Help, did I get hired onto a sinking ship?

  1. Hello all,

    I just got a new (sort of) job and I am a bit concerned already. Background: it is an ambulatory surgery center, and I transferred from one branch of the company as per diem, to this other branch as full-time. I didn't stay at first branch as full-time because the PACU nurses (what I was doing at the time) NEVER get their breaks. Only a lunch. I need food and a break or I am not a safe nurse, and it's state law. But I digress...

    Please tell me if I should RUN NOW or try to stick it out:

    -There is currently no RN clinical director; she quit and left mere days before I was hired on. There is a job posting but no replacement yet.

    -Hallways overflowing with supplies, supply-chain person seems totally confused and over-worked, we are running out of things because "it's inventory time"

    -Scrub techs are not labeling any of the meds or solutions on their field, ever!!!??!

    -TWO of the main OR nurses with most knowledge and seniority are leaving. Well, going "per-diem". This leaves the charge nurse, me, and this other OR nurse who seems VERY shaky on her feet; charge nurse even said she didn't feel comfortable having this nurse orient me. But we are so short today and per-diem nurse who knows what he is doing is out sick, so guess who I am training with...

    -Charge nurse overheard saying how much she hates her job.

    -Charge nurse takes two days off for mental health break, during my FIRST WEEK of orientation. My 4th day on the job, I am in a room by myself, on my own. I handled it fine, but the cases and surgeon were easy. Not even a week, and charge nurse says she thinks I can be "done with orientation". Um, what??

    -Scrub tech telling me about worker's comp surgeon with dubious practices ("oh that knee cartilage looks pretty good... *tear* oh whoops, looks like I now need to do a repair $$$")

    -Numerous people warning me about one surgeon who hates new people and will "test" you by being a dick to see if you have thick skin, one surgeon who bites your head off if you whistle or hum, one who is extremely condescending etc etc etc

    -Manager is friendly enough but constantly looks and seems extremely nervous and un-sure

    -Scrub tech saying jokingly that he was amazed I came back after my first day

    -looks like some very new nurses are training even NEWER nurses in pre-op and PACU

    I am feeling pretty uneasy, guys. However, I have hated all my nursing jobs and my resume looks like I am a job-hopper. There is another surgery center who is interested in interviewing me... should I look into it? Should I stick it out?
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  2. 45 Comments

  3. by   llg
    Your new job sounds like a disaster waiting to happen ... and I wouldn't blame you for leaving.

    But given your job history, you need to be more careful in picking jobs in the future. Do more research before actually accepting a job. It's easy to make a mistake (or even 2) in deciding to take a job. But if you have repeatedly gotten yourself into jobs as bad as the one you described in your post, then there is a problem with how your are choosing the jobs you take.
  4. by   skydancer7
    Yes... what usually happens is I hate the job due to stress and nursing being a bad fit for me, so I quit out of desperation for my mental and physical health. Sometimes I don't have anything lined up yet but I feel like I cannot stay anyway. Then I am in the position of needing to take something SOON because rent is due. It's a vicious cycle but I don't know how else to make ends meet at this point...
  5. by   not.done.yet
    Sounds like maybe you need to consider a therapist or classes to help you manage stress. I would suggest you leave nursing for a different career, but facts are that there are no stress-free jobs out there. Maybe a little help managing anxiety would help you adjust and develop some longevity? There are some positions considered less stressful than others, but as soon as I name them those in that specialty will pipe up here to mention the stress they are under. You will need to develop coping skills. However, the job you are describing sounds like a nightmare and not a very good place to try to do that.
  6. by   caliotter3
    Go to the second interview, if you are offered a position, take it into consideration. Otherwise, continue to look for the next job because it sounds as if it might be needed sooner rather than later.
  7. by   LovingLife123
    This job doesn't sound so great, but reason for not going full time at the other job was kind of weak. You need a lunch and a break or you are not safe? What makes you not safe by not having a 15 minute break?

    I get needing to eat. I need to eat. I don't get to every day, but I at least shove something down. But never am I not safe and that is a cop out to me.
  8. by   Purple_roses
    Quote from LovingLife123
    This job doesn't sound so great, but reason for not going full time at the other job was kind of weak. You need a lunch and a break or you are not safe? What makes you not safe by not having a 15 minute break?

    I get needing to eat. I need to eat. I don't get to every day, but I at least shove something down. But never am I not safe and that is a cop out to me.
    I don't know. I think most nurses are just used to the fact that they probably won't get their breaks, and sometimes not even a full lunch. I think it's become so common that instead of speaking out about it, we treat it as normal and tell everyone else to deal with it. I personally don't feel like I need additional breaks to feel safe, but I don't think it's strange that someone working a 12 hour shift that requires a lot of mental and physical stamina would need more than just a 30 minute break in there. The fact is that lots of great nurses out there make fatal mistakes every year, and I believe that if we weren't running around like crazy during the entire shift, we would be safer. Just my $0.02.

    Now, I would never turn down a full-time job because of this, but I wouldn't ever want to normalize this less-than-delightful feature of nursing. It needs to change. Now, whether or not it ever will change is another question for another day.
  9. by   brandy1017
    Go to the other interview and ask to shadow if they don't already offer shadowing which I've heard is common practice now. Then pay attention to the vibes and see if it seems better run. If its better I would bail from the job you are currently in.
  10. by   FurBabyMom
    I hate to say this...but I think you were better off in PACU with no breaks other than your lunch. I hope you're right to say that you "get" a break "per state law". Looking at the law and the exceptions might surprise you. There are usually exceptions to the rule. In all four states I've worked in where my job was something in health care, getting breaks has never been the case. State law in all four states was a period of 30 minutes, unpaid, for "lunch" for hours worked over 4. Doesn't have to be within a specific time, can be whenever they get you lunch. Right before you leave? Acceptable. If you don't want to wait 30 minutes to leave since you're "done" for the day, clock out no lunch.

    I don't think that any OR is an easy place to work, though what you're describing is concerning (ours sure isn't "easy" most days and things are generally pretty good). I guess my question is - and I know you're the new person, but why aren't you calling coworkers out on practices like not labeling medications?

    I think others have made good suggestions - considering managing your stress and being more informed with decisions about employment, or another career field.
  11. by   /username
    Run, do not walk away from this job. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Run.
  12. by   skydancer7
    Quote from LovingLife123
    This job doesn't sound so great, but reason for not going full time at the other job was kind of weak. You need a lunch and a break or you are not safe? What makes you not safe by not having a 15 minute break?

    I get needing to eat. I need to eat. I don't get to every day, but I at least shove something down. But never am I not safe and that is a cop out to me.
    Different physiology/constitution. I am not a diabetic, but literally get shaky and cannot think. I would not want someone like that drawing up my meds, personally. I'm glad you can go without eating all day and be high functioning. I don't think it is weakness to put my health as a priority. I have a couple of chronic conditions, so I might not have the stamina you do and I NEED to practice excellent self-care, so yes, I do look for work places that support their employees in that.
  13. by   skydancer7
    Quote from Purple_roses
    I don't know. I think most nurses are just used to the fact that they probably won't get their breaks, and sometimes not even a full lunch. I think it's become so common that instead of speaking out about it, we treat it as normal and tell everyone else to deal with it. I personally don't feel like I need additional breaks to feel safe, but I don't think it's strange that someone working a 12 hour shift that requires a lot of mental and physical stamina would need more than just a 30 minute break in there. The fact is that lots of great nurses out there make fatal mistakes every year, and I believe that if we weren't running around like crazy during the entire shift, we would be safer. Just my $0.02.

    Now, I would never turn down a full-time job because of this, but I wouldn't ever want to normalize this less-than-delightful feature of nursing. It needs to change. Now, whether or not it ever will change is another question for another day.
    THANK YOU. This.
  14. by   skydancer7
    Quote from FurBabyMom
    I hate to say this...but I think you were better off in PACU with no breaks other than your lunch. I hope you're right to say that you "get" a break "per state law". Looking at the law and the exceptions might surprise you. There are usually exceptions to the rule. In all four states I've worked in where my job was something in health care, getting breaks has never been the case. State law in all four states was a period of 30 minutes, unpaid, for "lunch" for hours worked over 4. Doesn't have to be within a specific time, can be whenever they get you lunch. Right before you leave? Acceptable. If you don't want to wait 30 minutes to leave since you're "done" for the day, clock out no lunch.

    I don't think that any OR is an easy place to work, though what you're describing is concerning (ours sure isn't "easy" most days and things are generally pretty good). I guess my question is - and I know you're the new person, but why aren't you calling coworkers out on practices like not labeling medications?

    I think others have made good suggestions - considering managing your stress and being more informed with decisions about employment, or another career field.
    In Oregon, it's 6 hours before requiring a lunch. So, a few times I would start at 7am and be going until 1pm or later before the charge nurse says oh maybe she is due for a break... Meanwhile I am too busy to step away and eat an apple sauce, and if I do, 1 minute later someone is in my face saying "hey aren't you taking the next patient?" grrrr. The company gets to save money by not staffing appropriately, and we are supposed to suffer through and be grateful, and I call BS on that.

    I am glad there are some robot tank nurses that can power through but by then my brain has slowed waaaay down from lack of sugar, I am making charting mistakes all over the place, and so far that's the worst of it, knock on wood. Actually considering ketogenic diet just to try and stabilize my energy levels, because I know even excellent workplaces sometimes can't get people their breaks on time.

    You are absolutely right about calling out the scrub techs. It's no excuse, but it was my first day and I was just trying to keep my head above water; so I noticed, but was quickly distracted by the bovie not working, patient needing a new airway mid-case, etc.

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