Nursing Home Blues

  1. 1
    Hello allnurses!

    I have a little situation and I wanted to get everyone's advice. You all have helped me out greatly in the past and I would GREATLY appreciate any input....

    So I started working at a nursing home a week ago and a half ago to get some experience as a new grad. My real love is in acute care nursing, but I needed a job desperately and I thought this would be a great way to rack up experience in the meantime. Of course after starting the job am I beginning to see how things are run at the facility....and now I'm getting really discouraged.

    The turn-over at my facility is extremely high. Just last night as I was orientating with one of the nurses (it was her last night with the facility) in private she told me to start looking for a new job already. She said she has been a nurse for 30+ years and has never left any position so quickly.....but it would be in my best interest to do so because of the back-stabbing that happens in the facility and lack of support via management. She stated that management will be super nice to everyone to their face but if you happen to put in your 2 weeks (like she did...and other nurses for that matter) they will turn around stab you in the back/give you a bad reference/"try to ruin your reputation".

    I'm just really discouraged because the whole point of me accepting this position was to rack up experience in the meantime. But if I can't use them as a reference what's the point?

    I am also scared to be on my own (they want to start my on my own this week) and I don't feel like I've been given enough orientation. I mentioned this to them and they told me "Oh you'll be fine. You're doing great." But I don't feel that way! There is no charge nurse at my facility and since I'm working the evening shift there is no one for me to go to if I need help.

    I'm just wondering what everyone's advice is. I initially accepted the position to rack up experience (and I do love the residents), but I am terrified of possibly getting a bad reference from them if I leave/being on my own already/taking care of 25 patients by myself with no charge nurse on duty....

    Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you all!!
    lindarn likes this.
  2. 8 Comments so far...

  3. 4
    You take your experience with you whether you use an employer as a reference or not. And honestly- the cattiness and backstabbing is pretty typical in nursing. It doesn't matter if you are in LTC, a hospital, a clinic... whenever you get a bunch of women working closely together, it's going to be that way. My advice to you is to work hard to gain that experience you need, and use this as an opportunity to work on your conflict handling skills. You will use those skills wherever you go in your career.

    As far as treating people badly after they give their two weeks- it happens everywhere in just about every line of work. That's not a nursing or facility-specific thing. Once an employer knows you are no longer vested and committed to their company, they just don't care about you anymore. Their interest is in finding your replacement, not making your last weeks pleasant.

    Keep reminding yourself of the experience you are gaining, and what's best for your residents, and you should be able to leave work proud of what you've accomplished that day whether it's a nice place to work or not.
    MusicNurseCarrlee, IEDave, mikeicurn, and 1 other like this.
  4. 2
    People who are leaving a job tend to paint a different picture, so take a deep breath and relax. I work at a LTC facility that has a high turnover rate also, on the "bad" unit. I started off here for the experience also. (Currently looking for a new job). Here are a few things I learned. Keep your side of the street clean. By this I mean stay out of petty squabbles, ignore gossip, do your job to the best of your ability and worry about that only. Don't get involved in gossip. Let it die with you if you have to. (this was very hard for me) If you do have a conflict with a co-worker, try to work it out but learn the chain of command if you can't. One of my co-workers got busted for always going straight to the DON. Not smart.

    Is there another nurse in the facility you can turn to for help? I know what you mean about orientation. I got a whole 4 days.

    When you do decide to look for another job, don't tell anyone you are looking. I know that on the applications I have placed recently, I have been able to request that they don't contact my current employer. And I have gotten interviews. When you do get a new job, make sure that your letter of resignation gets into the hands of HR, the DON and if they aren't trust worthy, snail mail a registered copy. (My facility has a habit of "losing" resignation letters). I wish you luck
    Lovely_RN and chevyv like this.
  5. 0
    If you feel you need more orientation, then tell them flat out. When I was on my own, not one other nurse would help me out and I was drowning! Made it through, but I can tell you I felt horrible for my pts and myself. Don't let them rush you too much because they're short staffed. It's your license remember. Good luck!
  6. 1
    Stand firm on your precepting/mentoring needs. At the same time know that it is normal to have little confidence when you start a new job.

    Definitely stay out of the gossip arena. Do not get involved in that sort of behavior at work, not there, not anywhere...it will get you into a sticky wicket sooner or later. Also, the best way to get yourself blacklisted for promotion is to be considered a "speaker of bad"...doesn't matter if the bad is about people, processes, or places.

    As pointed out by others the best plan is to be very professional about your work...keep your stuff up to date, in line, complete, organized, etc. The best way to have few problems at work is to 1) Work, 2) Work without causing difficulty for others, 3) Work correctly, even if others are not, and 4) Work with passion, that will keep you interested and may help to improve the attitude of your co-workers.

    Good luck!
    duckyluck111 likes this.
  7. 4
    Great advice from the others.

    In my opinion I would be careful to associate your experiences with just "nursing homes". Every job and occupation has positive and negatives. I have never had a job in any field that didn't have some backstabbing and gossiping going on. I worked as a CNA at a Skilled Nursing Facility for 3 years prior to going to nursing school and although I wasn't a nurse at the time I can relate to much of what you're feeling. Many facilities are under staffed and overworked, but sadly that's becomming more common in all settings.

    As far as how the people are treating you, you cannot change what others may do and say. And you definitely shouldn't listen to just one nurses opinion. Who knows maybe you will meet other employees there that are great. Do everything you can to focus on only what YOU CAN CONTROL. Don't worry about anyone else. Go out of your way to be kind, caring, and show your work ethic. Don't give them any reason to talk bad about you, if they do talk bad about you it will be because they are jealous of the person you are and the person they are not!

    Lastly, your work experience. Many people think that because you work in a nursing home that you have no skills, couldn't get a job anywhere else, and are not competent enough to work in a hospital. Anyone that thinks that should not be a nurse or someone working in healthcare. The nursing staff I worked with in my facility were some of the hardest working Nurses and CNAs I have ever seen. You may not be dealing with highly acute patients, but you will become great at assessing, charting, delegating, time management, and most importantly, CARING FOR PATIENTS! I must also reiterate the time management, like you said sometimes you will have 25 patients at a time; after working there for a while you will be a pro at prioritizing, delegating, and managing your time.

    I know this may have not been your first pick for working when you first graduated, but get as much out of it as you can. What you learn in your first year of working as a Nurse will be priceless as you move throughout your career. Don't let a few bad apples ruin it for you. You will be busy and you will be stressed. Just focus on what you can control in your life and do your best!
    Last edit by I am Legend on May 23, '12
    LTCangel, tewdles, MusicNurseCarrlee, and 1 other like this.
  8. 0
    Quote from I am Legend
    ...Lastly, your work experience. Many people think that because you work in a nursing home that you have no skills, couldn't get a job anywhere else, and are not competent enough to work in a hospital. Anyone that thinks that should not be a nurse or someone working in healthcare. The nursing staff I worked with in my facility were some of the hardest working Nurses and CNAs I have ever seen. You may not be dealing with highly acute patients, but you will become great at assessing, charting, delegating, time management, and most importantly, CARING FOR PATIENTS! I must also reiterate the time management, like you said sometimes you will have 25 patients at a time; after working there for a while you will be a pro at prioritizing, delegating, and managing your time...
    Don't disagree one bit - superb advice from all! In this case, I wanted to share with you a bit of my experience; for the past few weeks I've been escorting residents to their appointments (Dr.'s visits, CT/MRI scans, etc.) and I have to say one thing - just talking to the staff in most of these places really gives you a "heads-up" on just how much valuable experience you're getting. Explaining to a CMA some of what I've done over the past 2 months at my LTC, she was just flat amazed that people do what I've been able to do (getting VS on 15 pts in 45 minutes was a special favorite) as a CNA. My personal fave was when my partner & I had to use a clinic's Hoyer lift to transfer a pt. for a sonogram, because none of the staff (a) had ever used a Hoyer, and (b) had any idea that their facility even HAD a Hoyer.

    The truth of the matter is that, once you've earned your chops in LTC, you're going to be running rings around your colleagues in other places. Which, incidentally, is why hospitals like to snap up nursing staff from the LTC's - their HR departments know the score, as do their hiring managers.

    ----- Dave
  9. 0
    Thank you all for the wonderful advice. It means more to me than you know!

    I am going to ask for a longer orientation tonight when I go into work....don't know if they will go for it or not. I really feel like I need it though. Last night on orientation one of the nurses I was with let me do primarily everything and I felt like I was DROWNING and nothing out of the ordinary even happened. What will I do when something out of the ordinary happens?! The reason why I'm so terrified is that there is no charge nurse on at my shift (no one for me to go to). It will just be me and another brand new nurse. Scared to death. I feel like I'm being thrown to the wolves.....

    I love the patients but I am wondering if I should quit. I can see why the turn-over is so high. I hate even saying that because I WANT to like this job....I think LTC is a real unique specialty in nursing and as said earlier I love the patients. But I'm terrified of being on my own so soon and taking care of 25+ patients (some rehab as well, plus trach's, gtubes, etc) without anyone to go to if I need help.

    I'll have to sit on it and see I guess :/
  10. 1
    Orientation, whats that?????
    chevyv likes this.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top