As a nursing student, I can attest to the situations Burkley describes (“Adopt Zero Tolerance for Hospital Staff Bullying Nursing Students,” Viewpoint, May). Luckily, I have also had the opportunity to learn from nurses who love teaching, so I haven't let my bad experiences ruin my outlook on hospital-based nursing. Sadly, the same cannot be said for some of my classmates.
While I know there is no easy solution, many things can be done to prevent these bad experiences. My most recent preceptor reached out ahead of time to the nurse manager to identify which nurses were willing to take on students and which were not. One of my prior rotations implemented a dedicated education unit to help integrate students into the clinic and train staff on precepting.
I do fear that implementing a zero tolerance policy will make some nurses hesitant to take on students for fear that any action on their end will be misrepresented as bullying. However, allowing blatant discrimination against students goes against the basic values of nursing. As Florence Nightingale said, “How very little can be done under the spirit of fear.”
Travis McCann, ATC, LAT, CSCS
New Haven, CT