Left position that stunk, feeling bad...

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    I was a cardiopulmonary step down nurse for about two years. I didn't prefer the stress and the long drive to work. When I found a nursing home position in my home town I thought it was a great idea. Yeah...not so much. A year into it, I was beaten down by horrible in-fighting between the staff and the management, unthinkable and unethical treatment of the patients, and I finally walked out (after my shift) when I felt my license was on the line after severe understaffing on a really bad wing one night. Yes, I only gave one week's notice, and I was supposed to give two. I had talked with management about the problems for months, but no one cared. As long as you weren't costing them money, they didn't give a crapola. I always said it was a really foolish thing to walk out of a job without giving notice, and then I went and did it! I am not proud of it, and now I'm looking for other jobs, hopefully in wound care (I like wound care), but trying to figure out how to explain the last year of my employment. I have references from other nurses and CNA's who really loved working with me and know I did a good job, but I did make a mistake not holding out for one more week.

    I didn't know that all jobs appear on a background check, and I could never really leave this work experience behind. While I was at the nursing home, I also did private duty nursing for an elderly couple in their home. So I thought maybe I'd just say I did the private duty and leave out the nursing home, but then I found out about background checks.

    I couldn't watch anymore people suffer in that place. The night I decided was IT I had 20 patients with three on hospice, a huge number of treatments and medications to complete, one very mentally retarded man needing recatherization, many breathing treatments, and many all-too mobile dementia patients trying to haul themselves out of bed. I also had a woman physically tearing me up because she was refusing any kind of care. She tore open my arm with her nails when I tried to get her up because she was sitting in urine. So there I was all night with my CNA dealing with that and MUCH more. The paperwork was WEEKS behind on that wing because no nurse who had been there cared to or could finish it with all the other stuff going on. In the morning, I was running around like crazy trying to complete meds, treatments and paperwork, and my aid was trying to complete bed checks and getting people up for day shift. Just as the day shift came in, one lady landed on the floor in her room. As we were going to her, another one started screaming in her room, and ended up being sent out for chest pains...as I am trying to complete the paperwork for the one who fell another one started yelling from her room and had her feet on the floor, ready to fall down, too. Day shift went about informing us what a crappy job we did all night, because they are just that kind of wonderful people. Yeah, I was absolutely upside down and inside out after that night, and I was scheduled to be on that wing the rest of the month! It was only the cap of the iceberg...I could go on for pages about how bad that place was-not just that one wing. How they penalize you when you are charge nurse and call help in when all your aids call off, how they have an on-call person who NEVER comes in but gets paid for on-call...wow.... and some of the poor patients and the care they received....

    Suffice to say, I was DONE.


    Now, I have a year's worth of busting my tail in that place and I left without giving two weeks notice. Should I just put it down and explain a bit of how I felt my license was under fire and the patients received substandard care? I don't know what else to do but be honest. Dammit, I'm a good nurse!


    Cara

    (thanks for letting me get that all off my chest!)
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  3. 15 Comments so far...

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    Sorry you got put in that position. I think anyone who heard that story would be sympathetic. I would list it and not be afraid to explain what happened. Its not like you have a history of quitting on short notice.
    Biffbradford likes this.
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    No, I left the right way at both my other nursing jobs. Thanks...


    Cara
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    I would list the job, and not worry about giving only one week's notice. If you have good references from your colleagues I wouldn't worry too much. I have a friend that has worked at 3 different hospitals, in 4 different positions in less than 2 yrs and she keeps managing to get re-employed.
    netglow likes this.
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    You will need to list all jobs on your resume. Federal law mandates all hospitals to do a 'deep background' check on employees. This will turn up any job for which the employer deducted FICA & paid into your ssn account or income tax witholding. So, it will show up. You seem to have a very legitimate reason for leaving. Just don't badmouth them with any specifics - instead, rely on the 'it was not a good fit' response when asked why you left. IMO, your reasons were far more legit than leaving due to scheduling issues or to get a better shift... patient safety, along with ethics & quality should always be our most important factor.

    After you get a new job, you may consider reporting the LTC employer to your state's oversight board & CMS. They need to know what is going on. Since at that point, you will no longer have an axe to grind, no one could say that you were making the report "in bad faith".
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    I am assuming that you actually signed a contract that stated you must give two weeks? Oh well, I'd rather give one week and get out of there than lose my license. I have worked with many Nurses that have signed contracts and have quit in the middle of their contract. I have kept in touch with many of these people and nobody was ever hauled into court over it or have not had the ability to find future employment. Trust me, health care facilities have much bigger fish to fry.

    Here is the beauty of at-will employment. You did NOTHING wrong with not giving a 2-week notice (under the law). I am not quite sure who started this "you must give 2-weeks rule" (my guess is some employer), but this is what at-will is really all about:

    At-will means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, except an illegal one, or for no reason without incurring legal liability. Likewise an employee is free to leave a job at any time for any or no reason with no adverse legal consequences.

    So, I wouldn't even mention that you didn't give to weeks. It isn't relevant to the situation. If they ever call your employer and they state that you did not graciously provide them with 2-week notice, I would be very up-front and honest about why you didn't! My experience is that employers fire people on the spot. I have never worked for someone that was caring and thoughtful enough to warn someone that they were about to be fired.
    SweettartRN, KelRN215, and netglow like this.
  9. 0
    No sweat OP. REALLY no sweat.
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    Yeah, I signed a paper saying I agreed to everything in the orientation booklet they gave me, and I checked and it does say I should give 2 weeks notice or else I lose PTO (didn't have any, ha) and I am not eligible for rehire (breaks my heart). So I guess if future employers call, they will tell them I can't be rehired.

    From what I saw during the year I was there, people who gave their two week notice got DIDDLED. They were given the worst wings and treated like crap. It was like, well, you're leaving, all bets are off. They were very nasty towards people who were leaving them, and indifferent to those who were currently employed. I just don't want me needing to get out of there to hurt getting employed in the future. I worry, you know....but I won't lie about the job.

    I do worry about retribution from the manager at the nursing home. I have seen some pretty underhanded stuff, and it would not surprise me if they are called that they would say something nasty about me. I wonder if I should say not to contact them on an application? But I do have some nice references from my coworkers. I always got along really well with 90% of them, and the others were just the types that have to tear down everyone to make themselves feel good.


    Thanks!
    Cara
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    At will employment means that you are free to leave at will, just as the employer can fire you at will.
    What so many people seem to forget is that at will employment laws, work BOTH ways. It's not just a benefit to the employer. It is also a benefit to a nurse put into an unsafe situation or a situation that may risk their license. You are free to leave, and those that feel otherwise, seem to be stuck in a 1950's employment mentality that no longer exists in this world anymore.
  12. 1
    I did the same at a LTC facility except I just finished out my shift, tied up all loose ends, wrote a note to my boss (it was a Sunday), left my badge, and never came back! I only worked every 6ish days so I was not leaving then in immediate need for the very next day...I won't hijack your thread but I quit that night due to having 36 patients, 3-4 of them skilled, g tubes, wound vac, multiple insulin dependent diabetics, a person have heart attack sx, a actively dying patient on hospice who was refusing hospice services and had very demanding family members, oh yeah and I worked 16 hours without a single stinking break other than peeing twice! I was never setting foot back in there again and I just told the truth when my next employer asked. She understood because it turned out she had worked there before lol!
    SweettartRN likes this.


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