Nursing instructors are highly trained professionals in their field, but sometimes relationships with them can become tense and challenging. These interpersonal issues can be caused by a variety of things including different expectations or poor communication.
Nursing students can absolutely experience conflict resolution within the relationship boundry between them and a Nursing Instructor. Finding ways to resolve the issues that emerge can be difficult, but this does not mean Nursing isn’t for you. Instead it is merely a challenge to navigate that could ultimately lead to success.
Experiencing difficulty with an instructor during nursing school can be a daunting task, as it can become increasingly difficult to maintain one’s motivation under these circumstances. It is possible to navigate the situation in a professional manner that enables you to take control of your experience while preserving all necessary relationships.
In this page you will discover tactics on how to work with nursing instructors who may not appear to like you, or with whom you yourself have a strained relationship. Furthermore, understanding the reasons why students and instructors do not get along is important for establishing positive dynamics within any program of study.
Ultimately, it is possible to counterbalance the challenge of having a difficult instructor by maintaining your professionalism and discussing how both sides can improve their outlook on the given situation.
How to Navigate Tension With Nursing Instructors
In order to navigate tension that arises between a student and a nursing instructor, both sides should act with professionalism. Begin the semester in a positive fashion by letting your instructor know you welcome feedback and will strive to become the best nurse possible.
If tensions arise during the course of the semester, it is important to communicate respectfully and take responsibility for any part in creating or escalating the tension. It may be helpful to gain perspective by pausing before responding and reiterating what you can understand from your instructor’s point of view as well as asking clarifying questions if needed.
Additionally, voice your feelings in an assertive manner without aggression or blame being cast. Finally, be open to finding common ground and ways of working together harmoniously toward achieving success throughout the semester.
Get started with yourself
Amanda Haas, a registered nurse with over a decade of experience recommends that you first examine yourself before jumping into a confrontation. Consider if you are feeling more emotional due to stress or exhaustion. Is it possible that you misunderstood the situation or did you receive legitimate feedback that hurt your feelings or embarrassed you?
It’s a smart move to take a break for 24 hours, so that you can reevaluate what happened once you are well-rested. Is the situation temporary? Or, was the situation temporary and without lasting consequences?
What changes can you expect if you address the problem? A mature nursing student in her 50s complained about her clinical instructor‘s threatening behavior. The dean threatened her with expulsion and banned her from her clinical assignment. She also gave her a failing grade in both her lab and lecture classes.
Her only option was to contact a nursing attorney. It does not mean you shouldn’t address an issue. However, you must consider the consequences and whether your actions could have a lasting positive impact on the instructor or student body.
Talk to the Instructor
Talk to your instructor once you feel calmer. Talk to your instructor and not just your classmates. Talk about the situation with your instructor and give context to your concerns.
Instead of accusing the instructor with statements such as “I feel” and “I felt”, use phrases like “I feel” and “I felt” to describe what happened. Haas suggests that you listen to the instructor and let them interpret what happened.
It is crucial that you do not interrupt or become defensive during these conversations.
Take Part in the Conflict
Although it can be hard, it is essential to own your role in the relationship between you and your instructor. You will have more success in resolving conflicts if each party has a part of them.
If you still have concerns, let the instructor know. Haas provides an example of a nurse instructor asking a student questions in front of a patient. The student gets flustered and cannot answer the question. She feels like her instructor is yelling at them in front of the patient. Haas suggests that this student tell her instructor.
“Next time, could we review the medication in our medication room or outside before we go in?” To ensure that I can provide the best care possible, I want to be prepared before I enter. I become nervous when you ask me questions in front of patients. This makes them question my abilities.
Keep a record of the conversation
Healthcare professionals need to be able to document. If you need to escalate the situation, it is important to document difficult conversations and situations.
Sending a follow up email to the instructor with a recount of the conversation is one way to record the conversation. This creates a paper trail that will be traced and allows for accountability.
You can ask your advisor, or someone in a similar role at your school, to join you if you feel uncomfortable having this conversation with the instructor. This allows you both to have an objective person who can verify the accuracy of your documentation.
They can help you to navigate the situation and identify any behavioral patterns with this instructor. They are familiar with the conflict that nursing students face and can help you find resources. Haas says.
Do You Need to Move the Concern up the Chain of Command
Recognize that conflict is part of every workplace and almost every environment. Positive and negative consequences can be had by moving the situation up the hierarchy of command. Both nursing programs and nurses instructors are imperfect. Nursing students are also not perfect.
Consider what you would like to see in a report about your nursing instructor. Is that reasonable? This means that just because someone has a problem with a particular instructor does not mean they will fire them.
It is reasonable to expect that the school will escalate the concern.
Why nursing students don’t get along with their instructors
Thompson founded Healthy Workforce Institute, where she works with healthcare providers to develop a professional workforce. According to Thompson, the main reason students and instructors don’t get along is because they have different expectations.
Many students believe that because they are paying for college, they should get a passing grade.
In reality, it is the instructor’s responsibility to ensure that their students are safe while they practice. She says that instructors should address safety concerns if students show them.
Students not being able to receive constructive feedback is another reason for conflict. This can cause students to feel defensive or take things personally.
Haas, a registered nurse for more than 14 years, is the cofounder and CEO of Home Fit Headquarters. She believes that there is a disconnect between student expectations and constructive feedback from instructors. She points out that admission requirements can be very strict, so students who are successful are often highly motivated.
This can make it difficult to transition from high school into postsecondary education. Students may have different expectations, a greater workload and expect more from themselves than is realistic.
Haas states that the root of many conflicts between students and instructors is a disconnect in expectations. Sometimes all it takes to get to the tipping point is a disagreement of opinion, a wrong tone of voice or hard lessons learned.
Thompson and Haas both point out that sometimes the nursing instructor is the problem. Thompson explains in her video on nurse bullying when the clinician is the bully. She mentions that she often receives emails complaining about being bullied and bullied by nurses instructors.
Many of these students reach the end of their program and are confronted by an instructor who seems determined to ensure they fail before they graduate. This problem isn’t unique. It is common for nursing students to seek advice from others on how to deal intimidating or threatening instructors.
Nursing students should take a hard look at interactions and determine if there are differences in expectations.
It is a great way for students to get outside perspective from other nurses or to find support in difficult student-instructor relationships.
It’s not a sign that nursing isn’t right for you if there is conflict
Remember that nurses all start out as novices. Nurses can only become competent and successful in their profession if they are willing to learn. Thompson says that Thompson admires nurses who struggled to pass the National Council Licensure Examination. Thompson warns nursing students that they should be prepared to fail at certain tasks.
“Constructive feedback is intended to improve a person’s behavior or performance. Instead of beating yourself up, it is better to take a step back, reflect and ask yourself: “What are my strengths as a nurse?” She says.
Haas is in agreement with nurses and encourages them to recognize that conflict is inevitable. How you navigate conflict as part of your education will determine your success and future.
You will be a better nurse if you can navigate your way through conflict. This will allow you to advocate for yourself, your patients and your colleagues.” she said. You will be a better advocate to their needs. Your efforts will create a better environment for nurses who follow you.”
Good nursing students are open to constructive criticism and look for ways to improve. The reality could be very different. Haas points to the fact that healthcare can be a high-stakes business. Nursing students and instructors face extraordinary demands.
It takes years of practice to be able to master the need to think quickly and simultaneously consider competing priorities. She says that people may not be their best selves under such pressure. Even seasoned nurses can’t handle it.
Nursing students must learn how to deal with pressure and choose their battles. Haas says that you will see the worst and the best of humanity. It is important to learn from both sides and recognize conflict with fellow students or instructors in nursing is not a sign of inadequacy.