Nursing Student Preceptorship Nightmares


Everyone always talks about good experiences from preceptorship, but I unfortunately got something I never expected in what was already a stressful term. It's interesting seeing posts on "what the student nurse should do" tips, etc. It's always the student.. Honestly, it goes both ways and I feel that there are some preceptors who shouldn’t agree to mentor/precept nursing students at all. I know preceptees and preceptors can both agree on this. Some don’t know what a preceptee nursing student is and expect them to help & do the work for everyone of the nurses on the unit. They are in their last term, which means they are getting training to be independent, improve their skills, etc. 1)the student is not personal assistant 2)it takes a way the students learning experience 3)devalues the poor student. Preceptors must make any expectations they have clear and stick w/ it. Your preceptee is not a mind reader. You can’t always change your expectations of the student to fit your mood.

For instance, my preceptor told the other nurses I am a preceptee & she will not let me do their work since I have my own patients. Next thing you know, I’m getting a eval that I’m not helping the nurse do their work?!(But, I do! if I’m not busy w/ my responsibilities to my patient). She expects me to ready the rooms for admissions when I'm charting for the other nurses, while she textes & gossips the entire day @the nurses station.. She rolls her eyes at me all the time (which always baffles me..) when I ask her a question (not a silly question!) or when she doesn’t like something OR ignores me completely & textes on her phone! For charting, I followed her recommendations & weeks later she tells me it’s not right? I even used the wording she said I should use.. huh? lol. I check on my patients frequently & hardly ever sit down since I’m so busy; on my eval she tells me all I do is sit down (I got a varicose vein from never sitting down!) & all I do is my paper work for school?..huh? I wish. I tell her I’m actually charting throughout the day (which I’m suppose to do! I wish I could do school work, but this is my patient & work is my priority).

The worst part is she did my final evaluation at the nurses’ station, as she continued to ridicule me..I asked her if we could please continue in another room. She said “No”, rolled her eyes and actually gave my eval papers to another nurse to fill out?! I didn’t feel it was appropriate where nurses and patients are passing by and that's why I asked... She also told me the other nurses are talking about me, which I found odd since I think I have pretty good relationships w/ the nurses and help them when I can..except one!(I was in mid-teaching my patient & she told me to do a patients bed? I told her “I will try to help you when I’m done teaching” She gave me a mean look when I came out of my patients room & did the bed herself..that’s who I feel the negative comment from “nurses” my preceptor meant); I know I wasn’t wrong, who leaves their patient to do a bed?

She tells me I don’t answer the phone correctly too, the way she many variations can I go w/”Hello, Unit 3, this is__. how can I help you?” she wants me to start off & tell them I’m the student before anything. She just continued to say anything and everything she "feels" "I do everything wrong" in her exact words. I find it insane how she expects so much from me, but never helps me or teaches me...she passes me to other nurses all day & leaves early...and she doesn't tell me until she's walking out the door! Anyway, she also continues tells me on my final evaluation that I she honestly feels that I won’t make it as a nurse, I won’t get a job in her specialty or even a job, she doubts anyone will hire me, I’m not assertive, I’m not confident, I’m not independent, I don’t do things the way she wants, I disappoint her, & that she won’t put this on my eval so I can graduate. Weird since, I'm working w/ my patient all by myself throughout the entire day. She compares me to other preceptees & their preceptors too (mind you, their preceptors actually help them! or, at least give them some guidance lol).

I was very hurt, but I know I must be doing something right when my patients are very happy & thank me for everything during discharge or throughout the day, I’ve been in ICU, ER, Peds, Public Health, MedSurg, NICU, etc. & I do all my work, prioritize, manage my time well & offer to help my fellow nurses on the unit when I’m done w/ my own priorities. I felt like I didn’t deserve what she I? I can definitely relate to the saying “Nurses eat their young”, she definitely tried to break my confidence in myself. What a horrible person to treat a student, or anyone that way. It sucks since if I report her, she will give me a bad eval so I don’t graduate. My preceptor is also the charge nurse & I’m confused how??..I’ve been w/ other charge nurses & I wasn’t babied even if I was a student, AND they also never treated me this way.

So, be careful students & to preceptors please don’t offer to be one if you don’t want really isn’t healthy for student nurses. Everyday was a very tense environment working w/ her & I tried my best..and continued to try and learn. I know the work environment is filled w/ different personalities, but I can't help but think I just didn't deserve this? I just tried to keep a smile on at all times despite it all and it took me a while to realize what she said...just wasn't true!! All I have to say is good luck to all students.

I know now, no one deserves what I went through…:twocents:

Feel free to share feedback or your own stories

*Note: What happened to me are not exaggerations. I honestly wish they were...


1,917 Posts

Wow, I'm sorry for you. Sounds like you can't do anything right with this person. Have you spoken to anyone about this? Because it really isn't fair to you at all.

At the end of last semester, we got our first clinical evaluations after having 3 semesters of clinical. A lot of us were totally baffled by what was in our evals. It was as if the instructor just made stuff up as she went along. They were completely untrue!

Specializes in All Icus x Nicu/ Shock Trauma/flight nur. Has 40 years experience.

Thanks for sharing your story. But really I had the preceptor from HELL. She was not available most of the time and when I asked for help she REFUSED. She gave me an evaluation that was 99% lies, andher manager and the university where I was taking a refresher course belieived her too. I was terminated 2 days before my precept was done. I'm making a complaint to the Kansas State Board of Nursing. fltnrse


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I totally feel your pain! Thanks for sharing your story. I had a similar preceptorship experience.

I'm in an ADN program and on my last quarter then I can graduate. Everyone else in my class had a great experience, but not me. I was in a short stay unit.

I was assigned 2 preceptors, for whatever odd reason. I had the 1st one for the first half and the 2nd one for the last half. Worst idea ever! Although I did hear one of my preceptors say "she didn't want a full load." Which should have gave me a hint that they didn't want a student. The 1st preceptor didn't allow me to do IV starts the whole time I was with her. She would tell the patients "We don't let students handle anything sharp." And then she would ask me questions about everything I was doing and would quiz me all the time. And the way she would ask the questions was unclear, so I ended up looking flustered. But I would always look up something unfamiliar and would write it down in a notebook. So I knew what I was doing. She just made me so anxious that I couldn't think straight. And then she when we took out a narcotic medication, she put it in my pocket and told me to hold on to it until we were ready to give it. But everyone knows you don't put narcotics in your pocket for legal reasons, you don't want people to think you are taking it for personal reasons. And she didn't know some basic stuff that she had to ask other nurses. And she would tell me that I "need to hurry" when getting a patient ready for surgery, but one nurse told me she was "the slowest one in the unit and she knows it." I feel she did not orient me to the unit very well.

And so by the time I was with the 2nd preceptor, my confidence was already broken. I thought to myself, maybe this 2nd preceptor would be better. Nope! She didn't really want to teach and guide me at all. She would make me seem stupid whenever I asked a question. And what's worse is that she would have me tag along with her to another floor for a few days where the whole routine was different. She did not even give me the time to do things on my own. When I was just about to get to something, she would go ahead and do it herself. So I never got the chance to do things, which is how I learn. She would stand behind me and hover around with her arms crossed. And she would tell me to focus on certain things while charting and the rest wasn't important. Whereas my 1st preceptor wanted me to go through every little thing and verify the information. Even when I tried to talk to my preceptors, they would just kind of turn away and act too busy to talk. They would just tell me to go home after the shift and that was it. My 1st preceptor said she doesn't check her emails and if I do call her, to leave a message. My 2nd preceptor I would text questions about things, but it didn't seem to help, she would just tell me I need to look up this, and work on this. but the next day she wouldn't let me practice what I learned or read about the night before.

I even gave my preceptors a list of objectives and things I would like to get out of the experience, and they said "if we have time, we will get to them, it all depends."

Even worse, is that within the team there was a lot of talking behind people's backs. This new male nurse just started there and was a different ethnicity. 2 of the nurses started whispering about his race and making up pet names to call him.

Very horrible, I'm female, I'm not white either, and what makes it worse is that I'm younger than all the nurses there. So it kind of made me wonder if I had an unfair advantage at the start.

I got horrible evaluations from both preceptors. We are recommended to have 3's out of 5 on everything. I didn't meet this requirement. I had a talk with my clinical instructor and we'll see what happens next. Hopefully I'm not kicked out of the nursing program or have to repeat it.


1,194 Posts

Specializes in Cardiac Care.

This is why preceptorships are starting to go away from nursing schools. These should not be make or break for your program considering you can't help the type of preceptor you get or the type of experience you get or if they feel "high and mighty" being able to lord this over you. Some people are just plain nasty and should not be in charge of anyone's education. Makes you wonder why these people even went into nursing in the first place.