new job, no support, feeling very upset and overwhelmed

  1. *sorry for long post*
    Hi guys, I'm just looking for some support/advice.
    About 6 weeks ago I started a new post as a HCA in Operating Theatres. Before that I worked in psychiatric wards and care homes so this is a huge change and I knew literally nothing about med/surg or general nursing before I came into this post.
    The job is extremely intense and overwhelming - I'm in emergency theatres so you don't know what's coming through the door next (today we had a machete attack victim), and you literally have to learn 100 things at once, including instruments and surgical equipment, knowing where everything is and what it's called, being asked to run and get things in an emergency, and dealing with all kinds of documents and paperwork.
    Since I started the job I've had very little support - within 2 hours of my very first shift (with no prior induction), I was standing in the middle of a surgery and being asked to go and get things. It took two weeks before I had things sorted like my ID badge, paperwork, training, and two weeks before I even got to meet and chat with the ward sisters who are basically my line managers. I've been given a folder which includes theory and practice work as part of my induction process that I need to work through and no one went through the folder with me and actually explained what I had to do; I was just left to figure it out. I also have no idea when I'm expected to have time to complete this work when I'm constantly being asked to go back into theatre if I step out to do some of my work. Sometimes it's so hectic and there seems to be a general feeling that I'm annoying people whenever I don't know where something is or what to do in a certain situation. Most of the time I feel like a useless spare part despite how proactive I try to be (asking "what can I do?).
    This morning, my "mentor" spoke to me in such a patronising and ignorant way that it all became too much and I burst into tears. She pulled me aside and said that basically everyone thinks I'm "floundering", and "this is your job and you're here to learn, so what's the problem?" I then spent the next hour in tears and feeling completely lonely, useless and overwhelmed. Fast forward to this afternoon and the ward sisters pull me into the office and tell me they are moving me to a different department next month as they "think it's for the best". I basically had no say in the matter and feel as if they are just punting me off somewhere else as apparently my lack of knowledge and experience in 6 weeks makes me a complete annoyance to them. Not only will I lose out on my three 12 hour shifts a week as the new department doesn't do those hours, I'm also losing out on my weekends now as they don't work on Saturday Sunday.
    I came from such a horrible environment in my last job and was so looking forward to starting this new one. I have only been on the job for 6 weeks and feel like I'm being expected to be fully competent. There's a new staff Nurse in our theatre too who was also in tears last week because she has been treated exactly the same way. It's just been such a bad experience so far and I'm even questioning now whether I want to stay in the job, and whether I even want to stay in Healthcare altogether. I'm so sick of the negativity and being treated like an object, especially in such a high pressure job.
    I'm not feeling sorry for myself here, I understand that I'm doing an important job and I need to be on the ball and be responsible for my learning, but at the same time there's only so much I can learn and be expected to do within 6 weeks.
    I don't know what im asking for here really, just a bit of support or advice on what I should do. Thanks x
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from laura3093
    *sorry for long post*
    Hi guys, I'm just looking for some support/advice.
    About 6 weeks ago I started a new post as a HCA in Operating Theatres. Before that I worked in psychiatric wards and care homes so this is a huge change and I knew literally nothing about med/surg or general nursing before I came into this post.
    The job is extremely intense and overwhelming - I'm in emergency theatres so you don't know what's coming through the door next (today we had a machete attack victim), and you literally have to learn 100 things at once, including instruments and surgical equipment, knowing where everything is and what it's called, being asked to run and get things in an emergency, and dealing with all kinds of documents and paperwork.
    Since I started the job I've had very little support - within 2 hours of my very first shift (with no prior induction), I was standing in the middle of a surgery and being asked to go and get things. It took two weeks before I had things sorted like my ID badge, paperwork, training, and two weeks before I even got to meet and chat with the ward sisters who are basically my line managers. I've been given a folder which includes theory and practice work as part of my induction process that I need to work through and no one went through the folder with me and actually explained what I had to do; I was just left to figure it out. I also have no idea when I'm expected to have time to complete this work when I'm constantly being asked to go back into theatre if I step out to do some of my work. Sometimes it's so hectic and there seems to be a general feeling that I'm annoying people whenever I don't know where something is or what to do in a certain situation. Most of the time I feel like a useless spare part despite how proactive I try to be (asking "what can I do?).
    This morning, my "mentor" spoke to me in such a patronising and ignorant way that it all became too much and I burst into tears. She pulled me aside and said that basically everyone thinks I'm "floundering", and "this is your job and you're here to learn, so what's the problem?" I then spent the next hour in tears and feeling completely lonely, useless and overwhelmed. Fast forward to this afternoon and the ward sisters pull me into the office and tell me they are moving me to a different department next month as they "think it's for the best". I basically had no say in the matter and feel as if they are just punting me off somewhere else as apparently my lack of knowledge and experience in 6 weeks makes me a complete annoyance to them. Not only will I lose out on my three 12 hour shifts a week as the new department doesn't do those hours, I'm also losing out on my weekends now as they don't work on Saturday Sunday.
    I came from such a horrible environment in my last job and was so looking forward to starting this new one. I have only been on the job for 6 weeks and feel like I'm being expected to be fully competent. There's a new staff Nurse in our theatre too who was also in tears last week because she has been treated exactly the same way. It's just been such a bad experience so far and I'm even questioning now whether I want to stay in the job, and whether I even want to stay in Healthcare altogether. I'm so sick of the negativity and being treated like an object, especially in such a high pressure job.
    I'm not feeling sorry for myself here, I understand that I'm doing an important job and I need to be on the ball and be responsible for my learning, but at the same time there's only so much I can learn and be expected to do within 6 weeks.
    I don't know what im asking for here really, just a bit of support or advice on what I should do. Thanks x
    Fair warning -- You're in a different country than me, in a different specialty and I suspect that "HCA" is not a nurse. I don't know from ward sisters or "theater". What struck me about your post is that newbies floundering in new jobs are pretty much the same everywhere. Changing jobs is difficult, even more difficult if you're changing specialties. I get that. I've been there. I had a very, very rough introduction to nursing and I cried more times than I can count my first year. Sounds like you're having a rough start, too. Two weeks to get badges and paperwork, etc. -- that's happened to my orientees, and we just work with it. It's difficult, but it's not the end of the world. Getting feedback from your mentor delivered in a manner you didn't care for is just part of the job. I'm assuming that there were nuggets of information in the feedback that you could have used to learn, improve your practice or change some bad habits. That makes it helpful feedback, whether or not you liked the delivery. Suck it up and learn. The fact that you received this feedback by bursting into tears and ruminating for an hour about how she hurt your feelings tells me a bit about why the ward sisters think this job might not be for you. You're on the job, and I'm assuming that there are actual patients involved. It's not about your hurt feelings, nor should it be. You blew it big time when you didn't handle feedback like a grown up. You are extremely lucky in that your ward sisters decided that you weren't a good fit for their unit, and instead of firing you they found you a different job. Please, please look at this as the gift that it is and resolve to do better in the new unit.
  4. by   caliotter3
    Ruby gives good advice. You are lucky they are moving you. Many times an employer will just eliminate a worker without giving them a second chance. Hopefully, you won't be treated with the same disregard in the new unit.
  5. by   laura3093
    Ruby, thank you for your advice. However please don't make assumptions about my character or how I do my job by saying things like "you blew it big time". I'm damn good at my job and there's only so much you can do when you're being left with no support and insufficient management. Yes, sometimes I do let my emotions get in the way, but that's only because I care so much about what I do and the patients I'm helping. I came here for support and advice and as much as I understand where you're coming from, it's very insensitive of you to make assumptions about me in that way. And don't worry, I won't be bursting into tears after reading your reply.
  6. by   heron
    I didn't read anything about character in Ruby's post ... but I guess no good deed goes unpunished.

    Not having been there, I have no idea whether your supervisor's assessment that you were floundering was accurate. I do know that emergency surgery is about as high-stakes and intense as it gets. Did you really get thrown in alone on your first day? No orientation at all? I'm stunned ... but anything can happen. I would flounder, too.

    Ruby's right ... take the new job and be done.
  7. by   djh123
    I don't have time to say much except that I feel for you ... my situation is vastly different but I'm just as upset and frustrated. I'll add, though, that since I keep seeing comments on here from numerous people about 'not getting much training' that I think a lot of people are crappy at training (although to be fair, some of them probably don't have TIME to train anyone). I think I say that partly because my family has/had many teachers, and I probably should've been one. It can be something as simple or obvious as 'What does a new person in this dept. need to know?' - yet where I work, that question was 'answered' by being given some training on the computer system and not much else. Kind of pathetic. a 1- or 2-page thing with a bunch of bullet points about where this or that, is, what to do in this or that situation, could answer many many questions for a new hire, but they haven't even though of that.
  8. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from laura3093
    Ruby, thank you for your advice. However please don't make assumptions about my character or how I do my job by saying things like "you blew it big time". I'm damn good at my job and there's only so much you can do when you're being left with no support and insufficient management. Yes, sometimes I do let my emotions get in the way, but that's only because I care so much about what I do and the patients I'm helping. I came here for support and advice and as much as I understand where you're coming from, it's very insensitive of you to make assumptions about me in that way. And don't worry, I won't be bursting into tears after reading your reply.
    Oh good lord. You wrote about leaving a job for confidence issues and stress . . . It isn't a negative assumption about your character to think that you might have anxiety issues. But I digress. I fail to see how crying for an hour because your feelings were hurt by negative feedback (which was probably deserved because you are, after all, new at the job) and "letting my emotions get in the way only because I care so much about what I do and the patients I'm helping" translates to you being damned good at your job. It seems to me that a little more professionalism would be in order.

    Contrary to what many people seem to think, this forum is not a support group. Coming here for advice is a terrific idea -- and you can get some great advice here if you're astute enough to pay attention to it. But you won't always get replies you like. And that's OK, too, if you're smart enough to reflect upon the advice you're given and perhaps use it to challenge old ways of thinking.
  9. by   JerseyTomatoMDCrab
    Quote from Ruby Vee
    Contrary to what many people seem to think, this forum is not a support group.
    YES.

    This is not the place to come if you want people to simply agree with you.
  10. by   Proverbs16:24
    Sorry to hear about your situation. I can agree that starting a new job can be nerve wrecking and what a new employee seeks is just wanting to feel welcomed and be apart of the team. Deliverance is everything especially in the early stages to help build your confidence. Please do not give up and believe on why you where you chosen in the first place. You have strengths and hopefully the season nurses can give you some time to see your strengths.

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