Sunday, April 1, 2007

Go ahead and squeeze a little harder why don't ya?

Sorry, it’s been awhile. Super busy. Super fucking busy. Got through the competencies pretty good, I got the “easy” instructors, i.e. the ones that are remotely normal and secure enough with themselves that they don’t feel the need to torture a student.
As of right now, the majority of my class is on academic warning. The 2nd semester faculty is a lot like the Bush administration: No matter how bad the classes grades get, no matter how many inappropriate acts the instructors carry out, it’s the same shtick. “We’re just trying to figure out why you guys aren’t getting it.” Never a mea culpa, no responsibility whatsoever for the fact that a group of extraordinarily driven and intelligent ADULTS are failing everything thrown at them.
No, my dear instructor, you saintly middle-aged woman in your 40’s with no kids, no husband and 20 cats. YOU’RE not getting it. You’re fucked up! And when your sole purpose for teaching is to humiliate, bully, and fail students well, you get what you pay for. A class of 72 students with the majority on academic probation.
Fuck off!
I make no apologies. The observation has been made, I shall pontificate here but lord help me if I say this in class.
If you are middle-aged, not in a relationship, don’t like young people in general, and have a freakishly large assortment of pets put a red flag on your scrubs because you’ve got some serious fucking issues and shouldn’t be anywhere near the next generation of nurses.
I’ve come to this conclusion as I have come to realize that the violently nutty nurses, the happy-sad, maybe I’ll get weepy during a lecture and then scream at a student for not wearing the right color socks (black shoes=black socks, white shoe=white socks. I’m totally serious the hard asses will send you home if your socks don’t match.), the ones who tell the students they don’t like that they should maybe think about quitting school, these are the ones who aren’t married. At my school a couple of the foul tempered instructors have been married but are now divorced, but in general they have been single for a considerable amount of time. Like, I can’t believe the huge assorment of spinsters that are instructing at my school. Somehow, they all found each other, united in disdain and contempt.
Nothing wrong with being middle-aged and single, middle-aged and divorced, fuck half the country is past 38 and divorced. But are you still in the game? Are you trying? Have you given up on the opposite sex entirely and have resigned yourselves to your sister’s kids, pretending they are your own? Do you still believe right before the increasingly shitty and bizarre blind dates you’ve been finding yourself on that this might be love?

Don’t give up. The opposite sex hates you as much as you hate them. So just fucking bite the bullet and let it go, accept someone for who they are and go make some love. As long as they respect you, treat you right. And ladies, don’t tell me you’ve tried and good men are hard to find. Because they are not. There are roughly 75 million single men in America. They may not come in the form you fantasize about, they may not treat you like shit just the way you like to be abused but goddamnit they are out there. And for the divorced middle-aged guys: PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR WOMAN. WOMEN USE SINCERE ATTENTION LIKE FUEL. JUST A FEW MOMENTS OF YOUR TIME AND THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY FUCKING STOKED. LAYOFF THE SPORTS TALK AS YOU PRIMARY METHOD OF COMMUNICATION. AND TRY AND STAY AWAKE 10 SECONDS AFTER THE NUT YOU CHEEKY BASTARDS.
Excuse while I step off this soap box.
I mean, if it’s this obvious what the bad nursing instructors’ problem is, that they have been dicked over by some of the worst taste in men this burned out society has to offer (see: firefighter, paramedic, cops, used car salesmen) they have no one to blame but themselves. I didn’t fuck up your dude radar! You should have gotten it fixed!
They act on their own bizarre experiences so often I can see their bitchy wheels turn, “Should I be supportive of this student in their time of need, should I encourage them, let them know that its okay to make mistakes when you are learning how to do something that requires immense technical finesse, great emotional intelligence, and serious attention to detail? No. Now its time to lay down some serious institutionalized abuse and sting this student good.”
How fucked up are they? You know they must have hated their patients. Probably despised them. Did fucked up shit like withheld pain medication when in a foul mood to “punish” their patients for being needy or irritating them.

Hey! You nurses out there who play the withholding pain meds till absolutely as late as possible game: you make me fucking sick. Who are you to judge and punish? Don’t do it. Don’t abuse like you’ve been abused. Cause you’re playing with fire and baby you will get burned. It’s like scratching the mosquito bite of hate: you only hate more.

Some nurses hate black people.

Some nurses hate men who remind them of their father.

Some nurses are uncompassionate to women that remind them of their mothers.

Some nurses don’t feel what a patient is going through because they have a higher tolerance for distress because of what THEY have gone through.

Some nurses are traumatized from their line of work and suddenly snap at people or patients they may care about.

Some nurses have drug problems.

Some nurses are jealous of American nurses.

Some nurses hate men.

Some nurses hate women.

Some nurses loathe white people.

Some nurses do what they are told to do too much to please the powers that be.

Some nurses like to be part of a machine that crushes people, that keeps down the dusts of change.

Some nurses are just looking for a spouse.

Some nurses are absolutely incredible fucking people who have great technical knowledge and are still emotionally capable of making someone that they wouldn’t otherwise relate to or interact with feel safe, clean, and capable of healing.

Some nurses have heart.

Some nurses know what the fuck is going on and aren’t afraid to act on it.

Some nurses could really give a shit what arrogant, pissant residents think is a “quick” procedure.

Some nurses walk the line between insubordination and always advocating for their patients as a method of humility, integrity, and keeping it really fucking real.

Some nurses think for themselves.

Some nurses are so fantastic and inspiring to me that I personally want to equip myself with the “identity” of a nurse.

Keep doin what you’re doing.

Mazeltov. Happy Passover,

And to all the haters and status quo addicts, the trick ass marks, mark ass marks, punk asses, ho's, heffers and hulahoops, skeezers, skanks, skig-scags, scallwhomps, I want you to ponder exodus from slavery you dickheads, you disgruntled bitches.

I’m coming to gitcha.
(Thanks D.C. for that rant)


AzuraBelle said...

I definitely can relate to some of the things you said in this post and I’m going to try my best not to ramble, so forgive me for any confusion that ensues while you read.

50% of my nursing instructors are not married or co-habitating without any kids. (We have a total of eight instructors) and it’s obvious some of our instructors have missed the lecture on compassion in 101: Lessons in Life. But did you stop to think why it’s generally single, middle-aged women? First, the majority of older nurses are women for obvious reason r/t to oppression women – a topic that I don’t feel like delving into here. Second, perhaps that’s because they don’t have a family to financially support they can make it on the crappy salary schools provide them with. Most teachers take pay cuts to go from nursing to teach nursing! So maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to think they’d be better off married b/c then you might not have a nursing school to go to.

Unfortunately, I think many nursing students can share in their experiences of mean professors. Case in point: come student evals at the end of clinicals one prof said to a friend, “Sorry for being such a bitch this semester, but I’ve been riding you hard b/c I think you’ll make a great nurse.” This is also the same professor I’ve had to answer to my patients for her unprofessionalism. Furthermore, 1/3 of our Introduction to Med-Surge class didn’t pass… with this same professor teaching. (For the record: I was one of those students). And sure, she’s not technically married… she’s been co-habiting with her boyfriend of 15 years, so according to what you’re saying maybe she should just have kids or finally tie the knot, right? Perhaps she’d feel more secure with herself or increase her ability to be compassionate when she has a baby. Who knows? I use to hate, hate, HATE this instructor. I’d feel nauseous sitting in class with her. But it’s changed a little with time. While this doesn’t make her actions right I have a little different take on her.

I found out she was taught by nuns who used the “scare tactic” to drill the information and skills into their students’ heads. So how was she supposed to learn to properly teach students if that had been her experience? (Granted, let’s pray we don’t all turn out to be teachers like some of our instructors!) Not only that, but her mom died when she was 12, leaving her with 3 brothers, a dad, and a bitchy stepmother. This doesn’t justify her actions, but I eventually came to be the mature person realizing her actions aren’t right, but they DON’T DEFINE ME. If I continued the last two years filled with the same hatred and stress I would not have made it, nor would I be a good nurse. It’s not easy, but maybe check out what are the backgrounds of your professors. Do they know any other way than the “scare tactic” to teach? What shaped them to be the way they are?

Basically, I might dig a little further to see if there is any other side of the story. Be the mature person and look at the situation realistically. Instead of getting pissed that you can get sent home for having miss-matching socks why not laugh about it b/c it’s quite hilarious if you ask me. Of course we’re put in crappy situations where we can’t say much as students. It sucks!!! Sometimes you just want to forget about the patient laying nearby and punch ‘em in the face. But you can’t. It’s life. So besides your blog providing you with a great outlet, what other actions are you taking to makes some positive progress towards change? Have you personally talked with the instructors about some of your concerns? And if you have talked with them, was it done by making accusations or through constructive feedback? I wouldn’t be surprised if the instructors didn’t know the harsh impact they are making on us. If that step hasn’t worked, what about the head of the nursing department or the dean of faculty and students?

Through experience, here’s my advice:
1. On a regular basis objectively document “incidents” with your instructors. For example, instead of writing my bitchy nursing instructor spent half the frickin’ class period making copies of the powerpoint she didn’t have prepared ahead of time and I could of used an extra 45 minutes of sleep. Document: 4/2/07: Students present in HV18 at 8AM. Prof. Nelson started lecture after attaining copies of the Electrolyte powerpoint at 8:45AM d/t no prior posting of slideshow on Blackboard.

2. Write down ways your professors can improve their teaching. I know this is tough b/c if you don’t know the material how can you say, “Well if you explain it this way then I’d get it.” And this may seem like it’s not your job, because after all, they are the teachers and they should know how to get the information across to us, right? But perhaps offering suggestions like, “Include more scenario based information. Teach us the facts, but include how those facts directly apply to our nursing care” that might be more beneficial to everyone.

3. If you talk with the professor or department head make sure to include what they are doing well. Just like you don’t like only negative and critical feedback, neither do your instructors.

4. Talk with other students. Encourage them to take action too. However, be careful to be as mature, respectful, and levelheaded as possible. This doesn’t mean you have to suck-butt, however, if you act like a professional you will (or should) be treated like a professional.

5. Make sure to go through the proper chain of command. Talk with your instructor first before talking to the head of the department.

As far as the students not doing so hot in the nursing class here are a few suggestions coming from personal experience:

-Pick up the Lippincott NCLEX review book to continue practicing the NCLEX formatted questions.
-Form a study group with <5 ppl. Not even kidding, going over the powerpoints with a group of ppl. each Sunday night saved my nursing career.
-Rewrite your notes.
-Actually read from the book about the info. that doesn’t make sense.
-Utilize your nursing instructor’s office hours.
-Telling the head of the department you’re not passing b/c of the teacher does not good if you haven’t done this.
-Take care of yourself! Yeah, I’ve pulled a couple of all-nighters finishing those hellish nursing care plans, but you can’t learn the material if you’re nodding off in class or going on an empty stomach.
-Ask questions! Sure, I’m one of four students who regularly raise our hands, but I can guarantee I know the material better than the girls gossiping in the back corner who bitch about the teacher talking to fast.
-When it comes to taking the boards I’d recommend going with KAPLAN as a study tool. Their online quizzes and tests are great. Plus, there are some great clips on how to take the test and see past the tricks NCLEX lays out.

Finally, what really prompted me to comment on your blog is the that I would greatly beg to differ that these single women NEED to give a relationship with a guy another try or that these women are all spinsters. From my perspective, correct me if I’m wrong, but you made it seem like the instructors NEED to find some man to marry or “make some love.” While this is simply a blog entry it also reflects the way you realistically view people and I believe you owe these woman more respect. Yes, I agree that when people have been wronged in a relationship they need to find some way to move on, and live with the consequences without taking out the pain and hurt on other people. I disagree your statement that when they are “dicked over by some of the worst taste in men… they have no one to blame but themselves. Again, they shouldn’t blame the students or other guys by being mean to them, but there are TWO people in a relationship. There are TWO people at fault – NOT just the woman! “I didn’t fuck up your dude radar! You should have gotten it fixed!” Saying these women should have “gotten it fixed” do you mean they should have fixed the relationship or the “dude radar” in the sense they shouldn’t hate all men? And you certainly don’t make a relationship sound all that great when you say, “The opposite sex hates you as much as you hate them.” Biting the bullet isn’t gonna cut down on the divorce rates or unhappy people or unhappy nursing students for that matter.

Argh, now I’m just rambling and my work shift is almost over. Real quick though, I do appreciate and recognize the fact you are not just against women or just out to kill all policeman, firefighters, etc. but I wanted to at least provide some input on my initial reactions to your blogs. Okay, gotta go. Sorry for being sooo long winded!

Recap of major points:

1. Not all women are spinsters and we can be perfectly happy not being married. (I truly empathize with you about the professors who aren’t happy and take it out on you, especially as a male nurse.)
2. While your anger is mostly justified, don’t let it define you as a student.
3. You didn’t get into college to simply be a lame duck taking this crap. You have a right to speak up going through the proper chain of command, so go do something about these professors.
4. You will survive nursing school. You obviously have a passion for nursing, specifically providing excellent patient care, this passion will see you through those horrible clinical days. Best of luck!

angry male nurse said...

Thanks for taking the time to write comments, I greatly appreciate your thoughts. You made many valid points about sanity, respect and the dangers of gross generalization.
Let me clarify my point about spinsters. While I was writing this entry I planned to add something to the extent of "it doesn't matter if you're a woman in love with a man or a woman who is in love with a woman or a woman who is a man or a man who is a woman, it doesn't matter who you love but you have to be working, growing, and adjusting to the power of a relationship." My bad, I forgot.
I understand everyone needs a hiatus from relationships time to time but I'm speaking of women incapable of having relationships, and the reason why I'm speaking only of women is because out of my school of 30 some odd instructors, only two are male. One of the male instructors is gay and the second one is status undetermined right now. I'm afraid I disagree with you, everybody needs to be in a challenging relationship because that is how humans stay grounded. But I concede, that special relationship can be with a family member or a really good friend. Its not all about sex.
So you are right, I should definately take a step back a demonstrate more compassion -but then again, having a rough life is no excuse to shit on anyone, especially vulnerable students. But your point is well taken.
Sounds like you had some good and bad instructors but so far my instrucctors seem to be more or less antagonistic towards the students, hence the fairly rapid turnover of nursing instuctors (and definately the step down in salary stings a bit).
Your statement: "what other actions are you taking to makes some positive progress towards change? Have you personally talked with the instructors about some of your concerns? "
This is very valid and I like it because it involves being proactive and rational. Some instructors i can talk to and ask questions about their decisions, other instructors are just too insecure to tolerate any questioning that might be perceived as criticism.

"While your anger is mostly justified, don’t let it define you as a student. "

So true! Someone elses bullshit does not define me as a person and Angry Male Nurse should not take emotional distress personally. i concur...


Cre said...

Bwahhah! You make me laugh, and cry a bit because it is true... As azurabelle wrote, 'don't let it define you' and remember, in the end, it's all about the patient. Not the bitch or asshole you have as a prof.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. I'm in the Psych clinical portion of my nursing program.
To begin with, the scantrons that we mark our answers on for tests/exams are NEVER reviewed, despite years of complaints. We just have to take their "word for it" that we actually got the grade they say we got. I haven't had a scantron at this college grade correctly to date, and on one memorable Anatomy exam the scan tron graded ten questions wrong equaling 20 additional points in my favor. That's quite a discrepancy, particularly when you think that, in most clinical/lectures classes people are flunked by one or two points. The administrators of the program are unaccountable and spiteful. The Dean, who is fully aware of the fact that scantrons are withheld, has done absolutely nothing. Some students have had to obtain attorneys in order to gain access to their scantrons that proved that they passed, this after having gone through the entire foodchain to try to get results. Yet, we are refused the right to have actual proof of our grade.

The reason is that they pass the students through the program whom THEY want to go on to the next level.

I have personally witnessed and been abused by instructors in the program, to the extent that I filed complaints with several board members/administrators of the college/civil rights (on behalf of another student whom I withnessed being badly abused)/and the state board.

I could go on and on. In fact, I'm living the nightmare right now with my current instructor.


But the administrators would have us believe that the nursing program and the way we are harrassed/browbeaten/publicly humiliated, etc., has absolutely nothing to do with their deaths.

Bottom line, there's a real reason why there's a nursing shortage,,,and it has to do with nurses who abuse their power.

Anonymous said...

This is a great blog! I totally appreciate your anger (and, at times, humor): It's refreshing if a tad depressing about the nursing profession. You always seem direct and honest, though, and that’s becoming a rare quality. I hope you’ll excuse my lengthy comment here, but I just wanted to be as clear as possible.

I wanted to comment on this post about instructors, but azurabelle said some of what I was thinking already! Thanks, azurabelle. I won’t repeat what she has said, but I do want to clarify some issues which may be impacting your issues with the faculty. To be clear, I am not a nurse. I am considering nursing as a profession due to the awesome flexibility and meaningfulness of the work. I recently obtained my PhD in educational research (don’t hold it against me, please!), but I don’t like this field as much as I thought I would. It's totally meaningless and dead boring with no flexibility and average salaries. However, my education does provide me with some insights on the academic system. This academic system is so bad, it’s a miracle when you do get a decent, normal, helpful professor.

I don't know if your instructors are doctorally trained, nor do I know if you’re in a university setting (versus community college or traditional small college). The following comments apply primarily to the 4-year college and university setting (I don't know about other settings). If your instructors are doctorally trained, they may have some minimal training in teaching methods. However, many doctoral level instructors or professors have absolutely ZERO training in how to teach students. When I was an undergrad, I figured they had loads of teacher training because high school teachers do, so they must have more, right? Nope. They had to learn on their own when they were grad students or perhaps they never learned at all. Typically, there is very little standardization from one school to the next in requirements for teaching skills, even if they have a PhD.

If your instructors do not have PhDs, it's quite likely that they have absolutely no formal training in instructional methods. Some people are just 'naturals' at teaching, but most are not and need some kind of training. Unfortunately, even those with the highest level of education receive no formal instruction on how to pass on their knowledge and skills to others (!).

Given your instructors’ potential lack of education training, your constructive feedback may help you to get a better performance from them; it may also help them to be better teachers and to go on to teach more effectively in the future. As azurabelle mentioned, putting forth a solid effort, documenting teachers’ failures, and discussing the situation with them constructively will yield the best results. Keep in mind, too, large classes mean a greater diversity of learning styles which may be more difficult for one instructor to manage. Typically, in a university setting, larger classes have assistants to help with managing all the hubbub of the modern college classroom.

I also think you're right: Many folks who go into academia are in a “particular” social situation. That is, if the prof. has a “typical” family and social life, it's unlikely that they will be able to obtain promotions, or even able to keep their position at the university. They're expected to perform by publishing, collaborating, obtaining grants, and creating original research papers. Those tasks take LOTS of time and mental energy, and are valued very highly by the Deans and their peers. Teaching students, on the other hand, is not at all valued. Even the BEST instructor whom students universally LOVE may not be offered tenure, while a bitter, nasty lunatic would be offered tenure -- provided that lunatic has more publications, grants, and 'visibility' in the profession! It's pathetic, but modern academia is just as broken as modern healthcare.

And in academia, the salaries are horrible. Beginning nurses with a BSN will make as much money as a beginning Assistant Professor with a PhD. Plus, the professor will likely have a fair amount of debt she has incurred from taking many years to complete their doctorate. The lack of decent salaries means the prof. will be more stressed, which will exacerbate any negative personality issues they may already have!

Regarding personalities, I think I can concur with your view of many professors as being loner-type individuals with often strange or bizarre behaviors. I think your point is well taken: Many of those who are successful as professors are not particularly capable in terms of social skills. A few learn over time to loosen up and they become good guys. Some have (or eventually get) a life and consequently aren’t focused exclusively on their work -- which makes for a better instructor, IMHO.

But many professors are just plain odd and I don’t think gender or sexual orientation or marital status or any other of those kinds of status characteristics cause this outcome. Mostly, it's the instructor’s personality. Many of the 40 or so professors I’ve had have been self-centered, strange, backstabbing, manipulative, unfriendly, antagonistic, belligerent, self-important assholes. I see the same traits are present in nursing professors as well. To be fair, I've had a few great professors, but I have usually learned that they are just great people in general: Again, it's down to personality.

I’m sorry that you have to deal with all the b.s. when you’re trying to absorb large amounts of information which is important for your career. Unfortunately, your stressful situation is common for students these days, be they in nursing or any other field. I’ve had professors yell at me (for nothing), ignore me after I ask them important questions, and refuse to answer legit questions. Failing students when using horrible tests is the norm and no validation of those tests is ever shown. I discussed my doctoral qualifying exams (sort of like our version of the NCLEX) with my advisor, but I never saw the scantrons nor the graded written documents. I received no specific feedback on sections I did poorly on, versus things I did well on. I still have no idea. Yet, failure would have meant dismissal from the program. Thankfully, I passed the first time, but not everyone in my program passed. A few people languished for years, taking the exams over and over, while others dropped out after spending thousands to get through the first 1.5 years.

All that said, I want to encourage you to keep up the great work. You’re learning, even if you’re having to do so in a terrible setting. You’re doing meaningful work and have very valuable skills. Your friends and family will turn to you for advice and you will be well informed when dealing with the medical system for yourself or your children. You will be respected (by outsiders, at least), and you’ll be the one who REALLY knows what’s going on with the patients. I think everyone knows that the doctors are not the ones who know what’s going on. They rely on nurses to do the real work of patient care.

I hope these insights will help you understand some of what may be happening at your school. Not that it will make it any easier to deal with, but it may help you refocus your anger into positive feedback for these instructors. That will help you and (even if they don’t admit it), it will help them. Best of luck to you.

Again, sorry for the long post, but I hope it helps somewhat. Keep up the good work with the blog. If nothing else, it seems like it is very cathartic for you!

-Dr. J

Anonymous said...

I love your humor we must go to the same school. I'm in second semester of an ADN program here in LA.Anyway, great blog,you make me laugh,i could'nt agree with you more. i accidentally stumbled apon this blog whilst googling " i hate nursing school". I am about to quit seriously, I don't know how much more i can take. the older i get i'm 33, my tolerance for bullshit and game playing get lower and lower. And sooooooooooo sad to say nursing school isn't about the best or the brightest,or the most apt, it's survival of the fittest, who can swallow the most bullshit anyway needless to say it's been one of the most stressful and demeaning experiences of my life. And soooooo true, many instructors are childless weirdos( i have 2 small kids) who are sadistic and current clinical instructor so happens to be one of these mutants, anyway she's already mentioned to me several times that i have too many responsibilties(i.e. a life outside of the program, husband and 2 kids) that it will be near impossible to finish. One other suggested i drop out, sell my books, become a CNA and "work my way up" excuse me but WTF??????? that was in first semester.I just can't stand this negativity it affects every aspect of my life.It is all soooooooooooooo unnescessary. It is because they are women too. I'm sorry they are just straight up BITCHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!Anyway sorry for the rant great blog!!!!!!!!!Congrats on the new kid.!!!!!!!