I’ve been having some issues in the classroom that have been ongoing for quite some time and it seems to have escalated - hoping to get some feedback. This is going to be a little-long winded so bear with me.
A little backstory:
I’m a gay student and made the very personal decision to keep that detail about myself private while in school (shouldn’t be relevant to becoming a nurse anyway). Despite this, there are a handful of students that suspect that I am gay, and have made lewd and suggestive remarks, gay jokes, innuendos, and overt sexual gestures around me. They seem to do this all the time but also seem to target me. One of these girls makes a habit to announce to the class when I am ignoring her. She rubs up on one of the classmates in an overt sexual way and turns around and shakes her rear end looking at me to get a response - really childish and juvenile behavior. This has happened repeatedly. It makes me extremely uncomfortable. I’ve done my best to ignore this but it has continued to go on despite my discomfort and despite her having apologized to me for behaving inappropriately (assuming someone said something to her).
I also have a clinical instructor that is very flirtatious - has gotten way up in my personal space when talking to me. She has also done this with other students (who are also uncomfortable) and become extremely offended when they back away. We recently had midterm clinical evaluations and she asked me to come in to work on documentation. I’ve never scored below a 4/5 on my documentation, while a number of my fellow students who have scored 2/3 and 3/3 were not asked to come in for remediation. I asked out loud why I was being asked to come in for remediation given that my scores were above average. I asked some of the other students what their scores were and if they had been asked to come in. When I went in for my pediatric rotation with a different clinical instructor, she made a point to tell me how good my documentation was and that it was way above average. I realize I’m speculating here, but she looked upset and she made a point to tell me this...she even said that I know because I’ve read hundreds of these and I would show you the difference between yours and most of the others I’ve read if I could. Seems strange?
I made the decision to contact my clinical coordinator/instructor and get some advice as to how to navigate this. I told her that I didn’t want any trouble and that I was just trying to get through school but that the problems in the classroom have been ongoing and need to stop. By legal definition, it’s bordering on, if not outright harassment. I was told that our conversation would be confidential. During the conversation, she agreed with me that it was harassment. I explained the fear I had of her speaking to these students one on one. She said that she understood my fear of reprisal and that she would give some instruction on harassment to the whole class. She also asked if I had spoken about this to any other classmates. I said no and that I hadn’t planned on it.
So I get to class on Monday and the instructor I spoke with made a couple of passive aggressive comments in front of the class. She threw my homework at me and said that’s what you get when you sit up front...ask Tiphanie (the girl next to me)...you know...ITS FUN.” I was also doing some concept mapping in black pen rather than in different colors as she had suggested. She made a point to say that I was the only one using black pen ...and that I needed some color in my life...everything blaaack and white. Very sarcastically. I tried my best to brush this off. I went in to her office and asked if she had said anything. She said no. She also said that every group has a set of mean girls and that’s just the way it is.
So the next day I come to class and half the class is absent. This was the day that the instructor was going to give the harassment training. She very loudly announced that “we are so glad you are here.” And made an inside joke with one of the girls that had been harassing me. Something along the lines of keeping her mouth shut. I went into her office again and asked what was going on? She denied she had said anything. She also acknowledged that she wanted to do something about the way I was being treated and that no one gets to decide what harassment is except me.
Fast forward to clinical day and the instructor that had asked me to come in for documentation remediation glared at me all day. She made a number of snarky comments. She said she was “Still an RN last time she checked” and that “when you’re young, you just think the whole world revolves around you...but no one cares...except maybe your mom...your mom probably thinks the world revolves around you.” I had to perform a suppository on a patient that day, and if you’ve done these, you know that they are tiny and you have to be careful when opening them. I had never done one before, so when I went to open it, it popped out and dropped on the floor. I had to go grab another and said she “oh I guess I made her nervous.” Funny thing is, when I brought one back in, she she opened it and almost dropped it. So I perform the procedure and afterwards she says something like “there’s a word for that but we can’t say those words around children, so we’ll wait until she leaves.” I’m not really sure what this was in reference to other than it was a jab at me.
So at this point I know some things are being said and that I’m being retaliated against. So I just did my best to be as professional and cordial to this woman as possible. But I also started talking to some of the other students. As soon as I started doing this, she got really nervous and kept trying to give us tasks to prevent any interaction. She also seemed to change her tune and be a bit nicer.
I find out that a classmate had also complained about one of the same students about her dress and behavior. The email she sent out was also sent to the entire staff and she was also treated with contempt after complaining about a number of things. We went out for some drinks and both of these women confirmed that they didn’t feel like any of the administration or staff had their back and that there was widespread gossip and retaliation going on. They also confirmed the inappropriate behavior of this clinical instructor.
There’s quite a bit more to this, but just writing this out confirms all the more about the rampant unprofessionalism and harassment going on at this school. I’m at the tail end of my program, (thank god) but I’m honestly just so upset that I’ve had to put up with this while paying 30k in tuition. All of it is so unnecessary. I’ve never in my adult life had this kind of problem before. Honestly, I’m seriously questioning my choice to pursue nursing if this is the kind of treatment nurses are expected to put up with. Is this what it’s like?
Anyhow, if you’ve taken the time to read this rant, thank you so much.