BSN student w/LD+ADHD scared to begin J1 clinical - help/advice appreciated

  1. Hi everyone! First of all, I am a nursing student in a BSN program starting my second year. I am posting in this forum because I would appreciate advice from graduate nurses. I feel that you may be able to give me better insight for what to expect down the road. If this post is in the wrong forum, I will happily move it to whatever is recommended. I realize this post is lengthy, so I bolded the important points

    Some background:
    I have a learning disability and ADHD. I had the LD dx in childhood, but the ADHD went unknown until 2 years ago. It takes me a little longer than everyone else to learn and remember a concept or skill (this applies to both didactic courses and clinical). Once I have learned the skill and I "get" it, I do it well and I may only need a brief review of my notes when I need to perform the skill again. I have been told that my test grades to not accurately reflect what I really know (I'm in the mid-B range). I am an excellent critical thinker, very creative when planning and implementing nursing interventions, a good problem solver, and an excellent patient advocate.

    Last semester, I had a horrible clinical experience and it has fueled a lot of anxiety and fear in me. I have no hospital experience and I had never performed basic nursing (aka CNA) skills before (e.g., bathing, toileting, transferring). I told my clinical instructor this and we went over the accommodations that I needed. She said that it was no problem, she had worked with ADHDers and I shouldn't worry. I thought this was fantastic and I felt really positive going in. Unfortunately, all this changed over the course of the semester.

    She had very vague directions for her assignments, she didn't help us with skills, and she made (most) of us afraid to ask her questions after a while, for fear of being ridiculed. I was self-conscious and I lacked confidence in my abilities; I really needed her help, but she said she wasn't going to "hold anyone's hand", and we were "expected" to know everything prior to clinical. Maybe so for other students, but for someone with an LD, I need my "hand held" until I fully understand the concept. If she would have done this during the first few weeks of clinical, I don't feel like I would have struggled as much.

    I have perused this website for a number of years, and I've read horror stories of how nursing students have been treated. I vowed that I would never be treated that way and I would stand up for myself, but I simply couldn't with her. I felt embarrassed and ashamed that my time management skills were poor; everyone else got their work done on time except for me. I never took a break during the 8 hour shift, and I just barely completed my work on time...sometimes not at all. On more than one occasion, she singled me out and told the other students to never do what I have been doing. I felt so humiliated.

    Just as the semester was about to end, she finally decided to help me. She sat down with me and we went over a time-management schedule and it worked like a charm. It was the best thing that happened to me, and I was amazed at how important that was. Unfortunately, this came "too little too late" because my grade was deducted because of it, especially in leadership (I ended up with a 3.6 overall, but I believe it could have been higher).

    The problem:
    I am starting my first clinical of junior year in a few months, in M/S. I am so scared based on my past experience. I don't know if I will have a clinical instructor who will treat me that way; I'm now afraid to ask questions of the instructor and other nurses because I don't want to risk being humiliated again. M/S will be very long and busy, and I'm sure we'll have a lot to do. I feel bad for wasting people's time, just because I don't "get it" as fast as everyone else. I would love some one-on-one assistance in certain areas, but I'm terrified to ask.

    The question: Has anyone worked with an instructor like that before? How did you cope? Were you able to move past it when your next clinical began? How? How should I approach future clinical instructors (to prevent another bad experience)?

    What do you think I should review before I start M/S? I want to be as prepared as possible, but I'm afraid to ask for help to prepare. I did that last semester, and I was brushed off with "you should know this already". I have heard that phrase so much in my life as a child with a LD, so it really strikes a personal and emotional chord with me.

    It has been very hard for me to move on with my schooling because of this experience. I appreciate any and all responses to this post. Thank you so much!
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    About acerbia, BSN, RN

    Joined: Dec '11; Posts: 54; Likes: 59


  3. by   sharpeimom
    If you have a note from your internist or neurologist verifying that you have ADHD and other learning disabilities, take the note(s) to your college's Office of Disabilities or whatever it's called on your campus, and they will notify each of your professors and instructors of your issues and what specific accommodations you'll need and they MUST do whatever it takes to help you learn. My husband has two students this semester who have to take all their tests either in the library or in his office during his office hours because they need complete quiet and no distractions. Before you go to class or clinical, make absolutely sure you have everything you'll need with you. It helps to make lists. Break things you have to do down into smaller parts so you won't be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of it. As you complete a task on the list, cross it off and move down the list.
  4. by   T-Bird78
    And never be afraid to ask questions, despite fear of humiliation. Odds are, someone else has the same question in their mind or has the wrong answer in mind. When you get into the real world you HAVE to ask questions, to verify doc's orders and such. Don't let your previous experience scare you, let it teach you and use that time management schedule. Hang in there!
  5. by   elkpark
    I agree that your best bet is to work through your Student Services office, or whatever it's called at your school, that works with the students with disabilities, rather than just approaching individual instructors 1:1. Although I'm no expert on this, my understanding is that the school is not obligated to offer you any accomodations or special assistance unless you are formally identified as having a disability. Best wishes!