To my preceptor, future students beware (rant)

Please, stop talking behind the patients' backs and stop making fun of their conditions.

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To my preceptor, future students beware (rant)

Dear Preceptor,

This past Spring 2010 semester, I was assigned to you for a whole semester to learn the ins and outs of being a nurse independent from my classmates. It was just you and I. I was excited when I began this semester-long process of learning how to integrate what I have learned in previous clinicals and in lectures as well. My enthusiasm was at its peek when I started the semester. I thought that nothing could stop me from learning so much in practicum, and also, enjoy it all at the same time.

However, throughout the semester, I was wrong about you. I feel that I did not learn much from you at all. You spent most of your clinical time with me chatting with your co-workers, going on facebook, checking your email and even finding time to chat with someone online via Instant messaging in front of me. You would text and make personal phone calls in front of me. You even found time to buy plane tickets, plan when to take days off, and the best part, you even have time to buy knitting materials online. You even had time to look up condos for sale in the neighborhood you wanted to move to. How did you do that?

Whenever I asked you for help, you would ignore me, tell me to look it up, or take over what I try to do to learn because I have difficulties doing something like that one time I was going to give an enema. You snatched that fleet enema off my hand and administered it to the patient. Didn't you know that I wanted to do it myself so I can learn how to do it? Or that other time when I went to the restroom real quick, and when I came back out, you were nowhere to be found. Why do you always disappear? And when I find you, you've already done whatever you did, and I missed the learning opportunity as a result.

When you took a vacation and I was assigned to a substitute preceptor, I felt that I learned so much more in the small period of time that I spent with the other nurse. Not only was she nice, but she also helped me studying for my exit exam. She even answered my questions and did not brush it off. She took her time to teach me. You, my dear preceptor, always talked about how horrible this nurse so and so is. When you didn't have the patience, you always reported someone, and because of you, a nurse got transferred off the floor.

I did so much while I was under you, yet many nurses in the floor have overheard you say that I did not do anything. You gave me a grade that was barely passing and so close to the borderline of failing. Everyone in the floor knew you took advantage of me especially in how you treated me all semester, which was terrible. I did not get the experience I was hoping to get and learn this semester from you AT ALL. Because of you, I was in tears and wanted to cry just to let all this anger, frustration, and stress out of my chest.

I was filled with frustration when you wouldn't let me do anything because the hospital was taking too long to issue my ID even though I was already cleared to practice weeks prior. 40% of my clinical hours got cut off and I had to re-do those 12 hour shifts because you wouldn't let me do anything except for vital signs, blood glucose checks, or feed patients. I never learned much from you at all this semester. I've spent so much time sitting down with you at the nurses' station that I know the number of love handles and chins you have and did you know you have grey hair coming out of your head?

Seriously, you accept the position of being a preceptor, yet you eat your very own young? This is the reason why many student nurses lose hope in nursing.

In the end, I was filled with so much frustration and stress that it took a toll in my health during Spring break when I got sick for three weeks, with one week being Spring break. I was getting dizzy, running up and down the hall doing everything by myself, such as admitting the patient to their room, cleaning them, and making sure the patients we had are doing OK. You would only enter a room if meds are due, if they have to go to some procedure, or if the patient complains of pain for example.

You even talk trash behind your patients' backs.

Oh, and do you remember that time when we admitted a patient and you told me to transport the patient to the room? Well, that patient was about to have a huge bowel movement, and I caught it just in time with a bed pan before it even had the chance to soil the bedsheets, the patient's gown, and the bed. And where were you at this time? You were sitting in front of a computer chatting with your co-workers laughing about something.

And here I am now, hearing from nurses in the floor that you said I did not do much. Really? Well, guess what some of your patients have told me:

"I see you more often than the nurse. You're like my real nurse!"

"Thank you for being so nice to me."

"I appreciate what you're doing for me."

"See? I told you she's my nurse. I see her more often that the other one"

"Thank you so much for taking your time to talk to me."

True story, dear preceptor.

You think I did not watch your every move when we were in clinicals? I know how you are, and you are not a nurse that is fit to teach a student nurse in how to become an independent nurse. And please, stop talking behind the patients' backs and stop making fun of their conditions. Nurses are caring people, not bullies and backstabbers.

Yours truly,

Your student


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dudette10, MSN, RN

1 Article; 3,530 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, Academics. Has 12 years experience.

I am so sorry that your last chance at getting a feel for "real nursing" was wasted. I, too, would be frustrated at that, and I wonder if your confidence level for a nursing job has been affected because of it. Good luck to you.

I'm keeping track of the preceptors my school uses while in clinicals, so I can possibly request the same locations/floors/preceptors when I'm a last semester student. I can spot the preceptors a mile away, and every time I've asked my clinical instructor if a one of the nurses is a preceptor, I've been right. All the nurses I've worked with have been fine nurses, but if you have one that precepts, she/he will usually take a couple more minutes to go over paperwork or labs or the like with you if she has a few moments. They are also willing to look for a student if they know they have a procedure to do that won't be witnessed very often in limited clinical time, and they'll give you a chance to do some hands-on help during it. I helped double-check paperwork and set up an IV for a blood transfusion in only my first hospital rotation due to one preceptor hunting me down. I was surprised and grateful when she said, "I'm ready to hang blood. Come help me with this."

Why the particular nurse you had was chosen as a preceptor is beyond me.

Ace587RN, RN

602 Posts

Specializes in ED.

That's horrible


347 Posts

Specializes in LTC/Rehab. Has 4 years experience.

Sounds like a villian from a horror flick...based on a true story.


1 Article; 143 Posts

Specializes in Medical-Surgical, Informatics.

I am not sure either. I know a friend who was with her 2 semesters ago and told me that she was a good nurse. After my evaluation with my clinical professor about my preceptor, she told me that she personally make sure that my preceptor will not get anymore students to precept. I'm glad future nursing students will be spared from what I went through. Worst thing about what happened is that I did my practicum at the hospital where my mother works so her floor also knew about what happened, and mind you, I worked in a different floor. I just can't believe the situation got so big, and my practicum was the main source of my frustration during my last semester.

I'm glad its over and I graduated :)


38,333 Posts

It is sad that nurses like this are allowed to precept.


221 Posts

Specializes in LTC, Home Health, Hospice. Has 16 years experience.

she should not even hold the title of nurse....

wooh, BSN, RN

1 Article; 4,383 Posts

It is sad that nurses like this are allowed to precept.

Often it's not "allowed" to precept but "forced" to precept.


38,333 Posts

Being forced to do something does not give one license to do a crappy job of it. My preceptor informed me that she was receiving a pay incentive and promotion recognition for precepting me. If that was the reason she showed an interest in what she was doing, fine by me.

wooh, BSN, RN

1 Article; 4,383 Posts

Being forced to do something does not give one license to do a crappy job of it.

True, but I give someone more leeway if they are being forced to do it rather than volunteering for it. I shouldn't be allowed to perform heart surgery. Now if I volunteered to do it, and killed the patient (as I most certainly would do,) then blame me. If someone holds a gun to me and says I have to do the heart surgery, when I kill the patient, it's the fault of the person holding the gun to my head.

My preceptor informed me that she was receiving a pay incentive and promotion recognition for precepting me. If that was the reason she showed an interest in what she was doing, fine by me.

No such incentives at my job.


318 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, Acute Rehab. Has 4 years experience.

So sorry that you had to endure this experience. I had a wonderful preceptor during my practicum. It was at my first job that I had a horrible preceptor and believe me, that can be much worse. I ended up leaving because of it. So I encourage you to make sure that you and the nurse that orients you when you begin working are a good fit. If not, tell your manager as soon as you can. Good luck and congrats on graduating!


6 Posts

remember when we point the finger we have 3 pointing back to us.