Driving to the my 1st step in being a Nurse Educator to the Clinical site where I was to meet the students, singing “I have confidence in me!” from the Sound of Music, I knew I was going to enjoy every bit of imparting my knowledge to new nurses. Yes, this was where I wanted to be, and after years of not knowing what I wanted to do in nursing, I had finally found my niche. I arrived at 7:30am to prepare for the students, who were supposed to arrive at 8am. I was born ready! I had always loved to teach and had a knack of breaking things down so that I could explain it to others. If I didn’t know the content, I was always willing to learn so I could go forth and educate. When 8am came and went, I begun to worry that I must have had the wrong start date, or was I at the wrong site? 8;30 am I worriedly called the school, but of course, no one answered the phone. I left a message. Then the students trickled in at a quarter to the hour with the last student getting to the Conference room around 9:15am. One student had a head scarf on, I pulled her to the side and asked her if it were a religious head gear, she snapped that her hair was a mess and whirled back inside the room, leaving me standing there with mouth agape in shock. I began by going over the rules and syllabus, but…were they on their cell phones??? I walked around the room standing behind one student so intent on her cell phone she didn’t realize I was looking over her shoulders or, perhaps she didn’t care and yes, she was scrolling through wigs!
I found myself crouching in the bathroom calling my mentor asking her advice. “Write them up”, she replied. The day continued to go downhill with them taking an hour break for lunch, returning from that break late, me looking at them smoking on the edge of the property (it was a “No Smoking” facility”). They were packing to leave by 1:30pm. The following weeks did not get any better. I had to dismiss a student who yelled at me, she refused to leave and I had to eventually call the Clinical Supervisor to get her to leave.
Finally, the inevitable, I was called into the school. I was armed with dates and even a statement from the facility nurse, but I was in for a surprise. I was told by the Provost and another Supervisor that “the students were paying customers and therefore always right!”
I have since left that school. I have spoken to other Instructors who have their stories to tell. I have seen graduates from the schools working in the real world and I am worried about the future of nursing. I barely hum that song “I Have Confidence in Me” anymore, opting for a more fitting song by Ice Cube “It Was a Good Day”…if it actually were.