When you don’t “click” with your nursing instructor

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We’ve all got those teachers we love, the ones that make us look at nursing in a different light.  And then there are those instructors that we just don’t get. When you just don’t understand each other, and the more you have to work together, the worse it gets. What do you do? This instructor is plays an integral part of your nursing career, but you’ve also got to do what’s best for you. So what happens?

For me it was a clinical instructor. I will spare all the little details, but it was my second quarter (of 3) in my med-surg rotation.  Things were going well, but I was still feeling very nervous before each clinical day. I confided in my instructor that I was feeling anxious, and that even though I was very prepared for class each week, I felt like I had forgotten something. She was a very laid-back instructor, and so I thought that in telling her this, she would be able to help me out and that maybe I would start to feel a bit more confident.

Wrong! I guess she thought she was helping me, but she ended up babying me. Not having me take on challenging cases, or perform new skills. I felt lazy because I really wasn’t being challenged any more. As the quarter was coming to an end, my instructor basically told me that if I didn’t hurry up and “get more confident,” I would probably fail the next quarter. WHAT?  Really? No one had ever told me I was going to fail before. And it wasn’t like I was doing poorly, I was performing skills well and taking good care of my patients, but because I told her I was nervous, she’d lost confidence in me.

At first I was devastated, and I started to lose confidence in myself. But after mulling it over for a few days, I really started to get angry, and then I was just out right determined to prove her wrong. We didn’t click. She’s a smart woman, but I couldn’t have faith in an instructor that gave up on students so easily. I worked my but off to prove to her that I was confident enough and skilled enough to survive. And when the next quarter brought on a very challenging instructor, I knew that the only thing that would boost my confidence was not to prove it to my instructor, but to prove it to myself that I could handle it.

We don’t have much say when it comes to our instructors, and when you get stuck with one that you just don’t click with, there isn’t much that you can do.  If they’re telling you you’re not cut out for this, or that you won’t make it, remember why it is you are in nursing school. Don’t prove work to prove it to the instructor that you’re competent, prove it to yourself and in the end, no-one can doubt you.

Nursing Students: What are your thoughts? What has happened or what did you do when you didn’t click with an instructor?

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