New LPN: Working Assisted Living and Not Learning on the Job

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I've been an LPN for about 4 months now and work in an assisted living facility. I'm still learning how to paperwork but the work is way too easy. All i do is pass meds. I was hoping this job would improve on my fundamentals but it doesn't. At the same time, this job pays better than a skilled facility does so i don't want to leave this job. I'm afraid that when i go back to school and they see that I don't know what i'm doing,it'll be a huge problem.

    What should I do?

    Dear Not Learning on the Job,

    Congrats on achieving your LPN!

    As far as staying at a job for higher pay that is not's a tough decision only you can make, knowing your financial needs.

    Could you possibly negotiate for a higher starting salary in a skilled facility?
    "I would love to work here but it would cause a decrease in income I can't afford at this time."

    You have nothing to lose is what I always tell myself when I go after jobs I want and don't think I'll get

    You would learn so much more in a skilled nursing facility. If you can possibly make it work for you, I recommend it.

    As far as going back to school, if you mean bridging to an RN program, you may or may not be judged by others for not having recent skills experience. If you are judged, simply say that your job did not include passing NG tubes, or starting IVs.

    But in reality, your classmates are more concerned about their own (perceived) inadequacies and lack of experience. In a way, no one knows what they're doing, so you will be in good company

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
  2. 1 Comments

  3. by   Ruby Vee
    If you're a new grad, four months in and you're not learning anything you must be doing it wrong. Even if all you do is "pass meds," aren't you learning about the meds? The correct use, correct dosages, the drug interactions, the side effects, signs and symptoms of toxicity, and off-label uses? Aren't you learning anything about the conditions these meds treat? Frequent co-morbidities and what you would look for with those disease processes? You can be learning how to talk to patients, visitors, physicians, co-workers, ancillary services. How to pop your head in the door and do a 30 second mini-assessment to make sure your patients' condition isn't changing? There is SO much you can learn where you are. You may not be doing "skills", but hopefully you're learning to look for changes in your patients' mentation and physical condition.