Hospital staff mean to students, advise needed from an instructor

  1. I am in third semester and am doing a peds rotation in a county hospital in LA. I have done clinic here before and none of the staff is too remarkably pleasant, but I have been able to get through it and have learned a lot in the process.
    In this particular rotation, however, the staff is just downright hostile. The medroom, toyroom, and supply rooms are all locked and only staff has keys. The secretaries, CNAs, and all nurses but one are verbally hostile to us and some outright refuse to lend us keys or answer simple questions. Our instructor does nothing--they aren't that great to her either.
    I know our school needs a good relationship with this hospital, however, it is at the point where the hostility gets in the way of providing proper patient care by delaying interventions. I have spoken to our instructor about this and she seems to turn the problem around on us. There is very little space and the floor is crowded with med students and nursing students. Funny thing is, the med students dont get treated like this at all.
    Is there anything I can do to maybe make this better for the next round of students that have to rotate in peds at this hospital?
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    About nrse2B2005

    Joined: Jan '05; Posts: 21; Likes: 1

    22 Comments

  3. by   Leda
    I suggest that you try and make lemonaide out of lemons. This is wonderful working opportunity for conflict resolution (although I'm sure it doesn't feel that way right now). Clearly someone in this situation has to be the professional and in this instance it may well be that the students have to lead the way.

    My suggestion is that the students meet with the instructor, outlining the concerns/problems in a nonconfrontational manner. Brainstorm as a group how this situation can be resolved so that everyone benefits. Following this meeting your clinical instructor needs to meet with the appropriate person/people at the clinical setting to communicate the concerns and work out an acceptable resolution for all.

    Keep in mind that the primary problem is more than likely poor communication between the clinical setting and the affilitating nursing program. The nurses at the clinical setting may not clearly understand the expected role of the nursing students and their specific clinical objectives. Conversely the instructor and students may not fully appreciate why the nurses are behaving as they are.

    In regards to the keys, I know this is extremely frustrating but doors/rooms are locked for a reason, so the staff may not be able to let students have the keys. As an instructor I was able to resolve a similar problem with my clinical group by being giving a key or the punch code. It was my responsibility to open the locked area and maintain security by not giving the students the key or key code. I think you can appreciate how disruptive it can be for the nursing staff to have to keep opening doors for students. Resolving this one area of difficulty could go a long way in improving relations.

    Try and remember it is not a matter of who is right or wrong, it is a matter of establishing an effective working relationship between the clinical facility and the nursing program/students. Since the instructor has "turned it around onto the students" then you must as a group work to professionally resolve this issue, WITH YOUR INSTRUCTOR. Be professional, follow the lines of communication and the chain of command and let this be a positive learning experience for all.

    Best of luck to you and keep us posted on how this works out.
  4. by   CharliezAngie
    I'm in my 4th semester and my clinical group is having the same kind of issue. I have been at this hospital for my foundations clinical and my med-surg just last night we were there and they were having a meeting with the CNAs well one of the students walked into the confrence room not knowing that they were having a meeting and over heared an LPN say "them d*** students best not get in my way tonight and a CNA replied " them have to be the dumbest student nurses yet" so now we all feel uncomfortable asking any hospital staff a question or to pull labs up on the comp. because like you we have to have a nurse let us in the med room, supply room, ect. I am just glad we only have one more clinical left here and I too wish we could make it easier for the next group.
  5. by   sharann
    Shame on those nurses.I think the CNO of the hospital should know why there is a nursing shortage..in their own hospital. Too bad your school is unable(or willing maybe)to teach advocacy for yourselves. I am so disappointed in those so called nurses.
  6. by   tracytoon
    I remember similar problems when I was in school. Nurses and other staff are task oriented, and having students around does change the equation, and we tried to be helpers rather than hindrances. I used to get exasperated when staff treated me badly for no apparent reason, and I was incredulous when the instructor took me to task for allowing them to get under my skin. Sometimes I wondered if the experienced staff even remembered that they were students once, too. It seems more and more that nursing students are treated poorly by those in the profession and that certainly isn't going to do much for recruitment, is it? I know that I considered that when I graduated and applied for employment. I hope that you can resolve this and that your rotations are positive learning experiences.
  7. by   unknown99
    This happened at a clinical site where I went as a student. Finally, the school pulled the students from there and put them at the hospital where I currently work as an RN.
    Where I work, the nurses are very happy to have students. Students can be of tremendous help!!!
  8. by   VickyRN
    We have had this ongoing problem with a hospital which is based in the same town as our community college. There is no easy solution, as the clinical instructors and students are guests in any facility. We try our best not "to make waves," but sometimes one has no choice but to call the nurses on their abusive behavior and take it up the chain of command. Unfortunately, the derogatory treatment has continued at this hospital, despite multiple confrontations. (There has even been a battery incident, in which a nurse slapped one of our students - not in my group, thank goodness.) I have refused to go back with my groups, and have pioneered a clinical site in a small out-of-the-way rural hospital in my home town. We are having a great learning experience in our new site, and the students love it so much that they don't mind the extra drive.

    Whoever suggested for the student to write an anonymous letter to the CNO/CEO - this is a great idea. The hospitals look to students onsite as a means of recruitment of future nurses. This can work both ways, however. Some of the students have suffered such abuse at our problem facility, that they will never consider working there for their entire professional careers. This is negative recruitment.
  9. by   S.N. Visit
    Quote from VickyRN
    We try our best not "to make waves," but sometimes one has no choice but to call the nurses on their abusive behavior and take it up the chain of command. Unfortunately, the derogatory treatment has continued at this hospital, despite multiple confrontations. (There has even been a battery incident, in which a nurse slapped one of our students - not in my group, thank goodness.)

    Oh, my goodness! Was the student able to press charges? I can't imagine what the nurse was thinking to loose her cool like that. :stone
    I bet the clinical instructor of the student was stunned.
  10. by   VickyRN
    Quote from Tanzanite
    Oh, my goodness! Was the student able to press charges? I can't imagine what the nurse was thinking to loose her cool like that. :stone
    I bet the clinical instructor of the student was stunned.
    No, the student did not press charges, and I think TPTB at the facility made the nurse involved apologize to the student (if I recall correctly.... there have been so many incidents there that it is hard to keep track of them all ).

    And yes, that instructor was definitely stunned. She was brand new, young, and the nurses on the unit were trying to intimidate her. She, like me, refused to go back there. She continues to hold clinicals for our college, but in different (and much friendlier) facilities.
  11. by   tgoodwinrn
    I truly suggest that instructors need to meet with not only the cno of this particular facility but these issues must be addressed with the head of the human resource department. jacho is addressing the issue of students being properly supervised during clinical rotation visits. also you need to look at the university affliliation agreement between the hospital and the school. this should give you directions as well as grounds.

    please take action, empower your students and these future nurses
  12. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from CharliezAngie
    I'm in my 4th semester and my clinical group is having the same kind of issue. I have been at this hospital for my foundations clinical and my med-surg just last night we were there and they were having a meeting with the CNAs well one of the students walked into the confrence room not knowing that they were having a meeting and over heared an LPN say "them d*** students best not get in my way tonight and a CNA replied " them have to be the dumbest student nurses yet" so now we all feel uncomfortable asking any hospital staff a question or to pull labs up on the comp. because like you we have to have a nurse let us in the med room, supply room, ect. I am just glad we only have one more clinical left here and I too wish we could make it easier for the next group.

    BOTH the CNA and LPN said "them students"?????? How did they graduate from any school with grammar like that???

    steph
  13. by   gozojoan
    Quote from nrse2B2005
    I am in third semester and am doing a peds rotation in a county hospital in LA. I have done clinic here before and none of the staff is too remarkably pleasant, but I have been able to get through it and have learned a lot in the process.
    In this particular rotation, however, the staff is just downright hostile. The medroom, toyroom, and supply rooms are all locked and only staff has keys. The secretaries, CNAs, and all nurses but one are verbally hostile to us and some outright refuse to lend us keys or answer simple questions. Our instructor does nothing--they aren't that great to her either.
    I know our school needs a good relationship with this hospital, however, it is at the point where the hostility gets in the way of providing proper patient care by delaying interventions. I have spoken to our instructor about this and she seems to turn the problem around on us. There is very little space and the floor is crowded with med students and nursing students. Funny thing is, the med students dont get treated like this at all.
    Is there anything I can do to maybe make this better for the next round of students that have to rotate in peds at this hospital?
    This is not a good situation at all. Students in my opinion should be immediately removed from this clinical area and another area should be used to fulfill the objectives of the course. Although it is necessary for students to learn to deal with all types of people, there is no excuse for hostility. One thing is for sure, this all needs to be put down on the evaluation for the course at the end of the semester. Ideally, your instructor should address the issue with the staff herself or the unit manager. If your instructor is not able to remedy the situation, perhaps you could address the issue with the director of the school. It might be good if you read your student handbook for information on how to proceed with complaints.

    Good luck
  14. by   mydesygn
    Quote from nrse2B2005
    I am in third semester and am doing a peds rotation in a county hospital in LA. I have done clinic here before and none of the staff is too remarkably pleasant, but I have been able to get through it and have learned a lot in the process.
    In this particular rotation, however, the staff is just downright hostile. The medroom, toyroom, and supply rooms are all locked and only staff has keys. The secretaries, CNAs, and all nurses but one are verbally hostile to us and some outright refuse to lend us keys or answer simple questions. Our instructor does nothing--they aren't that great to her either.
    I know our school needs a good relationship with this hospital, however, it is at the point where the hostility gets in the way of providing proper patient care by delaying interventions. I have spoken to our instructor about this and she seems to turn the problem around on us. There is very little space and the floor is crowded with med students and nursing students. Funny thing is, the med students dont get treated like this at all.
    Is there anything I can do to maybe make this better for the next round of students that have to rotate in peds at this hospital?
    Would it be possible to do the rotation on a different unit in the same hospital? Sometimes the morale and teamwork are so bad on a unit, it will be expressed in the way they treat students and orientees. I think it also shows a valuable insight -- notice how the docs treat the med students with patience and courtesy even though I would assume they are busy to. It shows how we as nurses de-value one another and our "profession" that we don't take the time to help someone who is learning.

    My second suggestion might (depending on the size of your group) be that the instructor base patient assignments on the staff nurse assigned to care for patients. When I was a staff nurse, one of the clinncal instructors would come in at 06:45, discuss the patients with the charge nurse and review the assignments and would assign students based on the staff assigned to care for the patients. She would the day before briefly ask nurses who were coming in the next day if they would be willing to have a student assigned to one or more of their patients. She got a pretty good gauge of who would be able and willing to provide a good learning experience. I often was assigned students because I liked to teach, had the right "disposition" and was relatively organized enough that I had time during the day to stop and provide guidance. I realize that you would rather take the most "interesting" patients but if the staff nurse is unwilling or unable to provide guidance, I can assure youthat you learn little when all you can do is stand around and watch. You learn a lot more from having a less complex patient that you can be able to more readily participate in their care.

    My third suggestion, if you have a large group, is to try some alternative learning. I think one of the best ways to learn care is to follow and help the CNA or the unit secretary one day. You gain a level of appreciation and respect for their job that you would not gain otherwise. I can tell you that each time I start on a new clinical unit, I go out of my way to develop a relationship with the CNA, unit sec, and resp therapists. Often I know their names before I know the names of the nurses I work with. My greatest source of help and emotional support has always been with the ancillary staff. Following the CNA will give you the oppurtunity to meet and visit with wide variety of patients, you will have the oppurtunity to talk with famalies and interact with kids in a very different way.
    Last edit by mydesygn on Apr 16, '05

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