So, upon the advice of my nursing faculty, and my dwindling bank account, I took the first (and only) nursing job offered to me out of school. It's a PRN night shift position at a community hospital on a 36 bed med-surg unit. Since I had no prior experience in a hospital, I just wanted to know if things I'm experiencing are normal, or if I should start looking for another position elsewhere. Things that I thought, or am starting to think, are odd:
1. The nurse manager who hired me only asked me two questions (what do I do if I'm going to be late, and what have I done in the past if I haven't gotten along with a co-worker).
2. She stopped me in the middle of asking her questions at the end of the interview (after asking if I had any questions for her), and said the nurse who will give me a tour could probably answer them.
3. My preceptor and I had completely different learning/teaching styles (ie, I wanted to learn, and she didn't want to teach). Whenever I had a question, she would do it for me, even after I explained that I learn better by doing. She consistently broke policies and procedures, and even basic infection control technique (is it really too much to ask to "scrub the hub"??). In addition, I'm pretty sure she makes all of her charting up that she can, as I never, during my 6 week orientation/shadowing, witnessed her so much as assessing a patient. I have asked her on four separate occasions to fill out my orientation paperwork, to no avail.
4. When my manager called to check in about halfway through my orientation, I expressed that I hadn't had the opportunity to do many skills and suggested that my preceptor and I had very different styles, but enjoyed the time I had spent with a different, more experienced nurse (said nurse often wonders why she never gets new orientees). My manager basically made me feel as if I wasn't taking initiative to do anything. I specifically asked during the interview if preceptors were trained to precept or volunteered to do so. I was informed that if she assigned someone to precept that wasn't good at it, it would be a bad decision on her part. Basically, I couldn't very well call her up and say, hey, you made a bad decision. She has been with this particular facility for 30 years, and I believe is very much imbedded in the culture of conform or leave.
5. Once off orientation, I'm consistently assigned 6 patients with the possibility of new admits. While I understand that it's normal to feel overwhelmed, anytime I feel the need to ask a question, or have someone witness or walk me through a skill, people are annoyed with me, let out sighs, roll their eyes, and I'm told I need to try it on my own. These behaviors and expressions have come from two different charge nurses. I'm not asking anyone to DO my job for me, I just would like some guidance while I'M trying to do it for the first time!
6. Three other recent new hires (6 months or less) have already given their notice, and have admitted to me that they cry before and after work at the mere thought of having to deal with this place. I don't think it's because they're overwhelmed, I truly believe it's the culture. No one smiles, laughs or has anything nice to say. All of the techs tell me they like me because I'm nice, and that I should run from this hospital so I'm not ruined.
Is any of this normal? I know not everyone is a joy to be around, but geez, can't we all act like adults just some of the time? Should I leave, or will it be the same elsewhere?
Jul 17, '12
If you even have to ask, I think it's safe to say you should keep looking. Doesn't sound like an environment that is supportive and beneficial to a new grad. Anxiety is normal and heck, dreading work is normal, but everything else you mentioned sounds bad. You might talk to a nurse recruiter about the possibilities of transferring to another unit.
Jul 17, '12
No, I don't think that you should "try things on your own" first if it affects patient safety
.. it sounds like you are not getting support and you did not get an adequate orientation. I'd say look for a new job before something bad happens at work that can affect your license. Also, no need to put up with the negative work environment.