Hi~ I am a new grad from May 2012 and was hired into an emergency department at a hospital in town. I feel so blessed to have the opportunity and know I have my work cut out for me in this demanding specialty. I started in late July and we have a 16 week orientation that will soon be ending. I had a rough start due to not speaking up soon enough regarding not clicking with my preceptor. I was afraid I would be deemed as rocking the boat or causing problems with an established nurse in the dpt. I know see that was wrong, and would recommend anyone in that boat to speak uop for themselves. I have had about 8 different preceptors and only in the last 6 weeks have I been steadily with one and I am happy to say it has worked out rather well.
My question is this though, I know as orientations are drawing to a close, we are expected to handle a patient load on our own which I feel I am able to do unless with a high acute zone, but to me this is to be expected, as we have so much to learn and experience, how can we be expected to know how to safely or intuitively care for really sick patients all on our own. There was a recent experience that I had a day as I described, with some very sick patients and a preceptor no where to be found, or taking their own patients due to being short on RN's. I felt like I was drowning and learning some things trial by fire. I was frusterated, I was aksing for help and not getting it. At the end of the shift, and after giving it some time to process, I contacted my preceptor for feedback. I was honestly surprised to not get any without asking. The feedback I got was somewhat discouraging, that they felt I wasn't ready to be on my own with that acuity (agreed!) and that they had been instructed by the manager of the dpt to let us be on our own without help to see how we did. I was told the preceptor could see I was flustered and frusterated, but they had to let me try to sort it out on my own.
My gripes are:
~I was not told I was being put in this situation, to be tested as to how I could handle patients completely on my own, ahead of time--I think this would have alleviated some of the frusteration I was feeling as to why no medic or RN could seem to be free to help me.
~Patient safety was not put first.
~I am not off oreintation so why treat me like I am.
Overall I have felt this workplace to be a supportive environment but the last 2 weeks have felt like hell. I feel adrift and unsupportive. I feel like I am stranded and where did the teamwork and training go--out the window? Or is this just part of their process, to test me?
I have resolved to continue on in a professional manner, to do the best I can, and to remind myself of how far I have come since graduating in May. I know the ER is a tough nut to crack, but I feel that given the support, along with my continued studying on my own time, will serve me well. I just don't know if these recent experiences should be a red flag to me, or is this simply the way most departments work when a fledgling nurse is ready to be on their own?
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.