student/nurse relationships

World International


Hi I am a 2 year nursing student on Vancouver Island. The current nursing shortage/workload issue in Canada leaves nurses hard pressed to spend quality time with patients let alone students. I am asking that anyone with any ideas on how to create a positive learning environment and nurse/student relationship in clinical please reply.


139 Posts

We currently have 2nd year students working on our medical floor here in Vernon. It's tough, I know. The students are constantly trying to locate their instructor who is pulled in all directions. 8 students, 24 patients. It's alot. There are med errors being made, IV's interstitial, basic patient care not being done. I suggest you work closely with the LPN (we're partners you know)when you can, as the LPN can show you how to do proper bedside nursing, which is a skill that seems to be lost as nurses become more pressed for time. ask all the questions you want, let the ward know when you need to observe a treatment.or procedure. Don't do anything you don't feel comfortable with. If the RN doesn't give you proper direction find your instructor and talk to h her about it. 2nd year students still need supervision, guidance and support. It's a jungle out there. You have to learn to work together.


216 Posts

Specializes in Geriatrics.


I did my LPN training in Ontario. I had a preceptor from hell who only wanted a slave to do the work, while she sat and had coffee. I think it is important that people who take on a student should WANT to for the reasons of being a positive mentor. I saw some of my classmates with the most awesome preceptors. I think that you should keep a positive attitude and just try your hardest to get through it (as I did). It helped me alot to vent to my supportive classmates and discuss your feelings with your clinical instructor. Alot of nurses felt (and vocalized) that students were a pain in the butt for them, and I think that is wrong. They were students too, once! Things are tough all over, especially in BC now with the cutbacks and hurt feelings. Keep up you dedication to the field of nursing! :)


5 Posts

I believe that administration, staff and students all play a part in making the educational experiences worthwhile for both the staff and the nurse. Nurses need to be recognised by both their employer and the college/university with education hours and a letter of appreciation or educational materials, course fees etc.Administration has the responsibility to seek out keen interested preceptors and to find out why some staff are not interested. It must be understood that making the commitment to have a student is an increase to the workload of a nurse and not a lessening of it. There should be an education session pre the students coming onto the unit as well as a printed copy for each preceptor. My advice to the students is don't be a sponge it is exhausting for the staff to be paired with someone who sucks them dry for information and gives nothing back to them. Try and transfer knowledge from one situation to the next, you shouldn't be asking the same questions in week 1 and week 6. Have interest in your preceptor as a person not just a nurse or a walking encyclopedia. Go to break and lunch with the staff, offer to help when you get your work done.


97 Posts

I think it is very important that you have an interested preceptor and that it is made clear that you will be working together, not that the student will be taking the preceptor's work over for them.

On our floor we have pre-grad (3rd year) and 2nd year students. The pre-grads are buddied with a staff RN preceptor while the 2nd years have a single instructor for the gang of 8-10 of them. I find the days we have the 2nd years in become quite hectic as they essentially double the number of bodies on the floor and make things pretty cramped. Because of the low level of supervision I really keep an eye on what gets done and not done. Their instructor is quite good but she's only one person and bottom line, their patients are still your patients. Still I find most of them are quite good and I enjoy taking a bit of time to show them things if they come up and their instructor can't help them out right away.

The pre-grads are generally quite good. However I find that that they can get into a rut of just getting their work done if they're not motivated to learn more. As a preceptor I try to break down the specifics and themes behind clinical situations we encounter and go through it in detail when I can... time permitting of course


As a student I would suggest asking your preceptor / instructor / staff RN in a manner where you show them your knowledge level rather than asking to be spoon fed. For example instead of asking:

"What's this drug for?"


"I know this drug does ----- . Why are we giving it in this situation?"

This shows that you have put some effort into furthering your knowledge on your own rather than simply asking for the quick and easy answer. I think you'll find you retain things better this way too.

Hope this helps!


22 Posts

...and thanks for the tips on how to better help out the nurses who are working with us :). Beleive me it feels terrible to sense that you are in everyones way or only a liability on the floor, no student wants that.

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