Grad Nurse Stress

  1. I'm a new grad nurse and I now have a job on a busy surgical floor. There is team nursing on days/evenings with 10 pts for 1 RN (responsible for all the charting, vitals, Dr.'s Orders) and the other RN (that assists with all the skills, meds...) I'm still trying to get comfortable working on day shifts with all the new skills, types of surgeries but now my problem is that I am suppose to work nights alone with these 10 patients. I've only received 2 wks of orientation on this floor and my manager failed to tell me that as a grad nurse I'm not suppose to be applying for night shift position b/c of the responsibility it entails. I think the manager found out I knew about this then he started offering me more orientation shifts. The manager tried to reassure me by telling me that the only other nurse on the other unit that also has 10 pts is suppose to be there to assist me (but I know this won't always be possible). I'm thinking of leaving this place if nights becomes too much for me. What do you all think?
    Last edit by juicyfruit06 on Oct 23, '06
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   HealthyRN
    I think that caring for 10 patients is way too many for one nurse, even an experienced one. Why did your manager hire you into this position if he/she doesn't feel that a new grad can take on the responsibility? This doesn't make sense. It doesn't seem that the manager is looking out for your best interests. Also, I would not count on the other nurse being able to help you out much. With 10 patients of his/her own, I doubt that the nurse will be able to be of much help. I would start looking for another job.
  4. by   juicyfruit06
    Hi Kat,

    Thanks for the response and insight. I asked the other nurse that worked with me why they would do this to me? Her response was that they were so understaffed that they hired me and they were willing to bend the rules for that reason. I don't plan on risking my license to work here and I've already found some job postings at another hospital in an area that have experience in. The nurse I spoke to told me that management didn't really care about me, just as long as they were able to fill up their empty shifts. I hope that the other place that I apply to work at, won't hold this negative first job experience against me.
    Last edit by juicyfruit06 on Oct 23, '06
  5. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    I think that's a pretty accurate summation. So many areas are so totally desperate for staff that they'll hire people they know aren't ready for the responsibility and acuity of the job, because it gives them a warm body. They often mistakenly believe that they can magically distill the knowledge and experience of several years' work on the unit into a few weeks of orientation and everything and everyone'll be just fine. Its unnecessarily cruel to do this to new grads who already are suffering from no confidence and that healthy dose of fear that they all have. All it really does is postpone the inevitable; the new nurse either crashes and burns and is scarred for life, the new nurse realizes very early on that this isn't where s/he needs to be at this stage of the game, or a patient suffers a serious injury and the new nurse is asked to leave. NOT FAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    In your situation, I would be completely up front about why you're changing jobs, without laying blame or making excuses. You aren't the first person to have this experience, and sadly you won't be the last. Hold your head up and don't stress if you don't get the first position you interview for. There is a nurse manager out there who will "get it" and give you a chance.
  6. by   tamari07
    holy crap.... 10 patients.... unbelievable. I don't see how an experienced nurse could handle that many... I'm personally learning to juggle 5 patients right now. I'd definitely leave now while you can and find a place where the unit manager and other nursing staff are supportive of you and will help you out as much as they can. Its makes all the difference in the world to have a proactive staff and manager that support you as a new grad.
    Last edit by tamari07 on Oct 24, '06
  7. by   rbs105
    I was hired in June as a new RN (had just barely passed my boards) on a stem cell transplant unit. I was very interested in it, had shadowed and thought it was the place for me. Then I started. It wasn't at all like what I was given the impression it would be. They should never hire new nurses on a floor like that. It was definitely a staffing issue. They were patient w/me for about 3 weeks and then they expected me to be carrying a full load and getting disgusted when I asked questions. I started thinking I'd just wasted the last 2 years of my life in school. I lasted 6 weeks. I transferred to a different hospital and department and I LOVE being a nurse now! When I left, I was very professional about it, but I told them, this is too much for a new nurse. I also explained it just like that to my new employer and they were completely understanding. Both sides expressed that they appreciated my honesty and that I 'got out' when I did. C'mon, it's nursing!! You have a million and one options-that's the beauty of it!! Good luck!!
  8. by   juicyfruit06
    Thanks guys for all the support. Yes it's 10 patients on days/evenings for 1 RN (who takes the heavier responsibilities, reports on all 10) and the other RN (who assists with meds/skills/relieves the main nurse for break vice versa). But on nights it's 10 patients to one nurse and that's what's stressing me right now. I will try nights for one or two shifts to see how it goes but I'm planning on leaving most likely because I feel underqualified to taking on that much responsibility right out of nursing school.
  9. by   MoriahRoseRN
    Juicyfruit06, I wish you luck in finding the right job. The current job you are at now sure doesn't sound very safe. Is it a rehab hospital?

    Quote from rbs105
    I was hired in June as a new RN (had just barely passed my boards) on a stem cell transplant unit. I was very interested in it, had shadowed and thought it was the place for me. Then I started. It wasn't at all like what I was given the impression it would be. They should never hire new nurses on a floor like that. It was definitely a staffing issue. They were patient w/me for about 3 weeks and then they expected me to be carrying a full load and getting disgusted when I asked questions. I started thinking I'd just wasted the last 2 years of my life in school. I lasted 6 weeks. I transferred to a different hospital and department and I LOVE being a nurse now! When I left, I was very professional about it, but I told them, this is too much for a new nurse. I also explained it just like that to my new employer and they were completely understanding. Both sides expressed that they appreciated my honesty and that I 'got out' when I did. C'mon, it's nursing!! You have a million and one options-that's the beauty of it!! Good luck!!

    I am curious about what department you are working for now that makes you LOVE being a nurse? I am hoping to find somewhere that makes me feel the same?
    Last edit by MoriahRoseRN on Nov 2, '06
  10. by   juicyfruit06
    Hi MoriahRose,

    I work at a smaller hospital on a floor that does most surgeries excluding ortho. As I was leaving nursing school most of the profs said we should get jobs in medicine because we would learn a lot of nursing skills, get great experience in that area. Some people say that fast paced environments like medicine are good for new grads but it's not for me. The area that I enjoyed working on was ortho but I know it's not for everyone. Every job has it's positives and negatives. I think it really depends on your personality and what you want out of a job at this stage in your nursing career. I know it's tough trying to figure that out I'm in the same boat. Good Luck.

    :spin:
  11. by   RNKay31
    Wishing you the best in your career, I am already knocked out, LOL
  12. by   DolphinRN84
    I really wish you the best of luck! 10 patients is definitely too much for a new grad....actually in my opinion its too much for ANY nurse! I hope you will be able to find another job with reasonable patient nurse ratios. Wishing you all the best!
  13. by   rbs105
    I actually work in a level 1 trauma center in the OR now. I love it because I have one patient at a time. I don't do alot of patient interaction and that is the only thing I miss, but I love the science and the experience is awesome to see things like organ transplant take place before your eyes. I run my butt off and anyone who thinks it is not 'real nursing' should try it sometime!! The doctors are primadonnas sometimes and I am still working on getting my thick skin, but if I don't want to talk to anyone, I don't have to. I love the fact that I am part of a team and it is not all up to me to make decisions. Plus, I am in a teaching hospital, so I feel like my education continues on a daily basis as I listen and watch as doctors teach residents and students. I know more about micro, patho and many aspects of the body that were passed over in your basic A&P courses. THAT is what has made me LOVE being a nurse!! On that same note, we have orientees dropping like flies because they realized it was not for them, so...to each his own!! Good luck!
  14. by   badtz143
    that is a lot of pts for 1 new grad RN. I am also a new grad on a very busy med/oncology unit. On weekdays the RNs get 8 pts each, on weekends, it is 12 each because there's only 2 RNs. But there's always LPNs to pass PO meds, 2 usually but people call in sick all the time that we're left with 1 so the other nurse have to do their own meds and everything else.

    The nursing profession is set up for burnouts and unrealistic expectations. Everyday I realize more and more how much work we do as nurses and how little respect we get from everyone, the MDs, the patients...and sometimes our nurse managers forget what it's like to have a huge pt load. We are still expected to remember every little details and to work as quickly but as efficiently. Oh and we're not supposed to feel hungry either because it's not an excuse to have to leave an order you're supposed to carry out.

    This sounds like I'm just venting but that's just part of it. What I mean to say is that I hear you and understand your pain. I'm right there with you.
    Good luck to both of us. I'm sure you are doing the best job you can just as all other new grad nurses out there.

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