being flexible and wanting to learn. these are qualities that get noticed and reported to potential employers when you need the instructor recommendations for your first job out of nursing school. i just took a look at my list of job interview questions and here are some interesting ones you might get asked that could relate back to the problems everyone in your class has had with these girls and with a group project:
    • what do you do when you have difficulties solving a problem?
    • what is the most difficult task you had to perform in school? how did you manage it?
    • have you ever had to work with someone you didn't like? how did you deal with them?
    • how do you organize and plan an important project?
    • (couldn't believe this one was in the list!) can you describe a situation in which you have had to work on a project with a group of people and some of the others just didn't pull their weight?
    • tell me about a time in which you anticipated potential problems and developed a productive solution.
    • tell me about a time when you had to deal with an irritating colleague.
    • tell me about a time when you overcame a difficult obstacle.
    • what is the most difficult communication problem you have had with your colleagues?
    • what do you do to solve a problem when you have difficulties? give me an example.
    • have you worked with someone who was difficult to manage? how did you solve this problem?
    • a question about teamwork: tell me about a group project you had to do in school. what was the expected result? how did you collaborate with the others on the team to get the project completed? were there any major problems? how did you overcome them?
    while i understand your immediate problem i also think it's important to keep your eye on the prize which is graduating, passing nclex and getting your first job. as much as everyone hates these group projects, the dynamics of working in a group has a direct translation to desirable job behaviors as you can see from some of the job interview questions i've listed. there are always different levels of learning in everything we do in life. that includes all the various projects we are assigned to do in nursing school, even those nasty care plans. remember also, that your instructors are always evaluating you not only for how you are performing assigned work, but your behavior as well. when first job time comes around your instructors are going to be asked about your attitude, initiative, problem solving ability, flexibility, teamwork and how you tolerate pressure. you won't be expected to be any kind of expert at nursing, but potential employers, the really good ones, do want to know about the human being that they are going to be letting loose on their customers. do you honestly think that this clique of girls have been thinking about any of these things? i doubt it. it sounds like they feel they are entitled to receive. what they are going to find they are entitled to is a bum's rush otd (out the door) when they run up against an observant manager who isn't going to put up with their nonsense. hang in there.
  10. by   pengoo2008
    That sounds horrible. I can't imagine these girls will make very good nurses

    I agree with the advice of not extending any more helping hands. I think they are under the impression that they can walk all over you. Just do your best, be competent and ask for help from your instructors when you need it. Their immaturity could compromise patient safety and care, and that is something they cannot get away with.

    The plus side is that after this experience, Iyou will be an expert at dealing with personality conflicts in the workplace
  11. by   Thedreamer
    As usual daytonite comes through with a thourough list of ideas and advice! Thank you so much! That is alot to take in, but all of it equals one big gem. I need to reread it again just to digest some of the deeper ideas.

    And yes, I will be keeping those interview questions tolling around in my head this term. Thanks so much to you and everyone else
  12. by   Lilac
    Do some online surfing and look up information on horizontal violence. This, unfortunately, is a problem that you will continue to have to deal with in school and in the work world.
  13. by   gt4everpn
    dont you just hate it when the instructors turn a blind eye! how inconsiderate. they don't like you because of your skin color and gender, sounds like these girls need a lesson on life. stand your ground, you're there to be a nurse, not anyones friends. i would confront them, this isn't h.s and noone is going to beat you up! ask them why they don't like you and tell them that all you want is their professional respect, not a friendship! so sad, i had girls like those in my nrsg class as well, noone paid attn to them. good luck!
  14. by   Daytonite
    ok, my little cherubs, a new member over on the nursing student assistance forum was looking for help with a paper on team building and in doing a little surfing some very interesting links on student group projects came up that just so happen to fit in with this subject which comes up a good deal on this forum. so, here's the links i found. most of them were put together for students to help them in accomplishing a group project. some contain the answer to the always asked question, "why do we have to work in groups?" read on. i suggest you might want to copy and paste some of this stuff into a word document so you have the information just in case the web page gets pulled off the internet, the data lost forever and you get stuck doing another group project next year. enjoy (as best you are able). . .i absolutely love the title of the first one.

    http://www.csc.calpoly.edu/~sludi/se...fcontents.html - student survival guide to managing group projects. click on the links to get into the text.

    http://lowery.tamu.edu/teaming/morgan1/tsld001.htm - use of teams in classes. a slide show presentation on teamwork, how to create teams and how to work on team projects.

    http://www.usq.edu.au/course/materia...1/teamwork.htm - teamwork. site specifically for students to help you in working together in a team.

    http://www.academictutorials.com/teamwork/ - team tutorial

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/cog%27s_ladder - cog's ladder. the five steps necessary for a group of people to work together efficiently.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/forming...ing-performing - tuckman's stages of team development: forming, storming, norming and performing.

    http://apu.gcal.ac.uk/ciced/ch33.html - working as part of an academic team. a bit scholarly and probably written more for instructors, buy, hey! might as well get some insight as to what their thinking process is, don't you think?

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