Ok, so I worked for the worst LTC facility I think I've ever heard of, and I wanted to share my story for those who are in similar situations. I didn't seek advice from AN during these events or even afterwards, but I knew I'd want to share once it was all over.
I was a new-grad with about 8 months experience working in a great facility in SC. It was a 5 star facility and I had previously worked for them as a CNA. They treated me wonderfully and built me up as a nurse. They were very supportive when my Dad got diagnosed with cancer and they prepared me mentally for what was to likely come. When I told them I had to move home (!,000 miles) to care for him they supported me and I transferred to another facility with the same parent company.
I talked to the DON of the new facility and let her know that my Dad was terminal, but that I wanted to work while caring for him. She understood and offered me the next full time spot that came available.
I started orientation, which was pretty scary because the patient load was much higher than I was used to (SC has mandated ratios - I know, amazing!) They also used paper MAR/TAR and that was very different - they didn't even cover that in school, most places use eMARs now adays.
Anyways, right before my orientation ended I took my Dad to the doctor and we found out the cancer had gone from his lungs to his bones and decided to put him on hospice. This was about 3 weeks after I had moved back.
I called my DON and explained he was put on hospice and things were progressing much faster than I had anticipated. I suggested that perhaps I should put everything on hold since I was still orienting, while we figured things out. I never would have started that job so soon if I knew how fast he was going to decline.
She informed me that they had taken me off orientation - (SURPRISE) and I was scheduled for the next day on my own - and that "We need you to take care of these patients". .......I believe my mouth hung open, but I went to work the next day because now my husband and I were in a new state and I was the only one with a job. It was clear they weren't going to work with me and I couldn't lose my job.
So I went to work the next day and my Dad fell and broke his arm in the 30 minutes he was alone - (hospice had left while my husband was on the way to stay with him). I got home that evening and let work know I wouldn't be in over the weekend - I didn't want to leave my Dads side - He was scared, alone and just found out he was NOT going to beat cancer as he had hoped. ( I knew, he didn't - he didn't want to believe it could kill him).
So, the following monday - 2 days later, the DON called and I explained my Dad was not doing well. (He lived alone, by the way) and that I just could not leave him until it was "over".
She told me I could have the week, but I'd be terminated if I wasn't back by then (mind you - i was a transfer - not a new hire). My dad died 7 days later.
Once she found out he had died she asked me if I still wanted my job because I was "such a good fit," so of course I went back.
I cared for 30 long term patients on a 60 bed unit with one other nurse and no supervisor or anything of the sort on the 3-11 shift for 7 more months.
I was out sick on a friday at one point and they made me do a double the following saturday to make up for my "weekend" call out. I told them I didn't feel safe doing 16 hours after working until 11pm the night before and was told If I didn't do it I'd be terminated..... It was just a way for them to twist the policy to work in their favor- the policy was if you call out on a weekend you work the next weekend, which for most would be their weekend off. Well, I was scheduled every friday which they count as a "weekend" - so they manipulated the policy to fit their short staffing.
There were many other horrendous things like the unit manager leaving all the orders from the day shift for us to do on 3-11 on top of our own orders, INRs, and 30 patient med passes. Ugh!
What finally did it though was when we went to all electronic medical records. We got almost zero training, I did take part in a class about a month before where we wen't over some of the system and I had a pretty good handle on it. However we got no hands on training and no one was there to guide us while we transitioned. We were on our own.
I had worked with this new system for 3 days only, no managers around to help, no other nurses knew how to use the system. I got a complicated admission, which I had to do myself on top of everything else.
Evidently I did it wrong, as this patient was a re-admit and not an admit but needed to be handled as an admit. I entered all her meds by hand as if they were new and I did as much as I could do with her. I ensured that anything related to patient care was done, orders were in and a note as well as a skin assessment were in the computer. I came back the next day, all seemed well Her meds had come from pharmacy and I heard nothing about it.
Then, Monday morning I got a call that I didn't do some of the assessment paperwork correctly and that she got none of her meds. ( I know she did - I was there, I gave them the next day). The ADON was yelling at me like I was a child and demanded that I go in that day to fix it all.
I was off, and I couldn't go in. I also live 45 minutes away, on a good day. So I told her I couldn't.
The next thing I know I was suspended while they "investigate" Funny how they didn't need to investigate an hour before when they were demanding I come into work.
The next day, the reason for the suspension changed to insubordination, and I was told I'd be suspended for 2 shifts and couldn't use any accrued time off. They said it "didn't have to come to this" and that we could start over when I came back.
So, I gave it a lot of thought and emailed my resignation. Clearly they thought by making me feel as if my job was in jeopardy I would bend at their whim. Nope, Not me.
I had no trouble finding another job who appreciates me and I will never look back. I can't actually believe I put up with all of this for so long, but I guess I've learned my lesson.
You have to stand up for yourself sometimes.
Phew! And I thought *I* had the nursing home job from hell. Which I did...it was my first job after graduation, and I found out right away that this innocent-looking little facility was toxic as hell.
For one thing, I was in charge of a 28-bed combined SNF and ICF unit, which housed not only skilled-care patients but long-term residents, many of whom had severe dementia and were often seen lunging for the doors to get out. (It was not a locked unit.) I spent half my time chasing them back into the building while doing treatments, passing meds, dealing with families/therapies/providers and fielding phone calls. I also had an administrator who majored in the minors: one time she literally dragged me into an empty room while I was actively pursuing a resident who had flown the coop, to show me a Betadine stain in the bottom of a dresser drawer and demand that I get it cleaned up! Like that was the most important thing that needed to be done at that moment, or there weren't housekeeping staff able to handle it.
But the most evil thing that company did to keep its staff-to-resident ratios in compliance with state law was to give the charge nurses CNA duties for up to eight residents on day shift, which meant that we had to get people up and showered and dressed along with everything else we had to do. The CNAs had ten residents apiece and ran their hind ends off, so you can imagine how crazy it was for us nurses to do total care for eight residents in addition to med passes first thing in the morning.
I lasted three and a half months. Right after I put in my notice, the administrator decided she was going to punish me by demoting me to CNA status. I was paid regular RN wages, but I was assigned the toughest hall and forced to work under my nursing colleagues. Not that working as an aide was beneath me, of course, but I'd been hired as a NURSE and she did it to humiliate me. I was not surprised when I heard some months later that the facility had closed down...nothing like a little karmic retribution.
I'm glad you and I both were able to get out and move on to bigger and better things. :-)
Sorry about your dad. As far as work goes, life is too short to be unhappy.
I have had a few horror stories as well. I won't drag them out here, but I do revisit them fairly often in my memory, whenever I think my current job "sucks".
Then I remember! It isn't as bad as xyz situation that I went through.
Wow, my job doesn't seem nearly as bad after reading that
First, God Bless you and your Dad. I'm glad that you are there for him now. I'm sure it means everything to him.
Second, congratulations for not accepting the unacceptable. To many nurses are fed poop and gladly eat it up. You called BS and quit. That is not only good for you but for nursing. If every nurse called BS on being fed garbage there would be a hell of a lot less nonsense in our profession. Ultimately its up to the professional nurse to decide what is acceptable and have the strength of their convictions to do more than whine about it.
Wow reading your experience was an eye opener. Good for you being there for your Dad.
I've got some bad experiences as well they do pop up once in awhile. Glad you moved on...
So sorry about your Dad and that you had to endure that treatment when you should have been supported by the people you worked for. Don't beat yourself up for taking so long to decide to leave. You did your best to deal with a bad situation. No one can say you did not hold up your end of the "unspoken" employee-employer bargain. Had they lived up to their end, perhaps the facility would not have had to close.
Wow. I value my good nurses and would have made an accomodation for you to be able to take a leave to be with your dad. Unfortunately, too many places think nurses are plentiful and fire people without cause. Unless someone is absolutely horrible or abusive, it benefits me and in the long run my residents to work with and nuture nurses.