Student professionalism

Posted
by dumbnurse dumbnurse, ASN, BSN, MSN, LPN Member

Has 37 years experience.

As nurses we are expected to act professionally in our interactions with staff, patients and families. Our profession depends upon that expectation for accreditation, integrity and trust. So, when you have a student who is already in their mid twenties, and should have some concept of professional behavior and an expectation of accountability, displays behaviors that are dismissive of those expectations, how do you turn that around. 1st incident: My group of 8 students left a conference room, with me in the lead, down one flight of stairs to an elevator 100 ft away to go upstairs to the assigned unit. I had previously showed the group where the elevator was and what floor we were on. We arrived at the elevator with one student missing. So as not to prevent the elevator from being used, we went up the elevator to the floor. I waited there for a few minutes while talking to the rest of the students, when some 20 minutes later the students arrived  with this explanation; "I heard that the oxygen was on and I went back down the hall to let the nurses know." "What?!" 2nd Incident: I told the students on orientation day that while they were expected to be at clinical at 0630, I gave them a 15 minute window till 0645 that if they could make it by then they would be allowed to stay. Citing the oft used "7 minute rule" in our area hospitals that gives the employee 7 minutes on either side of their scheduled shift time. My phone rang at 0430 but I don't answer that early. As  arrived at the hospital at 0600, I rang the number who had called me. The aforementioned student asked me if we were in clinical or simulation that day. As it was still early I thought for a moment about the sim day schedule and clinical and said , yes we are in clinical. The student said nothing else and hung up. At 0630, no student, 0645 no student, 0700 she shows up after assignments have been made and nurses have given report to the oncoming shift and students. I reminded her of the orientation conversation about arrival times and when I mentioned that she would be sent home, she went off! She became loud, threatening to sue me and the school, became belligerent to the point of me having to escort her outside, all the while stating that "it's the teachers responsibility to tell the student what the schedule is" and "don't mess with my education"! Well at this point it was either call the police or the school so I called the clinical coordinator. After discussing the situation with her, and letting her know that if I did send her home now there would definitely be a need for the police and that it was the first incident of being late, so I would allow her to stay. I ensured her that I would write up a student disciplinary form and follow the school's policy. Later I found out, that this may be a pattern and to make sure that I documented everything. The student returned to the floor and completed her day without incident. 3rd incident: We were about the leave the floor for post-conference and I told the aforementioned student to got to the breakroom and wait till everyone arrived and we would go to the conference together. Once I gathered everyone else and they were all waiting at the elevator, except for her, I walked the unit again looking for her, to no avail. I returned to the elevator and we went to the assigned post conference area. Thirty minutes later I get a call from her asking "where are we?", saying that she had went to the assigned area and we were not there. By the time she got to the room we were about done and frankly I was frustrated and tired of the situation. I dismissed the other students and asked her what happened. "I went to the assigned area and no one was there" she said. In her defense the assigned area she went to was about 50 ft away from where we were at the nurses station which she may have not seen us but would have been able to hear us. She thought that she could remain on the unit with out supervision and "hung around" till someone showed up. I am failing her at mid term for paperwork and behavior and would like to be completely rid of her but will need to follow policy. Please tell me what I did wrong and how to ensure that the student gets the education she deserves and I get the respect I deserve without turning this into a nightmare related to the "me too" culture.

londonflo

londonflo

Specializes in oncology. Has 45 years experience. 2,123 Posts

5 hours ago, dumbnurse said:

Well at this point it was either call the police or the school so I called the clinical coordinator. After discussing the situation with her, and letting her know that if I did send her home now there would definitely be a need for the police and that it was the first incident of being late, so I would allow her to stay.

I think the clinical coordinator let you down. You should have handed the telephone to the student and have the clinical coordinator tell her she was backing you up to send the student home.

5 hours ago, dumbnurse said:

Please tell me what I did wrong and how to ensure that the student gets the education she deserves and I get the respect I deserve without turning this into a nightmare related to the "me too" culture.

The student's right to an education will be deserved when she follows the rules and regulations established. Does the school have a student handbook and do the students sign the receipt of it that also says they are responsible for it's contents?

 

crazin01

crazin01

Specializes in tele, ICU, CVICU. Has 12 years experience. 280 Posts

DAMN! If a student went off like what you described when I was in nursing school, they would've been penalized.  Or rather, they likely would not have gone off on a tangent like that.  What was her rationale for being late that day?  if she was awake & called you at 0430, then she had plenty of time to make it by 0630, no matter how far she comes from.  And then to threaten to sue, and you're 'denying her education'.... honestly does she have a mood disorder?  or has she been spoiled & grown up entitled, everything handed to her just because?   

I agree with PP, that perhaps the CC should've backed your decision to send her home up.  I'd just worry that she'd think she can walk all over you now, since you let her stay, despite the disciplinary action & following school policy.  As far as the post-conference, you said you told her to meet in the breakroom, until all are present to leave the floor together.  Was this breakroom the assigned place that all the other students met you at?   Cuz you then said you & other students were waiting by the elevators, 50 ft from the assigned area.   As long as the 'assigned area' was the breakroom, that you told her to wait for the others at, then that's on her.  

especially if this wasn't her first issue with following directions (you made it sound like she was late before) then I'd have serious doubts about her successfully completing school.... 

best of luck.  I hope the rest of your students are just the opposite of her! 

DavidFR, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in Oncology, ID, Hepatology, Occy Health. Has 36 years experience. 515 Posts

If I had behaved like that as a student I would have been discontinued. That was in the 1980s. Some things have changed for the better, the petty rules for example, however the basic courtesy that was expected of us did us no harm.