Threatening clinical instructor

  1. Hi everyone,

    I have a clinical instructor during my preceptorship that is something else. I said one of my learning objectives during clinical was proper medication administration, and she said if I was working on that, then maybe "we could recycle you through the program" .

    She has also said derogatory comments about me in front of the rest of the clinical group, as well as other students, mainly about our intelligence. :imbar

    She makes threats with our grades (she's the sole decider of whether or not we pass this clinical), and is generally rude and nasty.

    I have never had a problem with a clinical instructor before, usually I give them the benefit of the doubt, but this one raises several flags, and makes me feel uneasy.

    Should I say something to her or someone else about this? I understand she wants us to be tough, but this is going a little far.

    What would you do?
  2. Visit Elle.p.enn profile page

    About Elle.p.enn

    Joined: Jul '06; Posts: 22

    25 Comments

  3. by   JentheRN05
    I had one of these in nursing school. She was what I referred to as the 'drill Sargent (sp) ' Oh it sucked. Of course, I when I had her I was put on clinical probation for 'anxiety' because she completely freaked me out - besides having some sudden personal issues at home.
    Keep your head up high, if you don't she will consider you unsure of yourself and your abilities and will fail you for that alone. Trust me it sucks but it is true.

    Be strong - I would report her if shes making a scene in front of other nursing students though.
  4. by   GratefulHeart
    For now, I would just find a way to survive! Observe her carefully and try to figure out her style to avoid doing anything you know irritates her. In addition, on the side I would document what she is saying and doing that is over-the-top, along with dates and specific information, including the context of her behavior.

    At the end of the semester, after grades are in and then if (and only *if*) you're sure you won't get her again as a clinical instructor at some time in the future, I would write a very factual, to-the-point letter to the head of your nursing program describing specifically what she said and did, and why you felt it was unacceptable. Use dates, as little emotion as possible, and include very specific information. Be aware that you may be called in for a meeting with this instructor present to discuss your concerns. Are you ready for that and the possible emotional fall-out after such a meeting? If not, then I would hold off altogether and chant the nursing school mantra instead: *This too shall pass...*
  5. by   cardiacRN2006
    Quote from Elle.p.enn
    Hi everyone,

    I have a clinical instructor during my preceptorship that is something else. I said one of my learning objectives during clinical was proper medication administration, and she said if I was working on that, then maybe "we could recycle you through the program" .

    What would you do?
    HaHa. When I did my objectives during preceptorship, I also heard of some students putting the proper med administration on their list. They also got the same exact line-"If you don't know how to do it by now, then maybe you shouldn't go on to preceptorship." I think that is a universal clinical instructor thought.

    You have to admit, they are right with that one.

    I had to re-write my objectives at least 3 times before my instructor accepted them. I had to be so specific with them have measurable goals, etc, etc...

    My last semester I also had the CI from Hell! She was so mean and could really care less how she made us feel. But, I learned the most from her because I tried so hard to live up to her expectations. I tried to be so prepared so that she couldn't rip me up in front of everyone. It was a lot of work, and I was the one who gained some great skills and experiences in the process.

    Just do the best you can, and take this as a challange to be a better student.
  6. by   julsywulsy
    We have 2 instructors just like this. I really think that some of them have the mindset where they want to "thin out" the weak students. The other clinical instructors really just want to teach.
    I would make an appt with her and discuss it. After all, you are paying thousands of dollars for her to treat you this way..
  7. by   Bala Shark
    What she is giving you is "Boot Camp Mentality.." In the armed forces, officers will give you a lot of crap to see if you can handle it or not..Some nursing instructors are like that..
  8. by   BSNtobe2009
    That's a tough situation to be in, I'm sure.

    I don't think verbal abuse (because that is what that is), from an instructor should be a criteria on you finishing nursing school.

    It's one thing if it happens from someone you are working with and they are having a "moment", it's quite another when you are a PAYING CUSTOMER and schools tend to forget that.
  9. by   aka_steven
    Quote from Bala Shark
    What she is giving you is "Boot Camp Mentality.." In the armed forces, officers will give you a lot of crap to see if you can handle it or not..Some nursing instructors are like that..
    Some instructors are tough... every school has 'em. Maybe they feel its their duty to weed out the weak ones who can't hack it. Or toughen you up because some of the docs your gonna work w/ in your career are just as bad or worse.
    My advice... IMO... do whatever he/she says, "Yes mam/sir", "No mam" Suck up if you have to (if ya fight 'em it gets worse)... just get thru it. Just know that there is an end in sight.
  10. by   tddowney
    Quote from Bala Shark
    What she is giving you is "Boot Camp Mentality.." In the armed forces, officers will give you a lot of crap to see if you can handle it or not..Some nursing instructors are like that..
    Asking tough questions is one thing, but making demeaning remarks about students, especially in front of other students, or worse yet, patients, is simply unprofessional behavior.

    I'm older and have been around the block a couple times. My response to this CI would be to approach her privatley, and tell her I understand and accept criticism of my knowledge or performance, but please lay off the remarks about personal attributes.

    As others have advised, keep good notes about your performance, tje feedback you receive, what you do to address any concrete criticisms raised, etc.
  11. by   Sheri257
    I had an instructor who was giving me a hard time for no good reason. After she insulted me at the nurses station, I was really PO'd because I worked there at the time and she said it loudly so all the nurses could hear.

    That was it ... I had enough. I talked to her later in private and said I didn't appreciate what she said and that it was totally uncalled for. I asked what her problem was because, I knew I hadn't done anything wrong. I was going to take it to the director of the program if I had to but ...

    She gave some lame excuses and, left me alone after that. Sometimes you have to stand up to bullies.

    I guess she could have flunked me but I really wasn't worried about that. I have a good relationship and reputation with the director and the faculty, so I knew she wouldn't have a leg to stand on if I had to take it that far.

    And, as it turns out ... she was fired shortly after that clinical rotation.

    I would definitely talk to the instructor first and try to work it out. If that doesn't work, then I'd go to the lead instructor and tell them about the problem. You should always follow the chain of command.

    Don't bother the director of the program unless you have to ... because the first thing they're going to ask is if you talked to the clinical instructor directly.

    Besides ... it just looks cheesy if you go behind their back and don't attempt to address the problem with the instructor directly first.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Nov 3, '06
  12. by   Daytonite
    i definitely wouldn't make any waves and clam up no matter how hard you want to argue back with her. your grade and success in making it through this clinical class depend on her evaluation of you.

    you are going to run across people like this from time to time in your life. unfortunately, you are in a subordinate position so you really have to be careful how you step around her. when you are in an equal position, it's a different matter and you can let 'er rip and let her have it. she sounds like a person who has a lot of anger in her and is unable to contain it very well. so, it is very easy for her to lash out and direct this anger at others, particularly those who she knows, consciously or unconsciously, are unable to fight back. just be aware of that. (my mother was like this at times and we kids learned just how far we could and couldn't try her patience with us before she got ticked off and started hitting us.) i would be extremely careful and think twice about trying to confront or cross this lady. she's not stupid. the fact that she already speaks the way she does to students would indicate to me that she knows how far she can push in her position without getting into too much trouble with her supervisors beside a slap on her hands, which it seems she might be willing to tolerate. however, she would retaliate against the student who got her into trouble. be careful with her because she has a lot more power over your situation than you have over hers. i'm willing to bet that she's more savvy about how to work the system than you and, ultimately, her satisfaction would come from taking a student(s) down with her if it came to that drastic a situation.

    for now, just smile and act appreciative for any feedback she gives you no matter how foul-intentioned it seems. when you told her that one of your learning objectives during clinical was proper medication administration, and she said if i was working on that, then maybe "we could recycle you through the program" something you could have done was to smile and correct her immediately by saying something like, "oh, i think you misunderstood me. i'm just looking to great a lot more experience at it."
    Last edit by Daytonite on Nov 3, '06
  13. by   Sheri257
    Quote from Rswilson
    (if ya fight 'em it gets worse)
    I'm not so sure about that. If they feel like they can walk all over you and abuse their power ... then that can make it much, much worse. Because they know they can get away with it.

    Bullies are often cowards, really. If I didn't confront that particular instructor, I'm sure the situation would have gotten much, much worse.

    But ... she probably knew I could go to the faculty and director and get a fair hearing if she continued with her personal insults.

    However, I also realize that while the administration at my school tends to frown upon bullying instructors, this may not be the case at other schools.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Nov 3, '06
  14. by   BSNtobe2009
    I disagree with the tactic altogether. The military is a different animal, you are training someone to not think outside of following orders, and in boot camp, they have alot of people that come in with a chip on their shoulder that needs to be knocked off. You are training someone to face death in the face that may have to one day kill or be killed.

    Nursing is no different than any other profession as far as the potential for getting a nasty boss/co-worker. I have had bosses that have thrown files across the room, been screamed at, cursed at, I refused to lie in court on a case ( a loan we were getting sued over) and my Divisional Vice-President said that if I wasn't prepared to do everything to protect the company (never mind I didn't want to go to jail for perjury) then I was no better than a whore that wouldn't take up for her pimp.

    Nasty bosses/co-workers come in every job, however, I can't think of a single profession where you get treated like a substandard citizen during your training. That just isn't professional on any level and I would have no choice but to tolerate it to get through school, but I feel it's a symptom of someone that is burnt out in teaching and needs to get out of the profession.

    They should be doing everything they can to support you, not everything they can to sabatoge you. It's not their job to determine if nursing is right for you, you got into the program or you wouldn't be there....it is their job to teach you, and if you perform to standards that are required professionally and efficiently, that is all that should matter.

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