I'm fairly certain ER nursing will make me quit nursing in general.

  1. 0
    Maybe I'm just venting here...or searching for some sort of validation...

    I love being a nurse. It is a part of who I am to the core of my being. I legitimately can't imagine doing anything with the rest of my life.

    I've been an LPN for 6 years and have worked in a pediatric sub-acute/LTC. I feel like my clinical skills are strong and I'm always trying to further my education. I complete my RN in a few months and look forward to starting that new chapter in my career.

    In the meantime, I took a per diem job in an inner city ER in an effort to get more (non-peds) clinical exposure. I really felt like I'd learn a lot and take a lot from the experience, but all it's doing is making me want to quit nursing all together. I have never (in my life!) been treated the way that they treat me there. It's a huge teaching hospital, and I came without any acute care experience. No hands on IV skills. No adult nursing exposure. They knew this when they hired me and told me, "You'll be fine." I received 3 (!) days of orientation and basically taught myself how to do IVs (thanks, youtube!).

    The RNs and management that I work with are a nightmare though. As I said, my clinical skills are strong, but I feel like every time I have a question, I'm looked at like I'm a moron. They are downright nasty, unhelpful, and instead of helping me to learn things here-and-there (I'm not expecting them to teach me everything under the sun), they've taken opportunities to cut me down. IE: Got to work the other night, and on RN asked another (during our report), "Any new gossip since I was on vacation?" The second nurse replied, "Did you hear they're making the LPNs take ACLS?" and the two of them started cracking up...as I sat there amongst them, the only LPN. For the record, I'm ACLS and PALS certified.

    I don't want to be that nurse who goes complaining to management for every little thing, but the overall attitude that I get every time I walk in the door is ridiculous. I have never worked in such a ****** environment. I come from a place where I am respected for my work, and go here to get dumped on.

    Is this just how ERs are? Is it a different breed of nursing that I'm just not cut out for? Or do you think that I'm just being too sensitive?
    I really want to ride it out for another few months so that I have 1 year of acute care/ER nursing for my new-grad RN resume, but is it worth it in the long run if it makes me hate being a nurse.
    Last edit by JustBeachyNurse on Jan 18, '13 : Reason: ToS--remove profanity
  2. 9 Comments so far...

  3. 3
    Your ER seems exceptionally bad and nonsupportive. I don't recommend trying to change it, you'll become a target. Get whatever experience you can stomach, and move on to somewhere you enjoy. I mention during the interview process that I really value having supportive coworkers, it's a MUST have for me.
    trebelt03, VICEDRN, and hiddencatRN like this.
  4. 0
    Some places are toxic, no doubt about that. Coming from peds/ TLC you will have a culture shock in the ED. I would get all the experience you can then move on if things don't improve.
  5. 4
    Hey just because you ate some bad Chinese food doesn't mean that all Chinese is bad. Take what you can from that place and move on if you can. You can't change a toxic work environment, and you don't want to become toxic yourself. Good luck.
    Medic2RN, scrubsandasmile, Altra, and 1 other like this.
  6. 1
    Agree with the above posters -- new hires in our ED get a minimum of 4 weeks orientation, and considerably longer than that if they have not worked in an ED before. Are you the first/only LPN in the department?

    What you're describing is unacceptable, and I hope that at some point before you leave you do indeed make management aware. Do so in an unemotional way, emphasizing patient safety and the lack of strength of the team.
    trebelt03 likes this.
  7. 1
    I was hired with 4 other LPNs and a new grad RN who had been an ER tech for a while. There are only 2 of us left (both LPNs)...

    I think one of the biggest problems is that the LPN scope of practice for my state does not allow us to do a lot of the required skills needed in the ER. (No ABGs, can't hang blood, can't give IV pushes, etc.) Due to that, the RNs feel like they're responsible for our patients. I come from a nursing background where teamwork is critical and everyone pitches in...so that's how I work. If I need you to give my IV push, I'll get your patient on the bedpan---I'm not afraid to push my sleeves up when needed. I just never imagined that this new environment wouldn't have the same give-and-take that I'm accustomed to.

    Toxic is absolutely the best way to describe it. I'm glad to hear that you all think that it's particularly so in this case...I honestly can't wait to get the heck out, which is sad because I really like ER nursing from a patient/challenge perspective. Maybe I'll give it a shot somewhere else, but for now---just ugh.
    canoehead likes this.
  8. 0
    Been an ER LPN for two years now. I do ABGs, IVP meds, IV starts, and administer blood products.

    I do not act as Primary for ESI level 2 or 1, although I am encouraged to participate in their care when I am not responsible for my own patients.

    When I started, I received 12 weeks of orientation. No one ever laughed at me nor purposefully made me feel inept.

    Straight up, ur ER isnt a healthy environment. I'm sorry that such a potentially awesome job like ER LPN has gone so sour. Duke it out while u can and it may open more acute care doors to better places for you!
  9. 1
    Don't let arrogant people destroy your potential career. I'm a new grad RN, many years experience as a CNA, and I'm 35, so some life experience. Still on orientation for my first job in ER. I think I'm doing very well--I've participated in codes, bleeds, babies, psych, attempted suicides, etc. Already!! I don't have thin skin and and can hold my own, but I definitely need help. Most of the nurses we have are 20-30 yrs experienced. They were very vocal in a recent meeting that "newbies" aren't welcome to them---they said you should have at least a year on floor first. I have NO desire to work floor!! The VP of nursing came to me after to make sure I wasn't PO'd about it, and said, some ppl can work floor 10 yrs, and not be ER material. It all depends on the person. This is true!! Some of the floor nurses lose it because they have 2 admits at the same time (not even assigned to the same nurse), and I kinda want to say, hey, we have a STEMI, potential stroke, 3 with non-emergencies, a babe with sats in the 80s, and 2 ambulances on the way!!! Suck it up!!! LOL!!!

    I know I'm still slow, don't have my certs yet, need some help, but I'm not afraid to jump in and it doesn't sound like you are either. One day, we were SLAMMED!! At least for our small hospital...all rooms full, 8 waiting. The next one to triage came down to a 4 yo w/ earache, or a 6 month babe who puked everything up for 2 days. I told the Reg clerk, I'm going to take the baby in. She says, no, the earache was here first, you have to take her first. ......*****?? Needless to say, I ignored that and took the babe. I mentioned a while later to the RN who'd been there 30+ yrs, as crazy as it is, I don't need the receptionist telling me who to triage next. She turned, paused, and said to me, she probably knows more about it than you do. Yes, that is what she said to me. I told her, I'm going to walk away now before I say something very rude. My thought....(maybe a little arrogant)...I AM THE NURSE!! If the receptionist knows more, then ask her to start the IVs, do the assess, do CPR, do the triage, because I am clearly a danger to the public!!!! Eff you!!!

    If you need help, walk right up and say, I could use your experience right now, I have blah blah going on right now, and I want to be sure I do it right. If you don't get it, then it is a patient safety issue and you are ethically obligated to report it, let the chips fall where they may. Patients first!! Don't let these turd burglars jeopardize lives!!! Remember this always, how it feels, so that you never become like these wenches, and when you are experienced, you can help the newbies.

    You can do it!!!
    canoehead likes this.
  10. 0
    You've got a bad ER. I've started 2 new jobs as an experienced RN and at both places got 6-8 weeks orientation. 3 days with no experience in that specialty is a set up, #1.

    I've always been able to ask questions and get helpful answers. Some of my coworkers are better to ask than others, but no one has ever been outright rude to me. That you run in to such negative attitudes when asking questions makes your work environment sound especially toxic.

    Now, I went from a peds ER to all ages ER and have discovered that unless it's peds only, ER nursing really sucks for me. Give me the auto vs peds, intubated seizing kids, unsuccessful SIDS resuscitations etc over adults in any condition any day. But in your case, it really sounds like the issue is more the culture you're in that ER nursing in general.
  11. 0
    I agree that your workplace sounds exceptionally toxic. I am a 3yr RN grad, with about 2-3 mos experience in the ED, when I got hired on at another ED. The environment is totally different from what you describe. While I can tell the other nurses aren't thrilled to have to explain things frequently, they are never overtly rude or condescending. I say find another place ASAP. Good luck to you! Also, I think inner city hospitals are unique too: they are large, see lots of critical patients, traumas, etc. and the clientele is often difficult to deal with. I work in 2 small town ER's and the atmosphere/demographics are very different.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top