Just out of nursing school and a week after taking my boards in 1993, I started full-time 3-11 shift as a GN at a LTC facility. I had three days of orientation and that was it. Somebody got fired and I was off orientation. I likened it to being a non-swimmer, and after only three swimming lessons, being thrown into deep water (and the sharks were circling, too...
) Suffice it to say, my first few months were pretty horrendous. There were nights I drove my 35-minute route home wailing and weeping, seeing the traffic lights through a blur of tears.
Subsequent orientations in previous Med-Surg positions I took were not much better. A mish-mash of preceptors, none well-trained at orientation, and my first year on Med-Surg was on night shift with only one other RN as my resource person.
I could say more, but I'm trying to forget about those times in my career; I sometimes feel like I have a small amount of PTSD from those beginning years and it's only by the grace and help of God that I stuck it out. :stone Sorry to be negative here-- Just my own experience. On a positive note, I've witnessed some excellent orientation occuring with the new grads and a number of new hires returning to nursing on our Med-Surg floor and am envious of their orientation, but also happy for them.
The blessing from my own bad experiences is that I am extremely empathetic to new nurses and I love to mentor and encourage them. I've held GN's while they were crying and also given pep talks as needed, and it gives what I suffered some meaning and purpose when I can help.