Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

‘I’m never good enough for my mentor’


Do you have any advice for this student nurse?

“I’m in second year and on my first theatre placement. It’s not an area that I want to work in but I really am trying my hardest. I’m just never good enough for my mentor.

“I struggle to be assertive to people way above me and she expects me to remember the order of 100 or so instruments, she always picks up on anything I do wrong and it’s massively knocking my confidence.

“What can I do? Or do I have to just grin and bear it?”

- Hilary, Oxford


Please use the comments section below to share your advice

If you would like to ask the student nurse community a question, please email We will publish first names only, but please let us know if you’d rather remain anonymous.


Readers' comments (4)

  • The Scrub Nurses are massively abused in Theatre (in my experience). She may just be relishing the opportunity to assert herself rather than be bullied for a change.

    Ask to spend some time in recovery and with the anaesthetist to add some variety.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • In my experience the scrub nurse rules the theatre. They often work with surgeons with very big egos so they have to be very strong and assertive. Perhaps your mentor is testing you to see if you are able to assert yourself.

    Theatre is a very alien environment which requires a completely different skill set to any other area of nursing. You could perhaps ask your mentor to spend some time with you just helping you to remember the different instrument. That way it will show that you're willing and determined.

    Try not to let it knock your confidence though, if its not an area you want to work in then just learn what you can from it safe in the knowledge that you won't be there for long then you won't have to do it again.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • During student placements we can all feel out of place and unsure. Your mentor should be helping you to overcome these anxieties through working together and good communication of what is expected of you. there are times when mentors may be busy and do not have the time to spend with their students and as well, students must have reasonable expectations from their mentors in reasonably high pressure environments. I think you dhould if possible approach you mentor and explain how you are feeling and perhaps work out a plan where you are able to complete your placement get the most out of learning in the theatre environment.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I agree with the comments it would be a good idea to look at this as a personal development plan. Try also to research other areas in the theater, maybe read articles and present these to your mentor. When i mentor my students i stop and think it wasn't that long ago i was wearing that uniform. Speak to your mentor and practice placement manager and ask for support. It is tuff being a student. look up some of the instruments and get pictures maybe, learn their use. Use reflection. If your still having problems speak to uni or the manager perhaps change mentor. good luck.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.