Fired before the 1 year mark, now unemployed for six months. Please help.

  1. To make a long story short (short-er to be exact):
    • Got a job on a Neuro PCU Unit
    • Had a combination of being new/not knowing what to do/getting bullied by a charge nurse/not standing up for myself/not really having any sort of preceptorship
    • Manager has a "talk" with me; manager and HR send me to hospital SNF
    • Did something very stupid - got patient who was my age and depressed this cool caduceus necklace for $3 on Amazon. Patient and his mom try to write me a 'Daisy' Award/letter of recommendation.
    • Other nurses on the floor/rumor mill churn out the assumption I bribed him and go to Management. Management then goes to HR; HR goes to me and I get fired that day, nine months and three days after starting my first nursing job.

    Yes I am a dumb@$$, yes I am stupid/didn't think it through and yes I most definitely learned my lesson.

    That was six months ago.

    I've applied literally everywhere, in multiple cities and at multiple facilities.
    What the hell do I do when I can't get a job anywhere​?
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   AesthesiaSeeker
    Any advice is appreciated. Part of that message was a cry for help, part of it was me truly shouting for some sort of advice. I'm totally confused and any advice would help.

    In the meantime, I live in Texas and have nothing better to do. I got in contact with someone from the Red Cross and I'm in the process of working my way down to Houston to help out Harvey victims. Part of me is a dreamer that thinks I'll run into some amazing contact down there who'll love me for the work I do and give me a job - but I'm not the optimist I used to be. Honestly at this point I'm just hoping to boost my waning confidence by any means necessary.
  4. by   AesthesiaSeeker
    Quote from AesthesiaSeeker
    Any advice is appreciated. Part of that message was a cry for help, part of it was me truly shouting for some sort of advice. I'm totally confused and any advice would help.

    In the meantime, I live in Texas and have nothing better to do. I got in contact with someone from the Red Cross and I'm in the process of working my way down to Houston to help out Harvey victims. Part of me is a dreamer that thinks I'll run into some amazing contact down there who'll love me for the work I do and give me a job - but I'm not the optimist I used to be. Honestly at this point I'm just hoping to boost my waning confidence by any means necessary.
    Wow that really makes me sound like an asympathetic @$$hole. I have a bad habit of letting my personal problems getting out of perspective, please forgive me.
  5. by   Zyprexa
    Relocating might be a good option.
  6. by   newycRN
    I'm sorry that happened. Honestly, I think that if you land an interview and explain what happened and how you learned from it, it shouldn't hurt you as bad as you think it will. Wanting to do something nice for someone is a quality of a good nurse. It's not like you were disrespectful or harmed a patient. You did something selfless as you had noting to gain from giving that gift, and just wanted to make your depressed patient feel a little happier. You know now that you shouldn't be giving patients gifts, so you won't do it anymore. If I was an HR rep who heard this story, I wouldn't hold it against you if you showed me you were genuinely taking responsibility for it.
    But of course, you first need to land the interview. Helping out at Harvey is definitely a good step, even if you won't meet anyone there you can still put it on your resume.
    Have a cover letter. Explain what happened. If you still have no luck, go in to the hospital personally and ask to speak to a manager on a unit so they at least have a face to match the application, and maybe it'll give you an interview.

    Good luck, and don't lose hope!
  7. by   caliotter3
    I would relocate after a period of volunteering in Houston. Who knows, maybe you can get hired there.
  8. by   Nurse Beth
    Your biggest challenge right now is landing an interview with a gap in unemployment and less than a year's experience. That means you need a compelling resume. Even better would be an inside referral from someone in your network to give you a hand.

    Apply to sub-acute facilities as well as acute because your primary goal now is to stop the widening unemployment gap.

    As far as your resume, here's an excerpt from my book, written for nurses in situations like yours:

    Your resume can be your most effective marketing tool or a career obituary. When applicants are sending out multiple resumes and not landing interviews...the culprit is the resume. In this chapter, you will learn how to make your resume stand out. You will learn how to craft a winning resume even when you are new to the field.

    Ashley graduated six months and 42 resumes ago without yet landing a single interview. She was steeped in despair, but with a revamp of her resume, she landed her dream job in a Pediatric acute care unit.

    The problem with Ashley's resume was that it was exactly like the dozens of other new grad resumes that recruiters see every day. She did not know how to make her resume stand out from all the other resumes of equally qualified but inexperienced applicants.

    In fact, Ashley herself thought she wasn't such a great candidate. She was actually a great candidate, but she needed to believe it and for her resume to show it.

    How important is your resume? Extremely.
    • You have roughly 6 seconds to capture their attention
    • It’s often the one and only chance you have to secure an interview
    • There are no do-overs
    • It’s the first impression your potential employer has of you. First impressions are lasting and impactful.



    Best wishes, Nurse Beth
  9. by   TriciaJ
    Your thread starts with three posts by you, berating yourself and calling yourself "dumba$$". Lose the self-negating language. You were a new grad who made a few mistakes. If there is any self-deprecation in your cover letter, edit it out.

    Great idea to volunteer in Houston. Even if you don't make a contact that lands you your dream job, you'll have something to put on a resume and meet some people who will be able to give you references.

    I'm hoping that after you get done volunteering, something opens up for you. Good luck.
  10. by   AesthesiaSeeker
    @Zyprexa, BSN, RN: Thank you for the advice; relocating is something I have already tried and is no longer fiscally an option.

    @newycRN: If you don’t mind, I PM’d you “the speech” as I’ve learned to call it. I’ve heard multiple things about it from multiple HR reps, some say it need only stay in HR while others say I should mention it to the managers as well to maintain a policy of honesty and transparency. I’ll post it here as well so others may give their opinion on it. Is it worth including on a cover letter or is it better to remain ‘verbal’?
    So far no unit manager has even bothered to match a face to the application.

    “I was doing a great job, getting wonderful reviews and my preceptorship was sailing along.
    And then I had a problem.

    One of my patients, a young guy about 19, was a prison inmate with an ankle bracelet on. He had severely chronic cystic fibrosis all his life and was constantly in and out of the hospital. And the end of one of my shifts I played video games with the him, trying to help him with his depression. And that was where the problem started. He latched onto me and over over the period of the next week and a half began stalking me through the hospital systems; he manipulated people into letting him use their staff phone. I would be floating on another floor and I’d still be getting calls from this guy. His manipulative behavior escalated, he began to refuse treatment and his medications, saying he had to be treated me. Out of the blue I was called into HR and let go. I thought that by keeping my preceptor and charge nurse in the loop I was doing the right thing. But this patient was manipulating things in the background that I didn’t know was going on.

    The disappointing thing in all of this was someone should’ve stood up for me but didn’t.

    I learned a lot of lessons from that encounter, the most important being to give compassionate care but not to get too close to people.
    I am a great nurse, I did a great job, I got great reviews but I was put in a no-win situation.”

    @Nurse Beth, MSN, RN:
    Thank you very much for your input; I’m applying to many sub-acute facilities in my area, possibly more than I can count.
    I also greatly appreciate your advice about my résumé; however I am very blessed in this life to have a father who is an international telecomm exec who’s been critiquing my résumé since I was about 12 years old.

    @TriciaJ, RN: My response to Nurse Beth kind of ties into your response. While I’m not trying to make excuses for my negative thought behavior, the truth is I live with self-negating language all around me by the people around me. And it has slowly become part of me and not by choice.
  11. by   AesthesiaSeeker
    Truth is I'm a millennial. Born to a Dad who graduated with a 2.001 GPA from the University of Florida back in the '70's, who drove a furniture truck until he was 26, who got his first break from Texas Instruments in the late '70's. My Mom followed him, her blue-collar parents kicked her out the day she turned 18 from Cedarburg, WI and said "Turn yourself into something"; no help, no college, she was out. In the '90's when things sucked I went to daycare, as the decade progressed I stayed home plopped in front of the TV watching Elmo and Ninja Turtles with my sister as Ma worked. I cried the day I got the Disney Channel on cable and watched Pete's Dragon more times than I can remember. Friday nights were for Domino's pizza and Blockbuster. Then my Dad got his MBA; Friday night Domino's and Blockbuster turned into the corner NYC pizza, Marble Slab Ice cream and Blockbuster. Resort-style vacations on fall break, flying to see relatives in Florida in December, and learning to ski french fry/pizza style in Colorado on Spring Break. Every Spring Break.
    I was smart, I got great grades growing up. When 2nd grade rolled along and every student in my class was assigned to dress up as a historical figure I dressed up as FDR (little did I know what a flaming Democrat and narcissist he was then).
    Then the Asperger's started to show up. Little by little, and then in middle school - kablaaamoh.
    I was the problem child. The child that could've gone pre-med if he 'tried a little harder' but didn't.
    So there you have it: me, drunk on pity and Smirnoff spilling my soul online to a bunch of people I'll never meet. That's where the self-negating language comes from at least.

    ****, maybe I should've been a writer...
  12. by   TriciaJ
    Oh, that is an interesting situation. Someone with a chronic childhood illness and a history of incarceration can learn to be a master manipulator. Sounds like no one at your previous place of employment knew how to deal with him and as a fairly new grad you got thrown under the bus.

    All you need to tell a future employer is that you were trying to be compassionate to someone who is manipulative and now you have a better understanding of boundaries. Get whatever work or volunteer work you can; it looks good on a resume and puts time and space between you and that past incident.

    But really, stop calling yourself "dumba$$". If the people around you want to be that way, that's them. Time to rethink what you tell yourself. I'm rooting for you.
  13. by   SobreRN
    Inmates can be master manipulators; it is not considered a gift (anything and everything is considered contraband.)
  14. by   Julius Seizure
    Quote from AesthesiaSeeker
    “I was doing a great job, getting wonderful reviews and my preceptorship was sailing along.
    And then I had a problem.

    One of my patients, a young guy about 19, was a prison inmate with an ankle bracelet on. He had severely chronic cystic fibrosis all his life and was constantly in and out of the hospital. And the end of one of my shifts I played video games with the him, trying to help him with his depression. And that was where the problem started. He latched onto me and over over the period of the next week and a half began stalking me through the hospital systems; he manipulated people into letting him use their staff phone. I would be floating on another floor and I’d still be getting calls from this guy. His manipulative behavior escalated, he began to refuse treatment and his medications, saying he had to be treated me. Out of the blue I was called into HR and let go. I thought that by keeping my preceptor and charge nurse in the loop I was doing the right thing. But this patient was manipulating things in the background that I didn’t know was going on.

    The disappointing thing in all of this was someone should’ve stood up for me but didn’t.

    I learned a lot of lessons from that encounter, the most important being to give compassionate care but not to get too close to people.
    I am a great nurse, I did a great job, I got great reviews but I was put in a no-win situation.”
    This is what you say when people ask why you were fired? I would definitely not say all this. Its just way too much, first of all. When you say so much, it sounds like you are trying to explain away the mistake that you made, and then at the end saying that "someone should’ve stood up for me but didn’t" REALLY makes it sound like you don't take responsibility. While everything you tell in this story might be valid, it is definitely not what I would say when trying to make a good first impression.

    Keep it simple. What TriciaJ said is good: you were trying to be compassionate to a manipulative patient, gave a small gift, and learned from your mistake that professional boundaries are very important.

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