New grad fired, need much encouragement!

  1. Hello To all nurses or on the way to becoming one! First I would like to say thank you to who have posted or have replied to posting on this web site. Everyone has been supportive with great advice given to those in need. Having read as many post, it has encouraged me as well as given me insight into what I need to do to succeed and excel as a new nurse. I graduated in May from an ADN program. I have never worked in a hospital setting before my graduation so the setting was all very new to me. Let's be realistic 16 clinical's a semester does not give enough training for anyone to be proficient in nursing care. Growing up my mom was a nurse and I knew that is all I ever wanted to do. My mom worked at a bigger hospital so I wanted to follow in her footsteps. I took a 12 hour/3 day a week midnight position at a hospital approximately a little over an hour away. I orientated on days and then after 6 weeks went to midnights. I never realized how much I was going to like days. Also another negative was the driving (took added time away from my husband and kids) and the increased cost of gas (500 dollars a month). I decided after total of three months of working at this extremely fast paced surgical floor I would closer to home for a daytime community hospital. I found the perfect job 4 days a week on the 7am to 3pm. No more 2 hours of driving and I would be home when my husband and kids would be home. I started on November 20th with two weeks of classroom orientation. Then I started my clinical orientation. The work schedule was detailed and well exceeded my expectations. I felt at home at this hospital because it was where all 3 of my children were born. My assigned preceptor was a girl whom I attended high school with. She was one year younger than me and was basically a "nerd" in high school. Not that I classify people but that was her social status 15 years ago. She was not over friendly to me at the beginning of my clinical orientation. When docs gave her verbal orders or spoke to her about my assinged patients she did not communicate to me on what has transpired. I was also not familiar with all of thier supplies such as their syringes had safety switches on them and the hospital before that I orientated did not have. So I had to learn the ins and outs of their equiptment. I alos was not familiarized with their standing orders laid out by the docs, the ones that seasoned nurses know like the back of their hands. I would ask questions about standing orders and would get a short and incomplete answer as this girl was not overly commucative with me and definately not friendly. I had the feeling that she had a grudge on me from her high school experience many years ago, which did not make me comfortable to perform my newly trained nursing skills with her present. On the second day of orientation, I had a cancer pt. who was in for increasing right flank pain due to pneumonia. My preceptor informed me she had a strong urge to void yet could not. She said that she attempted once on the toilet with out success. During my intial assesment the pt. was kind of showing signs of confusion and not respoonding completely coherent.She stated she had the urge to void again. I let her know we (daughter-in-law and myself) could assist her to bathroom. Directly in front of toilet as I was pulling pants down the pt. proceeded to become unresponsive and fainted. I knew she had fainted but her time unresponsive did not make me comfortable. I was the only nuse around and no immediate help was coming so I had the daughter pull the CODE BLUE button. Son and I carried her to bed before the room was filled with the code team during which she was still unresponsive. Immediately after the aid did the first blood pressure reading the pt. began regaining consciousness. The code was being dismissed and the doc, my preceptor, and I was present. I was recalling the information on what had happened up to calling the code. Doc asked me to do another B/P reading. At this time I was already very nervous. I did a completely wrong B/P reading by not inflating the cuff completely and gave him a inaccurate reading. Did it again still not sure how accurate it was. Just a bad situation!! My fault though. My precptor brought it to my attention on how the doc was upset about the readings and advised not to talk to him about it. Sorry, but I need to make myself feel better so I did talk to the doc about the situation and appologized about my inaccuracy and told him it I had never been in a code before and I was extremely nervous!! He gave me advice and was very nice in the advice he gave me. I told my preceptor that I talked to him and she replied, "You don't have to tell me, I saw you talking to him." and then walked away from me. I kept asking for a debriefing on the situation but failed to get one. The next day the same preceptor asked me about the temp. on a polar care for a total knee surgical pt. I told her I looked over the setup but did not specifically look at the temp. I told her I would check it. At 8:30 (about 15 minutes after she asked me to check it) I got a temp reading of 48 degrees. I then remembered from my school clinical training that there is a part on the computerized charting to document temp. The previous palce I worked, which used the same computer program, did not have the option of charting the temp. So it was not at the top of my documentation list but I now know. As the days went on the preceptor continued to make me more and more nervous. Before giving toradol IV push I forgot to flush then administer med. I had brought in the flush but began first by pushing med!! MY MISTAKE!! I acknowledged it as my mistake. I will never omit that again. Over the days my preceptor would let me do less and less making me feel less comfortable. Even though I had a solid 8 week orientation at another hospital this was a all new setting with a whole new set of docs with different policies and procedures. I continued to ask whatever I could even though I was not getting complete answers. I also knew she was talking about me to other staff because she would "call" me on stuff that I asked them about a procedure. I thought the other people I was asking were there to help me but in actuaility they were back stabbing me. Which I can blow off but it does not make for a good learning environment. At one point I went to the nurse manager hoping to get a preceptor change but was unsuccesful. The nurse manager did tweak my schedule to give me an additional week of orientation. So the dreaded day came. On December 15th the nurse manager came to get me to have a meeting with her and the DON. They stated that I was not progressing as I should have been (after two weeks on the floor). They made comments about safety issues such the torodol issue and they also brought up the situation about the polar care temp. They said when my preceptor checked on the temp at 1100 it was 70 degrees, I explained that was due to pt. out of bed by PT and when they put her to bed they hooked polar care back up but did not replug unit. Also that was almost 3 hours after I got temp of 48 degrees. Also blood pressure reading was rebought to my attention. I restated that I spoke to doc about situation. Also my preceptor had other nurses document on my inability to perform nursing skills. These are the same people I went to for advice. Unfortuantely it worked to my disadvantage. Some things they siad I replied that I could not admit to because they did not occur. They said they saw a pattern forming and felt their pt. were not safe with me. They gave me the option to resign before they terminated me. I was confused so I opted to resigning, I did not know what would have happened if they terminated me. WhaT I got out out of this experience is MOSTLY we could all increse the safety that we perform with our pt.'s. That is evolving and lifelong when you practice nursing. Second is humility. It has to make me strongerto perform up to standards and keep me in check that I am not perfect and the questions I ask will never end.

    I have to admit this has been a discouraging start to my nursing career. What is important though is that my nursing license has not been affected. One more note to be added to this recent experience, is that the preceptor never noted that on one my assinged pt. that when she hung a POTASSIUM RIDER (because I was not competent enough to do it), that she incorrectly set the rate for 500ml/hr and the amount to be infused was 130ml. The rate was supposed to go at 130ml/hr with the amount to be infused was 500ml. She was ready to walkout of room when I professionally told her of her mistake. She never said oh thanks, or I made a mistake. She just changed it and walked right by me. I guarrantee that would NOT have been changed if I did not bring that to her attention. Guess what, she never told the nurse manager or the DON about that. Go figure.

    Sorry about the long posting. I just thought I had to state this much to make it clear where I come from and where I stand now. Any replies, advice, constructive criticism, and encouragement would be appreciated! Thanks to all!

    Jennifer
    Last edit by jennykaye on Dec 19, '06
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   RGN1
    This is a real shame for you but you can't afford to beat yourself up about it. you have to "get back on the horse" so to speak & go find a job where you get the support you need.

    Quite frankly I wouldn't want to work somewhere I was so unsupported anyway. Put it behind you & look forwards not backwards. Take the things you need to learn from this & ditch those things that you don't!
  4. by   samaletta
    Wow!! What a disheartening experience! Sounds like the nerd was jealous of you and DID NOT want you to succeed, otherwise she would have been more supportive and helped you to find answers to questions you had. I also think that being that was your first code....SHE SHOULD HAVE gone over how things went with you - that is such a major learning experience that you missed out on. I have never been in a code before, and I think it might be easy to make a mistake like the one you made. Everybody is going to make a mistake at some point, but you have to learn from it.....she didnt even let you do that. I know that you must be humiliated and also (to a degree) be questioning yourself, I know I would be, but that seems like a bad environment. Maybe this happened for a reason. If those other nurses were "backstabbing" you when you were going to them for advice as a new graduate....just think about how it would be to work with them everyday.
    Don't give up, and don't let it get you down. Find a new job where you can be the excellent nurse that you know you are!!
  5. by   LargoLPN
    Quote from samaletta
    Wow!! What a disheartening experience! Sounds like the nerd was jealous of you and DID NOT want you to succeed, otherwise she would have been more supportive and helped you to find answers to questions you had. I also think that being that was your first code....SHE SHOULD HAVE gone over how things went with you - that is such a major learning experience that you missed out on. I have never been in a code before, and I think it might be easy to make a mistake like the one you made. Everybody is going to make a mistake at some point, but you have to learn from it.....she didnt even let you do that. I know that you must be humiliated and also (to a degree) be questioning yourself, I know I would be, but that seems like a bad environment. Maybe this happened for a reason. If those other nurses were "backstabbing" you when you were going to them for advice as a new graduate....just think about how it would be to work with them everyday.
    Don't give up, and don't let it get you down. Find a new job where you can be the excellent nurse that you know you are!!
    :yeahthat: keep on, keeping on. dont let them get you down
  6. by   jjjoy
    You're not alone in having a "failed" preceptorship out of nursing school. They may say 'you weren't up to speed' or it's "unsafe" - something that sounds like it's all your failure but you know the situation is more complex than that. You already have good reason to doubt your preceptor's assessment of your abilities. You discovered that this hospital couldn't/wouldn't accomodate your learning requests (change of preceptor). I'll bet you learned an awful lot regardless, too! Hey, paid education... not bad even if it didn't translate to a long-term job.

    I got called in for a talk like yours... was let go for more or less the same type of situation. For once the practice of positive affirmations actually worked for me. I told myself over and over "I did my best. I'm proud of my efforts. I've learned and grown." I admit I still broke down in tears in the meeting but I did manage to salvage my internal sense of pride despite being in a situation that really sucked.

    As the previous poster encouraged, keep on keeping on!
  7. by   RN BSN 2009
    I wouldnt want to work with such a caniving(sp?) group anyways... scandalous!!
  8. by   SuesquatchRN
    I'm a May grad who was recently let go. It took a week, but it was a good thing. I was given more responsibility than I was ready for and was told to use the more experienced nurses as back-up and, when I did, would get chastised.

    Oh, well. Live and learn - and move on. The right position is waiting for you.

    May I say something abaout your writing style, with no offense intended? Paragraphs would have made it much more easily readable.

  9. by   nurseangel47
    Like the others said, get back in the saddle again, know that it wasn't you. None of those things in and of themselves were the reason you were let go. Sounds rather like nitpicking to find a reason to put it on paperl
    You'll be fine. I hope that you find a better fit next time. Sometimes we have to just try different settings/specialties before finding where we're more comfortable and will thrive.
  10. by   jennykaye
    Thanks to all who have taken the time to read my story and post. I nw the mistakes I made . I am not perfect and actually they were prety sloppy mistakes such as the toradol. I never thought that would make me lose my job. I nver installed the wrong med or the wrong amount but I did not take the needed first step to make the med go in more slowly. I know I was wrong. Lesson Learned. I am able to move past it but they were not. I think the bolus of potassium that my preceptor almost gave to my pt. would have been more harmful than any med error I have ever commited. Thanks again everyone! One thing I know for sure, I love nursing. It is my passion and this will continue through my enternal life! Jennifer
  11. by   medsurgnurse
    Most of the time I advise new nurses to admit your mistakes and learn from them. But in your situation I don't see what grave mistake you committed. the forgetting to flush is important but not life threatening. During the code situation, if you are unsure of the blood pressure, rechecking it is appropriate thing to do. I don't see how that can be considered an error. Reporting an inaccurate BP without confirming it would be the error here. Fast infusion of potassium is however LIFE THREATENING and did you tell the Manager about that. If you have a exit interview with HR, you can discuss the non-supportive environment. Maybe its good that you can move on away from a nest of vipers. Good luck, really don't be hard on yourself. All you really need is confidence, and that only comes with time and a good support system.
  12. by   HeatherLPN
    My first nursing job, AKA Hell on Earth was like that. I got a talking to on my SECOND day for supposedly some things I had done such as eye rolling when being shown something. That is so not me. I had to work some dayshift hours for training and those nurses were nasty nasty women. My nightshift preceptor had no complaints about me, but when I asked if they had talked with her, they said no. WTH? I lasted a month. Shifts overlapped and the first day I was on my own, those dayshift nurses went in for the kill. I never went back.

    It took me a few weeks to get another job, but the environment was SO much better. I'm still there. The nurses and other staff have been wonderful, and I've even been employee of the month once, with 4 different months of nominations. I AM a good nurse, I just needed a positive environment with supportive nurses. Keep looking til you find that environment and you will thrive as a nurse. Good luck.
  13. by   msmona
    I have had a similar nightmare first RN jobs. I was fired after 6 mos. My question is: How do I handle the questions that come up during an interview? Actually, I haven't even been able to get an interview because I was "terminated." Unless I go throught the whole story, prospective employers seem to think I am unsafe or something even if my old employer doesn't say why I was canned. If I talk, I am perceived as running down my last employer and how does that play out? There were many problems with the preceptorship and as a May grad, I needed feedback and guidelines and protocols and didn't get them. I wasn't even written up for anything until the day I was fired- then they said there were "issues"-WHAT?????
  14. by   WildcatFanRN
    Its amazing how many of us have had similar situations with our first RN job. I too am wondering if I'll even get an interview since I was "terminated" as "failed orientation". Most employers will see "terminated" and not bother.

    Keep on keepin on...what doesn't kill us makes us stronger.

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