I am a new grad-passed nclex one month ago, graduated in December. The job market here is tight, so I took a job in LTC. I had heard positive things about the position, and thought it would be a good start for me considering I didn't have any prior experience. I am 39 and had been out of the workplace for 5 years to raise my children.
One week after I started, the agency had a HUGE medication diversion. Since then, the culture where I work is very dysfunctional. There is alot of blame, backstabbing, and I have witnessed bullying among the nurses-both old and young. Then I became a target..
I was put on the floor with 48 pts with varying acuities after just 3 weeks of orientation. Because of the huge med pass, I rarely have time for assessments, treatments, and taking care of my residents. Often I do not have enough supplies (such as a working BP machine) to do my job. My 8 hour shifts become 11 hour shifts, 12 hours shifts become 15-often without a break. I had spoke to my clinical nurse mgr that I was feeling overwhlemed, underprepared and needed help, to which I was told that I could not be "supernurse" and that some things would simply have to be ignored and overlooked. I have been discouraged from calling the physician for important things (such as s/sx of TIA, pneumonia) yet there is no one willing to offer assistance or feedback when I have a question or ask for help.
I have been yelled at in front of other staff and residents on the floor. I noticed yesterday that my clinical nurse mgr had made a med error, which I asked another nurse about. My manager called me today and yelled at me, stating that I was trying to write her up. I have been told that I act like I am superior because I have a BSN and alot of the nurses are LPN's. I certainly hope not-I don't want to give off that vibe at all.
Often I am running around overwhlemed and the other nurse will be reading a magazine and not offer to help me. The management does not pay much attention to my pt care but rather calls me daily statng that I signed in the wrong place for a narc (I am working on this). I also got written up for messy handwriting. My clinical nurse manager snickers at me, rolls her eyes and does not address me in a polite manner. She yells at me daily.
I was planning on leaving when I found a new job but the stress is getting to be too much. I am having nightmares, I can't eat, I have headaches alot. My personal relationships are suffering. I feel like i have no one to turn to to rememedy the situation. I need guidance and teaching this first year-and I am not getting it.
I know the first year of nursing is supposed to be difficult. I am appying what I learned in school to real-life work situations. I know this-yet honestly I am so scared of setting foot on another floor, so afraid what they will find next that is wrong with me.
I did not go into work tonight-I told them I was sick, because I am so stressed out, I do not think I could safely function.
Experienced nurses, clinical nurse managers, anyone-please tell me it gets better. I am so ashamed at having to leave-but at this point I do not know what else to do.
Mar 14, '12
I'm so sorry your first experience in nursing is so horrible. Unfortunately its not uncommon. Especially in LTC.
Your health, your sanity is more valuable than to lose it over a job. No shame in leaving a very potential dangerous environment. Yes, I understand jobs are hard to find. Im currently laid off myself, ...still when I think about returning to a LTC.. where I am a 20-1 ratio... I'll muck out horse stalls first.
Mar 14, '12
Sorry to say but that scenario does not seem like it will get better. Run.........you will be putting your license at risk if you stay. Put it in writing, effective immediately. Wishing you the best.....
Mar 15, '12
I did my quite a few placements in LTC and I did my final placement there as well for (RPN/LPN) and, I have to say all the LTC facilities I have been in have had staff that are basically really concerned about everyone elses business. As a student I always heard the regular staff commenting on casual staff who have gotten shifts over others, how others are bad nurses etc. I have also heard of instances where for example a nurse will complain about another and the rest of the staff will alienate her or ignore her or treat her in such a way that her job is more difficult.
I would say apply for jobs else where or if you can perhaps leave this position if you have the funds to sustain yourself for a while. Its definitley tough. Another option would be to stay and stick it out. I have done this at a few non nursing jobs
just for the money and later in life I always reflect back and am just amazed I made it through those times with the way others were treating me.
Don't let it get your health down though...your a mom and they need you the most.
Mar 15, '12
Wow.....I am so sorry you are going through this.
Nursing isn't really like this although it does occur. I have heard that this is much more common in LTC especially they have been bought up by all the for profit organizations. This particular organization really just wants good paper work so they can get paid and pass inspections. They want employees that know how to "over look" the ugly side of medicine for profit.
Your manager can write you up for whatever she wishes, unfortunately. Is it professional? No. Legal? technically, Yes. Many LPNs in LTC are feeling pushed out of the positions by RN's since there are many new grads and so few jobs nation wide and may be striking out in self defense. That doesn't make it right, but it is what it is.....how sad our elderly are treated this way.
The job market for nurses nation wide (with pockets of needs) is poor. I know that the media/news/government are giving lip service to a different tune, but the fact remains that there is NO nursing shortage and many nurses looking for work cannot find jobs.
You sound like a conscientious nurse in a difficult situation. My advice is for you to get out of this place, to start looking for another job but don't quit this one yet. It is MUCH easier to find another job when you already have one.
Take a deep breath. This is NOT the norm. Good Luck.
Mar 15, '12
OK, First, I am so sorry your first job is this bad. The word in your post which screamed out at me is that you are "ashamed" at the thought of leaving the job. This is to me proof positive that you are in a toxic work situation. Abusive behaviors are not only to be tolerated but you are feeling ashamed for not tolerating them well. Try to re-name that feeling into more positive language: Instead of shame, can you see that you are a healthy person with good instincts? My dear, your self respect and sanity are worth so much more than this. Another job will come. My advice is to draft that letter of resignation and leave immediately. I did it 2 months ago. It was hard,I'll admit but it was the right thing to do. Got 2 nice job offers 3 weeks ago and started one of them yesterday. Honor yourself!
Last edit by eyeball on Mar 15, '12
: Reason: misspelling
Mar 15, '12
I don't have much to add other than good luck and it sounds like you are making the right decision. I have read hundreds of stories on these boards of nurses leaving really toxic environments and getting much better jobs. It is my opinion that cream always rises to the top...you'll be fine. It's too bad that a lot of these facilities will run out the conscientious people they should be trying to keep and remain a safe harbor for ineptitude...not your problem though!
Mar 15, '12
So far, I agree with all the previous comments and I hope you'll get another job where you'll be happy.
Mar 15, '12
I have to agree with those who say RUN! NEVER jeopardize your nursing license and all the hard work you put in to acheive that (especially while raising a family) just for a paycheck. No one deserves to be treated the way they are treating you and putting you into a situation where you feel overwhelmed & unsupported puts all of your patient's at risk. It also goes against everything a nurse stands for to ignore changes in patient conditions by not reporting them to the physician and any facililty that discourages you from doing a thorough job is definitely not one that you want to work for. And you do not owe them anything in terms of notice. On a new application...reason for leaving: unsafe working conditions. And I would think that any new manager doing an interview should be able to appreciate your reasons and be able to overlook the fact that you are not currently employed. I have been a nurse in a level I ICU for the last 8 years and we have definitely seen our ups and downs in terms of staffing and I can tell you that we are certainly heading in the direction of another nursing shortage. I know that new grads have been struggling to find open positions but trust me, there are more and more coming available. And you WILL NOT end up in a similar situation in a hospital. LTC is a whole other ball game and it's not one you want to be in. There are better options! Good luck and I hope everything works out. You sound like you will make a FANTASTIC & conscientious nurse. You just need to find a facility that will mentor you properly.
Mar 15, '12
first of all i am truly sorry that you had to experience first hand, the dark side of some ltc's. unquestionably, if management is giving the example of lateral abuse what else can you expect from the rest of the staff?...therefore, if you can leave with your head up high with another job on hand do so, no job is worth your mental anguish. wishing you the very best in all of your future endeavors...aloha~
Mar 15, '12
I'm right there with ya. I am not a new nurse, by any means, but thought maybe I could try LTC again. So, I get 3 days orientation. Then, I am on 3 different units. Don't know where anything is... the med cart is a mess. Don't know any of the residents, the care aides are nowhere to be found. So, med pass takes me more than 3 hours. 4 admissions came in. Don't know ANY of the paperwork. Don't get me wrong, the nurses there were very nice and supportive, but they don't have a lot of time either.. The thing is, they asked me to pick up a shift on my day off, and I went in... bad move... the oncoming nurse was left a lot of stuff... but I was not going to stay at work for a week continuously to finish.. I can hardly move this am, the pain is intense. Treatments?? Pffft... Not waking the residents at midnight to put cream on their butts... I just CANNOT fathom how the nurses do it and remain sane.. My brain is dead. I am still working in the hospital as well, and that is just as bad anymore, with writeups and veiled threats from management if I don't toe the line, which is written in sand and changes arbitrarily.. Sad what the corporations do to our old folks... and our dedicated talented nurses... Hang in there, hope things will get much better for you...
Mar 15, '12
WOW! Sounds exactly like my first nursing experience (only that I'm a LPN). My first nursing job was at a LTC facility. I felt extremely overwhelmed & stressed. I too found myself not doing certain nursing tasks such as assessments, thoroughly f/u with complaints, being late with med passes etc. due to there being sooo many patients. Since it was my first nursing job, I felt obligated to stick it out until things "got better". Well 2 years later,,, they didnt. My advice to you would be to leave. Its better to keep your sanity AND your license, than to risk it all. If i knew now, what i should have known then, I wouldnt have stayed as long. Now that I'm no longer there, Ive realized that I was putting my license at great risk. Two weeks after i left, STATE arrived to the facility off of a complaint. to make a long story short, some nurses were suspended, placed on probation and fired from the facility (many who were nursing supervisors). Now their licenses are in jeopardy. Im soooooo glad i dodged that bullet!! DONT RISK IT.
Mar 15, '12
This is beyond bullying... although that plays a part.
The staff is so over-worked, stressed out and demeaned by the working conditions ... they are turning on each other.
I cannot fathom why you have been told not to report serious signs and symptoms such as TIA and pneumonia. How would one be able to sleep at night?
Go... don't look back, there is no where to go but up!
(please consider reporting this facility)
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