I have an interview with a retirement home and I wondered if this is a reasonable place for a new grad to start or is it too much for a new grad as in being on your own esp. at night. Any thoughts, advice would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance.
Feb 25, '07
I work in the retirement sector and can tell you that we do indeed hire new grads who work on their own at night. It is really up to you. Do you feel confident in your assessment skills? Do you feel capable of being able to direct staff? Is there someone you can contact at all times should the need arise? You must insist on a comprehensive orientation if you are expected to take on this job. It is nice to be able to get some day/evening shifts under your belt so that you can know the residents you are caring for and the overall scheme of how things are done. It will give you more confidence when doing nights. You can also rely on the staff that are working with you. They are a wealth of knowledge.
Good luck to you.
Feb 25, '07
Hi Paulette, I accepted a position in retirement and was given 3 days of orientation, that is it. About half of the population of this home was LTC and not retirement due to the shortage of LTC spots. The last placement that the DOC took was total care, wheelchair, broken humerus, incontinent, dementia and on and on. There was someone on call but she was one hour away and said she would like for someone to handle thinks on their own and not bother her unless absolutely necessary. We were also responsible for total medication of 80 people and staffing of the whole building including aide and the kitchen staff. I decided not to stay as I was just not feeling I was ready for this yet. I feel my intuition and assessments are where they should be for a new grad but I just wasn't willing to take the chance with this job. This facility has a lot of trouble finding new grads to work there, I guess because of being alone, I don't know. It just wasn't for me.
Feb 25, '07
I think that was a smart move. You know you have to trust your gut feeling when you are accepting a job. I know there are some places that will accept anybody as long as they fill their beds. Sounds like the last one you took was LTC. I know we have an assisted living area where I work and we do not take anyone if they are more than a one person assist. If they become too heavy, the family is responsible for augmenting care until other arrangements can be made. Three shifts hardly seem adequate when you are given the responsibility of all those people. But your license and reputation are on the line so you do what you have to do. I hope that your experience does not put you off of the retirement sector. It can be a very rewarding experience. Having said that, it is nice to also get some hands on in a more acute setting. So what kind of work are you doing now?
Feb 25, '07
I just turned this job down a few days ago so I am still on the hunt for a job. I have been accepted into the RN bridge program for the fall but I sure would like to work soon to earn some $, but mainly obtain experience. I know that this experience with retirement should not change my mind but it has made me a bit leery although your facility sounds like it is not the type of place to be taking residents who really need more care than the facility is able to provide, so I am sure that there must be some where I live that are like that. I will also keep trying LTC's although our area hospitals are hiring very few LPN's which is leaving fewer LTC spots available which, next to the hospital is what most new grads want until they get some experience with assessments and time management. Thanks for your reply.
Feb 25, '07
What part of the country are you in?
Feb 26, '07
I work in Alberta and five shifts are what you get for orientation in LTC. Doesn't matter if you are a new grad or an experienced nurse, that's what the budget allows.
Continuing Care here will take whoever is next on the list and then the family rides rough over the staff. At least in the public sector. I shudder to think what it must be like in the "private" facilities. I've heard horror stories and the turnover of staff is extremely high. The signing bonus is usuall the bait but few stay long enough to earn them.
Out here in Alberta you need 1000-1200 hours of experience plus letters of reference from work to be accepted into the bridge programme. I find the letters of reference to be a insulting. How many RNs needed references from their employers to be accepted into school?
Feb 26, '07
Here in Ontario, admission to the RPN to BSN bridge is based only your marks from the RPN (LPN) course. That is the only thing they look at in most cases, but not all. Some will ask you to fill out a questionaire. I think you are right, needing letters of reference is insulting. Here in Ontario, we are very short on long term care that is government funded so the private sector, has stepped and have started building all these retirement facilities that are often but not always very understaffed, with tons of turnover. I am sure there are some that are well run. There are very few jobs in hospitals for LPN's with experience and next to none for those with no experience. So really the only option is LTC. Sighh.
Feb 26, '07
Sorry, Fiona 59, I forgot to add, in regards to orientation. A few days is standard in LTC and that is usually fine as you have an RN to consult with and usually at least one other LPN in the building. Retirement here is usually one nurse only with no other nurse in the building so it is only you in emergencies. I would have loved 5 shifts of orientation. I only got 3 shifts, actually closer to two nights. Both nights I had to send a resident to hospital, one night for bleeding, the next night for a broken arm. The third night I had to chase a lady with alzheimers around to get her into bed because she was very disoriented. It just wasn't what I was comfortable dealing with alone as a brand new grad. Call me crazy, but 80 patients is too many.
Feb 26, '07
I worked in LTC for many years and agree with your take on it. Very rarely did they turn down admissions because our care load was too heavy at the time...we just had to cope.
Retirement leaves us a little more room....at least where I am as we have a waiting list. But I do know there are some that will take anyone who still has a pulse.
When we have a resident awaiting LTC placement the family is expected to provide some extra care if the care is too heavy. We also rely on CCAC alot.
Orientation is a big problem. We provide two day shifts, two evenings shifts and two nights and if you still feel that you need more, it can be arranged. But really until you get to know the residents you will not feel comfortable. We just ask the residents to be patient(not that they are) and try to stress that safety is paramount and if you are unsure, ask.
Is it any wonder that in many places the turnover of staff is such that a new body is brought in before the ink has dried on the last one's resignation.
Feb 28, '07
Yes Paulette, you are right. Most LTC's are full even if it ends up with huge numbers for the staff. The place you are in sounds reasonalble, at least you are requiring residents needing heavy care to make arrangements. It is hard though in Ontario with the shortage of government funded long term care beds. By the way, I am from the Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, Cambridge area.
Mar 6, '07
the retirement facility i work at hires new RPN grads. they don't receive much more than 5 shifts of orientation, but they are told repeatedly that it is OK to call the DOC, or myself (RN team leader), if they have ANY questions or doubts. i have received phone calls at home, at night, for "simple" questions, and i thank the new staff for not hesitating to call and ask.
we treat our new staff very well, after all, we would like to keep them!
nights is the only shift where they are alone; there are RNs in the building up to 2300 each day.
come to think of it, we are the only group of retirement facilities in our city that employs RNs to work evening shift. and our turnover is very low.
our DOC won't admit just anyone... but we have a large number of heavy care residents, and not just on our Enriched Care floor. we're finding that even Traditional retirement is becoming more acute.
we do use CCAC when needed, and institute supplemental care on the traditional retirement floors when the residents require additional assistance.
it's a good place for new nurses to find that their wings WILL hold them up. very supportive and caring, it's the place i'll be staying until retirement in about 8 years.
ladylurker <worked 21 years in LTC before going to the retirement setting>
Mar 6, '07
Ladylurker: Your workplace sounds wonderful. Where are you and how do I work there, Just kidding. You guys deserve tons of credit for doing such a great job. Hearing your post restores my faith in retirement care. I wish all retirement homes would follow your lead.
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