Fired from my first RN job after only 2 weeks.

  1. I am a new grad who graduated this summer with my BSN. I was let go from my first nursing job only after 2 weeks. I graduated with honors and had my capstone in a busy Emergency Department. I started my first nursing job on a busy orthopedic floor at a trauma 1 center. It wasn't what I was passionate about but wanted to give it my all. My real passion is ED, but I knew that I needed to get ICU experience before I get to the ED. The orthopedic floor would help me get my foot in the door for a trauma 1 ICU. I was hired along with 5 other new grads. Are orientation was only 5 weeks long but the director told us that if we needed longer that it would be okay. All other new grad started out with taking care of one patient at a time while my preceptor gave me 5 my first day. I found it difficult to find a routine and I was penalized for even asking questions or not knowing the answer to question. One of nurses on the floor noticed that I was being criticized more than the other new grads and that I should request another preceptor. Director told me it wasn't possible and the next thing I know the education department is following me around. They suggested that I spend another week on days, (I was hired on nights) and that I go down to two patients. I agreed, thinking it well help me develop a routine so I can provide safe care for my patients. The whole orthopedic unit moved from 20 bed unit to a 40 bed unit and nurses were taking on 8 patients at a time. They pulled me into the office last week and gave me some recommendation which I truly took to heart and made myself a whole new brain sheet and even came in an hour early to prep for the day with permission from the director. Yesterday they pulled me into the office and said that I have two choices, either I was going to be terminated or I could send her my letter of my resignation. The director told me that didn't have time to teach new grads how to real nurses and that I would never make it any hospital. She said I would be better off in longterm care where there is less critical thinking. She said I shouldn't bother applying to new grad programs because I would fail at those too. I don't feel like 5 weeks of orientation is enough to provide safe care for patients especially for new grads. I don't want to believe her but I feel like a failure and wasted my time becoming a nurse. I really am passionate about being in the ED nurse one day. I was an EMT/firefighter for 6 years before I went to nursing school. I'm not sure where I should go from here. I also moved to the city for this job. Any advice would be appreciated.
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  2. 119 Comments

  3. by   klone
    I'm sorry for your experience. While I suppose it's possible it happened exactly as you describe, I suspect that if we spoke to your preceptor, your manager, and the education department, we may hear a very different story. And somewhere in the middle lies the truth.

    Best of luck to you in your future endeavors, wherever that may be.
  4. by   Purple_roses
    As a nurse who just started this year, I can tell you that you don't really come out of school with fantastic critical thinking skills. You gain it as you go. The only way to do that is to continue coming into work, and your employer has to know that. Based on what you've said, I wonder if you either really pissed someone off or did something incredibly dangerous that even a new grad should know better than to do. Did you get any feedback on anything like that?

    Either way, it sounds like they were advancing you too quickly and had unrealistic expectations for a new grad. Don't give up on acute care.
  5. by   brandy1017
    I don't think 5 weeks is enough time for a new grad, many new grad residencies are at least 8-12 weeks orientation. Also 8 patients is too much. I know it doesn't seem like it now, but you really dodged a bullet with that hospital! Dust yourself off and keep applying to other hospital positions you are interested in. Frankly ortho is pretty routine and lots of lifting and stress on your back anyway. Sounds like a cheap, crappy corporate hospital that doesn't want to spend the time to orient new grads but doesn't want to pay for experience and on top of that short staffing is routine.

    I find it outrageous that they shortchanged you with a too short orientation and then told you to forget about ever making it. Who the hell are they, it couldn't be lack of time to learn and too many patients. Of course, it must be you! I hope by now you realize they are a third rate hospital system that doesn't support their nurses, don't even offer safe working conditions and safe patient ratios. Disregard their criticisms and keep looking for a better job and hopefully, a better hospital system where nurses are giving the time and training they need to succeed and decent staffing ratios!
    Last edit by brandy1017 on Nov 2
  6. by   RNgemini
    This does seem unfair. I'm in a new grad program right now and it's 12 weeks long. I started with 1 patient, and added 1 patient per week until I had 5 patients on week 5. But then I still had several weeks with a preceptor where I learned how to manage the patient load. If I were you I would apply to another new grad program at a different hospital. That way you give yourself a second chance in a more learning-friendly environment. It seems like you didn't get a fair chance to learn. Two weeks in is not enough time for them to gage what kind of nurse you will be in the long run. If I was judged 2 weeks in, I would have been fired too! I hope you get a chance to start with another program. Best of luck to you
  7. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from Mountainrnbsn
    One of nurses on the floor noticed that I was being criticized more than the other new grads and that I should request another preceptor.
    That sets off the biggest red flag, for me, as those types of conversations are rarely one-way. Someone who blabs to you about your preceptor will blab to your preceptor about you. When you move on to the next place, remember that you love your job and everyone you work with is exceptionally wonderful. Never speak a word otherwise.
  8. by   AJJKRN
    Quote from Sour Lemon
    That sets off the biggest red flag, for me, as those types of conversations are rarely one-way. Someone who blabs to you about your preceptor will blab to your preceptor about you. When you move on to the next place, remember that you love your job and everyone you work with is exceptionally wonderful. Never speak a word otherwise.
    And just to piggyback on the sage advice Sour Lemon has provided to you, don't ever tell your coworkers or your management team that you intend to transfer to another area even if you plan on doing so years away. If you did, this was probably the first nail in your coffin.

    I do also agree with other PP to look inside yourself and see/accept/grow from any fault that you find.

    If you do get another job on any hospital floor again (other than an ED) know that you may only benefit from using your past experiences as a firefighter and EMT where intuition allows. If you used any of the skills you learned in these previous roles you may have unfortunately freaked out some of your peers/preceptors as it is just a different world. At any rate, keep moving forward and remember that it's not how hard you fall but how fast you get up.
  9. by   Lil Nel
    I am truly sorry for your bad experience.

    Take a deep breath, and as one other poster stated: Dust your self off.

    Eight patients is an unsafe ratio. You don't want to work at that hospital. And your orientation wasn't long enough, anyway.

    Forget that you ever worked that job, and start your job search again. Once you do, ask in an interview what the ratio is, how potential problems during orientation are addressed, etc.

    And above all, never, never listen to some fool who tells you, you will never make it in a hospital, and to work LTC. Do LTC nurses not need critical thinking skills? I think they do. I think all nurses need critical thinking skills. But as another poster posted point, you can learn it on the job.

    It seems as though your old employer was short-staffed and needed the pieces of pasta to stick to the wall ASAP. You were the piece of pasta that just wasn't sticking fast enough.

    Forget it, and move on!
  10. by   Mountainrnbsn
    I am starting to panic as I've been applying to jobs today that the one question if I have ever been asked terminate or resign from a job on job applications. I don't want this to haunt me for the rest of my career.
  11. by   klone
    Quote from Mountainrnbsn
    I am starting to panic as I've been applying to jobs today that the one question if I have ever been asked terminate or resign from a job on job applications. I don't want this to haunt me for the rest of my career.
    Are you sure it asks if you've ever RESIGNED from a job? Because unless you're 16, applying for your first job at Burger King, every single person will have to answer yes to that question.
  12. by   KatieMI
    Quote from klone
    I'm sorry for your experience. While I suppose it's possible it happened exactly as you describe, I suspect that if we spoke to your preceptor, your manager, and the education department, we may hear a very different story. And somewhere in the middle lies the truth.

    Best of luck to you in your future endeavors, wherever that may be.
    Something tells me that the preceptor, manager and educator will all tell that the OP was asking 1.4555783 more question/unit of time than any new grad they ever heard of, that she was not the best match for the unit, that she had a touch of attitude and that she was generally breathing 0.678234 times/min more than they all always do there.

    If she would really do something truly outrageous, she would be terminated plain and simple. If she was offered a choice to resign, plus all that talks about "never able to succeed", "not having time to teach new grads" (after getting a bunch of them) and all other garbage, the diagnosis is: unless proven otherwise, she was just disliked. Speaking about ER and ICU dreams could be just the last drop.

    'been there, done that.

    Mountainrnbsn, you've got to bring yourself up. It happened with many before you. I went through exactly this twice in a row. What they told you about long-term care and such was wrong in so many instances that I won't even go to details. Waht they did with you was even worse.

    Look for jobs in smaller hospitals. Avoid that large Trauma I center as a plague till you get experience and learn how to hold your ground. You can do it, as I, and many others, did it.
  13. by   Wandrlust
    I only had 2 weeks of training as a new grad. I think new grads are spoiled nowadays with such legnthy orientations and want their hand held and caudling the entire time. I know I sound mean, but I repeatedly see new grads like you, where your not prepared by the end of orientation, need to extend orientation etc. etc. Nursing is hard, especially acute care, some people just don't cut it. Some new grads don't ever catch on and are so slow about eveything, not just slow with tasks, but slow comprehending and prioririzing and want to take the long methodical way to do everything-ot look like a deer in the head lights when you explain the simplest things. That's great if you have 1 patient, but it will never work on a busy unit. You're not a nursing student anymore!!

    And I don't believe you had 5 patients on your first day! Maybe the nurse had you take report on them and you helped, but no way she had you do all the assessments, med administration and care under her license without at least seeing you do an assessment first.
    Last edit by Wandrlust on Nov 2
  14. by   Castiela
    I got 16 shifts for my orientation as a new grad but our max patient load was 5. When I graduated as a student, I was doing care for patients so made the transition easier

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