New RN already ready to quit!

  1. I just started on a step-down cardiac unit two days ago and I hate it already. My preceptor is the clinical coordinator for the unit and the boss that we have manages 2 cardiac floors (since she is just taking over because the boss from the floor that I am on quit, along with another boss this same year).

    I did my GN position at this same hospital months ago on the other cardiac unit that my boss manages but took time off for nclex and saw no openings on that unit when I came back. I am on this step-down cardiac unit now and it is hell!

    Although I have experience computer charting from both my GN and SNA position with this hospital system for two years, my preceptor tells me how to arrow down the way she wants to on the computer, get my meds and bag them the way she wants, and etc then gives me attitude if I vary. She gives me really no room to breathe either. I just feel like I have made a bad choice by going to this unit because the patients acuity levels are high and one may get 8 or more depending on the mod that you are in. One may be in one mod with three and another with eight..this is crazy.

    I never felt this overwhelmed even during my 6 week orientation as a grad nurses this summer. Before hire, my boss told me that I was to get a 4-week orientation to piggyback off the GN experience from this August. Yesterday I found out that it will only be two weeks of floor work since the other two weeks will be spent on echo classes.
    With this preceptor she has a bad effect on me but I am scared to change her because ultimately she is usually the charge nurse too and may screw me with assignments. I see her talking about me to other co-workers as well and she often talks to me in a very condescending way. I just feel she does not let me develop my own style and never really tells me if I am doing things rights or wrong..very little feedback. My first day on the floor she just walked in and told me "You were not supposed to start unitil January, see people are saying one thing then another thing." She also told the case manager that I have to do my orientation on the floor and hold off on my 2-week echo classes because that messes up her schedule! The case manager and her seem to be pissed at me because they did not know when to schedule me because I was supposedly thought to be starting in January. My preceptor often tells me that she is playing boss too. She often asks me "can you handle these 12-hour shifts?" She even ignores me when she is talking about her personal business to other co-workers or if she is talking on the phone to her kids.

    I am not a quitter but I don't know what to do!
    Last edit by RNroseshea on Dec 12, '07
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  2. 27 Comments

  3. by   CaLLaCoDe
    I'm so sorry for your situation; however, if there is any inkling in your bones to wade through the garbage please do so. Perhaps, you'll end up becoming the nice one who changes everything around.
    I worked for several years in a Step Down unit (not as a nurse then, as an Aide). I know that we as aides had no more than 4 pts apiece and the same went with the RNs.
    This work you describe sounds overwhelming. However, I remember being precepted on Telemetry and there were times there too where I felt someone was breathing down my neck all the time. Hopefully, if you play by the rules, don't get angry when she does thoughtless things such as ignore you when you address her and do the tasks as she defines on the computer you'll leap over this hurdle. ICU/StepDown nurses seem to have this superiority complex and love to have others gravel at their feet, some but not all. I think if you hang in there you'll make an outstanding Step Down nurse who everyone will want to work with! Good luck to you! You can do this! You're smart enough to pass the NCLEX, therefore you're smart enough to get through the CR*P politics of being on a high acuity floor. Think of it this way: basic training to deal with difficult people and difficult situations. Families are another matter altogethor! lol
    Last edit by CaLLaCoDe on Dec 12, '07
  4. by   marie-francoise
    I don't know... I think you are experiencing a problem that is endemic to hospital nursing these days. It's not your "stress management skills" that's the problem here - it just seems hospital nursing has found itself in an impossible situation these days.

    I've heard WAY too many workplace stories just like yours - because everywhere, it seems hospitals SIMPLY DO NOT CARE about the quality of nurses' work life, and will hire as few nurses as possible just to save $$$$. And then the cattiness that can go on...

    This high-patient-load + cattiness problem just seems pervasive in nursing... Maybe I'm wrong. But I hear it way too often.

    I'm still a nursing student. I used to have the intention of doing the med/surg thing after graduation to get experience. But I dunno. I'm really beginning to think that hospital nursing is just the pits these days. Too many nurses seem to really not like the bedside, and so many are trying to get away from it.

    But, really, no wonder there is nursing shortage in the hospitals... Hospitals cause it directly by not hiring enough nurses; and then the stressful, catty culture of so many workplaces seems to drive nurses away anyway.

    Maybe the nursing profession needs more men??? I don't mean to sound sexist when I say that - just that it's good to have a mix of males and females sometimes in the workplace - males can neutralize tensions and also have less tendency to be catty.

    And the cynic in me wonders if hospital admin would listen to men more if they complained about staffing, because us women are still considered the "softer sex"... Anyway, maybe that's just me being cynical.

    I consider myself to be a feminist, so please don't get me wrong when I say the profession needs more men. There was a reason why the best female authors in the old days used to write their novels using male pen names - because they knew they wouldn't be taken seriously, but that if publishers saw a male name, they would be, "Now THIS is a masterpiece!" I hope we've come a long way since then, but I do think there is a lingering tendency by "the suits" not to take groups of women seriously.
    Last edit by marie-francoise on Dec 12, '07
  5. by   RN1989
    You will have to decide where to go from here.

    I am hoping that you have clued in to the extent of the facilitie's problems since there has been quite a bit of turnover in management. In addition, you are being precepted by someone who should be managing not working the floor while trying to do management activities. And then the pt ratios seem very high for a stepdown unit.

    You can try another hospital. Unfortunately your story is just one of the many I see and hear about daily. Ultimately the choice is yours as to whether or not you can put up with the horrible norms of nursing today or not.
  6. by   tudugger
    I agree with the other nurse's opinions on this subject.

    One perspective is: There IS a special place for you. You just need to give yourself time to assimilate all you can knowledgewise and give yourself permission to do the work the way THEY want it done for now. For now, "it" is not about you and what you want; it's about gaining all the knowledge you can for whatever time frame you are willing to give yourself.

    Another perspective is: Life is short; do you want to spend it the way you are at work right now? You may decide to "tough it out" for 6 months to a year, just to learn all you can. THEN find another floor or hospital where you have checked into the happiness of nurses there. Or you may decide to check with other nurses and/or hospitals to see how happy those nurses are and go there as soon as you can.

    The choice is yours. The RN behind your name gives you much more power than, I think, you realize. Good luck!! I hope I've provided you with choices you may be too upset to think of on your own.
  7. by   oldiebutgoodie
    Well, she's a really bad preceptor if she won't even let you chart on the computer without telling you what to do. I have had a few preceptors like that. It would be nice to change preceptors, but if she's the boss, you may be stuck with her.

    How long is left on orientation? Can you stand it? Are there other floors with openings that you might be able to apply for?

    I quit my first RN job after 4 months because I had 15 (yes, 15, count 'em!) preceptors, and some of them were real meanies.

    I have finally found my niche, but I have moved around a little bit. So, good luck with whatever you decide to do.

    Oldiebutgoodie
  8. by   RNroseshea
    Quote from oldiebutgoodie
    Well, she's a really bad preceptor if she won't even let you chart on the computer without telling you what to do. I have had a few preceptors like that. It would be nice to change preceptors, but if she's the boss, you may be stuck with her.

    How long is left on orientation? Can you stand it? Are there other floors with openings that you might be able to apply for?

    I quit my first RN job after 4 months because I had 15 (yes, 15, count 'em!) preceptors, and some of them were real meanies.

    I have finally found my niche, but I have moved around a little bit. So, good luck with whatever you decide to do.

    Oldiebutgoodie
    Well, I only have about 4 weeks of precepting left but the temp boss tells me of that 4, there will be my cardio/echo classes..so about 2 more weeks. My only concern is that my resume will look bad if I move around and that was the reason that I did go back to this hospital (not to the original floor due to no openings, but still another cardiac/telemetry/step-down unit). Turns out, this floor that I am on now is considered to be a hellish floor by many floaters...PCAs, SNAs, and RNs alike!
  9. by   RNroseshea
    Quote from marie-francoise
    I don't know... I think you are experiencing a problem that is endemic to hospital nursing these days. It's not your "stress management skills" that's the problem here - it just seems hospital nursing has found itself in an impossible situation these days.

    I've heard WAY too many workplace stories just like yours - because everywhere, it seems hospitals SIMPLY DO NOT CARE about the quality of nurses' work life, and will hire as few nurses as possible just to save $$$$. And then the cattiness that can go on...

    This high-patient-load + cattiness problem just seems pervasive in nursing... Maybe I'm wrong. But I hear it way too often.

    I'm still a nursing student. I used to have the intention of doing the med/surg thing after graduation to get experience. But I dunno. I'm really beginning to think that hospital nursing is just the pits these days. Too many nurses seem to really not like the bedside, and so many are trying to get away from it.

    But, really, no wonder there is nursing shortage in the hospitals... Hospitals cause it directly by not hiring enough nurses; and then the stressful, catty culture of so many workplaces seems to drive nurses away anyway.

    Maybe the nursing profession needs more men??? I don't mean to sound sexist when I say that - just that it's good to have a mix of males and females sometimes in the workplace - males can neutralize tensions and also have less tendency to be catty.

    And the cynic in me wonders if hospital admin would listen to men more if they complained about staffing, because us women are still considered the "softer sex"... Anyway, maybe that's just me being cynical.

    I consider myself to be a feminist, so please don't get me wrong when I say the profession needs more men. There was a reason why the best female authors in the old days used to write their novels using male pen names - because they knew they wouldn't be taken seriously, but that if publishers saw a male name, they would be, "Now THIS is a masterpiece!" I hope we've come a long way since then, but I do think there is a lingering tendency by "the suits" not to take groups of women seriously.
    I agree, my fiance is an ER RN and he never really had much problems with preceptors..they all tended to kiss his tail and make life so easy for him. His job even tried to promote him within less than a year as a EMS/RN liaison but he declined due to his inexperience as a nurse. He even tells me that nurses that have been there longer than him asks him how to do stuff. Men just automatically get respect right when they walk into the door. I just get the sense that women seem very catty and jealous of each other and especially me, being that I look very young (18-22) even though I am 26. My patients are never the problem..it usually is the few unruly staff who just try to make things more difficult for me, being that I am new and do not know my way around this floor yet. The male nurses on the floor welcomed me well with no problem.
  10. by   MommyandRN
    First of all I say don't worry about your resume. There is a nursing shortage. Finish your orientation program and start looking for a new job. Maybe try a different type of floor. If they ask you why you are leaving... be honest. But if it is a new area of nursing you are trying, point out that you realize that cardiology doesn't interst you and you always knew you wanted to do ... whatever. You shouldn't have a problem finding a new job. Worst case scenrio, you stick it out for a few more months just for the whole ecperience and so it looks good. But if you are miserable nothing is worth that.

    PS - I agree about women being taken less seriously than men - that is everywhere. I too have seen male nurses be welcomed much easier and being promoted much faster... and given better patients etc. But female nurses as with employees everywhere have rights too... don't be intimidated.
  11. by   ebear
    Sometimes, I'd rather work with 100 men than 2 women. There does seem to be far fewer crazy backstabbing problems where more men work. My experience, anyway. They're usually right up front with you--which I far prefer myself.
  12. by   nyapa
    Quote from RN1989
    You can try another hospital. Unfortunately your story is just one of the many I see and hear about daily. Ultimately the choice is yours as to whether or not you can put up with the horrible norms of nursing today or not.
    Is there another ward you can transfer to? Or follow RN1989's advice and consider another hospital. This person sounds like a bit of a 'control freak', in that you must give meds a certain way and do this and do that without giving you room to breathe, or recognising that you have a brain...

    Don't give up. The world needs us nurses...

    (((hugs)))
    Jay
  13. by   SeekingBalance
    Hi there,

    Your story resonated with me because it sounds just like mine. I started as a new grad at a highly specialized and very acute unit at a prestigious Boston hospital because I wanted to be on the cutting edge. I did my final practicum on the same floor, so I thought it would be a breeze transitioning into the RN role. However it turned out to be a disaster, sounding a lot like the position you are in now. I beat myself up, thinking I couldn't cut it as a nurse, which killed me. I had been successful in my previous career, so why couldn't I get this? My preceptor made me feel stupid when I asked questions more than once. I was repeatedly told that my performance was
    "concerning" to the management. I kept asking for additional help off the floor, where there was less pressure, but I was ignored. I finally opted to get out. I was so stressed it was starting to affect my personal life. I moved to a smaller community hospital that was in the process of re-vamping their new grad program, and started all over again. I was up front at my interview about what happened at my previous job, but was careful to emphasize my successes as well, both in and out of nursing. My interviewer shared with me her own similar experiences. She completely understood and made clear that her goal was to provide a different experience for me and the other new grads in my group. Clearly they place a lot more value on the new grad role at my new hospital, and although I get paid less, I am actually ENJOYING a job that 5 months ago gave me panic attacks to even think about. My life is completely different now. I love my job, and I am thriving at my new hospital. Don't get me wrong, there are still those crazy days that make me question all of that student debt, but for the most part, I know I've found a good fit for me.

    You can't look at it as "quitting", you have to look at it as "finding the right fit." Do some research, ask around, open your eyes to settings you may have not considered before. Look for a program that requires preceptors to go through training, and has a 360 degree evaluation program (your colleagues actually have input in your regular evalutions, meaning that if you're a jerk it affects your paycheck and potential for advancement!) Ask if there is a system for evaluating feedback from the nursing staff on how to improve the unit. Ask for examples of how this feedback has been implemented to make positive changes. Most importantly, think of yourself as a valuable addition to your potential new employer, and interview THEM about how they will support YOU! You're in a good position because you have some experience now, and you have a better idea of what you need, so you'll know what questions to ask.

    I've actually found that my new role on a less acute floor is much more interesting than I thought it would be, because the pressure is off and I have more time to investigate details I never would have had time for in my old position. And my colleagues are not as stressed out so they have more time to be FRIENDLY and HELPFUL, and SUPPORTIVE of the new grads!

    It's easy to say "oh just stay there, grin and bear it because these jobs all suck like that". But it's not true. It takes more strength to stay true to yourself, and put yourself int he scary situation of leaving that job for a new one, the unknown. Just think of the potential rewards...

    good luck!

    SB
  14. by   oldiebutgoodie
    Quote from SeekingBalance
    Hi there,

    Your story resonated with me because it sounds just like mine. I started as a new grad at a highly specialized and very acute unit at a prestigious Boston hospital because I wanted to be on the cutting edge. I did my final practicum on the same floor, so I thought it would be a breeze transitioning into the RN role. However it turned out to be a disaster, sounding a lot like the position you are in now. I beat myself up, thinking I couldn't cut it as a nurse, which killed me. I had been successful in my previous career, so why couldn't I get this? My preceptor made me feel stupid when I asked questions more than once. I was repeatedly told that my performance was
    "concerning" to the management. I kept asking for additional help off the floor, where there was less pressure, but I was ignored. I finally opted to get out. I was so stressed it was starting to affect my personal life. I moved to a smaller community hospital that was in the process of re-vamping their new grad program, and started all over again. I was up front at my interview about what happened at my previous job, but was careful to emphasize my successes as well, both in and out of nursing. My interviewer shared with me her own similar experiences. She completely understood and made clear that her goal was to provide a different experience for me and the other new grads in my group. Clearly they place a lot more value on the new grad role at my new hospital, and although I get paid less, I am actually ENJOYING a job that 5 months ago gave me panic attacks to even think about. My life is completely different now. I love my job, and I am thriving at my new hospital. Don't get me wrong, there are still those crazy days that make me question all of that student debt, but for the most part, I know I've found a good fit for me.

    You can't look at it as "quitting", you have to look at it as "finding the right fit." Do some research, ask around, open your eyes to settings you may have not considered before. Look for a program that requires preceptors to go through training, and has a 360 degree evaluation program (your colleagues actually have input in your regular evalutions, meaning that if you're a jerk it affects your paycheck and potential for advancement!) Ask if there is a system for evaluating feedback from the nursing staff on how to improve the unit. Ask for examples of how this feedback has been implemented to make positive changes. Most importantly, think of yourself as a valuable addition to your potential new employer, and interview THEM about how they will support YOU! You're in a good position because you have some experience now, and you have a better idea of what you need, so you'll know what questions to ask.

    I've actually found that my new role on a less acute floor is much more interesting than I thought it would be, because the pressure is off and I have more time to investigate details I never would have had time for in my old position. And my colleagues are not as stressed out so they have more time to be FRIENDLY and HELPFUL, and SUPPORTIVE of the new grads!

    It's easy to say "oh just stay there, grin and bear it because these jobs all suck like that". But it's not true. It takes more strength to stay true to yourself, and put yourself int he scary situation of leaving that job for a new one, the unknown. Just think of the potential rewards...

    good luck!

    SB
    You could have written my story! I also started on more acute floors, wanted to be cutting edge, did great in nursing school, etc. etc. and was eaten alive once I hit the unit as a new grad. Finally transferred to a medical floor where people were actually NICE, I learned a lot, and now work in a specialized role in the hospital.

    Absolutely find a good fit. It took me a while, but I actually enjoy work now, as opposed to having heartburn like a poker stabbing me in the abdomen all day long like I did before.

    Oldiebutgoodie

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