Quote from Nerdy Nurse
Hi! I'm a new RN grad about to start my first ever job at one of the facilities here in my town. It's owned by a huge company (they have around 400+ LTCs and SNFs across the states) and I'm not sure why I'm thinking your facility might be owned by the same company where I'll be working at soon.
Anyway, I am honestly getting scared by what I'm reading about LTC here and it's making me more and more intimidated by what I am getting myself into. When I toured the facility, I already knew I'm not going to last, but I accepted the job anyway just to put my foot in the door and get experience. I hope my gut feeling is wrong.
First of all, congrats on graduating! Keep in mind not all facilities are awful. As with any line of work, you'll find good employers and bad. I just happened to pick a bad one this time.
I have worked in good facilities that actually bother to staff reasonably well with a culture of true concern for the residents health and quality of life. In my experience, those facilities have been non-profit buildings. I'm certain not all non-profits are all sunshine and rainbows, but compared to for-profit buildings they have been the clear winner of the two.
What shift will you be working? I have long been a proponent of new nurses start on nights in LTC. The pace is slower than days which provides more time to learn how and what to chart, assess, take off orders, etc. without MD's, therapies, phone calls, families, chaos that's happening on other shifts. (On the flip side of that, when things go bad on nights, they can go really, really bad and there's usually not any real back-up save for a phone call to a typically grumpy supervisor.)
If you have a gut feeling about the place you've been hired at, you're probably right. I wouldn't fret too much about trying to stay the year everyone says you should stay. If you get started and feel that the job/facility isn't a good match for you, start looking elsewhere. Until you can secure another job, you'll be learning valuable lessons regardless of the quality of the facility. Upon interview somewhere else when they ask why you're wanting to leave, simply answer "It's not a good fit for me." Works like a champ.
Also keep in mind that as a new nurse, practicing nursing is an entirely different animal than what you were taught in school and there's one hella learning curve and culture shock between the two. If I had a dollar for every time I thought "This isn't what I thought nursing was going to be!" and "They didn't tell us about this!" I could retire. Today.
In closing, try to focus on learning and how to be a nurse as opposed to how insane the job can be. Gather skills, knowledge, and experience to build a resume. Once you can pad a resume beyond "I graduated" that'll open many doors and opportunities for you down the road. Best of luck to you.