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To All Nurse Preceptors:

Nurses   (700 Views | 10 Replies)

pinkdoves has 1 years experience and specializes in Pediatrics.

339 Profile Views; 27 Posts

Please be kind to your nurse residents/new nurses. Please.

I graduated in May 2019 and started at a huge academic medical center far away from home. I left this job after 2 months thinking I was incredibly stupid. All my confidence (if any was left) was down the toilet. I really thought I was too stupid to be a nurse. I questioned how I even made it through nursing school with how dumb I felt...

I realize now, in hindsight, that a lot of my anxiety was exacerbated by my preceptor. I am not too dumb to be a nurse, I was just nervous because every time I would make a mistake my preceptor would yell at me in front of all the other nurses in the hallway, and sometimes in front of the patients. She would make passive aggressive comments like "would you hurry up" and generally told me (and all her other nurse friends) how slow I was. It was super discouraging to start a new job and realize all the other nurses knew every little mistake I made, because my preceptor would complain about how dumb I was to them. She complained to my manager about how terrible I was, and so they put me with other preceptors towards the end. My other preceptors were 10000x better, but by then the damage had already been done. I would cry on my way to and back from work. On my days off, I would lay in bed and just sob about how stupid I was to move all the way there just to be a failure.

So I did the only thing I could think of to stop being so depressed: I quit my job. Yes, many people told me I was stupid for quitting my job only 2 months in, but I can tell you it was the best decision I ever made. I switched to pediatrics (which, imo, is SO much better for me than the adult world). I can't even tell you how shocked I was when my preceptors were telling me how fast I learn and how well I'm doing. It was such a drastic change of environment from there to where I am now. Sadly, I still have a fear in my mind of thinking "are they going to start yelling at me again" and I still get anxiety. However, it's significantly less and I feel a lot better asking questions without fear my preceptor is going to gossip about me. I know this is dramatic, but I really feel like my original preceptor scarred me. I still don't know everything, but I have gained so much more confidence just by being in another setting.

I was thinking about my first experience, wondering, have I become significantly more intelligent since 6 months ago? Why am I getting such different feedback? Was I just more stupid then? I now realize I am still the same type of learner, I am just around more positive and understanding people. I am writing this hopefully to show preceptors how important they are and to help other nurse residents realize they aren't alone if they are experiencing this.

I am liking my second job so much better, and I am learning more and more each day. I'm just kind of shocked by how much of a difference the feedback a preceptor makes. I know if I ever become a preceptor, giving constructive criticism and positive feedback will be a top priority.

Edited by pinkdoves

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Jedrnurse has 25 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in school nurse.

1,619 Posts; 14,706 Profile Views

Many people who precept shouldn't.

That being said, many facilities don't give staff a choice about doing it, don't give them training about how to do it, and don't care about the obvious results.

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504 Posts; 2,281 Profile Views

I hope you talked to your old nurse manager about the behavior of that preceptor, especially now that you have another job. Perhaps she needs not to be a preceptor anymore?!?

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pinkdoves has 1 years experience and specializes in Pediatrics.

27 Posts; 339 Profile Views

18 hours ago, Jedrnurse said:

Many people who precept shouldn't.

That being said, many facilities don't give staff a choice about doing it, don't give them training about how to do it, and don't care about the obvious results.

In this case, she had a choice. She willingly chose to be a preceptor and was enrolled in many classes for it

16 hours ago, Elaine M said:

I hope you talked to your old nurse manager about the behavior of that preceptor, especially now that you have another job. Perhaps she needs not to be a preceptor anymore?!?

I brought up the issue to my manager, but I feel like he really didn't take me seriously. It was her word over mine, and being the new girl didn't win me any points

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TriciaJ has 39 years experience as a RN and specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

14 Followers; 3,773 Posts; 40,495 Profile Views

18 hours ago, Elaine M said:

I hope you talked to your old nurse manager about the behavior of that preceptor, especially now that you have another job. Perhaps she needs not to be a preceptor anymore?!?

If she was constantly yelling in front of everyone it should be no secret what kind of preceptor she is. They can keep paying her to run off newbies or they can address the behaviour.

OP, your experience was a gift in disguise. It got you out of a toxic workplace and now you're thriving. Don't waste any more energy dwelling on a bad experience. Hold your head up and move on.

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pinkdoves has 1 years experience and specializes in Pediatrics.

27 Posts; 339 Profile Views

12 hours ago, TriciaJ said:

If she was constantly yelling in front of everyone it should be no secret what kind of preceptor she is. They can keep paying her to run off newbies or they can address the behaviour.

OP, your experience was a gift in disguise. It got you out of a toxic workplace and now you're thriving. Don't waste any more energy dwelling on a bad experience. Hold your head up and move on.

It really was a gift in disguise!! It's unfortunate because a lot of people in my life are looking down on me for quitting (It is a very prestigious place to work), but I would take my happiness over prestige any day

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TriciaJ has 39 years experience as a RN and specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

14 Followers; 3,773 Posts; 40,495 Profile Views

3 hours ago, pinkdoves said:

It really was a gift in disguise!! It's unfortunate because a lot of people in my life are looking down on me for quitting (It is a very prestigious place to work), but I would take my happiness over prestige any day

Prestige is like a designer bag with nothing in it.

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5 Posts; 90 Profile Views

I am so sorry that you went through this, and I can certainly relate but from the graduate perspective. I had a terribly mean preceptor during my first NP clinical semester, and it drove my depression and anxiety to the point where I started to need medications to get through the rotation (really). Since it was my first NP preceptorship, I didn't know what to compare it to. Now that I've had other, kind, brilliant preceptors, life is so much better since I am not bullied by someone I look up to every time I step into the clinic. It's not easy, since NP school is tough, but it's certainly a ton better.

I now see that she was just a miserable, jealous woman who didn't want young people entering the field. She took her frustration over the saturated market on a new student, who, in her mind, she saw as "competition." Now that I'm past it, I truly feel sorry for her, but it doesn't excuse her constant put-down remarks and discouragement. Her backhanded comments neither taught me skills nor built me up in any way. All they served to do was tear me down and make her feel superior. 

It's such a shame that schools don't provide preceptors, so we often end up with people who should never ever EVER teach.

Preceptors, please, PLEASE DON'T BULLY your students! There is no excuse for that behavior, and if you have the tendency to become verbally abusive towards students, then DON'T PRECEPT! It's hard enough for us to find preceptors to end up being abused by them!!!

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Tait has 13 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Acute Care Cardiac, Education, Prof Practice.

1 Follower; 6 Articles; 2,120 Posts; 28,815 Profile Views

1. I am so sorry this happened to you.

2. I recommend new grads look for a facility with an RN Residency and onsite coordinator. Part of my job, for over five years, has been managing new grad onboarding. My job is to intervene when I start to catch wind that a relationship isn't going well. I check in weekly on the new grads and make sure I keep open communication (they have my cell phone number).

3. I have said for a long time that a preceptor can make or break a new grad. Often they are amazing, but occasionally there is one in there, just like the one you encountered. Please do not let this person make you doubt your abilities. I recently had an amazing new grad with someone I trusted. This preceptor was one I had raised myself through residency and had always respected. But they were like oil and water. Preceptor was so heavy handed and rude I was shocked when I sat and talked with my new grad. I am thankful that her unit quickly saw the interactions and moved the new grad to nights, but I am concerned about this preceptor and will now watch closer if she is asked to precept again.

4. Take care and remember when you start to precept how you felt during this situation. I have faith you will make a wonderful nurse and preceptor  🙂

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pinkdoves has 1 years experience and specializes in Pediatrics.

27 Posts; 339 Profile Views

16 hours ago, Tait said:

1. I am so sorry this happened to you.

2. I recommend new grads look for a facility with an RN Residency and onsite coordinator. Part of my job, for over five years, has been managing new grad onboarding. My job is to intervene when I start to catch wind that a relationship isn't going well. I check in weekly on the new grads and make sure I keep open communication (they have my cell phone number).

3. I have said for a long time that a preceptor can make or break a new grad. Often they are amazing, but occasionally there is one in there, just like the one you encountered. Please do not let this person make you doubt your abilities. I recently had an amazing new grad with someone I trusted. This preceptor was one I had raised myself through residency and had always respected. But they were like oil and water. Preceptor was so heavy handed and rude I was shocked when I sat and talked with my new grad. I am thankful that her unit quickly saw the interactions and moved the new grad to nights, but I am concerned about this preceptor and will now watch closer if she is asked to precept again.

4. Take care and remember when you start to precept how you felt during this situation. I have faith you will make a wonderful nurse and preceptor  🙂

What's crazy is that I was at a hospital with a nurse residency and coordinators...I just felt like the nurse educators/coordinators who worked with me were more concerned about filling out their piece of paper than actually talking to me...and this was at one of the top 5 best hospitals in the US.

I'm sorry that other new grad had to go through something similar. There is a lot of bullying in nursing, which is unfortunate as it's very team-oriented. Thanks so much for your feedback!

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Tait has 13 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Acute Care Cardiac, Education, Prof Practice.

1 Follower; 6 Articles; 2,120 Posts; 28,815 Profile Views

7 hours ago, pinkdoves said:

What's crazy is that I was at a hospital with a nurse residency and coordinators...I just felt like the nurse educators/coordinators who worked with me were more concerned about filling out their piece of paper than actually talking to me...and this was at one of the top 5 best hospitals in the US.

I'm sorry that other new grad had to go through something similar. There is a lot of bullying in nursing, which is unfortunate as it's very team-oriented. Thanks so much for your feedback!

Well then I definitely sorry they weren't supporting you. We have to be on top of any new grad we think we are at risk of losing. New grads have the highest turnover and burnout of any group in that first year.

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