At some point, you are going to find yourself
in a situation where your assigned
nurse for that clinical day does not want a
they may make it, like, painfully obvious.
And it's the worst. It's really awkward, but
it probably will happen.
So let's talk about how to kind of prepare
First, I want to just initially come out and
say that this has
absolutely nothing to do with you.
Nurses that don't want students are almost
always overwhelmed and usually
understaffed as well.
And dear friends, to no fault of your own,
you make things a little
bit slower than usual because you're
So it can add a pile of stress onto a lump
of overwhelm, leading to your nurse
being potentially quite unhappy with you
And that is hard.
That's a bad situation for everyone.
Right? Now, I am in no way saying that it is
okay for them to be really mean to you.
That is never okay.
But I'm saying that just to give you a
little bit of a context and for you to
hopefully realize that this displeasure that
they're showing is in no way
personal to you.
It has nothing to do with you.
So let's just start by laying that
And here's a few tips to kind of survive the
days when you are paired with a
disgruntled nurse who, for the sake of
argument, we're going to say is really
overwhelmed and assumes you will be only
adding to their already very, very full
to-do list. So we've already learned ways to
help that are going to make time at our
clinical less stressful, so we can make the
most of our time there and really prioritize
things, so people feel less stressed, right?
By identifying things that you want to learn
that day, it makes it so much easier for that
nurse to actually teach you something.
All of a sudden it went from needing to
teach you literally everything in their eyes
to "Ok, I can teach you about this one thing
." That is doable.
That alone, seriously, that interaction
alone may turn their attitude around.
And if it doesn't, you can always just let
that you would at least like to shadow them
for the day and ask if maybe they could
occasionally explain some of their
rationales out loud while they're doing
them. Remember how we talked about learning
prioritization from watching what they
do first and second, and then about
Maybe it could just be a day when you rely
heavily on some of those skills and just say,
"I'm going to really focus on learning about
prioritization and communication" through
what you do today.
And you can always offer to help if there are
tasks that you feel comfortable taking over,
but don't sign up for things you can't
and it feels like they are turning you into a
personal tech or something like that,
because we already talked about what happens
when we end up in those situations.
Those are some pretty simple and
to handle nurses who clearly don't want you
to be there.
And for many that that will work perfectly
But if you are feeling a little...
A little bolder, you can always just ask:
"How do you feel about having a
student?" It's best to ask them this, like,
mid eyeroll or while
they're sitting there like "Argh", not happy
at all about you existing.
And the person will typically be quite caught
off guard that you are calling them out on
this and asking about their attitude, and
they will either stew in silence or
realize that you really don't have much of a
choice about existing in this space with them
either. And it gives you an opportunity to
identify what they dislike about the
situation and see if you can troubleshoot
together and find a way to avoid
adding to that perceived burden.
It gives you a chance to discuss how the day
can go so that you don't add even
more stress. But it also kind of allows you
to get something out of the
experience when you work together and you
I have seen this method be surprisingly
effective, actually, but it
is quite bold and really calls people out
and can be very uncomfortable if it goes
poorly. So, it's not for everyone.
With either strategy, communication is key.
Don't just avoid them. Don't be like, "Well,
I'm going to go hide over here." Set up
expectations early on so that you can both
plan your day and then ask to never get
with that nurse again, if it doesn't go well
It's the... Only the one day.
You have lots of days there, and hopefully
your next nurse will be much nicer.
But the key here, overall, remember, it is
It's not you.
It's not. It's not even them.
It's probably the situation that they are in
Now, what do you do when you have what feels
like a much more personal
conflict with your clinical instructor?
Let's look into that in the next section.