Sounds like my experience exactly, only I got fired/terminated after 12 weeks' orientation, with no warning that would occur. In my final week on the tele unit, I was assigned to three 12 hour night shifts in a row and had patient loads of 4 each the first two nights and 5 on the last night. The first night I had an accidental needle stick with an insulin pen (barely punctured the skin and drew no blood, but required post-exposure blood draw nonetheless). The second night I spiked my finger with an IV spike and had to ask the preceptor for a replacement of the IV med and tubing while I cleaned and bandaged my finger. (Thankfully there was no exposure to the patient.) (I do think the accidents were directly related to my feeling that I needed to work faster and was pushing myself beyond my ability to be safe, which was very unwise.)
The third night, with five patients, I was running crazily trying to keep up, no doubt appearing as one who has totally lost their cool! I was feeling overwhelmed and, admittedly, a little angry that I was running like crazy while others sat and chatted. I believe they felt it was wrong for them to step in to help since I was supposed to start working independently (maybe?). I also went into the lunchroom without telling my preceptor, for just a few minutes, while I choked down some food. No one said anything. And, I ended up having to stay almost 2 hours past my shift to finish my charting that morning. The following week I was let go.
I am not proud of my mistakes and lapses, and I think I could have studied and reviewed more. Had I known that termination was in the cards, I might have been able to pull it together sooner, by asking for help in my weak areas. It bothers me some that I wasn't given that chance. But I'm acutely aware that I am the novice, and the managers have decades of experience, so who am I to say....
I saw a greeting card in a shop today, which I'm going to have to go back and purchase. I will put it on the bulletin board over my desk, where I pursue my new job search, and where the hurdles now seem exceedingly high. The card reads: "Everyone has been to Suckville." Dark humor, granted, but it makes me smile. And reminds me that we all struggle and suffer in this life from time to time.
I no longer take anything for granted. I am now a much more serious and determined RN, but one who knows I'm not superwoman. I will be cautious about the next position I accept. In the meantime, I'm redoubling my efforts to review all my nursing knowledge and skills, and everything I learned in my first 12 weeks (which really was a lot), and am studying everything I can find on time management and workload organizing for nurses. I am composing and rehearsing answers to the interview question "Why did you leave your last position?" Also, I've become a regular on this forum, am finding validation and support, and expect to be here for the duration.
I hope to be leaving "Suckville" before too long, too!