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How does a student fail clinical?

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nsm1639 nsm1639 (New) New

Other than being late, not showing up, and not completing assignments, what are some ways that a student can fail clinicals? I've read so many horror stories about instructors failing their students for the smallest mistakes. What does it actually mean to fail a clinical? Is it going to be reflected on their transcript? Also, what happens AFTERWARDS? Do they continue attending clinicals for the rest of the semester even though they know they'll get an unsatisfactory grade, or do they sit out for the rest of that semester and "repeat" the clinicals next semester?

In my experience, you can fail clinical if you CONTINUOUSLY make mistakes that put a patients health at risk, OR, if you make a MAJOR mistake that harms the patient. At my clinical site, its REALLY hard to fail clinical, because our teacher ALWAYS has to be there whenever we are doing med passes or another procedure. I only know 1 person who failed clinical at my school. The patient was on strict bedrest after a surgery, and the student got the patient up and he ended up falling and getting injured.

You can fail clinical if you prove yourself to be an unsafe nurse. It sounds scary, but I only know of one person in my program who failed the clinical aspect of a class. It doesn't happen as easily or as often as you would think. Every once in a blue moon, there's a story of a student getting failed for something unreasonable, but just remember that this does not occur often and that you're only getting one side of the story when you read those stories here.

You don't have to know everything or memorize every word of your text books in order to pass your clinicals. You need to show, first and foremost, that you are safe. The best way to do this for any rotation you're in is to give yourself a check list: Are 2/4 bedrails up? Is the bed in the lowest position? Are the bed wheels locked? Are bed alarms on if they're needed? Does the patient have an ID band? Did you perform the 6 (or 7) rights of medication administration? Did you report abnormal findings to the primary nurse/instructor? Did you assess things as often as you were supposed to assess them? And probably most importantly, did you ask questions/do your research before doing anything you were unsure of?

Ask questions. And before you leave your patient's room, ask yourself "will this patient be safe no matter what when I leave this room?"

I agree with the above responses...safety issues are huge and can be a reason to fail clinicals.

Or you could pull a chair up beside a patient and take a nap. Yeah, that happened in one of my clinicals, and the gal could not understand why she failed clinical :yawn: I kid you not.

I agree with the above responses...safety issues are huge and can be a reason to fail clinicals.

Or you could pull a chair up beside a patient and take a nap. Yeah, that happened in one of my clinicals, and the gal could not understand why she failed clinical :yawn: I kid you not.

Wow....that was ballsy of her.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

Blatant disrespect ... arguing with patients, staff, instructor ... anything verbal or physically abusive ... lying on the medical record ... covering up mistakes ... violating HIPAA ...

These type of behaviors can also get you a failing grade in clinical. They can also get you thrown out of school completely.

One can also be victimized by an instructor with an agenda and a quota. In this case no specific instances of subpar performance are identified during the course of the term, probably because there weren't any. The student is blindsided at the final evaluation when the term is over. The student can do nothing and can not even verify the diatribe because no one else is in the room when the instructor is spewing their venom. This did occur with one instructor and several students at my school.

Wow....that was ballsy of her.

Right?!? And there I was trying to think when I even SAT at clinicals :unsure:

One can also be victimized by an instructor with an agenda and a quota.

What do you mean by this? What professor has an item on his or her agenda, Fail My Students? I've never heard of a quota that instructors are using in order to bounce students, that just seems entirely counterproductive to me.

There are instructors who have their favorites as well as students they dislike, they're human. But that stops pretty far short of an agenda or quota by which students must be cut from the program. Or am I misunderstanding?

Other than being late, not showing up, and not completing assignments, what are some ways that a student can fail clinicals? I've read so many horror stories about instructors failing their students for the smallest mistakes. What does it actually mean to fail a clinical?

Like someone else said, by being unsafe. By refusing to take criticism or follow instructions. By refusing to be taught. Sounds basic but it happens, there are those who come in with such cocky attitudes because they believe themselves to already be above the rest of the students and this usually sets them up for a fall. Not necessarily failing out but sure doesn't make life easy for them when they are already Top of the World (in their minds anyway).

Is it going to be reflected on their transcript? Also, what happens AFTERWARDS? Do they continue attending clinicals for the rest of the semester even though they know they'll get an unsatisfactory grade, or do they sit out for the rest of that semester and "repeat" the clinicals next semester?

Clinical rotations are associated with lecture classes, the classroom component. Think of courses you've had where you've had an associated lab as part of the grade. If you fail the lab, you fail the course. Same with clinicals. If you're booted from the clinical you're booted from the course. And depending on the course and the infraction you are either going to get a chance to enroll in that course again and repeat or are dismissed from the program entirely, no readmission. The latter scenario is going to be reserved for those who did something really stupid or really devious, not just simple mistakes.

I wrote this on another thread, I think someone else had a similar question or maybe it was you on another thread, but sometimes you can fail a clinical component if you just can't pass the skill checks. Much will depend on how your own school does things, they are all different in how they handle stuff like that.

More important than worrying about what can happen if you get booted worry about just doing what you need to do to stay in :)

Good luck!

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 10 years experience.

Failing to prepare for clinicals (ie: did not pick up your patient info, compose care plan, etc)

Showing up under the influence of a medication, alcohol or illegal substance

Missing one or more clinical days (depending on school policy, which is usually based on BON clinical hour requirements)

Bringing kids to clinicals or to clinical site with you the night before to get your patient info

HIPAA violations, usually on social media. Any post about your clinical site or your patients can get you kicked out of school.

Hiding.

Fiddling on your phone.

Spending clinical time doing your school work/postclinical paperwork instead of caring for patients or observing nurses

Failure to listen

Failure to utilize emotional intelligence in dealing with hospital staff, patients, instructors and other students

Med errors

Unsafe practices

Showing up inappropriately dressed

Falsification of any documentation, official or otherwise (ie: school work vs med chart)

Any combination of the above in this list and those by others that gives your clinical instructor the impression that you are not ready to advance to the next stage of your education. Usually there would have to be a pattern established.

Edited by not.done.yet

One can also be victimized by an instructor with an agenda and a quota. In this case no specific instances of subpar performance are identified during the course of the term, probably because there weren't any. The student is blindsided at the final evaluation when the term is over. The student can do nothing and can not even verify the diatribe because no one else is in the room when the instructor is spewing their venom. This did occur with one instructor and several students at my school.

Many schools have a policy about this. If the instructor doesn't notify the student that there's a problem at least by midterms, the instructor can't fail the student (unless it was for an obvious reason, like blatant safety issues). It's too bad your school didn't follow this policy.

At my school, med errors are huge. Usually that means you're placed on jeopardy or some instructors will fail you right away. Other than that, it's pretty hard to fail. It depends on instructors though. I've had instructors that are very uptight and watches your every move and then I also witness instructors that allow a fellow classmate to turn in late assignments three times without failing him even though in their syllabus, that was not allowed. And he did not have any excuses either! It really depends I think...

Here.I.Stand, BSN, RN

Specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro. Has 16 years experience.

A gal failed in our final semester, on a med-surg type unit. She didn't know what to do with her pt's tube feeding. She was failed because she was expected to have prepared.

One who I'd precepted on subacute rehab for the final practicum of her LPN program failed as well. Her instructor had stopped in for a random check, and while pulling meds she took the plain 325mg ASA bottle opposed to the enteric coated bottle. I pointed out to check again, and after the med pass her instructor informed her that her near-miss meant failure.

A gal failed in our final semester, on a med-surg type unit. She didn't know what to do with her pt's tube feeding. She was failed because she was expected to have prepared.

One who I'd precepted on subacute rehab for the final practicum of her LPN program failed as well. Her instructor had stopped in for a random check, and while pulling meds she took the plain 325mg ASA bottle opposed to the enteric coated bottle. I pointed out to check again, and after the med pass her instructor informed her that her near-miss meant failure.

Had the student already completed her 3 checks or had she merely pulled the bottle out and began the process of her checks? I feel like that's a mistake the student may have caught on her own once she had started doing her med checks. And from what I can gather from your online persona, I'm almost positive your reminder to the student wasn't meant to ultimately end in her failure, but was probably meant to help the student (as well as to ensure patient safety). The reason I bring this up is because I caught one of my mistakes at my 2rd med check once, and I'm glad I wasn't docked for not noticing it with the first check!

So OP, make sure you do your med checks! Not an area to get lazy in, because everyone makes mistakes, but checking yourself three times really helps you to catch those things and increases patient safety.

Is it possible to fail a clinical if you got below a C on the midterm evaluation because of one objective. But there was still a final evaluation, to be done where you could improve?