advertise with us find a job post your topic join the community log in
Rookie Wit & Wisdom
My Preceptor’s Drama – My Nightmare

When I first started as a new nurse, I had 2-3 patients on my own for the first week. I was given 7 patients after the first week, and then the next day 8!

My preceptor told me to handle all the patients, and if I needed her, to come ask any questions. I handled it the best way I knew how.

But when I asked her for help once—the only time throughout the day—she blew up at me. In front of one of my patients, she said, "I don't like the way you asked me for help." This caused a huge drama, and she called the charge nurse in on it.

She told her my "attitude" was bad. I told her I was sorry she took my question the wrong way, and that I was struggling to manage 8 patients by myself—with no help.

She minimized what I told her and focused on the way I asked her for help. What a drama! I thought a preceptor was supposed to encourage and HELP a new nurse, not throw her to the wolves, especially when she has been there just a few weeks.

I brought this to the manager's attention and she said that she's never had a problem before like that. I thought, Sure, that's why her hospital can't keep any "new blood".

I wonder if this happens anywhere else. Is this a common petty practice of many preceptors? Do they hold a grudge because they "have to" precept?

Read more Rookie Wit & Wisdom articles

4 Responses to “My Preceptor’s Drama – My Nightmare”

  1. Christa Says:

    I had a rough time with my preceptors too. One the first floor that I was on, my preceptor pretty much ignored me unless I went to her with a question. She sat at the desk and talked to the other nurses, or the secretary, or the techs…or shopped online. Then one day I was told that I was being moved to a different unit because my preceptor and the other nurses thought that I had a bad attitude and didn’t want to help others! I was doing all I could to keep track of my own patients, and as a new nurse, it didnt leave a lot of time to help others unfortunately. And when I would ask to help with things, I would be ignored. Well the nurse educator wasn’t really interested in hearing me defend myself, so I was moved to another unit.

    The other unit went fine for two days, and on the third day, I asked my preceptor a question about the computer charting system. It involved what i should write about in a particular anecdotal note. “Well thats really a nursing decision.” (yea…thanks.)
    “I know, thats why I am asking you for help!”
    “Well you are a nurse too.”
    “I know…but I am new at this so thats why I was asking you, my preceptor, for help.”

    She said that she was busy and would just write the note herself later, and left. Five minutes later, the nurse educator asked to see me in her office and informed me that my preceptor has asked that she not work with me anymore!
    I went to the nurse and explained to her that I was sorry if I had offended her, and that it hadn’t been my intention, I had simply needed help. All she said was “well it did offend me.”
    And that was that.

    Luckily, I have since then found my way into pediatric ICU, where my preceptors were amazing. They are willing to teach, and they talk to me instead of ignoring me, and they act like real grown up professionals who realize that sometimes you don’t get to refuse to work with someone just because they aren’t your best friend.

    (disclaimer: I am not saying that I held no fault for my preceptor troubles. I should have been more outgoing and talkative myself. Nevertheless, I still feel that it was very unprofessional for both of the preceptors to never discuss their concerns with me, but to instead to “go behind my back” and ask me to be reassigned, without giving me a chance to explain my position, or even to make changes.

  2. Michael Says:

    Wow, that is insane…I’ve only been on my job for a few weeks now as a new grad and my preceptors have been awesome…I think that you both just found some really unhelpful and unhappy people…and 7-8 patients???????? ESPECIALLY after two weeks, I probably would’ve quit that job because it would only get worse as time went on, I’m sure…or maybe they were trying to “break you in” they thought, who knows. That’s ridiculous, you shouldn’t feel bad about that. And yeah, blowing up at someone about a note, that’s just petty and stupid.

  3. tracy Says:

    I totally agree that you should ask for help with documentation. The words people use are often very important. The tone and common usage of the particular place requires a little time to grasp, even for those who have English as their first language. Can you imagine the struggles of ESL nurses? THis is particularly important in psych.

  4. Angela Says:

    My original preceptor was great. It helped that I went to high school with her and was friends with her. The only time I had a rough time with things was when she wouldn’t be there and I had to work with others. Most of them were great, but there was one that complained I was slow and I’m not sure she did all she was supposed to do as she would finish with 7 or 8 patients (assessments, dressing changes and meds) all within an hour or less and would sit at the computer and pay bills or shop the rest of the night.

Leave a Reply

search realityrn

sign up for weekly cartoons, tips, and blog posts
first name
last name

Register to win a pair of RX Medical Silver Fox Crocs

Nursing Jobs