anyone else feel this way?

  1. Hi everyone, I am new to this website and board. I have a big dilemma that I need some feedback on. I moved down south last July to take a nursing job in an Open Heart/Surgical ICU. I had 4 years of nursing experience, 3 in cardiopulmonary stepdown. I moved my two children and myself to an area where I had no family and friends, in order to take this job. I thought this would be a great opportunity..better job, better salary, better climate, and a HOUSE of my own for the first time in my divorced life. The problem I face is that some of the more senior nurses expect the newer nurses to be at the same working knowledge as they are. The doctors (99% of whom have no respect for the nurses) have NO respect for the new nurses--it is a big anxiety time when they make rounds in the morning. If I don't turn my wrist the right way to cut a suture, he snaps at me in front of the patient..etc etc. You get the point, I am sure. Obviously our mind reading capabilities are not quite up to par with the more senior nurses..haha. I feel the new nurses are "being tested"..to see if we can take it. I had a charge nurse (who isn't in charge very often because of her lack of ability and poor attitude) who basically let me drown with a dying patient, then reported to the dayshift charge that I "couldn't handle it". I waited a week to calm down and discussed it with my manager, and told her my side of the story. I asked her if there was a problem with my work--the answer was no. The manager offered to intervene, and I declined, as I have found that "discussions" with management usually do no good in matters like this. I told her I would practice avoidance for now, and thanked her for her offer. I switched my weekend schedule around (which I had already planned on doing prior to this), and am just avoiding that nurse in general. I guess I feel that the job is just too hard to have to deal with people like that.
    There have been a few other things go on, but the core of my question is this---what do the new ICU nurses have to do to survive? I'm not a new graduate, I have knowledge and experience to offer. But how can I succeed when a charge nurse feels that "her" way is the only way? At this point, I took some vacation time this week to relax, and have done a lot of thinking about this job. I don't even want to take care of open heart patients anymore, if it means having to go through this on a daily basis. My confidence has been undermined, and if I felt comfortable in my knowledge and skills in ICU, I would just laugh it off. But I only have 6 months worth of ICU experience under my belt and know that there is sooo much more to learn and absorb. Unfortunately, the learning environment is structured more like "throw them to the wolves". I talked about this with some newer nurses that have been in this unit a bit longer than myself. What they told me is this---you will get to a point where you don't care. That is the answer?? To not care? A little kindness goes so far, and it takes so much less energy to be nice. So, could anyone please offer up some advice to me? Maybe I need to grow some bigger shoulders...Thanks.
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  2. 26 Comments

  3. by   JulieW
    Oh my goodness yankee, I really feel for you. I can identify with some of your feelings, but on a much smaller scale. I started on nights at a hospital (med/oncology, NOT ICU!) and it was very much the 'being thrown to the wolves' mentality. Two two nurse-eaters on that floor had worked there since 1986 and probably loved when a new nurse, much less a new grad came to work on the floor. I tried working it out on my own, I tried the just-not-caring, tried direct confrontation, going to management, and talking with others in the same boat (which there were quite a few of). I ended up quitting after 6 months and found somewhere were I could be nurtured, appreciated, and somewhere where I love to work. The difference of course is that I didn't move for my job like you did, but still, there must be other places you can look..? I am really against anyone feeling miserable in their job, because I know what it feels like to dread work due to these people, and now I know what it feels like to love work and have a caring bunch around. So, whatever you decide, best of luck. Do know that you are not alone. A lot of nurses go through this and have to search around to find the right place. I'll keep you in my thoughts!
    Julie
  4. by   TXERRN
    That really sucks. Why, in a field where we have such poor support, must we attack our own? It sounds like you've done everything you can. If it doesn't get better, get another job. Hey, there's a shortage, there has to be better jobs out there. Try doing some agency work and seeing what other places are like and that way you will have some ideas. Agency work is good because you don't owe them any specific amount of hours, so you can do it at your own pace. When you find one you like, and they like you -- go for it. Good luck.
  5. by   yankee_in_SC
    Originally posted by JulieW:
    Oh my goodness yankee, I really feel for you. I can identify with some of your feelings, but on a much smaller scale. I started on nights at a hospital (med/oncology, NOT ICU!) and it was very much the 'being thrown to the wolves' mentality. Two two nurse-eaters on that floor had worked there since 1986 and probably loved when a new nurse, much less a new grad came to work on the floor. I tried working it out on my own, I tried the just-not-caring, tried direct confrontation, going to management, and talking with others in the same boat (which there were quite a few of). I ended up quitting after 6 months and found somewhere were I could be nurtured, appreciated, and somewhere where I love to work. The difference of course is that I didn't move for my job like you did, but still, there must be other places you can look..? I am really against anyone feeling miserable in their job, because I know what it feels like to dread work due to these people, and now I know what it feels like to love work and have a caring bunch around. So, whatever you decide, best of luck. Do know that you are not alone. A lot of nurses go through this and have to search around to find the right place. I'll keep you in my thoughts!
    Julie
    I still have 18 months to go with my contract in order to keep my sign on bonus...
    but there is another large hospital in this city, along with a smaller one about 25 miles away. As soon as I can get mentally and emotionally stronger, I am going to try to pick up some PRN work at one of these and see what it is like. I have gained 30+ pounds since July out of depression, so there are lots of "issues" that are telling me that this current job may not be quite the right one for me. I always said that I had a healthy fear and respect of ICU, now I struggle with the fear of not knowing what I thought I knew!! I ordered over $100 in books on Critical care and hemodynamic monitoring, but hands on experience is the only way to learn things. There is no joy in going to work these days, but maybe I am just feeling super sensitive??? Thanks Julie, for your input..sure feels good to have some friendly support way over here! Jen
  6. by   yankee_in_SC
    Originally posted by TXERRN:
    That really sucks. Why, in a field where we have such poor support, must we attack our own? It sounds like you've done everything you can. If it doesn't get better, get another job. Hey, there's a shortage, there has to be better jobs out there. Try doing some agency work and seeing what other places are like and that way you will have some ideas. Agency work is good because you don't owe them any specific amount of hours, so you can do it at your own pace. When you find one you like, and they like you -- go for it. Good luck.
    Hi TEXERRN..Thanks for the advice..there are lots of agency nurses working at my hospital, and believe me, I engage them in conversation whenever I can to get info!! Let me clarify that there are several friendly and helpful nurses where I work...but you know how it is...a few ruin it for all of us!! thanks for the advice! j
  7. by   yankee_in_SC
    Originally posted by Duckie:
    The above posts offer one good reason why there is a nursing shortage. Instead of training our less experienced nurses, they get "eaten alive." If nurses are not willing to help new nurses, then stop complaining to everyone that you're short of staff. If you keep running everyone off, you're gonna have to do the work they aren't there to do!!! When someone new or less experienced comes to our department, we should guide them, give them the scoop on how best to do things and most of all, be there to give advice when they goof up so it doesn't happen again. Come on everyone, we're all fighting the same battle, let's not kill our own under friendly fire. If you see someone doing this, remind them they're running off someone who can help lighten their load, and who can assist in caring for the patients, providing quality care, which is why we are all there in the first place.

    Hi Duckie: Thanks for the insight..I think the problem is that nurses are so overworked these days that it is just a race from clock in to clock out. Who has time for patience these days? I had a charge nurse who waited until I left the unit ( when I was requested to put an IV in a pt on the floor that no one else could get) to increase one of the drips on my patient and then told me "while you were gone, I increased the drip"..it had not even been discussed with me. I know they mean well, but that was not helping me, by not discussing with the primary nurse actions that needed to be taken. Am I just too sensitive? I can only experience so fast--if I could accelerate my critical care experience, I would. You are truly right--it's no wonder why nurses leave the profession. You begin to wonder if it's truly worth it. Thanks for replying..J
  8. by   hollykate
    Yankee,
    Is the sign on bonus worth it? I am a new grad who went to ICU and hated the environment on the unit. After doing some careful analysis I saw that we had had a 99% turnover in less than a year on the day shift. I was absoloutely miserable at work and at home. I literally cried everyday- even when I was off. So, I took myself over tot he other local level one trauma center, and found that with 6 months experience in the ICU they were delighted to take me.
    About the drip though, could be you are being sensitive- depends on the drip- maybe after you left it suddenly needed increasing- the RN who did it should have explained WHY though. My advice, is to go elsewhere, try a different type of ICU maybe MICU or RICU- when you interview look at the environment, not just the pts. Have you floated within your hospital? Maybe you can transfer to MICu and KEEP the bonus? Good Luck, and yes, those nurses are everywhere- so be careful, and try to keep your chin up.
  9. by   JennieBSN
    Hey there yankee!! When I read your post, all I could think was 'been there, done that.' My first job was NICU, and even though I'd done my senior year practicum there and had some experience, I still got 'eaten alive.' I left after EIGHT WEEKS. Loved the job, HATED the staff. Funny thing is, they STILL come up to me and ask when I'm 'coming back' to work with them. AS IF! Anyway, I agree with the folks who say to get out and go somewhere else. Immature people, unfortunately, will remain immature, and neither logic nor reasoning will change their behavior. I suspect where you live and work (I used to live there), but know you probably won't post that info here. I have a dear friend in Chas., SC at MUSC who works in the peds card. ICU and loves it. She too, though, had a really hard time when she first started, despite FIVE YEARS experience in peds card step-down. She's very sweet and supportive, and I'd be happy to give you her name and e-mail address if you want to hook up with her for support. Just e-mail me (click on the logo above my profile) from this site, and the info is yours. Keep your head up! By the way, my friend is a 'yankee in SC,' too...a Jersey girl.

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    [This message has been edited by kday (edited February 18, 2001).]
  10. by   duckie
    The above posts offer one good reason why there is a nursing shortage. Instead of training our less experienced nurses, they get "eaten alive." If nurses are not willing to help new nurses, then stop complaining to everyone that you're short of staff. If you keep running everyone off, you're gonna have to do the work they aren't there to do!!! When someone new or less experienced comes to our department, we should guide them, give them the scoop on how best to do things and most of all, be there to give advice when they goof up so it doesn't happen again. Come on everyone, we're all fighting the same battle, let's not kill our own under friendly fire. If you see someone doing this, remind them they're running off someone who can help lighten their load, and who can assist in caring for the patients, providing quality care, which is why we are all there in the first place.
  11. by   lita1857
    Ok I know I'm going to be eaten ALIVE for this but I really am interested in others views and Why you see it another way so here goes....how come some nurses feel "eaten alive" when coming to a unit/clinical area? When your hired to me, now just take this as my view you either come with experience/expertise or you have knowledge base and you "do your homework" to be prepared(between books/internet/cd rom stuff)whatever is necessary and then you are given orientation to the specific unit. Now if you are NOT oriented or they start floating you to God knows where and your orientation gets shortened etc that's different but why aren't people reasonably ready? Can any one give me an example of say teaching? Do teachers want what one poster stated "nurturing"? After police go thru the academy are they not expected to function? I know they may have a partner as a resource but on a whole unit there isn't one other nurse as a resource?Maybe it's the expectations...no one knows everything, each specialty has it's unique knowledge but basics like knowing the norms of the blood work/vital signs of the population your responsible for/recognizing acidosis or wheezing for an ie is needed no matter where you work and once you learn basics they are portable with you...it's like building on your base and adding. So what do others think??
  12. by   Nittlebug
    Lita- I understand your point. There are some nurses out there however who don't know how to "teach" without an "attitude". They will show you the correct way to do something and say it in a way that makes you feel like an idiot. I've worked with many nurses and there are some who like to make you feel stupid and incompetent and then I'm sure they go gossip about how incompetent that nurse is.
    There are alot of nurses out there who love to teach and are really good at it. They "Nurture" in that they teach or correct you in ways that empower you instead of making you feel like crap.

    But the way I see it, you can still learn some good tips from an A-Hole. I had a jerk Respiratory Therapist tell me one night shift that my patient was "wet" and I'd better get a Lasix order before she crumped on me. The doctor had already told me no and I didn't want to argue because I was new and easily intimidated. She was right. The doctor (a first year resident) was wrong, and I finally got a lasix order. I always respect that RT's opinions and we get along just fine. Some people are just very assertive and come across rude, so keep an open mind :-)
  13. by   jaller75
    Originally posted by yankee_in_SC:
    Hi everyone, I am new to this website and board. I have a big dilemma that I need some feedback on. I moved down south last July to take a nursing job in an Open Heart/Surgical ICU. I had 4 years of nursing experience, 3 in cardiopulmonary stepdown. I moved my two children and myself to an area where I had no family and friends, in order to take this job. I thought this would be a great opportunity..better job, better salary, better climate, and a HOUSE of my own for the first time in my divorced life. The problem I face is that some of the more senior nurses expect the newer nurses to be at the same working knowledge as they are. The doctors (99% of whom have no respect for the nurses) have NO respect for the new nurses--it is a big anxiety time when they make rounds in the morning. If I don't turn my wrist the right way to cut a suture, he snaps at me in front of the patient..etc etc. You get the point, I am sure. Obviously our mind reading capabilities are not quite up to par with the more senior nurses..haha. I feel the new nurses are "being tested"..to see if we can take it. I had a charge nurse (who isn't in charge very often because of her lack of ability and poor attitude) who basically let me drown with a dying patient, then reported to the dayshift charge that I "couldn't handle it". I waited a week to calm down and discussed it with my manager, and told her my side of the story. I asked her if there was a problem with my work--the answer was no. The manager offered to intervene, and I declined, as I have found that "discussions" with management usually do no good in matters like this. I told her I would practice avoidance for now, and thanked her for her offer. I switched my weekend schedule around (which I had already planned on doing prior to this), and am just avoiding that nurse in general. I guess I feel that the job is just too hard to have to deal with people like that.
    There have been a few other things go on, but the core of my question is this---what do the new ICU nurses have to do to survive? I'm not a new graduate, I have knowledge and experience to offer. But how can I succeed when a charge nurse feels that "her" way is the only way? At this point, I took some vacation time this week to relax, and have done a lot of thinking about this job. I don't even want to take care of open heart patients anymore, if it means having to go through this on a daily basis. My confidence has been undermined, and if I felt comfortable in my knowledge and skills in ICU, I would just laugh it off. But I only have 6 months worth of ICU experience under my belt and know that there is sooo much more to learn and absorb. Unfortunately, the learning environment is structured more like "throw them to the wolves". I talked about this with some newer nurses that have been in this unit a bit longer than myself. What they told me is this---you will get to a point where you don't care. That is the answer?? To not care? A little kindness goes so far, and it takes so much less energy to be nice. So, could anyone please offer up some advice to me? Maybe I need to grow some bigger shoulders...Thanks.
  14. by   cmggriff
    Yankee,
    I am from the south and have worked in several southeren hospitals. It is rather typical for newcomers to be held suspect until they prove themselves in the south.The assumption seems to be that you don't fit in until you prove that you can. It sounds to me like that is the situation you are in. There is no easy solution. But I highly recommend against "Not caring". That is no solution and I doubt if you could not care any way. Good luck.

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