New grad feeling left out

  1. 1
    I quit my first nursing job in med surg due to being mistreated.
    I was there for almost 8 months and I felt like I was being targeted by some charge nurses. They would yell in the hall, refuse to help me, told the director I asked too many questions,
    The director said they had all given up hope on me and did not want to help me.


    I had good evals, no write ups. Patients liked me and I suspect
    I was not getting credit for good patient reports. My coworkers seemed to like me. I never made a med error or assesment error. Even the drs complimented me and said i was a great colleague.

    The straw that broke the camels back was a minor paperwork error, in that I forgot to fill out one of the forms which isn't even a part of the actual record! And to be fair, I was not the only nurse responsible for this form! But they acted like I was. My charge had been going thru my chart, found that form and took it right to my director. They called me into the office, berated me and told me all those bad things above. They said i needed to go on a work improvement program because my iv start skills were not good either. I feel like I am about average for a new grad on iv starts. I was in tears, and she told me to put my big girl panties on and deal with it, that this was just a part of nursing.

    I do ask a lot of questions, but that's how I learn. I still have new grad insecurity.
    And I always want to make sure i am doing things right. But I guess they saw it as a sign I was not progressing?


    I feel so discouraged , I see my classmates from nursing school all talking about how much
    They love their jobs and they are friends with co workers on facebook. I never had that at my old job. As I interview for new jobs, how can I tell that a new workplace will be supportive and friendly? I want to have a wworkplace "family" where team work is valued. Many managers will say they are supportive but then they end up the opposite.
    joannem17 likes this.

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  2. 36 Comments...

  3. 2
    Wow! Sounds like you are a bully victim, which contributes to unsafe working conditions, I agree you should find people who will not treat you this way.
    SoldierNurse22 and Violach like this.
  4. 6
    (gently) After 8 months of working full time , you should have left some of your 'new grad insecurity' behind, and this may have contributed to your charge nurses' perception. I am also a bit troubled of your broad characterization "many managers will say they are supportive but they end up the opposite". You are a new grad. How many nurse managers have you worked with? Did you expect the manager to refute/override her charge nurses input? Was that a reasonable expectation?

    Your perceptions are limited to your own experience, while they (having worked with new grads before) have some basis of comparison. IMO, you should have accepted the work improvement plan. This is not an unusual process & it would have provided you with a clear plan for improvement, including the goals that need to be met and the specific criteria that will be used to measure 'success'. You may have shot yourself in the foot.

    Even though it always feels very personal when we receive critical feedback, we don't really know whether we are the only person who was counseled since this occurs in private and is not shared with anyone else. In this case, the other nurses involved with the incomplete form may have also been counseled.
    Ruby Vee, KelRN215, wooh, and 3 others like this.
  5. 2
    First off I am sorry you had a rough time at this place. Did they have a NG program that you were a part of? Some place you could get support? I remember coming out of nursing school with the warning to make sure the place I worked had a strong new graduate program to support integration. I was an ADN when I entered nursing and I remember asking a lot of questions as well, really we all do, and often encourage new grads to ask because if you aren't asking, then we don't know what you need.

    On piece of advice I have learned through my experience and now education in my MSN-Nursing Ed is ask questions, but supply your own best guess first. So if you have a patient with tachycardia you could offer "my patients heart rate is 135 consistently, which is new for her, I checked her potassium and it was 3.2 this morning and trending down. Do you think calling the doctor for a K level might be a good idea?"

    Showing staff that you are trying to work out the problem yourself, but need a little reassurance is the way a lot of nurses like to be approached. Also, find a nurse or two that you are getting on well with, and stick with them for most of your questions. If there is a new grad program graduate they can sometimes be a great resource, and be more tolerant. Older nurses are also amazing vaults of information, just find someone approachable, and try not to ask the same question to everyone on the unit. I have heard people talk that this makes them feel like you don't trust their judgement.

    As far as finding a job with a family-like supportive atmosphere, I think it is hit or miss, however I think you can protect yourself. Look for units that support new graduate training. I came from a strong and supportive Magnet hospital and do believe the culture there makes a difference for new grads. IN addition I did my practicum recently there, and taught in the new grad residency program, and was often met with feelings of empowerment and trust from the new grads.

    Best of luck!

    Tait
    Ir15hd4nc3r_RN and lovelylady3 like this.
  6. 2
    Than you for the advice! I am actually applying at 2 different magnet hospitals with a nurse residency. This hospital I came from did not have a residency and was not magnet. It was 10 weeks of preceptor training. There was also a very high turnover of staff. I will definitely be more selective about where I work. Nursing is too stressful to work at a place that doesn't support nurses. New or experienced.
    Ir15hd4nc3r_RN and Tait like this.
  7. 3
    Aw, I'm sorry you went through this. I went through something very similiar at my first job as a RN in ICU. I got compliments from docs and patients, haven't made any major errors, I thought I was doing well. Then BOOM! Out of nowhere my co-workers started complaining about my care, yelling at me, reported that I asked too many questions.
    I couldn't take it anymore and I resigned. The more moral was horrible on the unit and they had a poor retention of nurses. I would also see my friends posting on FB about how muh they love their jobs and blah,blah,blah. I was envious of them. I thought, I am the only one who hates their job.
    First thing you need to do is do a self assessment. Think about what specialty you really want to work in and that fits your personality and go for it.
    Start applying. While applying think about things you could do differently so that you will be better than before. When asked "why did you leave". Do not put the blame on your employer. Say something along the lines that it was not a good fit for you at the time, looking for career advancement, and etc.
    Hang in there, I'm sure it'll get better.
    I recently got hired into my dream job and I'm excited to start!
  8. 5
    Another thing to think about as you look to transitioning to a new job, that will hopefully be a better experience for you, is are you asking appropriate questions. I too ask a lot of questions at work and although I'm not a new nurse, I joke with one of our really experienced nurses when I work next to her that I'm happy to have someone around who can answer all of my millions of questions. But you have to be careful if you're asking smart questions or not.

    Something I found myself doing after I had been a nurse about 6 months, was I was asking my charge questions every time I had to make a decision regarding my patient. My charge nurses never said anything to me about this, but I realized as we had other new people starting that they weren't asking as many questions as I was. As I thought about it, I realized I didn't have the confidence to make decisions on my own and was still putting that responsibility on my charge. I knew what I was doing, but that transition from feeling like a new grad, to being a competent new nurse has to happen at some point. So I stopped asking charge for her opinion or help on things that I should be handling on my own. An example would be, if your patient loses their IV, you go try to start a new one and if unsuccessful ask charge to call the IV team. Instead of asking charge about it before you've even tried to get one.

    At some point, you have to realize you aren't a new grad anymore, you are a nurse and need to act like it. I'm sorry the people you were working with were not supportive and didn't bother to help you transition in a non-accusatory way. But I think as you look for a new job, keep in mind that they will see you as an experienced nursing coming into the position, not a new grad. They will expect to do a lot less hand-holding than they would with a new grad. Think about all of the things you've learned over the last 8 months and how much you know. And put that knowledge to good use! Good luck
    Ir15hd4nc3r_RN, wooh, joanna73, and 2 others like this.
  9. 2
    Quote from HouTx
    (gently) After 8 months of working full time , you should have left some of your 'new grad insecurity' behind, and this may have contributed to your charge nurses' perception. I am also a bit troubled of your broad characterization "many managers will say they are supportive but they end up the opposite". You are a new grad. How many nurse managers have you worked with? Did you expect the manager to refute/override her charge nurses input? Was that a reasonable expectation?

    Your perceptions are limited to your own experience, while they (having worked with new grads before) have some basis of comparison. IMO, you should have accepted the work improvement plan. This is not an unusual process & it would have provided you with a clear plan for improvement, including the goals that need to be met and the specific criteria that will be used to measure 'success'. You may have shot yourself in the foot.

    Even though it always feels very personal when we receive critical feedback, we don't really know whether we are the only person who was counseled since this occurs in private and is not shared with anyone else. In this case, the other nurses involved with the incomplete form may have also been counseled.


    Actually, I was feeling more confident as time went on. I don't think it's unreasonable
    To still have some insecurity, due to me not having completed my first year. Most still think of people with less than one year of exp as a new grad...both hospitals I am applying sure do.

    No way was i going to accept a performance plan from them. They gossiped about me,
    Degraded me. What they did wasn't critical feedback, it was bullying.

    Most work improvement plans are used as a way of gathering info to fire someone. I've worked corporate enough to know this. I've seen others go through it. They only work if he manager has good intentions.

    This is where nursing fails its own. Instead of support, I got told i was given up on.and a
    Punitive step offered. Over one paperwork error.

    Charge nurses are not always right, And often are involved in workplace bullying. Bullying starts from the top and trickles down. Managers should treat every employ with respect, and give all of us due process, not just the charge nurses.
    mh356 and prnqday like this.
  10. 7
    Ok, two things offhand. First, I get the impression you are very defensive and possibly not being realistic about your issues. It seems like instead of taking what they told you as constructive criticism, even if it didn't come across as such, you are kind of playing the victim. I mean, as a new grad straight out of school, asking lots of questions would be appropriate, and their comments were probably a lot more relaxed. But I can easily see how after 8 months with them and not enough autonomy and improvement they might get more impatient with you. Take a step back and try to see this objectively.

    I will also agree with Tait's advice. I had a new grad LPN that was consistently assigned to my team because I was the only one who could tolerate her constant questions. I mentioned to her once that it is completely normal to have questions, especially when you are new and inexperienced. As a preceptor, or mentor, or wtv you want to call it, it helps US to help YOU if you present us with a possible solution to your question. We can evaluate your thinking, specifically your critical thinking. We can see where you are going wrong, or right. And heck, it might even help build your confidence, because if you approach me with a question and a solution, and I tell you that you are completely right, you will start to see that you don't need constant supervision and assistance.
    Ruby Vee, Still Standing, KelRN215, and 4 others like this.
  11. 0
    Quote from Jeweles26
    Ok, two things offhand. First, I get the impression you are very defensive and possibly not being realistic about your issues. It seems like instead of taking what they told you as constructive criticism, even if it didn't come across as such, you are kind of playing the victim. I mean, as a new grad straight out of school, asking lots of questions would be appropriate, and their comments were probably a lot more relaxed. But I can easily see how after 8 months with them and not enough autonomy and improvement they might get more impatient with you. Take a step back and try to see this objectively.

    I will also agree with Tait's advice. I had a new grad LPN that was consistently assigned to my team because I was the only one who could tolerate her constant questions. I mentioned to her once that it is completely normal to have questions, especially when you are new and inexperienced. As a preceptor, or mentor, or wtv you want to call it, it helps US to help YOU if you present us with a possible solution to your question. We can evaluate your thinking, specifically your critical thinking. We can see where you are going wrong, or right. And heck, it might even help build your confidence, because if you approach me with a question and a solution, and I tell you that you are completely right, you will start to see that you don't need constant supervision and assistance.
    You make a fabulous point about how to ask questions. It does sound better to first offer a plan or idea of how to proceed, instead of just asking. I'll def use that in the future.
    Last edit by lovelylady3 on Mar 5, '13 : Reason: Spelling


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