New grad living in misery r/t nurse managers and educator

  1. i've been working my first rn job ever at a large nyc hospital for 10 weeks now, and along with the other new hires (6 of us in total, high turnover rate), am starting to dread coming to work because of the nurse manager, assistant nurse manager, and the nurse educator-- we work 8pm-8am and the nursing leadership has no problem expecting us to stay on the unit until 10am so they can hold various miscellaneous meetings after we give change-of-shift report. these meetings are usually along the lines of discussing goals for the year/ going over guidelines for the upcoming joint commission inspection, or some other sort of nurse education-- the nurse educator loves to pull us aside individually after change of shift report to discuss specific patients' nursing diagnoses, interventions, and care plans, oh- and go through every word of our nursing notes as well. (i mean, i get that this stuff is important, but at 9am? 10am?) i find myself trying to hide when 8am rolls around so the educator can't single me out...

    our nursing dept is not unionized, and we don't get a single penny for anything over 12 hours, regardless of how long we stay. to add to the torture, they never give more than 12 hours advance notice on these meetings, (9 times out of 10 they just interrupt my change of shift report at 8:15 am to let me know i am expected in the nurse manager's office at 8:45). basically, i feel like my after-work schedule is completely out of my control, and completely at their disposal. is this acceptable??? from a human resources/labor law perspective??

    i've talked to senior nurses on the unit and they say this is how all nurses on the unit are treated. some nurses have even told me that the manager has sent them to a ventilation or mock code class right after night shift so they're stuck in the hospital until noon!!! even worse, the managers and educator just come across as incredibly rude, and unkind, and -- not once has anyone ever apologized to me for interrupting shift report, or expressed sympathy for keeping me late. they speak to all of us new grads as if we are children, not co-workers. everything they say comes with a glare, and they are always short with us, interrupting us mid-sentence if we ever have anything to say. i have no problem with comments/criticism/education, but not when it's presented in an unprofessional manner. it's not like i've ever done anything to harm a patient that warranted being talked-down to... i know i look probably 22 years old, but i have been out of college for 5 years (i am an accelerated grad). most my time after college was spent working in an office environment... these nurse "leaders" would all be sent to hr if they ever treated another co-worker like this in the corporate world. one of the other new grads is also losing patience with the nursing leadership and we are thinking about going to the hospital's hr together to voice our concerns... anyone have a similar experience??
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    About maxdog, RN

    Joined: Apr '09; Posts: 19; Likes: 7
    Specialty: 4 year(s) of experience


  3. by   DroogieRN
    Your first sentence had a very telling phrase: high turnover.... I have no real advice, just that sometimes the culture of a facility does not lend itself to a good work environment, union or not. I stayed at my first nursing job nearly two years. It was a miserable place to work and that was manifested in the attitude of virtually every employee there. I am now at another job, and the difference is startling. The behavior you describe starts at the top. I used to think being positive could affect a change, but all I got out of it was a prescription for anti-hypertensives and a little case of burnout. Put up with this situation only as long as you absolutely must while you look for another job.
  4. by   IEDave
    Big question I'd have is - were you hired as an exempt or non-exempt employee? If an exempt employee, you're considered "management" and you're basically stuck. If non-exempt, they legally have to pay you for all time served.

    I agree - it sucks swamp water, and I guess it underscores the basic idea that working in a hospital setting isn't a guarantee that your professional life is going to be any easier than, say, an LTC. Certainly, talking to HR may make you feel better but, past experience has taught me that polishing up your CV/Resume is likely to be a better alternative, 'cause HR may or may not be able to help - and HR's involvement is GOING to rock the boat. And, once that boat starts'a'rockin, either hang on or prepare to hit the drink!

    In any case - the very best of luck to you whatever you decide.

    ----- Dave
  5. by   lumbarpain
    Coming from NJ near NYC...I can relate to the abusive, hard nosed, glaring nurse managers you are dealing with. Best thing to do is make direct eye contact with them back showing them you are not afraid. Be direct and candid and if you have confidence to show you CAN GET ANOTHER JOB SOMEWHERE ElSE to them, then do it.....dont waste your time, and impair your mental/physical health because I them. Afterall, THEY NEED YOU!!! THEY FORGET THAT!!!! if you leave that intensifys their high turnover and ensures that inconsistently all around will remain in that hospital forever. Their moodiness and annoyance are BECAUSE of the high turnover. They have to look into a mirror and do a complete reversal of their own ways of dealing with new hires, THEY ARE AFRAID for their jobs also. So its coming from the top down...The whole machine isnt working. PLUS, You also said this is a Large NEW YORK hospital.......I give you lots of credit......New York has been so much on edge with terrorism plots and all and this makes for more stress, agression amongst workers and just an all around NOT GOOD SCENARIO. Its a win lose situation.......but you can make yourself the winner by choosing another place to work in.
  6. by   KelRN215
    High turnover is very telling. After reading your post, it's no wonder there's high turnover. What you describe is very similar to how my old institution operated. Nurses were considered "salaried" so if you got stuck at work several hours late due to an emergency, a meeting, charting, etc. you were working for free at the end. Of course, as a staff nurse you had none of the perks of being salaried- you couldn't just come in late the next day or decide not to come in at all without repercussions (like your manager can) to make up for the time you already gave them.

    My only suggestion would be to get out. You seem to have already realized this is not a good place to work and, if you don't get out soon, I have a feeling you'll end up regretting it later. I left my job in the depths of hell a month and a half ago and my only thought about it now is "why didn't I do this 2 years ago?"
  7. by   caliotter3
    The best answer to your problem is to become part of the turnover at the first opportunity. If they wanted to retain you as an employee, they would respect you, or at least act like it. Go.
  8. by   llg
    I agree you should be job hunting. What they are doing is not right -- and may be illegal. (You'd have to talk to a lawyer about that.)
  9. by   mindlor
    Now hang on a New York minute. As I read the OP my feeling is that these managers are trying to do right by these new hires and train them properly...........
  10. by   Esme12
    First find out if you are an hourly employee. If you are they have to pay you for time worked. Because it is classroom it may not be OT but they must pay you your base rate for time worked. If they dock you for being late they have documented you as an hourly employee. Go to HR. Talk to your boss. Start looking for another job for their action of treating employees so poor is why they have such a high turn over.

    I am sure with their anxiety is in direct correlation to their JC visit and probable past citing from the JC. I'll bet they haven't done well in the past and their nightmare has come true.....The JC is coming with new grads in the house and charts to audit. I would love to be a fly on the wall......

    Nursing is not like any other professions. It never has been but has become such an adversarial atmosphere it's sad. The administration, managers, HRs are getting away with murder these days.They are in the position of power right now and they are taking full advantage in all it's brutality. Most nurse managers aren't trained in management anymore....nor are they experienced in nursing per se anymore. They are hiring "yes men" and degrees....not talent and true educators.

    It is not uncommon that after midnights that there are classes and things you have to attend. For nursing being a 24/7profession in its entire history they are the most intolerant, uncompromising, and ignorant of the shift worker. I would tell them that you are feeling unsafe and that you are fearful of causing an accident and hurting someone due to your fatigue at being kept past your "clock out time". You are actually lucky and don't need to belong to a union to be protected by the law the Union fought for.

    Just because they aren't keeping tract of it and saying the words mandated OT.....doesn't mean they aren't in violation of the law.

    Mandatory Overtime for Nurses

    The Restrictions on Consecutive Hours of Work for Nurses Law, Section 167 of the Labor Law, went into effect on July 1, 2009.

    Section 167 of the Labor Law:
    • Prohibits health care employers from mandating overtime for nurses
    • Stipulates the conditions for exceptions to this rule
    The New York State Department of Labor enforces this law.
    The final regulations governing mandatory nurse overtime became effective October 12, 2011. To review the regulations please visit the Legal section of the Department's website. Frequently asked questions about the law and regulations are here (open in a new window).
    You may file a complaint with the Department of Labor IF
    • You are a nurse (RN/LPN)
    • You believe that your employer forced you to work in violation of the law
    This link will open up the necessary complaint form for you to print.
    Mandatory Overtime for Nurses - New York State Department of Labor

    Unfortunately, this is the new brutality....I mean reality of nursing.....sad really.
    On the flipside of the coin.....the first year is always the hardest.
    Last edit by Esme12 on May 19, '12
  11. by   GitanoRN
    i totally agree with the previous post. consequently, when i became nm my priority was the night-shift staff when we had our am meetings, they were leg go first with a handout signed by them informing them of the issues on hand. on this level, they didn't have to wait long periods of time after working all night. therefore, theres no need for one to feel unhappy at your choice of facility. having said that, one could learn how to deal with it, or seek quietly another position elsewhere and move on... life is short. wishing you the veery best in all of your future endeavors...aloha~
  12. by   Lucky0220
    Based on another one of your posts, where the thread was asking what hospital and what salary, you gave an annual figure. That suggests to me that you are not an hourly employee. Is this correct? If so, then unfortunately, they do not have to pay you for any extra hours over your scheduled shift. Sounds like a racket to me and sad for the nurses. Let us know and I hope things improve for you.:heartbeat
  13. by   Ruthfarmer
    You are being mistreated and abused. What is being required of you is unreasonable and unacceptable. They should be scheduling their training and orientation at more appropriate times. It is not appropriate to expect anyone to be able to focus and attend properly any sort of training or class after a 12 hour shift.

    Print yourself a copy of the state nurse practice act and a copy of the labor law referenced above. Next time they try to ambush you and make you stay over, you pull out the copy of the law, and hand it to them. You say, "I would just love to stick around for your meeting, but as it's in violation of the law, I just can't do it."

    As a new nurse grad, I had a situation on a cardio pulomonary floor where we were essentially playing musical beds with 4 patients and the ICU. I knew good and darn well, that any two of those very fragile patients would be more than a very seasoned nurse could handle. These weren't straight up cardio pulmonary cases, they were compounded with head injuries and GI injuries, and serious infections. When they tried to assign me all four of those patients and two more, I told them I was not accepting the assignment. You could have heard a pin drop. All chatter in the nurses station died down and everybody looked at me all at once. The bluster and indignation went into overdrive.

    I shrugged my shoulders and I pulled out my handy dandy copy of the state nurse practice act that clearly states that it's a nurse's duty to refuse an unsafe assignment. They ranted about being short staffed, they ranted about refusing to be a team player, etc. ad naseum. I simply said, "You'll just have to call the NM, the CNO, the DON, the CEO, the CFO, the COO, whomever you need to call to get some more help here, but by law, it is my duty and responsibility to refuse an unsafe assignment. With whom and how you choose to staff this unit is your choice." I made some suggestions as to how many and which patients I could reasonably be expected to be assigned.

    I came to nursing later in life and having worked as a state medical malpractice investigator for a number of years before becoming a nurse, I knew that the situation was untenable, dangerous, and ridiculous. I drew the line in the sand, and figured the worst they could do would be fire me. Being fired for refusing an unsafe assignment would not have shamed me a bit. They didn't fire me. In fact, they called in some of the experienced nurses who were holding office type jobs and had them hit the floor that day to help handle the untenable situation.

    Like you, I was one of about 6-8 new grad hires all to the same floor. Had I known that I was one of so many hired for the same floor, I would not have accepted the position. Anytime, they have to replace that many nurses on a floor at one time, you can be most certain the place is a snake pit. And it's a dangerous one.

    Leave that snake pit that you are in and don't look back. If you fall asleep at the wheel and drive into a ditch or an on-coming car after spending your shift plus extra hours at your hospital, you can be sure they won't miss a beat. It will be just as if you never existed or worked there. You must take care of yourself.
  14. by   redhead_NURSE98!
    Quote from llg
    I agree you should be job hunting. What they are doing is not right -- and may be illegal. (You'd have to talk to a lawyer about that.)
    Asking someone impromptu to stay over their scheduled shift isn't illegal...not paying them for it most certainly IS!!! Call the labor board, and/or a lawyer.