Asked to Teach Clinical but Won't Train Me First

  1. I was initially honored that my nursing school and former professor, would consider me for an adjunct teaching position, but now I think they are desperate for anyone to do it. I interviewed for an assistant to the clinical professor, but was told I would have my own class of 10 students for clinicals 2 days a week, for a summer session in their LVN program. I was super excited to do it and asked them for 2-3 days of paid training to follow the current clinical professor, so I could get a feel for what is expected of me as the instructor and an idea of a structure for my own class. I'm a med-surg nurse and work prn, so I would need to schedule myself off for those couple of days. I got a email that the plan is for a professor to attend the first 2 days of clinical with me, to orient me to the instructor role. I do not want to start off my own class being "trained" to do the job. I believe this will show my students that I don't have a clue about what I am doing. I would prefer to start my class alone in the teaching role and talk to them about how I am new to teaching and have many things to learn as we go forward together, but still maintain my legitimacy as the teacher. What are your thoughts? Am I simply being paranoid or having cold teacher feet?
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    About heartsgal, ADN

    Joined: Oct '12; Posts: 110; Likes: 65

    11 Comments

  3. by   llg
    What you are experiencing is pretty typical. Many nursing schools are notorious for horrendous staff development. As a nurse accustomed to having a staff development department, you are aware of the benefits of "orientation" etc. Many schools are not -- and don't provide this service.

    It's one of the reasons I am not a full time faculty member. Also, it is one of the reasons my hospital (where I am the liaison between the hospital and the schools) place strict limits on what students and faculty can do while at my hospital. Half the faculty members the schools send are not sufficiently skilled/knowledgeable to care for our patients.

    When I first graduated with my PhD, I got a faculty job and was thrown into teaching clinical in areas I had never been before -- with no training. I didn't stay there.

    I then got a job in staff development for a hospital -- teaching things I knew about in my clinical specialty. I have since gotten lucky and have been able to pick up a few classes for a local university -- non-clinical classes that cover material I know well. But I would never teach clinical again unless I was provided a proper orientation.

    Personally, I wouldn't take that job -- and tell them why. If enough people would do that, schools might start getting the message that orientation is a good thing.
  4. by   heartsgal
    I appreciate your input. Thanks.
  5. by   JaxJax5423
    oh, is this a normal occurence? I accepted a clinical teaching job and literally walked into the class without a clue of my role or what was expected.I asked and called and showed up to the school, but got nothing! I just studied the syllabus and learned as I went. Zero training was provided and zero expectations were discussed. Was it the best scenario, No....but I learned a ton and was just very conservative on what I allowed students to do.
  6. by   Kristenlaurenw
    When a new clinical instructor was hired while I was in nursing school, this is how it was done. Another professor attended the instructors first day or two of clinical with us. Didn't make her look to us at all. [She did that on her own, later.]
  7. by   feelix
    My first offer for clinical was like that. The program director said, meet me at 7:00 am at the clinical site. I will give you the paper work and you can start your clinical. Thankfully, I was not prepared to take it at such a short notice and and told her so.
    The next semester, they at least let me come in and look at the paper work and meet other instructors.
    They will throw you to the wolves, however, they will also hold you responsible to do your work and do it right.
  8. by   heartsgal
    I didn't want to be thrown to the wolves and experience the whole, "sink or swim" adage on the job. I attended this nursing school myself and while I had some great professors, the program was often fraught with disorganization and we all hated that. The timeline was too rushed for me this year and I didn't really have time to schedule around it. Maybe next year I'll consider it, because I think I would enjoy it, if I had adequate time to prepare.
  9. by   random_nurse12
    My first clinical teaching job, I literally got a tour of the unit and that was it. I had to hit the ground running.

    Where I am currently working, we have two different methods depending on the timing of hiring. Sometimes we are able to hire in the summer and we will send the new instructor with an experienced instructor who has a clinical group. This is a hard-sell to the college because they don't want to pay someone who isn't loaded (meaning they aren't teaching any credits).

    The other method is we hire them and an experienced instructor goes to the first 2-3 weeks of clinical with them.

    So, yes it is normal. It is very hard to convince college administration to pay people who do not have a credit load. Everything is about credit load (or contact hours).
  10. by   feelix
    Handed in my last clinical assignment and walked away. I was hired to work in the 'best nursing school' in my state. Was excited and looking forward to teach. The faculty had one meeting in which we were told to 'make of this clinical what you want it to be'. Ther was no direction, no structure to the syllabus, even the clinical sites were not determined. Two weeks into the semester, I tried to set up a meeting with the course leader in order to makes some sense of what was happening. She tells me, "Sure let us meet at 07:30 am on ..." I leave home at 6:00 am, arrive at 07:30, wait for an hour, then get a text saying she was not feelig well." Three weeks into giving students class assignments to complete clinical hours, and dealing with the questions and comments of 10 angry students, I hand in my stuff and walk away. It is OK if they don't hire me again.
  11. by   ponymom
    Good God, my plant (factory job) gives the new supervisors 6 to 9 months of orientation so they can train new factory workers (among other duties).
  12. by   sandygfleischmann
    I negotiated my orientation to clinical for my current teaching post at the community college. I took the post as full time Assistant Professor of Nursing and had paid orientation on campus and in the local hospital on the unit I was assigned too. I am very aware this is not the norm!

    This is foolish of the Nursing Educational Units in the college setting. The adjunct clinical contracts only start on first day of service per campus policy for any adjunct.

    The only way my contract started early was by the Dean of Health getting me a mini contract for the two weeks of orientation.
  13. by   cjcsoon2bnp
    I'm employed as an adjunct clinical instructor (CI) at a public university, I'm very happy with my job because I'm fairly compensated and my department chair is very supportive. The one criticism that I have of this program is that my orientation as a brand new educator was minimal. Basically, my department chair emailed me the syllabus and grading rubric for the clinical assignments and then I was CC'd on an e-mail from the college of nursing that went to the CNO of my clinical site introducing me as a new clinical instructor. I took it upon myself to schedule a meeting with the CNO and have a tour of the facility that I take my students to each semester but that is not something that every CI does prior to starting.

    Since I'm more comfortable in my role now and I feel like I understand the nature of the assignments better it has gotten easier. I reach out to new adjunct CIs and offered my support so that they don't feel isolated and start off more comfortable in the role than I did when I started. I have suggested to my department chair that we need a more thorough orientation process and while she agrees it has been a slow road to getting a formal training started because of budget and turnover within the department.

    !Chris

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