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Suggestions for an eager student!

Nurses   (2,970 Views 21 Comments)
by AZnursingstudent04 AZnursingstudent04 (New Member) New Member

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grandmawrinkle specializes in adult ICU.

6,897 Visitors; 272 Posts

I personally hate having students, or precepting new grads. I am not an educator and it's not my personality type to be good at instructing, explaining, being patient, etc. On the other hand, I love having people with some experience and background and showing them the ropes where I work. I like to mentor people, not teach people. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I wasn't good at the early phase of a nurse's education, but I am fine with it now. It's not my forte, and it doesn't have to be. Not everyone has to be good at or like everything. I have told my manager that I don't really want students or new grads, and she is fine with it. I do a lot of charge instead, which is more in line with my personality and natural skill set.

My personal feeling on this is that no one should be forced to be paired with a student or precept if they don't want to do it. Usually, they don't want to do it because they have come to the same realization that I have -- that they stink at it!

Unfortunately staffing doesn't always work to always have a student with someone that wants them, especially when there are a ton of students on the unit. You will come across people that don't want you, and it's crappy. We've all been there. Just put it in the back of your mind for later, because someday, you may be there, too.

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2,290 Visitors; 25 Posts

Re-read your own words. You USED to think it was just you, but now you realize that all students have this problem. Then you wonder what you are doing wrong. That is inconsistent thinking ... and that leads you down a bad path. While part of you sees the evidence that you are not the cause of the staff nurses' reaction to you ... you are so focused on your desires that you go back to thinking that you must be doing something wrong. In reality, it's not about you. You're probably not doing anything wrong.

What it is about is the fact that you pay the school to provide you an education. Then the over-worked and over-stressed staff nurse is expected to do the teaching for no reward even though she/he may have no training in how to teach and may have no interest in teaching. That staff nurse may be struggling to get through the shift and the last thing he/she wants is the added burden of having to teach a stranger over which she has little control. It's a bad set-up to begin with.

As you have found, some people enjoy working with students. Some do not. In many cases, there is nothing you can do to change that.

One tip I can give you. The more stressed out an experienced nurse is, the more they will be irritated by a student with a hyper "eager puppy" approach to the situation. A stressed-out nurse appreciates calm, quiet, and a no-nonsense student who can be helpful without sapping them of their energy. Look for little, unobtrusive ways to be of assistance that will earn their trust and respect. Leave the high energy, intense "eager puppy" behaviors at the door. You'll usually get better results in the long run as the nurse thinks, "Gee, this student is not so bad. She's actually helpful without being irritating and/or getting in the way. Maybe I should give her a few extra minutes of my time and see if I can help her a bit with her learning needs."

I couldn't have said it better myself.

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themoreyouknow has 4 years experience and specializes in OB, L&D, NICU, Med-Surg, Ortho.

2,636 Visitors; 90 Posts

Just one other thing to add to the others :)

Sometimes, student nurses can be a pain in the tail because they want to do everything by "the book". There is a text way to nurse and an actual way to nurse. When I did clinicals, many nursing students loved to point out "errors" they had witnessed while following their nurse. Some even went as far as to report those errors to the charge nurse or director.

Some people like to tear down others to make themselves feel important. It happens in every field. Nursing is no different. Some student nurses love to point out how much they know by pointing out how much others do not.

Just saying...

~Sherri

"The new nurse thinks like a mom. The experienced nurse thinks like a lawyer."

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himilayaneyes specializes in Critical Care/Coronary Care Unit,.

9,133 Visitors; 493 Posts

First off, don't feel bad b/c the nurse doesn't want a student. Nurses aren't given a choice as to whether or not they want a student. So the person who hates or can't teach ends up with a student during an already busy day. Not to mention, the nurses aren't paid anymore for taking students and more than likely not even trained to help students. Plus things that would take 2 min for the nurse to do will take 10 min or more with a student. Plus in the ICU, they're definitely not going to want students. I just want to take care of my patient is our motto. The nurse will have to watch every single you do...some patients are so unstable...that turning them to clean them can cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. Just try to learn and observe as much as possible....try to find a nurse who loves to teach.FYI, most of your learning will occur when you actually work as a nurse so don't feel bad if they don't let you start an IV, etc. It could be for different reasons...e.g., if my patient has really bad veins and av fistula so I can only use on arm...I'm not letting a student stick them....so there are different things to take into consideration. Plus, some people are just cranky. It was the same thing when I did clinicals years ago. But you do have a right to a competent preceptor...if your nurse sucks...ask for a different one. Good luck.

Edited by himilayaneyes

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AprilRNurse has 3 years experience and specializes in Med/surg, rural CCU.

3,589 Visitors; 186 Posts

I'm sorry this happens- but it's truly inevitable. These nurses do not have a choice in the matter- they did not sign up for it, and do chose to be nurses not teachers. I love having students around- but many don't. Don't be offended. It's truly a system error- not you. I love that our education director sends out an e-mail asking who would be willing to have a student follow them. However- I've worked somewhere else that didn't give the nurses a choice- adn some would sit around almost praying they didn't get the student. It's a poor system- because noone benefits in that situation.

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Ruby Vee has 40 years experience as a BSN and specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching.

11 Followers; 65 Articles; 170,467 Visitors; 13,938 Posts

one tip i can give you. the more stressed out an experienced nurse is, the more they will be irritated by a student with a hyper "eager puppy" approach to the situation. a stressed-out nurse appreciates calm, quiet, and a no-nonsense student who can be helpful without sapping them of their energy. look for little, unobtrusive ways to be of assistance that will earn their trust and respect. leave the high energy, intense "eager puppy" behaviors at the door. you'll usually get better results in the long run as the nurse thinks, "gee, this student is not so bad. she's actually helpful without being irritating and/or getting in the way. maybe i should give her a few extra minutes of my time and see if i can help her a bit with her learning needs."

i could not have articulated that thought, but that's exactly how i feel. thank you!

 

i inherited a student one night because the nurse she was supposed to be with blew her off. i was so busy i absolutely could not keep up -- patient bleeding a liter an hour, hanging blood products, titrating pressors, drawing labs, etc. i had absolutely no time to teach. that student quietly stepped in and started draining my chest tubes for me so they wouldn't clot and cause a tamponade. after watching me draw hourly bloods for an hour or two, she told me she could take that duty off my hands. and she did. she quietly collected all the blood slips and put them into the i&o. she went and got me a coke when i was dying of thirst and she watched and learned. at the end of the night i could have kissed her. i hadn't done any teaching, but she had quite obviously learned a lot. when she applied for a job on our unit, i sang her praises to the manager and she's now a valued colleague. had she insisted that i drop what i was doing and teach her, it would not have gone so well.

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916 Visitors; 12 Posts

Thank you for the advice everyone, I really appreciate it.

Simboka, your response cracked me up. I like what you said at the end about remembering this for when I graduate because every time I leave clinicals, I think that exact thought.

I have talked to my instructors whenever I have nurses like this. At the 5 hospitals in Phoenix that I have been to for clinicals, 4 of them are in the same hospital "system". The nurses at these hospitals actually receive raises based on patient/student reviews. For this reason I make sure that I write down the names of all the nurses I work with.

Also, the nurses there get a choice if they would like to take a student or not. During both my peds and OB rotation, the charge actually had a premade schedule every week so the nurse always knew she had a student ahead of them. Even then, some were rude. If a schedule is not made then the nurse is simply asked, "is it ok if a student works with you today?" and they have the choice to say yes or no.

Llg: sorry if my words were inconsistent. I guess I was just using this as a time to vent because it's something that frustrates me. I apologize if it didn't make sense.

Again, thank you everyone!

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llg has 40 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

5 Followers; 58,138 Visitors; 13,064 Posts

Also, the nurses there get a choice if they would like to take a student or not. During both my peds and OB rotation, the charge actually had a premade schedule every week so the nurse always knew she had a student ahead of them. Even then, some were rude. If a schedule is not made then the nurse is simply asked, "is it ok if a student works with you today?" and they have the choice to say yes or no.

QUOTE]

Actually, that doesn't mean they have a real choice. If they say, "No," more than every once-in-a-while, there will probably be negative consequences. Either they will get in trouble with their boss ... or get in trouble with their co-workers for not bearing their full share of the student load. I mean, really ... if all the nurses on the unit said "No," the students would not be sent home -- and the nurses know that. Don't mistake the appearance of a choice for a real choice.

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916 Visitors; 12 Posts

Oh, and one more thing. I know that it's different at every hospital and obviously every student is different but I don't really need a nurse that can sit down and teach every single thing I see. I would rather watch and observe to see what they do because that's the best way to learn. I just thought everyone should know my opinion on that because I think a lot of students feel the same way. Yeah, I may have a few questions every once and awhile but it's not like I expect the nurse to sit there and have a full on lecture.

Also, I work as a tech in the ED/ICU where I work and am quite familiar with these type of patients. I make sure and tell the nurses I am paired with about this. I am very active during clinicals, doing things that I KNOW will save my nurse time.

Himilayaneyes: out of all the units I have ever been at clinicals, the ICU nurses were probably some of the nicest I have seen. I had a nurse one week that I followed for an hour or so and then eventually just started predicting what she would do and do it for her so she could chart. When she got up to draw blood from the CVP line, I got up and did it for her. When it came time to do oral care, I would get up and do it. She was so thankful for this and even though she did barely any teaching, it was probably one of the best days at clinicals I've ever had. She was nice, trusted me, and actually WANTED me to help and saw that I could without getting in her way.

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