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‘Do other student nurses ever feel bullied?’

  • 19 Comments

Can you advise this student nurse?

“Hello fellow student nurses!

“It’s amazing to have this platform to share our worries, a lot of the time I’m just worried that no-one else is going through the same thing so reading questions and responses is really reassuring.

“My current worry isn’t really a problem, I just want to know if I’m the only one who’s come across this and is bothered by it…

“Staff members who hate student nurses.

“I’m a third year so I’ve met my fair share of good and bad nurses but this is nothing to do with what they’re like as a nurse (or HCA), it’s about the fact that as a student I have to go out of my way to impress them when, really, I just want to get on with meeting my learning objectives!

“I’d even go so far as to say that some of them bully students. I’ve been point-blank ignored when I’ve introduced myself, literally locked out of the office (!) and criticised for wearing a cardigan (I’m mental health so we don’t wear uniform - but seriously, a cardigan?!). Mostly these staff members just seem to avoid students – that can be upsetting, but a lot of the time it’s just plain frustrating!

“I can laugh about the cardigan incident now but those little comments really make you feel unwelcome!

“Has anyone else had similar experiences?”

Please use the comments section below to share your advice

If you would like to post a question here, please contact fran.entwistle@emap.com. We will publish first names only, but please let us know if you’d rather remain anonymous.

  • 19 Comments

Readers' comments (19)

  • I've definitely been bullied as a student nurse so you're not alone there. There are those who want to teach and welcome student nurses, and those that perceive them as a burden/feel threatened by our degrees.

    Many have forgotten what it was like to be a student. I found those 3 years very difficult. Take heart and comfort from your fellow student nurses and from the amazing nurses, ignore those who are rude to you. You know you will not be like that when you are a mentor. Keep going, it is all worth it in the end.

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  • Anthony Johnson

    Mmm I've been criticised for laughing too much by a nurse and heard much worse happen for other students. Think my advice would always be to hold your head up high and stand up for what you think a nurse should be. Use their behaviour of a learning experience of what not to do

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  • You really aren't on your own Hun, a mentor I had in a specific placement, had an issue with me from the start and had a massive power trip to the point where she brought in our practice educator and came up with a load of stuff including saying that I 'told a psychiatrist that I knew best' (yes I'm also mental health) when I asked for clarification what I had done was given her directions to somewhere.... my practice was called into play with the practice educator telling me that whilst they want everyone to pass the course, they also want to make sure that their students are 'hireable and able to work well in a team' I was jumping, this started because I wasn't your 'typical helpless student nurse' it was my final placement of 2nd year and I was on a young people's shadow board for the particular area I was placed in. My mentor had an issue with this and I was given the ultimatum of step off the board or have to find a new placement. I stepped off the board, there was also an issue as I said to her that had I just been asked normally it would not have been a problem, but that I had an issue with her going over my head and there being a meeting about me without my knowledge. Finally enough when she came back from a weeks A/L and I had worked with their nurses (this was after she destroyed my confidence) she told me that the other nurses were 'falling over each other' in order to come and tell her how good I was. I became more of a helpless student, asking questions I already knew he answer to but was just 'playing the role of student' and everything was then fine. But I think these experiences definitely make us stronger and more able to cope once we qualify, I'm in my 3rd year also and have learned a lot with people management, unfortunately it was a naff way to learn it. But we've got this.

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  • It's sad to know there are cruel nurses out there, I'd like to think the degree level education partially removes antiquated people and practices but I'm sure it still exists. I'd advise that you don't waste time worrying about the silly attitudes of these people, play up to your student role when necessary because we are students; like an assignment we have to approach it flexibly and sensibly to get the outcome we want. 😊

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  • On the very first day of my very first year, a nurse had a go at me because I had a cup of tea in someone else's cup!! I didn't know the protocol......Great start!! It has got better though I might add...

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  • I was a middle aged wonen when i did my training. Not long ago either. Out of the three inpatient units i worked on i had bullying at two of them. Im not a smart, clever person, not over confident , nothink special about me. I am though very down to earth and have good people skills. I too am a mental health nurse. I strongly believe i was bullied due to my people skills. The service users and i got on extremely well and many would open up to me. Some nurses having been in the job a lot longer just couldn't handle it. Thank god i am not their now. There cruelty nearly broke me. So many nurses out there who shouldn't even be in the job.. Not an ounce of compassion in them. If i could see my time again i would have stood up more for myself....
    On one of myplacements a band 8 nurse called my practice placement manager in... i was gob smacked, she hadnt said i had done anythink wrong (although i do know i got on well with a nurse who she did not like). When we (ppm and myself ) asked her what i had done she said" well i asked you to do somethink last week and you hadnt done it properly"... ( re...paperwork) Wasnt that the reason i was there.? To learn? Why didnt she tell me... Lucky enough my ppm sussed her out immediately. Reminded her of her role etc. . I put my head down, did a lot of creaping And thanked god when it was over...
    Shame, iv met some lovely nurses since but had to go through hell to get here. ..
    Good luck to you, your not alone. X

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  • My very first placement as a first year was almost my last! I am a mature student and was treat really badly by some nurses (mainly older nurses). I decided that if this was a caring profession then I didnt want to be part of it. Thankfully, I continued and grew a thick skin, other placements have been much more positive and I have met some lovely nurses that I aspire to be like.

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  • I empathise with anyone who is bullied; it is a soul destroying process, designed to break down the individual until they leave or move on. I was bullied relentlessly during my training (many years ago!) That said, I have not found bullying to be endemic in the profession. What I have found, however, is the reluctance of many students to accept advice from trained professionals; who interpret any advice, feedback or instruction contrary to their own wishes as bullying; who do not wish to be told what to do in any given situation by someone more experienced than them. Bullying seems to be the buzz word at the moment and whilst I sympathise with anyone who is being victimized at work (having been there) I believe that in many cases, the 'victims' also need to reflect on how they respond to senior, more experienced staff.

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  • Nurse 57, I feel you have been lucky in your work-places. There is a institutional bullying aspect of nursing-hence the saying nurses eat their own.Until internal rotation, rotas were used as a weapon.Ward feedback reports about students were discriminatory- nice passive student not rocking the boat "good" nurses, assertive students questioning rationale "unprofessional".Study research-historical and contemporary re bullying,institutinal racism(going back to 1950/60/70s ethnic minority students placed on sen courses instead of srn despite having the entry requirements to join the
    latter training and even now, racial inequality amongst certain higher bands of nurses).In that time period male students were expected to move things in mental health units but expected not to be able to iron or cook or enable residents. long tradition of reinforcing major inequalities, so I am sure there is a strong element of bullying individuals. Research studies certainly reinforce this hypothesis.

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  • Anonymous 3rd January 11.37pm, you appear to have missed my point. I did not say that bullying does not exist. Indeed, I referred to my own experiences, so have not been lucky in my work places, as you say. My point is that whilst bullying does indeed exist and always has, there are those who seek to use bullying as a reason for not accepting advice, reasonably given and as an excuse for their own poor performance. This in turn does no service to the people who are actually on the receiving end of poor treatment.

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