Preceptor From Hell-Need Advice

  1. I spent 12 hours with the preceptor from hell last week, and I’m dreading going back to work tomorrow.

    A little background: I completed my 7th week of orientation at a new facility, having 3 years experience. I will be critical care float pool for a pediatric hospital, and am about halfway done with my orientation. I’ve had 10 preceptors so far with positive feedback from all of them, and am becoming increasingly confident in my transition from peds med surg to critical care. This patient was an intubated toddler, on propofol, with a planned extubation the next day. I was placed with this new preceptor because mine had a schedule change.

    This shift did not start off positively. I approached my patient’s room and the nurse at the desk introduced herself, I realized she was going to be my preceptor and introduced myself as well. I then peaked through the window into the room, and said, “Well I am ready to start report, but I don’t see the day nurse.” My preceptor snaps at me, clearly irritated, “I’m the nurse. I came in at 3. You can come in at 3 and still work a night shift. It’s called a double.” I’m a little taken aback, but just mumble “okay great” and follow her into the room for report. I do tell her that I’m not very familiar with propofol, I had only been exposed to it twice on patients that were extubated quite early in the morning.

    The shift continues, but does not go well. My preceptor criticizes my every move. How I put eye drops in, how I reposition the patient, how slow I complete oral cares, that I don’t know how to bolus the propofol properly (I wasn’t sure how to program the pump), etc. She would even pop her head into the room to chew me out for not charting something, when I was still in the middle of my charting.

    She laughed at my questions when I dared ask them. She even gave me the wrong answer when I asked if a certain lab needed to be on ice (the policy said to put it on ice if it would not be run in 30 minutes. Turns out, they run ICU labs immediately and it does not need to be on ice, so I just did useless busy work).

    She also let me know she was willing to throw me under the bus. She was describing how I would need to assist the patient during the xray, “you need to watch that tube. Because they aren’t watching it, and they are gonna say it’s fine. But if it comes out, it won’t be me that’s in trouble. It will be you.” When Xray did come, she did not help me position the patient.

    If this was the worst of it, I could handle that. But, she even found a way to criticize me for something that happened on a previous shift, while simultaneously making me paranoid that the whole unit hates me. In the middle of criticizing my charting, she says, “people have been talking about you, you know. Last night, you know you shadowed the admit? Well, you said something to the family. You were supposed to be a fly on the wall, not saying or doing anything except maybe asking the nurse questions if they have time. You were way out of line. If that had been me, I would have thrown you out of the room and chewed you out. But (nurse’s name)’s a newer nurse. She’s not as salty as some of us. Yeah, I thought I’d let you know cause if it were me, and I did something wrong, I’d want to know.” Sadly, I know this means people have been talking about me, because she was not there that night. I also do not know what I may have said to the family, because nobody brought it up to me at the time.

    I understand that ICU’s are full of nurses with “strong personalities” and that there may even be some hazing of new nurses. However, this seemed too aggressive for that. I have a meeting with my educator to discuss what happened, partially because I am nervous this nurse will report me for incompetence, and partially because I feel like I should report her for being so unprofessional.

    Any advice would be appreciated!! I am very nervous to say something to management and have it come back to her, especially if people on the floor already have a low opinion of me. I’ve really liked this job so far, but now I’m dreading going back.
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    About Breycn

    Joined: Apr '14; Posts: 6; Likes: 16

    63 Comments

  3. by   NurseCard
    Geeeeeez. Do you have to work with this person again?

    There is no way I'd continue to put up with that kind of
    treatment.

    Maybe approach management and ask not to be placed
    with her again. When they ask why you could either go
    ahead and report her behavior as it was, or just... I don't
    know... I honestly don't know what else you can say other
    than that.

    There's no way in crap I would subject myself to her
    again.
  4. by   Swellz
    Can you say you had a better learning experience with the other nurses?
    I was honest with my NM when she asked me how orientation was going. I had a lot of different preceptors, but two ended up being bad experiences for me. One, when I told her, she said, "Yeah, I've heard she's a bad preceptor. She's not going to precept anymore". Another, she was surprised I didn't work well with, but agreed not to place me with her again.
  5. by   Jules A
    Although this sounds horrible there is no way I'd go to management about a peer at this point.
  6. by   AJJKRN
    Quote from Jules A
    Although this sounds horrible there is no way I'd go to management about a peer at this point.
    I did this and my first year was absolutely horrible because of it. I had worked as a CNA prior to becoming a RN and had known this nurse and we were good coworkers prior to her becoming my preceptor.

    Once she became my preceptor (which I was initially stoked about) she just went all mean girls on me...

    The preceptor made it her life's work to make my life as hard as possible and the other staff that were her friends joined in as well. The worst part about it was that the manager knew she was not ready to be a preceptor as the orientee she had before me had quit the on the last day of their orientation together. Man I wish I had known this piece of information up front!

    The manager also did not intervene and just let me drown until I figured out how to swim. This is probably the reason I'm passionate about staff development and leadership.
  7. by   Breycn
    This is exactly what I'm afraid of. I'm already a little bit of am outcast because I am float pool, and I really don't need to make this situation worse.
  8. by   AliNajaCat
    Take a vote. Lessee now, bunch of nurses, all positive, you liked them, you were feeling good. One nurse, jerk.

    And you let the jerk win? Blow it off. You're doing fine.
  9. by   AJJKRN
    Quote from Breycn
    This is exactly what I'm afraid of. I'm already a little bit of am outcast because I am float pool, and I really don't need to make this situation worse.
    Mom a floater too. Staying out of the politics is one of the best perks to floating...that and not having to work with the same patients and nursing staff for better or worse every shift.

    I would get through orientation and if she's a bitty to you then just smile and nod then walk away. You'll figure out your go-to resources soon. At least you've got experience (which for whatever reason this nurse may see as a threat )

    Good luck!
  10. by   Been there,done that
    Ten preceptors within a 7 week orientation means you are having a haphazard , unplanned orientation. Preceptors should guide you, not criticize you.
    " I have a meeting with my educator to discuss what happened". This is the correct action, also ask how you can succeed in your orientation while being precepted by just any nurse that's on duty. Your manager needs to be in that meeting.
    Best of luck, let us know how it's gong.
  11. by   NurseSpeedy
    Quote from Been there,done that
    Ten preceptors within a 7 week orientation means you are having a haphazard , unplanned orientation. Preceptors should guide you, not criticize you.
    " I have a meeting with my educator to discuss what happened". This is the correct action, also ask how you can succeed in your orientation while being precepted by just any nurse that's on duty. Your manager needs to be in that meeting.
    Best of luck, let us know how it's gong.
    Yeah, the 10 preceptors was a red flag for me too. Even if it was a scheduling thing due to being flex pool (which should be able to be worked out for orientation), this is having one or two different preceptors every 3 or so days (assuming shifts are 12 hours).

    I would tread lightly with reporting the pitbull. You are new and this could make you a target. I might evaluate if this is a unit that I would want to work on if it was more than just this nurse that you had an issue with. Since it seems to be just her with the problem, I would take whatever she's stating another staff member said with a grain of salt. People who feel the need to talk for another person can sometimes twist the words that were used to create a whole different outlook of the situation.
  12. by   AJJKRN
    I would just like to add that I will never understand why spellcheck turns I'm into Mom...even though I am a Mom...
  13. by   Breycn
    Well I've gotten along great with the day shift nurses on my units. Several nurses on the night crew seem to have it out for me.
  14. by   CalArmy
    I would just buck up and make it thru the day. You hopefully will have little interaction with her once orientation is over. On the other side of that coin you are not a new nurse. It's ok if you position Suzy patient one way and she does another. When it comes to you having faith in your care I would defend yourself if need be. IE: thx for the input I'll take it into consideration next time but for right now the patient seems to be comfortable with how I put her. Sometimes people are just nasty no matter what you do. she could be like looking for a reaction too. Good luck!!!

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