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To All Nurse Preceptors:

Nurses   (360 Views | 6 Replies)
by pinkdoves pinkdoves (New) New Nurse

pinkdoves has 1 years experience and specializes in Pediatrics.

113 Profile Views; 9 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.

1,582 Posts; 14,486 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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429 Posts; 2,043 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.

9 Posts; 113 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; 3,702 Posts; 38,531 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.

9 Posts; 113 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; 3,702 Posts; 38,531 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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