Late for Practicum

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Unfortunately, I was late to clinical with my nurse practitioner preceptor by thirty minutes. I forgot to call. The reason I was late was due to a family death. I know it was unprofessional. How do you recover from this faux pas? She told me if I was late again, I would need to find a new preceptor. I understand why she did this. I am asking how to recover and prove to my preceptor that I am a professional, hardworking individual who made an honest mistake. 

Sounds like you need to have a face to face conversation with them.

Explain the circumstances, take accountability, and agree with them that there need to be professional standards and responsibilities 

Are we to understand that once you arrived you didn't let her know the reason for your tardiness? And if so, may I ask why?

I am sorry for your loss and I don't wish to add insult to your current stress, but this is an excellent example of a significant (and not rare) fault in the nursing profession.

Why are so many of us compelled to pretend as if we are super-human?

There is nothing unprofessional about being late related to a family death. It might be argued that you could have called when you were on your way, but even that is sometimes just asking a lot from people during very difficult circumstances.

If you didn't initially tell her about the death, then now she is in the position to feel like a giant a$$ when she finds out that she was harsh with you under circumstances in which most normal people can scrounge up a little sympathy.

And if you did tell her about the death, then she actually is just being a giant a$$.

But regardless of all of that: One way or another this combo of self-deprecating martyrdom has simply GOT to stop within this profession.

Thank you for responding. I did tell her why I was late was due to a family death. Not calling, no matter what, even if I had been in a wreck is unprofessional and will get me kicked out of my program and out of practicum. I know I made a mistake, and now I have to worry that I will get booted from my program and practicum setting. It causes me to be very stressed.

londonflo

Specializes in oncology. Has 44 years experience.

On 2/5/2021 at 1:43 PM, Ginlee said:

I forgot to call.

What more will you  "forget to do"?

19 hours ago, Ginlee said:

Not calling, no matter what, even if I had been in a wreck is unprofessional and will get me kicked out of my program and out of practicum.

That is utterly ridiculous.

I'm sorry you are being taught that nurses should be treated this way. I'm sure there are problems with students and their excuses, but unless there is more to the story this is beyond the pale. Yes, call if you get a flat tire. Call if you're held up in traffic due to an accident. Call if you get lost going to the address. Not showing up and not calling is generally unprofessional, yes. But this profession's ethics aren't worth the paper they're written on if we're going to act this way and make people feel so small and worthless as to have to worry about being disparaged for only getting there as fast as possible when a family member has died instead of calling and then getting there as fast as possible.

There is way too much pathology in this profession.

londonflo

Specializes in oncology. Has 44 years experience.

13 hours ago, JKL33 said:

But this profession's ethics aren't worth the paper they're written on if we're going to act this way and make people feel so small and worthless as to have to worry about being disparaged for only getting there as fast as possible when a family member has died instead of calling and then getting there as fast as possible.

Had the OP called, the fact about getting there ASAP might have changed. The absence would have been understood and compassion could have been implemented. Instead, as a no show, the preceptor was left dangling and had no information if the OP was truly coming. Would a cell phone call taken that much time away from the OP's dilemma? Was no one else notifying anyone of the relative's death?  

If the OP was scheduled to meet with a preceptor for a business program, educational commitment etc. would the same outcome happen? Yes. This in not related to nursing. Please correct me if somewhere the OP was commanded to appear at a previously scheduled commitment despite the s.o. death. 

If I am late because something happens while I am behind the wheel of a car, I won't be calling until it is safe to do so.  If I am late because I left the house late, then I will call to let them know I am running late.  Frankly, if a death in the family had just occurred, I think that would warrant a call to cancel the appointment.  Certainly the death was upsetting enough to impact the OP's day. 

2 hours ago, londonflo said:

Would a cell phone call taken that much time away from the OP's dilemma?

Of course not. Lots of things don't take much time - even stopping and picking up coffee for the preceptor wouldn't have taken that much time either.

The question is whether it's the first thought that comes to mind when a family member has died. DIED.

 

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the preceptor was left dangling and had no information if the OP was truly coming.

Dangling?? If she's a professional then she didn't miss a beat and was already in her first patient room. And can *perfectly well* go on with her day whether the OP shows up or not. That's the situation, those are the FACTS. You're being really dramatic here.

Don't misunderstand: I am *not* saying that students don't need to show up or don't need to be on time or don't need to worry about disrupting another professional's day or that they should feel free to behave in a generally disrespectful way. THAT attitude would be unprofessional, most certainly, no doubt about it. But this NP student (the OP) does not have patients scheduled and doesn't have a damn thing to do with what goes on at that office. Whether this student shows up or not, the provider can go see the first patient the instant they are ready to be seen. Period. And the next one, and the next one.

We can argue about whether this is nursing-related or not, but the actions of this NP are those of someone who has no grace for others. People who have no grace for others don't feel good about themselves. My observation is that this is rife within nursing: Miserable people who soothe themselves by thinking of others as less-than.

@caliotter3

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Frankly, if a death in the family had just occurred, I think that would warrant a call to cancel the appointment.

Yes. And probably if the OP had known that s/he wouldn't be able to attend at all, that call would've been made. But when things are happening and then at the earliest possible moment one is able to leave and jump in the car to rush off to whatever commitment for which they are now late, the mindset is different--just get there as quickly as possible. It's also possible that given the attitude of this school and this preceptor that the OP wouldn't have had it in mind to call off at all. It's even possible (I think likely) that s/he attended the rotation that day primarily because of their punitive, hateful attitude to begin with.

All of my comments are specific to the occasion of a death. Not sleeping through an alarm, not flat tires or getting lost on the way or anything else. A death.

londonflo

Specializes in oncology. Has 44 years experience.

39 minutes ago, JKL33 said:

The question is whether it's the first thought that comes to mind when a family member has died.

No it is not the first thought. But as time progresses, one thinks about 'what should I do?'. Surely the OP's time allowed for a call as cell phones are always with us, in my observations. The health care business is like any other business that depends on its participants. One of our faculty member's husband died shortly before a scheduled clinical practicum. It only took a quick phone call to me to alert me she was not coming. Plans were made for her students. Sadness for her was our reaction, but we were able to divert her thoughts from the job to her grief. Additionally we were able to give her many more days of mourning, having know to reschedule her job assignments that week and the next.

Frankly, when my mother died, my father had to call his work to sayhe needed the week off (in the days of dial phones). It did in no way inconvenience him or us. Rather it was another matter taken care off.

I know you hate the whole business side of health care. But saying everything required of a nurse is a sign of martyrdom is not the reality.

I know you will hate what I am going to say: I am retired after a full health care career making a salary that does not compare with the salary today (even figuring in inflation). I worked hard but I always had a job, worked OT to make a house payment and for extras. I turned to my husband yesterday  and said 'this is the house (paid for)  that my work in healthcare built.'. I am grateful for the opportunity to work and save $$$. I earned it and the health care system paid me. Quid pro Quo. 

@londonflo - I don't disagree with the spirit of what you have written above.

But this person was 30 minutes late following a death. So all the time you are thinking s/he had to think about what s/he should do--was 30 minutes. Not an hour, not 2 hours, not calling sometime during the day to let them know that s/he would need a week off from her responsibilities. 30 minutes. The OP left for the rotation site 30 minutes later than they otherwise would have.

I think that's a little different than the situation of someone who can take a moment to call when things settle down and receive condolences and let people know that they will need to be relieved of their duties.

It is also different than a daily routine where the individual knows that they're running the show and people are waiting for their direction. That is a mindset that one incorporates as an awareness when working a job in which others are dependent upon them.

Don't you think?

A student being 30 minutes late after a death seems different to me than a professional calling a workplace that they are fully a part of, in a role where they are providing direction to others on a daily basis and helping run the show. And when they call it will be for condolences and support from their work family just as much as to let everyone know that they will need time off.

Yes I do hate the business stuff, but have always conducted myself as a professional. I think it is my duty to do my best but also show some grace to others; not do my (imperfect) best but then turn around and crucify others' inability to be perfect.

My spouse and loved ones work in supervisory and director-level roles in several different professions and find the kind of thing we are discussing as off-kilter as I do. Even those of them who are partners and business owners agree. That's what compels my belief that there's something rotten here (in nursing) in particular.

 

3 minutes ago, JKL33 said:

@londonflo - I don't disagree with the spirit of what you have written above.

But this person was 30 minutes late following a death. So all the time you are thinking s/he had to think about what s/he should do--was 30 minutes. Not an hour, not 2 hours, not calling sometime during the day to let them know that s/he would need a week off from her responsibilities. 30 minutes. The OP left for the rotation site 30 minutes later than they otherwise would have.

I think that's a little different than the situation of someone who can take a moment to call when things settle down and receive condolences and let people know that they will need to be relieved of their duties.

It is also different than a daily routine where the individual knows that they're running the show and people are waiting for their direction. That is a mindset that one incorporates as an awareness when working a job in which others are dependent upon them.

Don't you think?

A student being 30 minutes late after a death seems different to me than a professional calling a workplace that they are fully a part of, in a role where they are providing direction to others on a daily basis and helping run the show. And when they call it will be for condolences and support from their work family just as much as to let everyone know that they will need time off.

Yes I do hate the business stuff, but have always conducted myself as a professional. I think it is my duty to do my best and show some grace to others; not do my (imperfect) best but then turn around and crucify others' inability to be perfect.

My spouse and loved ones work in supervisory and director-level roles in several different professions and find the kind of thing we are discussing as off-kilter as I do. Even those of them who are partners and business owners agree. That's what compels my belief that there's something rotten here (in nursing) in particular.

 

Not necessarily. We know they were 30 minutes late, but we don't know when the death happened. If the death happened 5 hours before the start of practicum then they could have notified their preceptor 3+ hours in advance.