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Student nurse internship - bad preceptor?

Posted

Hi all,

So I've been doing an internship for several weeks, and I'm feeling a bit discouraged and lost. I was expecting a lot more guidance and support than I'm getting. I was assigned a preceptor, but I feel like she has no interest in teaching me, and she ignores me unless I ask her a question. I've been shadowing her, but I feel like she is constantly irritated with me. She doesn't say anything, but it seems to me that she is shooting me dirty looks, grumbling under her breath, and is shaking her head. She certainly never has a kind word to say. And she seems to be a totally different, friendly person with anyone else. I try to be nice and helpful, and I want to learn, but I feel like she hates me.

I feel like I am being left to train myself, and I could learn so much better if someone could give me some guidance! Am I wrong to want more from my preceptor? Is this normally how an internship goes? And what can I do to make this a better experience?

Thank you for any advice you can offer!

windsurfer8, BSN

Specializes in Psych/Military Nursing. Has 14 years experience.

IF you do not feel comfortable with your precepetor ask the person in charge of your clinical if you can be reassigned. If they ask why give SPECIFIC reasons... "shooting dirty looks" is not a specific reason. This is a good lesson in nursing and being objective. Personally I think you need to deal with it and drive on. You could bring your concerns to her and be straight forward. You "feel like she hates me" is not what a head nurse wants to hear. Also a good lesson is working in a hospital not everyone is sweet and nice. That is just reality. You still have to accomplish the mission. If I am working and a specific MD is working that I may not really like or get along with I STILL have to provide excellent care for my patients. Adapt and overcome. Get in there and get busy.

RookieRoo

Specializes in Critical care.

I don't have a lot of advice because I am in a similar situation myself with my preceptor- not the hatred part but other parts for sure. I just wanted to offer encouragement- keep going and keep your head held high. I personally know how demoralizing it can be but just think... this won't be forever and you CAN learn something out of any situation. Best of luck!

NurseJacelyn

Has 5 years experience.

My first preceptor as a new grad told me straight up she hated precepting. I followed her for one day without saying much. At the end of the day I spoke to her directly. I asked her to please tell her supervisor if she really didn't want to precept because neither of us were going to get anything out of it I she didn't want to be doing it. She admitted she had too much going on in her own life to be an effective preceptor and asked the supervisor to assign another nurse. It worked out great!

Your preceptor might be feeling forced into the role. I find the best way to approach these situations is head on....and with the person concerned.

Divatologist, ADN

Specializes in Med/Surg. Has 5 years experience.

I have worked as a unit clerk for about 17 years. The students use to drive me nuts lol. Now that I am a student, it tickles me when I see the eye rolls and hear the huffing and puffing from nurses that I'm assigned to. It doesn't bother me because I can understand why they feel the way they do. Like a previous poster said, you have to suck it up and be proactive in what you get out of your clinicals. I'm a unit clerk. So, I'm one of those people that doesn't take crap off of anybody. I do what I have to do to get what I need. If I have a problem with you, you will be the 1st one to know about it. It's true that not everyone is going to like you. There are going to be people you work with that wake up in the morning just to make your life miserable. You have to develop a thick skin. You need to be able to speak up about what you need and what you want. I don't know about you, but I have to pay for my education out of my pocket. OH! Somebody is gonna educate me! Believe that! I could've spent that money on some cute shoes that I've been wanting, but couldn't get because I have to pay tuition. I have not been fashionably in season since I started school LOL! Oh! They gone edumacate me LOL! My money is a terrible thing to waste LOL! Get your money's worth!!!

On the day of my clinical, I go around and speak to all the nurses. I tell them that I will be with my assigned nurse, but please come get me if you got something good for me to do like a foley or trach care. There have been times when I have gotten stuck with a grumpy nurse. She is not the only nurse on the floor. Because I work with nurses, I can understand why some of them can be so grumpy. Sometimes you just want to come to work and do your job and go home. Chances are the nurse got a bad assignment. A nurse could have called out and they are working at their max. The previous nurse could have left her with a whole bunch of crap that should have been done on the previous shift. There are so many factors, for which you will soon see, that will make you groan at the thought of having to have someone follow you around for the next few hours. Don't take it personal. When I get a grumpy nurse, I offer to do things for them that I'm already skilled at to help lighten their load. I will do that until something new comes up that I can learn from. I will do the finger sticks. I will give an injection or insert a foley. There is always something that needs to be done. I find that this helps me as I continue to go to my clinicals. The nurses know me and seek me out to help them. Pretty soon they are glad when they get you. Use your time wisely. Take the initiative to do certain tasks that don't require much supervison without having to be told. You know what needs to be done for the patient. You've gotten report. If you can, listen to report on all their patients. In my clinical we are usually assigned one patient, but I always ask for a quick report on the other patients my nurse has. If you are very confident in a certain skill that doesn't require much supervision and it needs to be done on the nurse's patients, then go ahead and do that for the nurse. You are ultimately responsible for what you learn. There is never just one source to learn from. Take full advantage of your surroundings an opportunities. Hang in there and good luck with school. Take care. Blessings........

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

PP advice is spot-on. In most organizations, staff nurses receive absolutely no additional compensation for the extra work involved with precepting. They area not volunteers - it is an extra assignment. With today's challenging workloads in most hospitals, the grumpiness is understandable.

You need to be able to speak up about what you need and what you want. I don't know about you, but I have to pay for my education out of my pocket.
I LOVE Divatologist's sass, but this is a bit off the mark. You're not paying the preceptor for your education - s/he owes you nothing. It's OK to hold the school accountable, but don't take it out on the staff.

Thank you all so much for the advice, it made me feel better, like I can deal with this and come out stronger. Hopefully I'll develop a thicker skin. I'll just focus on learning everything I can, asking lots of questions, and staying positive; her bad attitude be damned!

Divatologist, ADN

Specializes in Med/Surg. Has 5 years experience.

PP advice is spot-on. In most organizations, staff nurses receive absolutely no additional compensation for the extra work involved with precepting. They area not volunteers - it is an extra assignment. With today's challenging workloads in most hospitals, the grumpiness is understandable.

I LOVE Divatologist's sass, but this is a bit off the mark. You're not paying the preceptor for your education - s/he owes you nothing. It's OK to hold the school accountable, but don't take it out on the staff.

I can can be sassy now LOL! Patient care is always priority number one. I keep that in mind and it's what motivates me. When I said that about paying for my education out of pocket, I wasn't referring to the preceptor specifically. I was referring to paying for the opportunity to take full advantage of your clinical experience. True, the nurse doesn't get compensated for precepting. However, the student did pay for their clinicals, as it's part of your curriculum, and should get their money's worth while they are there. I wouldn't make a bad situation worse by taking anything out on the one that is involved in creating an unpleasant atmosphere. That's why I suggested that the OP make herself available to all the nurses. By doing that in my 1st clinicals, I discovered that one of the nurses was actually in school for nursing education. OMG! She was the bomb.com. She is gonna be an awesome educator! I learned so much with her. We all use to fight to get her LOL! She would always come get us when there was a teachable moment. Unfortunately, not all clinical experiences are this great. I just want the OP to take full advantage of their experience. Blessings....

Divatologist, ADN, RN question for you, if you dont mind....

We (husband and kids) want to move from Scottsdale Az to Rockville MD / Silver Springs area; new grad RN/BNS; do you have any helpful tips or thoughts about that area, such as area hospitals, living and working? we would like to not be too far from the metro and a medical schools for my husband.

Also do you have any social media you think i should follow to help get a feel for the area? like instagram accounts or blogs - I try to stay far away from facebook lol. but will go open one for this purpose :)

thank you so much! (This is my second career as I was a paralegal for too many years!)

Divatologist, ADN

Specializes in Med/Surg. Has 5 years experience.

Divatologist, ADN, RN question for you, if you dont mind....

We (husband and kids) want to move from Scottsdale Az to Rockville MD / Silver Springs area; new grad RN/BNS; do you have any helpful tips or thoughts about that area, such as area hospitals, living and working? we would like to not be too far from the metro and a medical schools for my husband.

Also do you have any social media you think i should follow to help get a feel for the area? like instagram accounts or blogs - I try to stay far away from facebook lol. but will go open one for this purpose :)

thank you so much! (This is my second career as I was a paralegal for too many years!)

Hello!

Wow! Where do I begin lol? There are so many opportunities here for you and your husband. Silver Spring is nice. If you want to be close to the metro, downtown Silver Spring is perfect. If you don't want the city atmosphere, you can move farther out and do the park & ride at the metro station. You can look into Medstar, that's my employer, Adventist Health, Dimensions Healthcare, Holy Cross Hospital and all the University hospitals in the area (University of MD, Georgetown, Howard University, John Hopkins) to start. As far as medical school, you have many to choose from. This is a big commuting area. Once you get use to living here, the hour long commutes will be nothing. They're very annoying at 1st though lol. Many people live in Baltimore and work in DC or VA and vice versa. It's expensive to live here. Most people choose to live away from the developing areas because it tends to be cheaper. Glen Burnie is an area that is developing, but right now the rent and house prices in this area are pretty reasonable compared to Silver Spring and Rockville. There's no metro out that way though. There are so many opportunities here. Once you move here, you can decide on the pros and cons of the commute. The commute sucks here no matter what mode of transportation you choose lol. I work in DC and the hospital charges $25 a month for parking. Riding the metro to work would be more expensive and too time consuming. The trains don't run 24 hrs here. I don't really have any knowledge of the best hospital or facility to work at. They all have their good points and I'm sure some not so good points. It's always about what you bring to the mix. You have to make your own greatness sometimes. Oh also look into the state and government positions. Check out USAJOBS - The Federal Government’s Official Jobs Site and also the websites for DC, MD, and VA. Government jobs have awesome benefits. Watch the state jobs though. They mostly hire for prisons and mental hospitals. If that's your cup of tea, then the state would have plenty of options for you. Remember to always check the crime reports for a potential area and drive by at night as well. Good luck on everything and welcome to the DMV! I love it here.

There's always something to do here. You're close to Philly and NYC. You can hop on the Megabus and enjoy a day in NYC. Philly is like an hour and a half away. NYC is like 4 hrs away. You are also 2 hours from the beach. The water and sands are far from the Caribbean though lol. If you love sports, they have it all. You have mall after mall here. You have everything from the Chanel Boutique to Rainbow. Your fashion and shopping needs are covered. You have some great hangout spots here. You have Georgetown, National Harbor, Baltimore Harbor, and many other spots. If you love music, all the artists usually make a stop here. There are so many music venues in this area. It's nothing to drive up to Philly or NYC to catch a show either. We do it all the time. The Megabus is cheaper, but they don't run 24 hrs. You have a lot of tolls and toll roads in some areas. Invest in an E-Z Pass when you move here. Again, good luck and welcome!

you CAN learn something out of any situation

Yes, but they could probably learn a lot more in a more supportive environment. Saying they can learn something only means they have to learn one thing in this whole clinical placement to have met your criterion.

Hello!

Wow! Where do I begin lol? There are so many opportunities here for you and your husband. Silver Spring is nice. If you want to be close to the metro, downtown Silver Spring is perfect. If you don't want the city atmosphere, you can move farther out and do the park & ride at the metro station. You can look into Medstar, that's my employer, Adventist Health, Dimensions Healthcare, Holy Cross Hospital and all the University hospitals in the area (University of MD, Georgetown, Howard University, John Hopkins) to start. As far as medical school, you have many to choose from. This is a big commuting area. Once you get use to living here, the hour long commutes will be nothing. They're very annoying at 1st though lol. Many people live in Baltimore and work in DC or VA and vice versa. It's expensive to live here. Most people choose to live away from the developing areas because it tends to be cheaper. Glen Burnie is an area that is developing, but right now the rent and house prices in this area are pretty reasonable compared to Silver Spring and Rockville. There's no metro out that way though. There are so many opportunities here. Once you move here, you can decide on the pros and cons of the commute. The commute sucks here no matter what mode of transportation you choose lol. I work in DC and the hospital charges $25 a month for parking. Riding the metro to work would be more expensive and too time consuming. The trains don't run 24 hrs here. I don't really have any knowledge of the best hospital or facility to work at. They all have their good points and I'm sure some not so good points. It's always about what you bring to the mix. You have to make your own greatness sometimes. Oh also look into the state and government positions. Check out USAJOBS - The Federal Government's Official Jobs Site and also the websites for DC, MD, and VA. Government jobs have awesome benefits. Watch the state jobs though. They mostly hire for prisons and mental hospitals. If that's your cup of tea, then the state would have plenty of options for you. Remember to always check the crime reports for a potential area and drive by at night as well. Good luck on everything and welcome to the DMV! I love it here.

You are our H E R O! (NOT exaggerating!) Thank you very much for taking the time to respond! We would love to be by the metro for sure and we like the semi city yet family friendly feel and proximity to DC. I would love to live and work in Rockville but I totally understand that as a new grad I will be applying to many hospitals and just HOPE to find a job so DC is totally fine, exciting to hear that job outlook is good. I saw a few other areas mentioned like Bethesda, Burtonsville and University Park. Where are you located? Oh and no on prison and state jobs ha ha I know exactly what you mean and not my cup of tea lol!!

Again thank you so very much. I hope you are doing fantastic and CONGRATS I'm sure you are loving it!

Divatologist, ADN

Specializes in Med/Surg. Has 5 years experience.

You are our H E R O! (NOT exaggerating!) Thank you very much for taking the time to respond! We would love to be by the metro for sure and we like the semi city yet family friendly feel and proximity to DC. I would love to live and work in Rockville but I totally understand that as a new grad I will be applying to many hospitals and just HOPE to find a job so DC is totally fine, exciting to hear that job outlook is good. I saw a few other areas mentioned like Bethesda, Burtonsville and University Park. Where are you located? Oh and no on prison and state jobs ha ha I know exactly what you mean and not my cup of tea lol!!

Again thank you so very much. I hope you are doing fantastic and CONGRATS I'm sure you are loving it!

You're so welcome. I live in Laurel. My daily commute is about 30 mins. Burtonsville is near me, but no metro. Rockville is nice. I think they are building it up. I haven't been there in years. Montgomery County can be a lil on the pricey side. Like gas will be $3.35 per gallon in Rockville and $1.92 per gallon in Laurel. There are a couple of metro stations in Rockville I think.

Make sure you apply for as many positions in as many facilities as you can. Like most places, The new grad programs usually start hiring a month after graduation. I would check each hospital every day. waiting for them to post the new grad positions. You may have to work in a long term facility until a position opens up in a hospital. I was hoping to get in the new grad program at NIH in Bethesda. That's a government job. Good benefits and possible student loan forgiveness and money for school. They wanted nurses with bachelor's degrees though. I don't blame you for not wanting a state job LOL.

If you haven't already, here is the link to the metro smart trip. You can set up your account. You can also see the map of all the metro stops on this site too.

WMATA SmarTrip®

Thank you for the congrats. I'm hanging in there. It gets better every day. Time management is killing me LOL! I'm determined though. Glad I could help you. Take care

You're so welcome. I live in Laurel. My daily commute is about 30 mins. Burtonsville is near me, but no metro. Rockville is nice. I think they are building it up. I haven't been there in years. Montgomery County can be a lil on the pricey side. Like gas will be $3.35 per gallon in Rockville and $1.92 per gallon in Laurel. There are a couple of metro stations in Rockville I think.

Make sure you apply for as many positions in as many facilities as you can. Like most places, The new grad programs usually start hiring a month after graduation. I would check each hospital every day. waiting for them to post the new grad positions. You may have to work in a long term facility until a position opens up in a hospital. I was hoping to get in the new grad program at NIH in Bethesda. That's a government job. Good benefits and possible student loan forgiveness and money for school. They wanted nurses with bachelor's degrees though. I don't blame you for not wanting a state job LOL.

If you haven't already, here is the link to the metro smart trip. You can set up your account. You can also see the map of all the metro stops on this site too.

WMATA SmarTrip®

Thank you for the congrats. I'm hanging in there. It gets better every day. Time management is killing me LOL! I'm determined though. Glad I could help you. Take care

Okay this is great info. This helps me a ton, I'm making a list of hospitals but I should add a list of long term facilities as well to apply for as well. And knowing your commute home to work is great also as it allow me to gauge more or less a reasonable distance. All depending on where I get a job. Yikes lol!!