New grad problems.....your thoughts appreciated!

  1. 0
    Hey everyone,

    I graduated last May with my BSN. After months & months of applying to hospitals & getting nowhere, I decided to start applying to LTC/rehab facilities & finally I was hired this month. I have to say it's bittersweet. I'm thankful to have a job but I'm saddened to not be starting my career in a graduate nurse program getting a formal thorough orientation & acute care experience! LTC for a new grad is horrifying; orientation is brief & informal. I was given FIVE measly days then put on the floor on my own! I'm constantly feeling overwhelmed & incompetent to be a nurse responsible for 30pts. LTC is not for me!
    Today I still continue to search for hospital jobs since thats where I want to be. I know if I were to get hired soon, I'd still be considered a new nurse & would qualify for a graduate nurse program. But if not, I worry how well I will transition into acute care without being given the thorough orientation of a new grad. Or even worse---> will I have a hard time getting hired because I don't have hospital experience?! ( My morale has been so low post-grad, I thought finishing nursing school was winning the battle...what a rude awakening!
    Anyone have any personal stories of their transition from LTC/nonacute care nursing to the hospital? Was it not so bad? How long & thorough was your orientation? Did you feel it was suffice? Did you have a hard time getting a position because you had no hospital experience? I know all facilities are different but any and all input would be helpful!

    Thank you all!!
    Signed
    A worried & disheartened newbie
  2. 9 Comments so far...

  3. 0
    I totally feel you. I'm a new grad also. I graduated with my BSN in December, passed NCLEX in February and I'm still hunting for jobs. Have been looking since before graduation for residencies. It's been very disheartening. I haven't quite gotten to the point you are at, but I'm close.

    I'm sorry I have no advice to give you, but I do hope that everything works out for you, and I am interested in responses here as I may likely find myself in the same boat soon. I wish you the best of luck!
  4. 0
    In my experience they tailor your orientation to your experience. Since you will have never worked in a hospital you will probably have the same length of orientation as new grads even though you won't be "new". Every hospital and every floor is different so it's hard to say. For now just focus on your assessments and meds and keep your chin up.
  5. 0
    Hi tua42321! What state are you in? I know how you feel. I am a foreign grad and when I first got here and took my NCLEX I was hired in a LTC facility. They gave me 2-3 weeks orientation. (I'm from NJ btw) and it's sooooo hard to get a FT work here. I tried to keep my head up and learn everything I can. After about 3 months, I become a Charge Nurse in the SubAcute Unit. It was overwhelming but I took it as a challenge. I kept working and educating myself, perfecting my assessment skills... After 6 months of working, I took my ACLS, IV class, etc and applied in a hospital setting. No one wanted me. They said that they only hired skilled RN who have a hospital experience. I was devastated. I kept working in the Rehab Center and on my free time, I volunteered in the Red Cross to remind myself why I become a nurse. It's absolutely hard to find work in the hospital setting in NJ/NY area since a lot of hospitals are closing plus I don't know anybody to help me get in as well in any of the big hospitals.

    Anyway, after a year and a half of working in LTC/Rehab, I tried my luck again. I'm now going to start in an Ortho/Neuro unit next month in a different state (Texas). So, I think you just have to try and remind yourself why you become a nurse and be patient. Learn as much as you can. Don't be shy and communicate with your supervisors as well. Tell them you feel like you didn't understand some parts of the job you were assigned and would like a refresher. It's tough being a nurse right now. But stay positive! Good luck!
  6. 1
    Dear Tua42321:

    I am so sorry to hear about your troubles. You and I graduated in a year where a lot of our peers still are not able to find work -- Many of those who do, are not in places they wished to be after school. As a former CNA at an LTC, I feel your pain. I never understood how nurses go through stuff with 30-patients or more.

    The best advice I can give you is to find those CNAs/PCAs that are really good and you can trust to back you up. Ask them to be involved and be on the look out for "bad news" from the patients. Many CNAs have keen instincts about stuff that goes on and if they know those residents, the best of the best will keep a keen eye on those under your care. Learn to depend on their help, but try and help them too when they can use it. As a Med-Surg RN that got great experience through being a CNA, I will never discount the intuition of the CNAs I work with.

    In my other life, I am a Soldier in the Army National Guard. The military isn't for everyone and I'm not a recruiter, but I will tell you that some of the best, brightest, smartest, and most pleased nurses I have met do military nursing. Contact a medical recruiter near you if you want to find info about it. The Army always needs nurses, but I'd recommend the Air Force as they treat personnel the best (from what I see and am told). If you really want out of LTC, consider looking into Military Nursing.

    Beyond all else, however, I hope that you will stay strong and motivated. Continue to excel on the floor, there is always something you can learn at all care levels. In LTC as a CNA, I got really proficient with woundvacs, wound care, and such. Find something that interests you and tackle it to your best ability every shift. I am still very stressed out sometimes on the floor with 5-8 Pts, I can only imagine 30.

    Bottom line, motivate yourself and keep a strong upper lip. I know you're disheartened, but you and I are still learning how to fill the role of caregiver solo, you're smart and with your BSN, you have upward mobility. Get some great experience in LTC and before you know it you'll find an in to the hospital! Just keep trucking.

    Depending on where you live, I can give you some advice -- If you're in SoFla region, my hospital certainly needs RNs! We just opened a new facility and desperately want to find more staff, so if you are down here, let me know.


    On a final note, one of my mentors who is a new ACNP was a floor nurse for thirty years. She got driven out of management b/c she was too opinionated and fought vigorously against the status quo. Disgruntled, she decided to accept that she couldn't be a coordinator of care anymore, returned to the floor, became a nurse practitioner, and now practices with a GI group at the hospital where she worked as an RN for three decades. The change in her status made her decide to finally pursue ARNP studies. You could always consider that if finances work out for you.

    At any rate, I wish you the best -- Hope every day gets better!
    smbisson likes this.
  7. 0
    Aww what a journey it has been for you! well congratulations on starting in a hospital next month. I too was searching in ny/nj area for a job with no luck & I ended up moving to florida where I have family and found employment there. Thanks for your story, it's encouraging, I hope to be in acute care soon!
  8. 0
    thank you all for your help!! please keep the advice coming!
    Last edit by tua42321 on Mar 19, '13
  9. 0
    Quote from kChoRN
    Dear Tua42321:

    I am so sorry to hear about your troubles. You and I graduated in a year where a lot of our peers still are not able to find work -- Many of those who do, are not in places they wished to be after school. As a former CNA at an LTC, I feel your pain. I never understood how nurses go through stuff with 30-patients or more.

    The best advice I can give you is to find those CNAs/PCAs that are really good and you can trust to back you up. Ask them to be involved and be on the look out for "bad news" from the patients. Many CNAs have keen instincts about stuff that goes on and if they know those residents, the best of the best will keep a keen eye on those under your care. Learn to depend on their help, but try and help them too when they can use it. As a Med-Surg RN that got great experience through being a CNA, I will never discount the intuition of the CNAs I work with.

    In my other life, I am a Soldier in the Army National Guard. The military isn't for everyone and I'm not a recruiter, but I will tell you that some of the best, brightest, smartest, and most pleased nurses I have met do military nursing. Contact a medical recruiter near you if you want to find info about it. The Army always needs nurses, but I'd recommend the Air Force as they treat personnel the best (from what I see and am told). If you really want out of LTC, consider looking into Military Nursing.

    Beyond all else, however, I hope that you will stay strong and motivated. Continue to excel on the floor, there is always something you can learn at all care levels. In LTC as a CNA, I got really proficient with woundvacs, wound care, and such. Find something that interests you and tackle it to your best ability every shift. I am still very stressed out sometimes on the floor with 5-8 Pts, I can only imagine 30.

    Bottom line, motivate yourself and keep a strong upper lip. I know you're disheartened, but you and I are still learning how to fill the role of caregiver solo, you're smart and with your BSN, you have upward mobility. Get some great experience in LTC and before you know it you'll find an in to the hospital! Just keep trucking.

    Depending on where you live, I can give you some advice -- If you're in SoFla region, my hospital certainly needs RNs! We just opened a new facility and desperately want to find more staff, so if you are down here, let me know.


    On a final note, one of my mentors who is a new ACNP was a floor nurse for thirty years. She got driven out of management b/c she was too opinionated and fought vigorously against the status quo. Disgruntled, she decided to accept that she couldn't be a coordinator of care anymore, returned to the floor, became a nurse practitioner, and now practices with a GI group at the hospital where she worked as an RN for three decades. The change in her status made her decide to finally pursue ARNP studies. You could always consider that if finances work out for you.

    At any rate, I wish you the best -- Hope every day gets better!

    How ironic you mention the military, I actually was seriously considering it! I wanted acute experience so bad, I was willing to try it. Plus I'd love to travel so it seemed like a good idea! However I received a govt nursing scholarship (HRSA) for school which I'm under agreement to work within the states at a public facility for 2 yrs [pretty much anywhere thats not private practice] & military nursing does not qualify---I contacted the scholarship program just to be sure .

    Im originally from the new england area, searched for jobs in ny/nj/pa region with no luck, so then I decided to move to florida where I have family! I'm near Orlando! How far is your hospital from central florida? If it would mean getting into acute care I would consider commuting. What facility are you at? Private message me if you have the ability, I don't have the ability to yet!

    Thanks! looking forward to speaking with you!
  10. 0
    I too have felt the new grad curse, I am in CA just graduated in December a few of my classmates are doing LTC and rehab facilities- I don't have knowledge on how the transition is. However moving to another state is definitely the way to go, I found a job pretty quick once I looked in Texas and Louisiana. Typical training for new grads is 6-8 weeks, more for higher acuity units. Good luck!
  11. 0
    Whereabouts in TX? Did you get your license before you started looking in those other states? I'm a homesick Texan, but I'm from Austin and I suspect I'd be no better off there than here.


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