I showed emotion in front my clinical instructor - is that bad?


My clinical instructor is known as the b*tch teacher in our program - she's tough, sticks to the books, and will not only criticize you but make you feel very bad about it. There have been incidents in which she's made her students cry or have them fail out of the program. I've had for some time and I've had my fair share of trying times with her; however I do have a high amount of respect for her. She's very smart, does not sugarcoat things, and keeps it real with real world nursing. I really like that.

I've been trying to get in her good graces while really taking in the hospital clinical experience. I was so nervous and excited about it and just wanted to absorb everything. My goal (overall) was to start being a nurse, thinking like one and getting away from that CNA mentality. I would think out loud and talk about my plan for the shift, analyze things, think about her interventions and how I could to them, etc... my patient was very moody because she still had more days in the hospital and I genuinely felt for her. Really really felt for her. She was defensive when I tried to make my way around assessments but it broke my heart more because I understood where she was coming from yet it was my job to make assessments but only at a time she was more cooperative. My nurse was giving me these challenges and suggested I do a new order. It was a suppository and I've never done one....ever. Not even in lab or in real life. I had a tiny gut feeling to just back out of it but I think I felt pressured and guilty about how I was feeling (esp w my patient). He encouraged me and said he and my instructor would guide me. (She normally assigns us a med to give). So before I were to give it, she asked me questions/tested me and eventually did NOT give her the med. (I ended up watching the nurse). I felt SO disappointed in myself. My instructor was right and I wasn't thinking. While I was charting, she could tell I was bothered and I busted our crying. (i know, so stupid). I'm not one to play off my emotions everytime I feel something but I felt so strongly about it. I really felt for my patient but there was only so much I could do. I can't believe I made a bad decision and let the nurse talk me into doing something I've never done. My instructor was SO empathetic (surprisingly) and was nice about it. Now, I feel SO embarrassed about it and I hope she doesn't think less of me or that i'm "immature". Someone told me it gave her a better idea of what kind of nurse I would be... but I don't know. What do you think?

Specializes in Emergency/Cath Lab. Has 6 years experience.

I think you need to pack your bags cause you are about to get kicked out. Nurses are soul-less, emotionless creatures and you had no right to show any emotion at clinical.

That being said, just learn from it and move on. That is all you can expect with bad situations is learn all that you can.


150 Posts


Look i felt you and trust me its hard to see this kind of situations sometimes.. but in your case.. girl you need to s*** it up and dont show your emotions.. .. It is nto healthy for you and neither for the patient.. sometimes they migh feel that you feel pity for their situations.. I personally do volunteer hours with the purpose of leading with my emotions.. trust me i had seein everything..a girl who is hydrocephalic and has two frontal lobe tumors ( doctors can't do anything , just give her radiation to delay the process), a baby who is blind because her mother abused him.. and used to hit him by his occipital lobe, a black kid was left in the hospital because the mother did not like the idea of having a track tube (what an excuse).. so trust me.. would you deal with soemthing like that?... of course we all break down but in that case.. our emotions need to be show to ourselves and in a private enviroment...

NOW move one and be as great as you can be.. next time soemthing like this happens.. say excuse. make up something and let your emotions go out but not in front of the people who are grading you :)


66 Posts

I think you did the right thing. If you weren't comfortable giving the suppository, you should have just watched the nurse do it so now you know how to for the next time :)

Never do something you're so uncomfortable with. She will get over it. She remembers what it was like when she was a student nurse!


250 Posts

Bump all this "dont show emotions" junk. You're human. You're stressed. Your in nursing school. That alone is enough reason for one good cry a week.

Now don't get me wrong. I know we can't walk around ALL the time a crying bumbling mess because of our pt passing, or our instructor had urine in their cheerios that day and took it out on us, or we made a big mistake...all that kinda jazz.


Cut yourself some slack. You broke down and showed your softer side. Ain't the end of the world. And it sounds like your instructor took it in stride. :)


222 Posts

I would bet you're not the first person to burst out crying in front of professors and won't be the last. Nursing school is like a pressure cooker. I've had to bite back tears a few times, and I won't tell you how many times I've had meltdowns at home.

chevyv, BSN, RN

1,679 Posts

Specializes in Acute Mental Health. Has 15 years experience.

I wouldn't ever worry about it! It sounds like your instructor was pretty sympathetic. It's okay to be human and show that side of yourself every once in awhile. Now, you watched the nurse and I'm sure went over the procedure so next time you'll do fine. :redbeathe

xtxrn, ASN, RN

4,266 Posts

I lost it when my instructor told me that the bed I'd made wasn't 'tight' enough (no fitted sheets in the early/mid 80s). Over a flipping bed :D

You're fine :up: Just pay more attention to the patients than the instructor :) It's fine to care about what the instructor thinks (he/she gives the grades after all) but if you focus all you have on anything BUT her, you may find out that a lot falls into place :)


66 Posts

If shes really a cold hard rock with no soul & no emotion, she pry just figured you were menstruating & emotional, anyway ;) :haha


1,917 Posts

I took school bus driver training and cried. I can't believe I haven't yet cried at clinical. KNOCK ON WOOD!

Don't worry about it. It's probably not the first time it's happened!

Specializes in Critical Care, Emergency Medicine, Flight.

um, a few weeks ago, i bawled my eyes out infront of my clinical instructor. She gave me a hug. then again shes not that bad, shes actually pretty cool.

its ok to cry. your human.

your instructor needs to lighten up and realize your learning.

now suck it up move on and do well !