Hello all! I am in a very sticky situation, and am looking for advise. I am a new grad, have been working on a very busy, short staffed floor for three weeks now. When I interviewed for the position I was told that everyone's orientation period was individualized, but the average time period was 8 to 10 weeks. Two weeks into orientation I am told that I will be on my own after 5 weeks. I think this is unbelievably unsafe! I just don't think I will be prepared in two more weeks. I tried to voice my concerns to my manager and she gave me an extra two days (she basically told me that is all she could do because I was already on the schedule and if she took me off the unit would be short staffed). And to top it off I will be orienting those two days on nights and my first day on my own will be that same week on days. So not only will I be starting on my own but I will probably be sleep deprived. I just don't know what to do. We all know that new grad positions are hard to come by these days, so I can't just quit. But I want to be safe! I do not want to harm patients or put my license on the line. How do I handle this? Should I quit if I go to the manager again and she says I can't have more orientation time? And if so how do I explain this to future potential employers without looking like I couldn't hack it? ...I really don't want to quit, I like the patient population and everyone on the unit seems to be friendly, but I also know that I have A LOT to learn to do and two and a half more weeks just is not going to cut it.
The whole situation has made me more than a little disillusioned with the nursing profession. This was my dream position and its turned out to be exactly what I was trying to avoid.
Jun 7, '10
Well, I was in a similiar situation about 2 months ago. I too am a new grad and was told by my hospital I would get a longer orientation. I thought I was getting 8 or 9 wks and ended up getting 6wks. I spoke with my nurse educator and they did explain they could extend it by a few days but not much more for scheduling reasons. I was terrified to get off Orientation, but like many vets have told me, you never are going to truly feel READY. You'll always think you can use more time. I use to jokingly say I would take a 6 month Orientation if they would let me. But I said all that to say that 2 months off Orientation later I feel Im doing ok. I still have tons of questions, still ask my coworkers for help...and thats ok. I still go to work everyday nervous, because Im hoping I can tackle the challenges of the night (I work nights) but my coworkers are amazing, and I never really feel alone. Just last week I had a patient spike a heart rate of 172, several PVCs on the monitor and I was terrified. But literally everyone there helped me. One nurse helped page a doctor for me, another nurse helped me with assessing the patient, another nurse was able to help me put orders in the computer that the doctor wanted and then ANOTHER nurse helped me get the patient to another unit that was better able to deal with patients with heart problems. I was truly thankful for their support. So I personally think you just do some soul searching...do you feel you're not ready to be alone because of your nerves, or do you feel you would be unsafe. IF you feel you would be unsafe I would definitely ask your manager about getting a few extra shifts added. Maybe you can shadow a nurse or your day off, or something of that nature to get extra time in. If you think its just nerves (which mine was, I had so much anxiety about this I cried a few times) then I think you should just bite the bullet and see how it goes. I really feel like sometimes the hardest part of getting off Orientation is the act of getting off. Once your off you realize that you're not really alone. You also realize that you learned alot more in Orientation than you thought. Im only 2 months off so trust me I completely understand what you are going through. But I really believe you will find its not as bad as you thought. Especially if you have nice,helpful coworkers. But dont quit...as you said jobs for new grads are so hard to come by. If you can tough it out I would. GOOD LUCK!
Last edit by OBGYN*RN on Jun 7, '10
Jun 7, '10
I work for LTC. When I started, I was under the impression that I'll be getting 3 months orientation. Little did I know, it was only for 6 weeks. I was off orientation and on my first day on my own, I have never been so stressed in my life. I don't even know how the nurses there who worked for 3-10 years lasted that long. I believe that you need to talk to your manager and ask for more time if you need it. The new nurse anxieties doesn't go overnight, but if you think it's not safe for you to be on your own with less orientation, then it's not worth risking your license. Just see how your shift goes when you're on your own. If you can't handle it, let your manager know. Good Luck!
Jun 7, '10
I'm not sure when the new grad orientation expectations became so long and I think if you talk to most experienced nurses you will find that this is way more than they got. I got 6 shifts and was cut loose. It does depend on the individual and like someone else said I would have liked more time but in hindsight I was ready.
Jun 8, '10
I am about to start my orientation this week and they told me it's only for 7 weeks an I am so nervous. I haven't even starated orientation and I feel overwhelmed and I just feel like I don't believe in myself. I hope you do well and just kno that you are not he only one.
Jun 10, '10
I'm in the same situation. I've been in orientation for 5 weeks and I get my wings tomorrow. And it's also my first night shift. To say the least I'm terrified because the shift I'll be working is all new nurses also. (like less than 1 year experience)
Jun 11, '10
Has it ocurred to you that maybe your orientation is being shortened because you are advancing more rapidly than expected? As an educator, I firmly believe developing orientations around "individual mastery" rather than specific time periods. If you have already met orientation goals, spending more time on them would be wasteful. You should trust your manager & preceptor - they have a basis of comparison that you don't have.
A bit of perspective - keeping in mind that I am older than dirt. When I started my very first job in 1980 as a new grad in a neuro-trauma ICU, I had a 2 week orientation. During that time, I had to successfully complete all the written materials & pass all the required competency tests. Afterward, I was given a full patient load. This was pretty standard. I still remember the great nurses and manager I worked with... stayed at that job 3 years before I had to leave due to hubby's job transfer.
Everyone is nervous when faced with something new - but that doesn't mean you aren't ready to fly. Your manager believes in you.... Go for it!
Jun 11, '10
I agree completely with HouTx! Plus, keep in mind that even when you're off of orientation, you can still ask plenty of questions if you need to. I think you'll do great!
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