I have been an nurse for 2 years, and I can remember how horrible some clinical days were due to nurses who hated having students. Because of that experience, I have tried to go out of my way to be especially nice to students. I love teaching, so it fits with what I like to do anyway. However, there are some days that it is very tricky to have students on the floor.
We get students from several different colleges on different days, and each instructor sets the expectations for the students. There are certain schools that I know that the students will be a huge help because their instructor is very involved. With other schools (unfortunately like the school I went to) the instructor sort of disappears, and the nurses are left to do ALL the teaching to the students....which can be OK, but on really busy days it is a drain. In the end, the RN is ultimately responsible, and as other posters have noted, we can't just defer to the fact that a student had the patient. It is our license on the line, so often things have to be done twice.
Also, occasionally we get "know-it-all" students who are out to prove the RNs are doing things wrong. The most obnoxious one I remember was a guy who was working as a tech in an ER and thought he knew more than EVERYONE else (all of us felt he deserved to be humbled, and as it turned out he did not do well enough on the exams to pass that specific course...only it meant we had him on our floor again the next semester, and he seemed undaunted by having to repeat the course.) Real-life nursing is often different than what you learn in school because you have to balance so many patients and priorities. Yes, I know there is a way to do it in an ideal hospital, but since the nurses who stay too many hours late are reprimanded for "poor time management," we have to find ways to get a lot done in a short amount of time. Of course, you never want to sacrifice patient safety, so there are certain things you never want to take short-cuts on. However, we sometimes are just doing our best to handle a full load of patients, and adding multiple students to our responsibilities sometimes is the tipping factor in the day.
As a student, do your best to read when something is critical and very time-dependent, and be willing to stand back and watch if the RN really needs to get something done in a hurry. Most nurses are willing to give you as many opportunities as possible, but sometimes things just need to be done STAT.
One final thing is that sometimes the students completely take over all of the computers, and it is nearly impossible to get our charting done. Obviously you need to chart and get info for your careplans, but be aware that the RNs are carrying a heavier patient load and really need to get stuff done on the computer. Ask if a nurse needs to use your computer if she is obviously frantically looking for one. Usually on the days we have students, I know I will be stuck at work much longer than usual because I can't get to the tools I need to get my job done. I'm all for helping, but I have kids and band concerts and soccer practices and family life to get to as well, just like many of you do. However, I can't just leave when my shift is over if my charting is not done.
School is hard, and clinicals can be brutal when you have a crabby nurse. Some nurses really are just plain crabby, but some might be crabby on a given day because they feel overloaded with responsibility.