Should I look for a new job in this situation?

  1. 1
    I'm a relatively new nurse with 15 months' experience.

    One of my patient fell over the past weekend with no injuries. When the DON questioned the charge nurse, she rendered me incompetent to make a point that she is irrelevant to this incident. DON pulled me to the office and told me that they found that I have made so many small mistakes (overdue meds twice, wrong dressing once, dressing got loose once, "now" meds given three hours later twice, etc) and they think I may need help. They approached it nicely and made a little "plan" for my improvement.

    I like my job and my patients really like me. I admit that I'm still learning new things everyday, and I still feel a little nervous about a complicated wound vac change and an iv insertion. I made stupid mistakes and smack myshelf on the head thinking "why I did that". My question is will the hat of "incompetence" hard to lift and I should look for a new job soon?
    prnqday likes this.

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  2. 14 Comments...

  3. 5
    I'd wait it out for a bit before panicking. It sounds like they want to help you for now and those are minor issues.
    tnmarie, Marshall1, joanna73, and 2 others like this.
  4. 4
    Nope, if they're not making a big deal out of it, I wouldn't. If they have a plan for you, take advantage of it; they must see your value. I constantly review my performance and see what I could change; keep evaluating yourself and you will be able to improve.

    Quote from treeye
    I'm a relatively new nurse with 15 months' experience.

    One of my patient fell over the past weekend with no injuries. When the DON questioned the charge nurse, she rendered me incompetent to make a point that she is irrelevant to this incident. DON pulled me to the office and told me that they found that I have made so many small mistakes (overdue meds twice, wrong dressing once, dressing got loose once, "now" meds given three hours later twice, etc) and they think I may need help. They approached it nicely and made a little "plan" for my improvement.

    I like my job and my patients really like me. I admit that I'm still learning new things everyday, and I still feel a little nervous about a complicated wound vac change and an iv insertion. I made stupid mistakes and smack myshelf on the head thinking "why I did that". My question is will the hat of "incompetence" hard to lift and I should look for a new job soon?
    tnmarie, Marshall1, joanna73, and 1 other like this.
  5. 2
    Listen to what they're trying to tell you - at least they didn't fire you, they are giving you a chance.
    tnmarie and Marshall1 like this.
  6. 9
    I have a different perspective than others. I wouldn't resign at this point, however I think you should start upgrading your resume and passively look for a job. Always think the worse and have a plan. Worse case scenario is you'll be terminated if no improvement is shown, so make sure you have a plan B. Since I've been in nursing I've seen that it is a great idea to always have an updated resume and a plan of escape. You just never know.
  7. 8
    Let's see here. You have made a lot of small errors, they think you need help, they've put together a plan to give it to you. I'd take them up on it and work the plan long before even thinking about going somewhere else. Why is that? Because if you haven't done the work to improve, wherever you go next you'll make another string of little errors, and that employer might not be so generous, and bingo! You now have two short-term jobs on your resume, and you still haven't done an improvement plan.

    Suck it up and understand that as a new grad you have a lot to learn. If these guys thought you were hopeless they'd have just cut you loose. They are doing YOU a favor by giving you the opportunity to improve your skills and work habits. You'd be nuts to turn that down.
    joanna73, VivaLasViejas, tnmarie, and 5 others like this.
  8. 4
    Yup, this improvement plan may well be the beginning of the paper trail to fire. As some other poster has said, nurses should ALWAYS have two jobs, one primary and a prn, so you can say that you have been continually employed. Work on improvement, that never hurts. also watch your back, that also, never hurts.
    Quote from crazy&cuteRN
    I have a different perspective than others. I wouldn't resign at this point, however I think you should start upgrading your resume and passively look for a job. Always think the worse and have a plan. Worse case scenario is you'll be terminated if no improvement is shown, so make sure you have a plan B. Since I've been in nursing I've seen that it is a great idea to always have an updated resume and a plan of escape. You just never know.
  9. 1
    Hey...they're going to help you! What's wrong with that? They could have just fired you. It appears they want you to succeed. Don't look at his as a negative but learn from the experience. What happens is they let you go and some people land on their feet and some make little mistakes all the time at first (sounds like every new grad yea). Take advantage of the situation and smile; it's a good thing.
    MMaeLPN likes this.
  10. 1
    That's what happened to me. Within two weeks I was fired even though I had offered to quit on my own earlier and was begged to stay. It was like they wanted to be the ones to say GO or maybe they felt they needed something that wouldn't blow back on them. The two weeks were used to find anything that would make them think I couldn't come back at them if fired.

    In the long run, I was glad I stayed until fired because I ended up making a couple of grand and my daughter ended up needing it for surgery.

    I don't use them as a reference. Anywhere I work in the future can just think, "Boy, she catches on quick!".

    I would play along, in case they sincerely want to develop you. But, I would start that job search NOW! Can't hurt. If you can afford to be out of work for an indefinite period of time, then just take the ride and see where it goes. But, know it's a risk.
    Not_A_Hat_Person likes this.
  11. 6
    Quote from crazy&cuteRN
    I have a different perspective than others. I wouldn't resign at this point, however I think you should start upgrading your resume and passively look for a job. Always think the worse and have a plan. Worse case scenario is you'll be terminated if no improvement is shown, so make sure you have a plan B. Since I've been in nursing I've seen that it is a great idea to always have an updated resume and a plan of escape. You just never know.
    And IMHO, always have a second job. Per diem is fine, if that is all you can do. I have listed the reasons for this in several threads on AN, and I will only repeat them if you want me to do so--cause, how many times do people want to read through the same thing from me?

    I sort of agree with crazy and cuteRN. . .but it could go either way. I'm not there to read the nonverbal and all things that may be read in-between the lines. What I do know is that sometimes these performance improvement plans are set up with genuinely good intentions. Sometimes it's just a way to make it look like the place tried to keep you; but "the nurse just wouldn't fall in line." Even At-Will employers like to have something in a file to make it look like it's all about the employee.

    And sometimes that is completely true that there are serious problems with certain employees. Other times, however, it is not really about any serious problems. Other times it's somewhere in the middle of those two things. Regardless, they like to have their bases covered in case someone decides to legally object to a firing--or even, where it's not a no-fault state for unemployment, they may take the position that UE should be denied.

    So, in some of these situations, the PIP might seem well and good, but if it's not strongly objective in nature, and if you have someone evaluating you that will make issues over every little thing, makes mountains out of molehills, or spaghettify something--to the point of where you are not going to win--no matter what you do and no matter how perfect you try to become, well, then you need to be prepared to protect your reputation and move on if need be.

    OTOH, however, if you can step back, and strive to be as objective as possible, and you find that there are solid reasons for their concerns, grab the bull by the horns and bang that PIP out. Show them that you are more than on the ball.

    Regardless, it's not going to hurt you to find a per diem job in the mean time. Have a back up plan, and always be prepared. Even if you do your best, you do not know for sure how this will go down.

    We all want to believe that people are acting in good faith; but I have been around in nursing for two decades, and I have seen all kinds of games. Lawyers would go out of business tomorrow if more people consistently acted in good faith, left silly biases, petty politics, and insecurity issues out of their interactions with others. Humanity is flawed, and you just have to face that reality. Thus, do your part and your best--you act in good faith--but be prepared and carefully protect yourself from those that do not act in good faith.

    Those involved with you that are acting on the behalf of the institution may certainly be acting in good faith, or they may not be. All you can do is your absolute best to do right and look out for yourself.

    If a nurse doesnt' work under a very sound contract--whether by union or otherwise--I say the nurse should make sure she or he holds on to a second job. Fortunately in nursing, once you get some experience, the field usually gives you opportunity for per diem or agency work. Having a secondary nursing job isn't about getting extra money. It's about protection of your reputation and references, as well as your financial wellbeing.
    Last edit by samadams8 on Mar 29, '13


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