Managing Conflict With a Clinical Instructor (RN)

by Elizabeth Russ, FNP

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    00:01 I wish I could tell you that every clinical instructor you will ever have will be the best human in the entire world, and they won't ever be slapped into a position so that they can climb into the seniority level at their college.

    00:15 That would... But that's not, that's not the world we live in.

    00:17 I cannot promise that.

    00:19 So similar to when you had a conflict with a teacher, you just need to get through this.

    00:27 Making a huge fuss in the middle of a semester, honestly, it rarely does anything because the school doesn't want to find a replacement teacher in the middle of the semester.

    00:37 It really just comes down to that.

    00:39 So document, document, document what is happening.

    00:43 Keep things in email like we discussed before and, at the end of the semester, present all of the information to the dean or the head of the department or whoever it is to express your concerns that are backed up by evidence that are documented in your emails, right? But unlike in the classroom, in clinical, most of your interaction will actually not be what the clinical instructor in most cases, but will instead be with the nurses.

    01:09 So there is slightly less involvement here.

    01:11 But when you are dealing with the clinical instructors, here are a few ways to handle different difficult situations that I ran into when I was in clinical. If you find that your clinical instructor is criticizing every little thing you do, you can always just say: "I am really trying.

    01:28 I have prepared via reviewing my notes, watching videos, practicing at Skills Lab.

    01:32 What else would you recommend that I do to prepare?" And as long as you were, like, actually putting in the work and can kind of, you know, you can pull up your Lecturio thing and be like, "Look at all these things that I did, isn't this amazing? And I'm still not ready." This can reframe the situation and make them realize like, "Oh, maybe you really are trying.

    01:50 And I'm just mean." Just kidding.

    01:51 They won't realize that last part, but they will think like, "okay, you are trying." And it pulls the ball in their court and ask them to literally go and do their job and figure out how to help you with these things.

    02:01 And if they are unable to do so, that's when you document, document, document.

    02:04 You say, "I presented this, and they didn't know how to help me fix it." And then you can later take it up the ladder.

    02:10 Another thing I would recommend here is when your clinical instructor seems to hate you is to just lay low.

    02:17 If something is egregious, or unsafe that the clinical instructor is doing, tell the dean ASAP. Obviously.

    02:23 Safety is obviously a priority here.

    02:24 But again, if not, if they just are really mean to you, all you can seriously do is collect everything in writing and present your case to the Dean at the end of the semester. I know how frustrating that is.

    02:34 I have been there, but it really doesn't help you a bunch to complain in the middle because, remember, they won't replace that teacher.

    02:40 But it can help the students who come after you and maybe your grade if you need a little bit of saving there.

    02:46 And finally, as much as you can avoid it, no matter how much they seem to be targeting you, try not to fight back because fighting back, it's going to backfire. Coming from someone who has tried to fight back, I...

    02:59 It didn't work well. It seemed that they then even picked on me even more.

    03:03 And I haven't seen it go well for others either.

    03:05 So while it's absolutely the right thing to do to advocate for yourself, do not try to match their assertiveness in the moment, as tempting as it might be.

    03:13 Document what's happening.

    03:15 Save that for later.

    03:16 And bring up concerns with the head of the department later if you need to and to help future students.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Managing Conflict With a Clinical Instructor (RN) by Elizabeth Russ, FNP is from the course Succeed in Clinical (RN).

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Document the situation.
    2. Communicate that you are trying.
    3. Present your case to the dean of school, if needed.
    4. Do not make the situation worse.
    5. Do not escalate, it will only make the situation worse.

    Author of lecture Managing Conflict With a Clinical Instructor (RN)

     Elizabeth Russ, FNP

    Elizabeth Russ, FNP

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