Worked at a Level 1 Trauma Center, great learning experience. Floor orientation lasted 11 weeks total. 7 weeks working 2 twelve hour shifts/week on the floor and the rest of the 80 hour pay period being in the classroom. After finishing the class work, I worked 4 weeks on the floor working 3 12's/week.
My whole goal going in was to try to soak up as much as I could from my experience as possible, when on the floor I used a notebook to write down important notes about the unit. Always studied at home after work as I am single and had the time to do it so I would know the pathophysiology and fill the gaps of when I had questions medications, procedures, or conditions. I had it down so well I was able to draw the circulation of blood from the aortic arch to all the cerebral arteries where strokes were common (not too hard). Got to know and continued learning the different types of aneurysms, procedures, how they were done, I learned so much everyday... I always tried to help other people when asked.
However, I didn't get along with and tried to get along with my preceptor but personality wise we were just different. I asked a lot of questions as I am new, but with every question my preceptor always asked "why/what do think is going on?" so I would be in the middle of trying to figure out multiple drips for a patient and ask for tips on how to hook them up and get the "how do think they should be hooked up?" question back for example. I wouldn't know and eventually my preceptor would help me after trying to figure out how while family members of the patient in the room watched me struggle to figure it out. Looking back I should have asked for a different preceptor. Anyways, towards the end of my probationary period, I asked my preceptor how I was doing, and got the answer that I would be on my own in a couple of weeks. Then come to find out, my last day of my probation period, my preceptor didn't show up, called in "sick". Later in the day, I was called to the unit managers office to be notified that I wasn't a good fit for the unit. Much to my bewilderment, the main reason cited is that I didn't understand the pathophysiology and conditions well enough. I was so shocked at the moment and was basically speechless and didn't see any use in arguing with my manager about it considering that whose word would my manager take someone who has worked for 8 plus years or someone who worked for 11 weeks? However, I was referred to another unit within the hospital, but I still want to be in an icu and my manager said that I couldn't use them as a reference to get in another icu. Long rant, but would I be crazy to apply to an icu at another hospital and how do I sell my story?
Apr 20, '12
I would like to begin my reply by stating that I have been an RN for 33 years ( next month), have an MSN in cardiopulmonary nursing ( teaching option ) from SLU , and have 16+ years working in critical care, 16+ years in hospital supervision, and 8+ years teaching nursing clinicals ( incl. critical care nursing clinicals ). That being said, I am extremely sorry something like this happened to you. I am very deeply disturbed about your experience, both from critical care nursing and from educational points of view ( even though incidents like this occur more and more frequently ). Nearly each sentence you wrote contains management and education " red flags". I am a firm believer that nurses should not " eat their young" and you were not only eaten, but devoured and digested. I only hope the horrible scars of this incident do not permanently damage you !!!! First I want you to remember that not all nurses should be preceptors/educators. It takes a special person to be an educator. You must possess nurturing abilities as well as abilities to UNDERSTAND and abide by principles of adult learning. Too many times preceptors are chosen simply because they " have worked there a long time ". Unfortunately they do not understand or have been exposed to adult learning theory. The responses given you by your preceptor ( while trying to stimulate critical thinking) were inappropriate given the fact you are new to critical care. You were not an experienced critical care nurse ------ if you would have known the answer, you would not have asked the question !!! No question is stupid, esp when it comes to orientation!!!!! Another problem I have is with what happened your final day of orientation. I would sum it up as unforgivable ! I want you to always remember that a cardinal rule of management is that items brought up on an evaluation should NEVER be a surprise to the employee!!!! Clearly feedback to you about your performance was clearly lacking. You should have received WEEKLY evaluations from your preceptor that should have included strengths/ weaknesses, areas for improvement, and goals for the upcoming week. If you were not making satisfactory progress, your preceptor should have been communicating such information to both you and the nurse manager and appropriate interventions should have been developed by both the nurse manager and your preceptor. If you were not going to satisfactorily complete your orientation, you should have known about it LONG before the last day of an 11 week orientation !!!!!! In addition , your preceptor should have been present when you were given the bad news in order to provide feedback !!!!! I hope this helps you in some small way deal with the horrible psychological trauma you experienced with this situation and can move on and become the really good ICU nurse you can !!!! I would gladly be willing to talk to you more about this situation on the phone if you would like. . Sincerely , Bruce M. Pomeroy, MSN, RN. God Bless and wishing you continued success !!!!!
Last edit by tnbutterfly on Apr 30, '12