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When bad things happen to good preceptees…

I don’t usually post this kind of story submission, but it does ring a bit true.  I do know preceptors sometimes have a difficult time providing feedback to their preceptees at the end of the shift, only to spring problems and issues on them later.  Anne, RN writes:

It was toward the end of my orientation as a new grad when I got a message from my day shift preceptor, wanting to know “how orientation was going.”  When I called her back she proceeded to tell me a long list of everything I had done wrong over the weekend with my night preceptor.  I was at home on the phone and she was at work talking to me, so I felt backed into a corner.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, my night preceptor told me I had done a great job as she scrambled onto the elevator to go home. I had given an antibiotic late on Saturday night and I had acknowledged it and the next day made sure I gave it on time. My night preceptor told me when I acknowledged my lateness not to worry about it since nurses that have been working for 20 years forget things sometimes. So I thought nothing more of the situation, that is until I received this phone call.  On her long list of things I had done wrong was that I gave this antibiotic late. Her other criticisms included only giving IV pain meds when the patient had PO ordered, meanwhile my night preceptor had told me that since the patient was NPO i shouldn’t give them because it would make her sick.

Then she proceeded to blame me for another nurse’s needle stick, which she later apologized for. She also said that people were saying that I didn’t care and that I always looked bored, which is completely not true. Most nurses go into nursing because they DO care. After 8 weeks how do other people think they can judge you on something so personal?  I had a lot of respect for my day preceptor until that day when she backed me into a corner, since then I can’t think of her in the same light as I once did.

My night preceptor was awful as I am sure anyone can tell, always giving me positive feedback and going behind my back to tell others that I was awful. On my first night shift with her she was talking about sex half the night, which made me extremely uncomfortable and as a new person I didn’t think I could say anything. Luckily my night preceptor has since left my floor but I still have to see her on occasion and my day preceptor has an important position on my unit.  I wanted to share my story because I think it is a great example of how nursing eats their young.  There were many nights when I went home crying and wanting to quit nursing.  Nursing is harder than I ever thought in nursing school, but I am a tough person and I have since successfully completed 3 weeks on my own!

And since it’s been over a month since I received this submission, hopefully Anne is now off orientation and doing well!

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Equal parts frustration and disappointment.
It’s sad, but still true in some areas of the world of nursing. Nurses do eat their young, and never think twice about it.
I always try to empower the new nurses to stand on their own two feet. No matter how new you may be, you are still a human being that deserve respect and common decency. Least of all some basic honesty.
I do hope she is still doing well.

Hope she does OK.

Wanted to let you know about my hellish experience…

I was a PCA on the renal/telemetry floor the last three months I was in school for my BSN. At the time I graduated and took my boards, my nurse manager was out of town and I was assigned to work with many women during my official preceptorship.
Nothing went well. I was prepared to learn what I needed to know to nurse. I was prepared to act as a professional.
I was unprepared for the nasty talk on the floor. The lady who talked openly about her affairs, drinking all night and swimming naked in fountains, hearing this end of the phone calls from her friends who were being chased by police, etc…
I was appalled and learning not one thing about nursing professionally. I complained to HR, since my nurse manager was out of town.
I was assigned to many different people to train me. When my nurse manager came back into town, I was called into her office and told that there was no one else to put me with since no one liked me and i had made so many disasterous mistakes.
For example, my patient was prescribed an im med, but my preceptor had me give it iv, and fill out an incident report, and I was held totally responsible for doing this error, even though I didn’t think I could challenge my preceptor, after all, what do i know as a new grad?
Then, a vial of medicine that needed to be opened and reconstituted was unfamiliar to me, so I asked my preceptor how to open it sinece the dose was due first thing in the shift. However, the way my nm told me, I had never asked how to open it, therefore hadn’t given it, until eight hours into the shift. Pure malarky.
Then I was charting at the computer and casually talking about I wondered who the guinea pig was that caused ‘them’ to figure out that it takes 10ml of air in the line in order to hurt someone. Which, was reported to my nm as I thought it was OK to give 10 ml of air. Which EVERYBODY knows you just don’t do. In any case, I began to be hazed by not just the preceptors, but others on the floor as well, the ancillary staff.
The last straw was getting called into the director of nursing’s office to discuss the hostile work environment that I was facing and was told to come up with a plan of action. I immediately recognized this as a no win situation, walked right over to hr and turned in my badge. Even though the hospital is two miles from my home, I never looked back. I never go there for care. I don’t recommend it to anyone. And now I work for a World Famous Hospital and am espeically valued there. I do the precepting. I serve on two committees. I love my coworkers and my job. I love my city life. I love my country life. And I’ll never forget how f’ed up my first job out of school was. I think I’m a better preceptor because of it. It really is a shame that nurses eat their young. I remember crying and throwing up before and after work. And I’m glad I didn’t put up with

That makes me really nervous to start a job.

I’m currently a nursing student, and I’ve had this exact situation happen to me.

Didn’t know how to handle it except to say, “Well, I guess I’ll try harder.”

On a side note, I love this blog!

I am a student nurse. I have heard of other nurses who are “stuck” precepting. When you get put with a nurse who doesn’t want a newby hanging around all day, it makes it hard. I pray I get a preceptor who remembers what it is like to be a graduating nurse.

I am currently in my last 6 months of nursing school and soon will be doing my preceptor. I am nervous to get one of those nurses. I know I will be doing everything at my best but the preceptor has to remember that we are new grads. Plus, he/she was there at one time too.

I am a student nurse entering my final semester of school. I am very nervous about doing my preceptorship. I think it helps a lot when you work with a nurse that remembers what it was like to be a student themselves and how overwhelming it can be for us. These are the nurses, I find, that help put the students at ease and make this transition from student to graduate nurse a positive one.

My gf is having the same problem with her night shift leader. Crude and rude isn’t the word for hers. My thoughts to her were keep your head up, you’ll be alright. I think it goes back to the night shift, which many people don’t like to work. I consider it the graveyard shift. In the daytime, you’ll work with more happy/perky people. I told her consider switching her shift to the daytime. Great blog by the way!

Doesn’t it just amaze you how unprofessional some health care workers can be? I recently took a position as a Student Nurse, and was appalled by the language and behavior of the night shift crew. First of all, my preceptor was not only unprofessional in behavior, but in appearance as well. I came on at 11pm and was disgusted by the language and topics that were being thrown about at the nurse’s station. They were loud and disgusting, not to mention there were are patients trying to sleep! As the night went on my preceptor proceeded to use foul language in front of patients. I just really hope this gets better. Noting gets under my skin like unprofessionalism, especially in the presence of someone who needs your care.

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  • profileI am Gina. I have been a nurse for 15 years, first in med/surg, then CVICU, inpatient dialysis, CCU and now hospice. This blog is about my experiences as a nurse, and the experiences of others in the healthcare system - patients, nurses, doctors, paramedics. We all have stories!

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