Sketchy clinical assignment and instructor

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    Okay… a little bit of background… I am an LPN student and I am in fundamentals. I am not a student that struggles academically. Test taking and studying is easy. Skills are fun and easy for me to pick up. I enjoy nursing school. I have been an aide for 5 years, mostly in ECF but I have worked with a lot of different patients. I am confident in myself and my skills and my ability to caregive in general – obviously since I am only in fundamentals I am just stepping into nursing world and I dont know everything by any means but I am not slow to this, I love it with a passion, I find myself in what I do. But this is round 2 in fundamentals – I got to my very last day of clinical at a nice facility with a really great instructor who really helped me grasp what it meant to care plan and look at your patient as a whole. However, I have bipolar disorder and anxiety and my medications were not under control. I struggled to get there every morning due to having a meltdown, routinely. It was a source of immense stress and embarrassment. I just couldnt get myself together. My paperwork and care plan and patient care was all great – once I got there everything was alright but the problem was getting through the anxiety to get there. I would even wake up an hour earlier than I normally would to try and accomodate my panic attacks and sometimes that wasnt enough. On the last day I was late to the point where she had to give me an incomplete.

    3 months later, and retaking the class and getting another A, my medications have been taken care of and I have experienced minimal anxiety and I have been excited about going to clinical again. Super excited to see what there is to see.

    One of the options was a facility in the city in a not so nice neighborhood but I thought what the heck, its close to home, who cares. And the schedule was okay. But the clinical instructor who Ive never met starts off by telling us that she works there, that management doesnt like her because she is assertive, who to ignore and who will give you an attitude, that her brother lives there, that another nurse on staff takes narcs from the cart and that if you see her you have to ignore her because management knows all about it and doesnt care and doesnt do anything about it because shes “been loyal to the company.”

    I am perplexed after hearing this but I go to my clinical assignment for orientation anyway. It is grimey. She had also warned us “sometimes its not always the cleanest” and I thought oh yeah sometimes people forget to grab trash… no, this place is hazardously messy, trash piles in the hallway, aides standing in the hallway on their phones, one aide held up the hallway with a dining tray cart scrolling through facebook and all the while this instructor is telling us that she doesnt care about cell phones.

    I just want to run away. I wanted a fresh new experience but I didnt expect to see a resident sitting in a wooden armchair that the arm was broken and dangling off of. She talked as though she knew everything about everyone in the place and then got there and mixed up the names of a full time nurse and aide both of who she claimed she knew all about beforehand.

    Heres where else it gets twisted for me personally. She called me out in my attire because I came in to the school a few quarters earlier than the students I am currently with so my scrub tops are white. Theirs are black. She called me out in front of my peers about it at the clinical site and warned that it looked unprofessional, while at other times talking about how she doesnt care about dress code at her facility. But what irked me was that I had gotten permission from my main instructor and the supervisor at school to wear the top, and I was in complete compliance with the dress code. The way she said it to me sort of made me feel like she was talking down to me as if I had gone and purposely broken some rule. When I explained the situation she advised me to go out and buy a new black top. I had to explain in front of my peers that I didnt have the money to purchase one and when I noted that I could ask the supervisor again about it, she was quick to dismiss the whole thing and say that it wasnt necessary to talk to her about it, “just for future reference you need to get that taken care of.”

    Should I ask someone in charge at the school if I can switch assignments? I am genuinely uncomfortable. I have been through ghetto. I dated a heroin addict hood rat for 2 years. I have seen it all. This type of environment doesnt surprise me in any way because I have seen it so often, especially working home care for the ex’s mom’s home health agency. Yeah. I have been in some twisted personal and business situations and if I know anything it is that you shouldnt mix personal with business and so it gives me the creeps that this instructor is mixing what seems to be a pretty personal situation with her being a clinical instructor at this facility. What really gets me is the fact that I have payed $12k for this education and although I am accustomed to and comfortable with the hood I dont want to do my clinicals here. And I am afraid that despite how well my meds are working for me and how great I feel on them, I am terrified of what my fear of this lady and the situation will do to my ability to cope with my stress on top of the demands of the assignment. I am afraid of having a repeat of last time. I am trying hard not to judge because it seems shes a very educated lady but I hate to say that I feel like I know her type and I am wary of them.

    What would you guys do?

    Profile photo of Jennster

    Like everything in life you’ve got to pick your battles. How long will you be in this facility? If it’s short term it may not be worth it to change. You might not want to attract attention to yourself and gain a reputation for complaining – that’s the risk you will take if you do – each complaint/request to be reassigned will diminish your credibility. So the question is: would this request to be reassigned be worth it? Is it that unsafe? You’ll have to weigh it up.

    Every place you go to will have it issues: some more than others. And all along the way you will have your anxiety concerns, too. You’ll have to learn how to manage these things since you have little control over it right now. Just keep your eyes on your goal, all this will pass. Once you have a permanent job life will be more settled.

    About your instructor: you’re going to find these sorts of instructors wherever you go. But then, there will be good ones too. The comments about your scrubs in front of your peers was unprofessional but it’s nothing really: you have permission from your school. It’s obviously a power trip from her so just move on. Sounds like you’ve weighed her character so you know what you’re dealing with.

    Lastly, if you stay on this assignment, don’t think about your instructor. Keep your mind focused on your work, and learning what you can. It will be over in the blink an eye. And, perhaps, to get you through your assignment, it might help to offer a (genuine) complement to your instructor. She’s obviously insecure and could probably do with a kind word – just make it something that’s true. You may not like her but it will help to have her on your side.

    All the best.

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