Difficult Nurses in Clinical: How To Deal!

I recently finished my OB clinical rotation. I can honestly say it was the one of the best clinical experience I have had and that a large part of this was because I was blessed to work with some amazing nurses! These nurses were willing and happy to teach, and treated my classmates and me with respect. I’m going to be honest: not every clinical experience will go this way (unless you get extremely lucky.) I have dealt with nurses who literally shut the door in my face when I try to follow them in a room! Obviously, this does not make for the best clinical experience. However, I have learned how to deal with these situations. We can’t change their attitudes, but we can learn to deal!

You don’t know their personal life

First off, try to not take it personally. Yes, we are taught not to bring our personal lives to the floor, but as you know, this is easier said than done. We do not know what is going on in this nurses personal life that could have her less than thrilled to have a student with him/her. Therefore, try to remember this and be as kind and patient as possible.

Students slow you down

Again, being honest. It takes time to let students do things. It changes up your routine. This shouldn’t keep a nurse from wanting to teach you, but it could. They could be working with more patients than it seems possible to care for in 12 hours. Test, orders, hospital administration, family members all hang over their heads as they try to get things done in a timely manner. They may just feel so overwhelmed they don’t have time to teach. Do what you can and offer to help. Even if that means changing beds or taking someone to the bathroom, do what you can! If you have a clinical instructor who is willing to help, go grab them and see what you two can do to help your nurse. You may be able to hang a new bag of fluids, prep a patient for transfer, or give some medication to help out your overworked and stressed out nurse.

Be prepared

Come in with a smile and a ready to learn attitude! Introduce yourself and let them know you are willing to help in anyway possible! If they’re giving a med, ask if you can give it. If they are starting an IV, ask if you can start it. Offer to do things you can easily do on your own, such as vital signs or filling ice, so she/he can do other things. You have to advocate for your own learning, they are not always going to offer to let you do things, so speak up and ask! If they say no, don’t dwell, let it roll off your back and keep going! Observing is better than nothing. Act professional and happy to be there no matter what happens. If things really get out of hand, notify your instructor.

The Real Learning Begins on the Floor

Honestly, just about every nurse I have talked to are all in agreement, you truly learn to be a nurse when you get your license and first job. That is not to say clinical is not a valuable experience! I have seen some amazing things at clinical and got some great experience. However, if you end up with clinical days where they won’t let you observe or do much, don’t panic! You can and will still be a competent nurse. Make the best of it, nursing school and clinical are not forever. Keep the positive attitude and keep it moving!

Happy Monday! 

2 thoughts on “Difficult Nurses in Clinical: How To Deal!”

Success in Clinical – Peace Love Nursing

[…] most likely you will encounter at least one nurse who does not want a student. Check out my post on dealing with difficult nurses in clinicals for some ways to make it through! Good luck with clinicals and please let me know if you have a […]

Preparing for My LAST Semester of Nursing School! – Peace Love Nursing

[…] Difficult Nurses in Clinical: How to Deal! […]

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