Managing Conflict with an Instructor (RN)

by Elizabeth Russ, FNP

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    00:01 So... What about when you just don't vibe with an instructor despite going to their office hours and trying to make some kind of a connection? Because that can absolutely happen.

    00:10 In fact, I can almost promise that it will at some point.

    00:14 And sometimes it seriously feels like professors are targeting you, and they're on a mission to view you in a negative light.

    00:21 Unfortunately, just like there are really grumpy humans in the world, there are really grumpy teachers and the very annoying but best way to deal with this is to be the bigger person.

    00:32 Don't ask me how I know this.

    00:33 Just, just trust me.

    00:35 When I say getting on their level doesn't go well, just know that it doesn't go well.

    00:41 So, how do you tackle this situation? First, I want you to keep your emails and document absolutely everything via email.

    00:51 Because email, first of all, it just slows down communication.

    00:54 It allows you to thoughtfully say things versus meeting them in person and exploding all of your pent-up angry feelings and getting labeled as hostile.

    01:04 Not that I've ever been labeled hostile, but this does not help you.

    01:07 And if you have a conversation with a professor in person, send an email afterwards with a quick summary of what you discussed.

    01:13 Because like in the real nursing world, if you didn't chart it, it didn't happen.

    01:18 Email gives you proof of the conversations that the two of you had . When you reach out again, whenever, to this professor, explain how you are feeling and explain your side and then ask them, maybe after an encounter, like, for their side. "I feel as though I made adjustments to my writing style after your previous feedback, and now there is more correction, but I don't feel acknowledged for the other improvements that I have made." You're going to make a lot of I statements, not you.

    01:47 "This makes me feel like my efforts are in vain, and it's difficult for me to remain motivated to try harder again for the very same outcome.

    01:55 How do you see this situation? Did you notice any improvement from my previous performance? Could we meet to maybe help narrow down what your expectations are in this situation?" Something like that that shows like you are trying.

    02:12 Is this very obnoxious to have to do when they are clearly just being a total jerk? Absolutely.

    02:19 But fighting a huge battle with them in the middle of a semester is useless.

    02:23 The school is more than likely not going to do anything about it mid-semester.

    02:28 They don't want to hire or find a new teacher to fill this spot.

    02:31 Be nice, document everything, and wait.

    02:34 You're just going to have to honestly wait.

    02:36 And in the meantime, document that you asked for advice.

    02:40 You asked for resources so that they could help you improve the situation or resolve the current situation. They are the teacher.

    02:46 They should be able to, at least, give you some directions or point you to someone who can help.

    02:52 That is literally their job.

    02:54 If they are unwilling or unable to provide this information, proceed to the person above them, which is either like the department head or the dean of the college or something like that. One step up and, again, just document everything.

    03:06 And since you have it all documented, you can try to prove that you've been trying to resolve this issue and can kind of show the lack of assistance later if needed. Here is a personal example of how this played out for me once I stopped being such a hothead and just spewing how I felt in people's offices, getting me labeled as hostile.

    03:29 Again. Oops.

    03:31 My last semester of nursing school, I had a teacher who ... They really disliked me.

    03:38 It was a personality clash issue and something, like, something had happened before, and now we were dealing with the repercussions.

    03:44 She had taught other classes in the program with me, and we did not mesh well.

    03:49 The primary thing that we were graded on for this particular class was research papers, and research papers are super-duper subjective, and she failed me on half of my grade, which was this paper which meant that I would not be able to graduate.

    04:03 This is my last semester.

    04:05 And I ended up having that turned into a B, but having a paper trail of emails showing, like, I asked her for help, asked her for rationales of what the grading where I tried to remediate the situation is what ended up saving me.

    04:19 And it was a huge part of how I got my grade adjusted when I did eventually go to the dean and I asked for a panel of professors who were not this one to review it, and that ended up working in my favor.

    04:31 And they agreed, and they decided that the grade was not fair.

    04:34 I got a B and I graduated.

    04:36 But I really don't think anyone would have even necessarily looked at that had I not taken the time to, like, really cool off and document all of those things to say, like, "look, I am trying here." So if you find yourself in a similar situation, communicate via email, keep documented trails, and then just try to survive until the end of the semester, honestly, when all of this can kind of go from the background to, like, "Hey, this is what happened.

    05:02 You know what is going to happen going forward." And then, once the semester, you know, once it's done, then you can take it to the dean or the department head if you want. Let them know in concrete terms what your concerns were with the professor, backed up by proof. Either emails or examples from class.

    05:17 Don't just say they were hard, or they were unfair.

    05:20 You want to give examples here, and I'm not saying anything will change for sure, but I have seen some types of things change with this situation after providing really, really concrete feedback for future classes.

    05:32 So, I know this is difficult.

    05:34 Just try to stay calm.

    05:36 Clearly, clearly, I know that that is hard, but it really did work better.

    05:40 I tried both versions for you, and you don't have to be me.

    05:44 Choose the chill.

    05:45 That probably sums up most of the series.

    05:48 Just choose the chill, probably just rename it.

    05:51 And that concludes that.

    05:53 I will see you in the next playlist where we talk all about clinical.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Managing Conflict with an Instructor (RN) by Elizabeth Russ, FNP is from the course Didactic Classes Tips (RN).

    Author of lecture Managing Conflict with an Instructor (RN)

     Elizabeth Russ, FNP

    Elizabeth Russ, FNP

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