10 Ways Nursing Students can Handle Disagreements with PreceptorsThis is a topic that deserves our attention at any stage of our careers, student as well as RN. The way nursing students learn to handle their challenges in school will shape and inform the course of their hopefully lengthy career.

  1. Do not jump to conclusions. 
    Learn to listen. This is a great opportunity for nursing students to learn to hear both sides. Then they can give their side of the story.
     
  2. Be prepared. 
    The worst thing you can do is not have all your facts when you have to attend a conference with your preceptor where your future may hang in the balance. In the hospital setting, the administration would expect you to be prepared if you were giving a presentation or chairing a meeting, so this is great preparation for those roles.
     
  3. Keep your facts straight. 
    If this is a meeting where you have to defend yourself, get a chronology or timetable of events ready. In the blur of a frenetic shift, you might confuse the time that things were said or done. Sit down and try to reconstruct what happened when.
     
  4. You are not on trial. 
    Don’t blow a disagreement with a preceptor out of proportion. Unless you are being threatened with failure or worse expulsion from the nursing program, try to take things in your stride.
     
  5. Keep things confidential. 
    The old adage, loose lips sink ships, is appropriate here. You would not want something to get back to your preceptor regarding your feelings about her or him or the program before the meeting, which might prejudice them against you.
     
  6. Be realistic.
    You cannot always win every argument with a nursing school preceptor. Weigh the career that you want to have in the near future and what is at stake versus winning this one. Even if you are used to winning all the time. In life, you may have to learn to compromise.
     
  7. Learn from the experience.
     This might be the first of many disagreements you have with a preceptor or supervisor in your career or one of the few rare ones if you are lucky.
     
  8. Recover quickly from this setback. 
    Necessity is the mother of invention. At this stage of your student career, you can’t afford to let this keep you from thriving. You can’t always agree with your preceptor.
     
  9. Consider yourself lucky. 
    It’s better to have a failure when you’re in nursing school than when you are on the job. Also, you are one of the lucky ones who got into nursing school, after all.
     
  10. Finally, when all is said and done, don’t be saddled with regret.   
    No one is perfect, and every day we are on this planet, we strive to become a better version of ourselves. You can always reinvent yourself as a nursing student who picked themselves up and kept trying. That is always better than quitting nursing school mid-stream.