New Grad Miserable Because of Management

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I have a concern and am hoping to get some advice on how to handle my situation. I'm a new grad RN and I am 2 months into orientation. The nurse manager on my unit is a very challenging being. She's been the manager of the unit for well over 10 years, and has worked with the same hospital system in a different capacity for even longer (so she is highly "respected" (scared of)).

    The nurse and tech turnover rate are incredibly high due to management. Staff retention is close to nonexistence, so most of the staff are fairly new. People know to stay away from our unit. A brief description of my manager includes overbearing, micromanaging, disrespectful to the staff, nothing is kept confidential, and when a concern is voiced she reacts punitively (which makes people hesitant to voice anything).

    The main concern I have is that she is known for writing people up whenever she learns that they are interested in an internal transfer. So essentially, she makes it impossible to transfer as there is a time frame that you have to wait after your write up. Needless to say, the morale of the unit is low.

    As a result, this makes me question my decision on accepting the offer for this position. It's only been two months, and I have already had a bout with her just by voicing a concern about my experience thus far. Now I am nervous that I have a target on my back, and once off orientation, I fear that she is going to set me up/write me up and mess up my clean slate as this unit is just a gateway for me and she knows. I can tell when she has spoken to my preceptor because usually, my preceptor is nice and in a happy mood, but whenever she talks to my preceptor to check up on how I'm doing, my preceptor's energy is way off (stressed, anxious, and hurried), which makes me uncomfortable and interferes with my learning.

    I'm at the point where I want to put in my notice as the managers of the residency program informed me that there is nothing that they can do to help. When I first spoke with one of the managers of the residency program, she told me that they can definitely see if I can be put on another unit. A couple days later, she was kind of rude, stern, and said that a transfer was not an option. Turns out they spoke with the unit manager regarding my concern and the unit manager told them not to transfer me. To note, I have met several people in the residency program who were granted a transfer due to issues with the manager/unit with no problem. This takes me back to my comment when I said, "people are scared" to step on this particular manager's toes.

    I'm aware that this can happen in any unit that I go to. The beginning of this experience started off terribly, and I am ready to leave..maybe apply to another hospital's residency all together, or seek out other nursing opportunities in the community. I don't want to be miserable with my job because of management. Every day I go in with a positive attitude, but whenever there is interaction with the manager I find myself to be stressed and the rest of the day goes downhill. I'm just sad that my nursing career started off this, and I am 100% positive that this experience with this manager is not going to get better.

    Dear Miserable because of Management,

    This is not a good situation but let's figure out what's best for you.

    Although you say "several people in the residency program were granted a transfer due to the issues with the manager" this is not typical. Typically new grads are not allowed to transfer to another unit mid-orientation. I have seen 1-2 new grads max per cohort transferred due to significant performance issues and when the hospital wanted to provide them a better fit. Usually none are transferred.

    You also say that she she makes it almost impossible to transfer but that the turnover is incredibly high. Are they quitting the facility?

    You had a "bout" with your manager, appealed to your residency manager for transfer, but then later you were blocked from transferring. It sounds like the residency manager heard the other side of the story and then changed her position. Think about the "bout" and perhaps how you could have expressed your concern differently. You got off to a bad start with your manager, but consider making it a goal to turn this around. You will learn and grow far more than you could by running away.

    I would concentrate on my performance and learn everything you can. Ask your preceptor for performance feedback and take it to heart. Just learn your job and try to be the best nurse you can be. Don't give them any reason to target you.

    Even with a poor manager, quitting at 2 months in is not recommended unless you have another job lined up. Potential employers will look at your short tenure and not the inadequacies of your manager. Try to stick it out and in a few months, you may see the situation differently than you do today.

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
    Last edit by Nurse Beth on Feb 5
  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   LA.RN
    I feel you! Im in the same situation and it is really bad! Lots of wrong doing and disrespectful people. I got yelled at by a CNAon my 4th week. They is ok she has been here for 17 years thats how she is. And yes thats how she treats pts too. I told the manager. Nothing was done. Lots of wrong doing and disrespecting one another in this place. For this and many many many many many other things. I will quit this job as soon as I get another offer.
  4. by   Ambersmom
    OP, my suggestion to you is quietly look for another position but in the meanwhile, try to figure out how to get on this managers good side... there are bad managers everywhere so its possible you may leap out of the frying pan and directly into the fire. My strategy for dealing with a manager like this would be to try to avoid bring up petty complaints, unless it is life threatening...If she asks you how you like the unit, tell her you love it, never share your true feelings, if she calls you you in for a critique or to give feedback on your performance, never disagree... just say I hadn't looked at it from that way before, good point, etc. You will never win with a manager who manages by intimidation, and it makes for huge staff turnover, burnout, and low morale, and because she has been there a lot longer than you her word against yours will always carry more weight. Also never gossip about her with anyone, including your preceptor it will only come back to haunt you. I would keep the job, while quietly looking for another-never tell anyone you are looking for a new job, but the orientation experience will help you in the long run, on those days were its overwhelming just remind yourself, this is temporary. Best of luck to you.
  5. by   rnpatrick
    Sadly, this is common such a horrible managerer escapes accountability. Perhaps your institution is seeking Magnet or Pathways to Excellence. Perhaps they have language in mission statements or other hospital literature. In their outreach to the community PR, etc. This provides an arguement for your case. Does hospital. employee handbook provide a pathway to raise concerns? Do they have an employee assistance program? This managers behavior is certainly counter to an environment of quality care. Look at Codes of Conduct, Codes of Ethics, research on workplace culture. If there is a committee at your hospital that might be an outlet for improvement get on it. There must be something at your hospital to create a paper trail. Perhaps somebody there might read between the lines and come to your aid. Bottom line, you will eventually have to make this official internally first as the courts often deny recourse if these where not used first. Any communication related to your situation make screen shots of. Do you have access to employee satisfaction surveys unit specific? Hope this is helpful.
  6. by   diana13122
    Why is Nurse Beth defending Management? To me, that is the biggest problem in Nursing.Yes there are three sides to every story. But if the stats are people are leaving the floor in a rapid pace and turnover is high, does that not speak to the Managements flaws in retaining staff? Makes me wonder.....
  7. by   Yep, Me
    Learn "gray rock" technique with that manager. Buy the biggest button you can find & keep it in your pocket every minute you are at work, to reminder yourself to "button your lip". Don't tell anyone you are looking for another job. Once you are off orientation, maybe hire into a position on evenings & nights, when this manager is not likely to be on the floor. & sign up for quality committees! I make it a point to work at least 6 months in any job, just to be sure I don't have a "job hopping" look to my resume. You will live through this & I'm sure you will learn valuable information. I'm 40 years in nursing: been there too!
  8. by   Elaine M
    Create a paper trail. Every bad interaction document with date/time/ witnesses etc. Keep this. When you get a new job, after you've been in it awhile to make sure you like it, go back and give your paperwork to everyone; HR, Chief Nurse, CEO... But be prepared to never be hired at that hospital again.