Does anyone here actually LIKE LTC???

  1. I'll share my reason for asking this.

    I decided to go back to school two years ago. Long story short, I am halfway through a part-time RPN (LVN) program here in Canada. I have a year a half to go (it's a two year full-time diploma here, so will take me longer than the year I think it is in the states, especially going part-time). I loved my classes, have straight A's. I had planned to keep my office job until the bitter end. I hated my boss; he was mean, spiteful and demeaning. My school was a shining goal to look toward. I volunteered at a LTC facility to gain experience, loved working with the seniors. Decided I would work in LTC when a graduate (a likely location for an LVN anyway!).

    Fast forward to this past January - my boss discovered I was going to school to totally change careers. The mood darkened. He was furious, and when the companies finances hit the skids, despite working there for five years and getting good reviews - I was the first one out the door.

    I had a choice. I could go on unemployment and find another office job. Or, I could live frugally on my retirement savings, and get a Certificate in Personal Support Worker (CNA in the US). Here in Canada, they will NOT hire you as a CNA without this four month certificate. I thought, hmmm, I'll get the certificate. So, for almost four months now, I've been attending one full-time program during the day, then heading to another college at night to continue in my LVN studies. I'm exhausted But, I still have straight A's - could have gotten A+'s if I hadn't been in two programs - and finish my PSW/CNA certificate in two weeks.

    My dilemma? My clinical placement for the PSW/CNA has been at a LTC facility from hell. I LOVE the residents. But the staff!!!! They argue, yell, the turnover is constant, etc. etc. My first floor I was told straight out by the Nurse that I was NOT to ask her any questions, as she was the nurse and could not be bothered. The staff ignored us. I made beds for three weeks. Eventually, our clinical teacher got fed up and reported to the DOC what was going on. The DOC had "words" with the staff about us, and then one PSW came at us (while we were bathing a poor resident!) SCREAMING that we wanted her job and we reported her. Luckily, our teacher defused the situation, and I was ecstatic to go to another floor. Again, love the residents, but...sigh. I was partnered with a preceptor, who was very good at her job, but claimed we were "way too slow" (hello, just started!) and spent her days "confiding" in me about the other staff who were, in her estimation, about to be (a) reported (b) fired (c) incompetent (d) not as good as her. The woman complained about EVERYONE.

    Twice this week, I came home in tears. Not because I hate the job, though the pay is low and the work is hard, I enjoy working with the residents. I love them. But the staff! I kept thinking "what is this woman saying about ME behind my back??". She expressed interest when she found out I was in the LVN program. I photocopied all my notes for the entrance exam, brought her copies of the course outlines, the program coordinators phone # etc. She then spent two days walking around telling everyone she was going to be a nurse, she was going back to school, and she told me that she could "easily just get my license from the experience I have here, but I suppose I'll have to take the classes" ummm, yeah.

    Friday was my last day, and I'm heading to a Palliative Care Hospice on Monday for my final placement. I desperately need a job, and I've applied to the LTC from hell, but in a way...I hope I get a job somewhere else. Yikes.

    One good thing - the preceptor did give me a glowing review. She said I was very organized, a good listener, good team player, and that my speed will increase with practice. So I suppose I should be happy.

    I know that healthcare is cutthroat, I'm just really....second guessing myself. Any advice? Thanks.
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   ktwlpn
    You will find a better work environment in LTC-they do exist...Give yourself 6 months to a year to get some good experience under your belt and start looking.That kind of carrying on should NOT be tolerated-it sounds like the DON knows this as well but for some reason is not taking control of the situation...That atmosphere is so bad for the residents..I can't believe that someone (a visitor at least) has not reported this behavior.Bottom line- the charge nurse is responsible for stopping this and following through with writing it up and going up the chain of command....You can take this way with you as a lesson that you have learned....When you are in charge don't overlook this behavior-good luck
  4. by   nursedawn67
    Quote from ktwlpn
    You will find a better work environment in LTC-they do exist...Give yourself 6 months to a year to get some good experience under your belt and start looking.That kind of carrying on should NOT be tolerated-it sounds like the DON knows this as well but for some reason is not taking control of the situation...That atmosphere is so bad for the residents..I can't believe that someone (a visitor at least) has not reported this behavior.Bottom line- the charge nurse is responsible for stopping this and following through with writing it up and going up the chain of command....You can take this way with you as a lesson that you have learned....When you are in charge don't overlook this behavior-good luck
    I have to agree, there are better work environments in LTC. Don't let that bad experience stop you from working in LTC. I feel I help people in a helpless feeling situation and I attmept to make them feel not so helpless. And in some cases I help people get stronger and go home. And other cases I'm there for one of the most precious moments in life and that is the end of life, I am there to help make it as comfortable and loving as possible.

    So don't let anyone get to you, do what you feel best.
  5. by   NursesRmofun
    Quote from Worthy
    I'll share my reason for asking this.


    My dilemma? My clinical placement for the PSW/CNA has been at a LTC facility from hell. I LOVE the residents. But the staff!!!! They argue, yell, the turnover is constant, etc. etc. My first floor I was told straight out by the Nurse that I was NOT to ask her any questions, as she was the nurse and could not be bothered. The staff ignored us. I made beds for three weeks. Eventually, our clinical teacher got fed up and reported to the DOC what was going on. The DOC had "words" with the staff about us, and then one PSW came at us (while we were bathing a poor resident!) SCREAMING that we wanted her job and we reported her. Luckily, our teacher defused the situation, and I was ecstatic to go to another floor. Again, love the residents, but...sigh. I was partnered with a preceptor, who was very good at her job, but claimed we were "way too slow" (hello, just started!) and spent her days "confiding" in me about the other staff who were, in her estimation, about to be (a) reported (b) fired (c) incompetent (d) not as good as her. The woman complained about EVERYONE.

    Twice this week, I came home in tears. Not because I hate the job, though the pay is low and the work is hard, I enjoy working with the residents. I love them. But the staff! I kept thinking "what is this woman saying about ME behind my back??". She expressed interest when she found out I was in the LVN program. I photocopied all my notes for the entrance exam, brought her copies of the course outlines, the program coordinators phone # etc. She then spent two days walking around telling everyone she was going to be a nurse, she was going back to school, and she told me that she could "easily just get my license from the experience I have here, but I suppose I'll have to take the classes" ummm, yeah.

    Friday was my last day, and I'm heading to a Palliative Care Hospice on Monday for my final placement. I desperately need a job, and I've applied to the LTC from hell, but in a way...I hope I get a job somewhere else. Yikes.

    One good thing - the preceptor did give me a glowing review. She said I was very organized, a good listener, good team player, and that my speed will increase with practice. So I suppose I should be happy.

    I know that healthcare is cutthroat, I'm just really....second guessing myself. Any advice? Thanks.
    Do I love LTC? Yes! Does LTC have its' problems? Yes. Some facilities are better than others. I have seen some bad ones where everyone was a backstabber and mean. But I have also seen good ones where most people were helpful, nice, and the patients got good care. It's never perfect....anywhere. It is also tough being new, in my opinion. Give yourself time....learn the ropes, see what you can do something about and what you cannot....and good luck!
  6. by   Worthy
    Thank you. The place has a problem, and I think they know it. It's a shame, brand new facility, lovely private rooms, but the staff are brutal. If something happens, it's all over the building in about 45 seconds, but I suppose this is common. I've previously worked in small office environments, so all these people gossiping about one another is intimidating. I guess I'll have to get used to it!

    A fellow student, whom I love dearly and would trust my life with, called me at home on Thursday from the facility. She was in tears. A casual PSW/CNA she was working with was abusive to the residents, throwing them around and being extremely rough. I encouraged her to report her. She did, the DOC was involved, the head administrator, the union rep, a write up was made, the CNA in question threw dirty looks galore and yelled at her "You just want my job!!!" and basically resigned. I told my friend she had done the right thing. And I believe she has! These people are so sweet and some of them have nothing and no one, how can people be so mean? I have a soft heart. I'm second guessing my ability to do this job, but I'll hang in...too much invested to quit now!!!

    Thank you for the support.
  7. by   LisaRNinarkansas
    i have to agree with what the others have said. LTC can be a very rewarding place to work, albeit, hard place to work, for many reasons. I have worked for about 5 different facilities, each was different, with thier own problems. Staffing is a tough problem in LTC...its hard to get good staff, and to keep them. Please dont give up on LTC..it sounds like u really enjoy working with the elderly..and they definitely need all the help they can get.
    Good luck.
  8. by   ktwlpn
    Quote from LisaRNinarkansas
    Staffing is a tough problem in LTC...its hard to get good staff, and to keep them..
    And it is just as hard to get rid of the bad......So often we get busy and let little things go and then they escalate and there is no papertrail for admin to utilize and take disciplinary action...I am sure most of us are familiar with borderline personality disorder and have worked with pathological liars,chronic attention seekers,suspected substance abusers and the like...We are often fearful of retaliation but that is no excuse.These people could be caring for our loved ones one day...We all need to step up and do something about them...
    Bottom line- the responsibilty lies with us to teach by example and show what kind of behaviors are acceptable....
  9. by   JMP
    I worked as a CNA before and during my RN studies. It was a bad experience, most of the things you mention regarding LTC, where happening there. I went home in tears more than a few times, but I was over 40, needed the job and stuck it out for the sake of money.
    Nursing has problems. I am now a RN, who is almost finished my BSN. I have three years of critical care, ICU in a teaching hospital. I can tell you from my experience "horizontal violence" is ripe in nursing. It has, over the years become "part" of nursing and many nurses grew up on a steady diet of oppression and horizontal violence and tend to view it as "part of nursing". It is not......never should be.

    Educate yourself about horizontal violence. Look up the term on an nursing website. Understand that many nurses practice it, but don't know what it is, or how they are making others feel.

    Silence, gossip, eye rolling, making statements that start with " I can't believe so and so did this...... not that..etc...." are all forms of horizontal violence. Refuse to be a part of it......it is not easy, but education is the way to rid nursing of this hidious thing called horizontal vilolence. JMP

    By the way, as you probally guessed, LTC does not have the market cornered on problems with oppression, horizontal violence and lack of professionalism. Lets not blame each other however, lets just pull together and be part of the solution!
  10. by   jkaee
    I love LTC, love my residents, and luckily the past 2 facilities that I have been at have had really excellent staff. It is key to be able to work together in LTC, and I have been in situations that you have described, and it's an awful feeling. For me, the solution was to move away from the area I was in (I used to work in facilities outside of Philadelphia, PA, and those places were where I had the problems), and head out to more rural area. I now work in a beautiful facility out in the sticks (we had a herd of cows in one of our parking lots the other night) but it's wonderful!

    You will find a great facility to work out, you just got to keep searching. I have had many jobs, but that's because I refuse to work with people that are self centered and disrespectful, esp when admin won't do anything about it.
  11. by   LPN4Life
    Oh forget people talking behind your back. love those precious residents, and your days will be filled with satisfaction unlike you have even known.
  12. by   amoymak
    You will soon discover that you'll encounter problems on different scales no matter where you go.i worked as an LPN in ltc for a while . I adored the residents that I worked with but found some of the staff to be nauseating.Working in the medical field is hard enough- try to find a position somewhere that will make you satisfied. Are you seeking ltc because you like it or are you limited in terms of where you will be able to practice as an lpn?
  13. by   Worthy
    Thanks, I was seeking long term care because I love working with seniors. Here, many hospitals do hire RPNs, but of course LTC is where many end up. I think when I finish I'll have a choice, but right now, I am only certified as a PSW/CNA, and it is extremely competitive to get hired by a hospital (especially with the little experience I have). Not that I'm not trying

    I do love the residents, I can just be very sensitive sometimes. Thanks for all the thoughts.
  14. by   amoymak
    well sensitive is good because that will get you through your good and not- so - good days . i wish you luck in finding a ltc facility. you may want to just go visit a couple and look around to see what they are like before applying.

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