Frustrated New Nurse

  1. I'm a new RN, I got my license in September. I started a job at a hospital on a med-surg floor. I don't know if the problem is me or if I really have a valid complaint. I work 12 hr nights 7p-7a and have put in for a day position. Last night I had 6 pts. One who was a new admission(I had to do the assessment and admission orders etc...), who needed one on one because the pt. was intoxicated, beligerent and verbally abusive to the staff. Two of the pt's were total care,( inc. care, T&R q2h,etc...). I had to hang blood on one pt., another pt with a new colostomy and in a lot of pain. Plus two of the pt's needed IV's started. I had no nurses aid and no LPN, it was only me to do total care, pass meds, check orders, call docs, check vitals, chart, all of it. I went to my supervisor this morning and vented about this and about how my charge nurse doesn't like to help the rest of the staff. Well my supervisor's response was "maybe you shouldn't come to the day shift". No encouraging words like "hang in there", no compassion like "it sounds like it was a rough night", nothing, just "maybe you shouldn't come to the day shift." Not only do I feel like just another warm body on the floor, but now I feel totally not wanted there. Am I crazy or is it just me because I'm new to the profession? I would appreciate anybody's feed back on this.
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   angelladyclaire
    I think that your supervisor should have used some words of support, but more than likely she was trying to be realistic rather than mean. It sounds like your staffing last night sucked, but you have those nights occasionally and sometimes at shift change you're proud just to say that all of your patients are still alive But in my few short months of experience (just graduated in may) a good day shift is most always more hectic and frustrating than some of your worse night shifts.

    I was precepted for two months on days before moving to nights and they are truly two different worlds at my hospital. Generally there are way more meds scheduled for days, more dressing changes, more dr's orders being thrown at you, more families at the bedside eyeballing you... all of this on top of everything you are having to do on nights. This is not to say I don't get stressed out on nights... we generally have more patients per nurse and no secretary or shift coordinator to put in our orders like days has.

    My ponint is I don't think your supervisor was trying to insult you. More than likely she just feels you need more time on your current shift to hone time management skills etc. before moving to a more hectic shift.
  4. by   ARLadyRN
    I also think that she was saying that it could be worse on days. You are new and it takes a year to get comfortable in the job. Hang in there. It really sounded like it was a bad night. When you go out into the real world, you won't get encouragement or pats on the back like in nursing school. It can be difficult at times with the head nurse or other nurses. I promise it will get better with time.
  5. by   babs_rn
    17 years as a nurse speaking here....

    I moved away from Med/Surg very early on. Originally went for ACLS certification just so I could get off the floor and into the ER - which can be another hellhole often, but at least you don't see the same people for 12 hours straight and Hospital nursing is challenging and difficult and demanding and overwhelming. Nursing typically is. Floor nursing can also be very rife with criticism and shift feuds. It's good experience, and just the fact that you care enough to try to do the right thing and are overwhelmed by that speaks well of you and your patient care. Never let anyone tell you anything differently. Everyone makes mistakes, and I'd be willing to bet everyone has a crazy load - some nights more than others. I remember my nights as charge nurse on a 35-bed tele floor (only six months out of school). Charge and my own patient load (10 patients). And anytime a staff nurse got written up, the charge nurse got written up with her because of the Charge responsibility. It sucked.

    The previous response is correct - days are even more demanding (and generally paid less). You may have one or two fewer patients, but believe it or not, you have a lot more to do. A LOT more.

    Hang in there unless you get to the point where you can find nothing rewarding in what you do. Remember and cherish the times a patient says, "Thank You" or smiles at you or squeezes your hand. That means you've touched them in some way. That's important. That's what nursing is for. The rest is just tasking.

    Remember, too, that as you gain experience you will learn ways to organize your day and that there will be other options open to you for you to explore. In my years of nursing, I have worked in an OB/GYN office, ER (I still do per-diem), ICU (Good when the ER has burned you out on awake people) various med/surg floors, prisons, a nursing home (not good for me), and outpatient hemodialysis - most recently having left a position as manager of a large dialysis center and beginning a work from home case management position with an insurance company today. Remember that the world is your oyster. Never lose your principles, no matter how unpopular they may be sometimes with the powers-that-be. There are still a few nurse managers out there who believe in Nursing with a capital "N" and who will appreciate that in you.

    A suggestion to help you manage your day, taken from my own experience. At shift report, have a full size piece of paper and mark down each hour of the shift...7pm...8pm..9pm...etc. Use a pencil, because things change. Go through the Kardexes and for each patient, mark down under the appropriate hour when tasks are due: vitals, meds, dressing changes, etc. Keep in mind that you can sometimes combine them for the same patient ... stuff due at 7 and at 8 could be done at 7:30, for example, if you are in the room. Something due at 9 could be done at 9:30 if you are tied up with something else. Mark them off when complete. Add and subtract if orders change during the night. Realize that it's okay to say, "I'm tied up with a patient right now, but I'll be there as soon as I can." Be able to accept assistance, and to give assistance (makes folks more willing to help you) when you can. It really does make the night much more workable and easier to get through (not to mention go by faster!) Things that can be done at anytime during the night can then be planned for those hours that you have less stuff to do. It also cuts down on forgetting things because of being overwhelmed.

    Good luck to you, hun. We're rooting for ya.

    Barbara

    Good luck
  6. by   JentheRN05
    Funny - I'm kinda in your same boat. Oriented on days for about a 1.5 months with my last day being 5 patients and having no problems so they switched me to nights. I've been on nights a week now, I'm only taking 3-4 patients (1st day was 5 but it was a really REALLY bad night). I am prepared to take more on nights tonight (which reminds me I gotta get some sleep ASAP) but your boss I think is trying to say your probably not ready to take full patient load on days if your struggling with nights.
    The night you described would more or less be a day time type of night (yes you'll have those from time to time) and the only difference is, you don't have help. BUT you made it through and no one died so you did very VERY well.
    Be proud of yourself, and keep your chin up, keep working toward time management goals and you'll think (in a few months) geez it probably wouldn't have been so bad if I had more practice
    I have my cheat sheet with times and well all kinds of stuff on it that keeps me organized. Would you like a copy? If so PM me your email address and I'll get it out to you. It probably won't be until tomorrow afternoon since I need to get to bed!
    Jen
  7. by   DusktilDawn
    Quote from KTYRN
    I'm a new RN, I got my license in September. I started a job at a hospital on a med-surg floor. I don't know if the problem is me or if I really have a valid complaint. I work 12 hr nights 7p-7a and have put in for a day position. Last night I had 6 pts. One who was a new admission(I had to do the assessment and admission orders etc...), who needed one on one because the pt. was intoxicated, beligerent and verbally abusive to the staff. Two of the pt's were total care,( inc. care, T&R q2h,etc...). I had to hang blood on one pt., another pt with a new colostomy and in a lot of pain. Plus two of the pt's needed IV's started. I had no nurses aid and no LPN, it was only me to do total care, pass meds, check orders, call docs, check vitals, chart, all of it. I went to my supervisor this morning and vented about this and about how my charge nurse doesn't like to help the rest of the staff. Well my supervisor's response was "maybe you shouldn't come to the day shift". No encouraging words like "hang in there", no compassion like "it sounds like it was a rough night", nothing, just "maybe you shouldn't come to the day shift." Not only do I feel like just another warm body on the floor, but now I feel totally not wanted there. Am I crazy or is it just me because I'm new to the profession? I would appreciate anybody's feed back on this.
    I don't think your supervisor responded appropriately. She should have taken the time to discuss these issues with you. She should have also discussed how to handle these situations. For example:
    Did you ask the Charge for help?
    Did you ask other staff for help?
    These are 2 key questions she sould have asked you. Despite the fact the Charge nurse doesn't like to help (if she/he has no assignment), did you ask, and how you should handle her reluctance should have been discussed. Also it is important to remind new nurses to ask for help when they need it. If it is refused, then that situation needs to dealt with by your supervisor (or on-call supervisor, in-house supervisor if they are present).
    Were there other LPNs or NAs on the floor or were you the only one not assigned help? If so, why?
    If that was the case, that should also have been discussed. If there were other LPNs and NAs, then perhaps their assigments could have been change/altered by the Charge nurse.
    Is there a sense of teamwork among all staff?
    This is a biggie. Is there an attitude of "My work is done so that's all I need to do." Is there an attitude of "It looks like Jane needs some help, what can I do for you Jane?"

    I wouldn't have been impressed with a supervisor that responded to me that way. She should have sat down with you and discussed what happened and future strategies you can look into in the future in regards to this type of situation. New nurses need to know what their options are in regards to certain situations, your supervisor dropped the ball here IMHO.
    Last edit by DusktilDawn on Nov 7, '05
  8. by   button2cute
    Hello, All

    As a new nurse in the field, you will be tested throughout your probational period and the stressors will be overwhelming at times. As a nurse being in the profession for six years, I have seen everything under the sun and moon. I could not believe how I was treated being the new kid on the block. I thought I was going to lose my mind with my coworkers and how my assisgnment was the heaviest of all on day and nights. I would be pissed and I would not allow them to break me. My tears would flow down my cheeks and wiped them off, and began my work. Therefore, I know what you are feeling and it is sucks.

    There are no support systems for nurses at all and/or anyone neutral to discuss the problems with the nurses. It is ashame because it does need to happen.

    The actions of the Supervisor, was uncall and threatening to me. I would not allow anyone prevent me to work on the am shift. She should had explained to you about the shortages on night shift, give you praise of accomplishing the work under those circumstances and most of all, explain to you about night shift a lot more than she did. Yes the nursing supervisor is accountable for her action.

    You have a chooses to make for your own insanity as well as your growth in the profession. Heck, you have accomplish a lot that night and you will have lot more experiences.

    The profession of nursing does not give credit or positive reinforcement at all. I believe we need to change the motto of nursing to "one for all, all for one...team work is the accomplishment of everyone working together." I am sorry that we as a profession cannot see the accomplishments of others or give out recognition to them when they are due too. There are a lot of selfishness, egotisc, and uncaring nurses, today. I am very sorry that you are experiencing diffiulty with your employer and your asignmemnt.

    I understand the other posts on this thread. Everyone seem to Develop togh skin and over the years. You will be able delvop tough skinned as your experiences and stessers become much harder than you will be able to handle it.

    There are so many details, that a person must understand about the reality of nursing and the treatment within nurising profession are develop due to the lack of nurses and support system.

    Each shift has it down sizes, each shift brings choas, each shift has it's own personalities and believe me, sometimes it is like hell one day and the next smooth as butter on a slice of toast.

    There are great employers that listen to nurses, tries to understand the issues and tries to resolve the issues as quickly as possible. There are certain issues that may take longer to resolve such as nursing and staff shortage. Then as a nurse make the adaption to the best of your ability.

    Therefore, you will grow from the experiences in your life. You hang in their till you are moved to day shif and/or when you will locate another hospital. Just write things down like you are the only one for now.

    Come here and Vent as much as you wish.

    Friends,
    buttons
  9. by   KTYRN
    Thank you to everyone for your kind words and support. I feel a little better about the situation. Our shift constantly works short and I just get very frustrated sometimes and this morning was especially frustrating. Our charge nurse never helps out if it means getting her hands dirty. She doesn't like to put people on bed pans, take them to the bathroom, stuff like that. She likes to just kind of hang out at the desk and complain a lot. There was one other RN there that was my saving grace. She was awesome and we worked well together. I wouldn't have made it through the night without her. I made sure I told her how much I appreciated the help. This site is really great and thanks to everyone for the encouragement. It feels really good to vent and get some kind of constructive criticism and words of support. I have a feeling I'll be posting a lot of threads. I'm going to just stay focused on my patient care, do my job to the best of my ability, learn as I go and hopefully work my way up the ladder and some day make changes and make a difference in this crazy nursing world.
  10. by   porterwoman
    Quote from KTYRN
    Our charge nurse never helps out if it means getting her hands dirty. She doesn't like to put people on bed pans, take them to the bathroom, stuff like that. She likes to just kind of hang out at the desk and complain a lot.
    I say, then what the smurf is she doing as a charge nurse??? :angryfire Grrr...
    As one of our charge nurses says, the job is about doing everything and anything that needs to be done, from changing a light bulb, to changing linens, to changing an IV site. I wish your charge nurse could see the light.
    Hang in there, dear. Hang in there. I'm new like you, grad in May. Hang in there.
    Rebecca
  11. by   tencat
    Quote from ARLadyRN
    . When you go out into the real world, you won't get encouragement or pats on the back like in nursing school.
    Maybe that's why the profession loses so many people......There's nothing wrong with giving support and encouragement to fellow coworkers, in fact those learning the ropes need it. What's wrong with giving some 'pats on the back' when something is done well? The 'sink or swim' mentality of some professions (teaching is like this as well) contributes to burnout, in my opinion.
  12. by   Miss Mab
    Originally Posted by ARLadyRN
    . When you go out into the real world, you won't get encouragement or pats on the back like in nursing school.

    I read this whole thread and sympathize with the poster but I'm still giggling about this:

    Somehow, I must have missed the day(entire year) where my clinical instructor did this
  13. by   Haunted
    One hospital I have been working at for over a year has the goofiest charting policy. The staffers spend about 75% of their time at the nurses station updating the charting, inputting new orders and basically leave the overwhelmed CNA to tend to direct patient needs.

    Meds are basically just tossed at the patient and rarely do I see a nurse spend any time at the bedside with the patient because of this hospitals policies. When I ask for help in moving a patient, etc. my fellow RN's just stare at me like I am a BUG! I usually leave at end of shift wondering if everything that I could have done for that patient was done, have had nightmares and anxiety when I know I have to "saddle up" and return. The place is so "top heavy" with nursing administrators it's pathetic.

    They float around in white lab coats, take extended lunches and meetings and hang around the already crowded nurses station chatting on cell phones, sharing family photos and quips and pay no attention to the harried staff running their butts off to keep up. No words of encouragement from them, in fact we can't even retreat to the bathroom to pee without being confronted with posters all over the walls telling us that we must strive to do even more, additional tasks etc. Plus, there is a sign up sheet to volunteer for extra shifts! Sheesh.

    At shift change there is one nurse in particular who shows up at least 45 minutes early to review charts, see what was done and what could not be accomplished and instead of discussing ways she would be supportive and help out, begins writing up "incident " reports just to pass the time. We all just cringe when we see she is assigned to our patient load, it's like Russian roulette.

    I am working very hard on completing my Forensics certification so I can get away from this type of environment without souring on nursing all together and have a supportive network of friends I can vent to when needed, which helps but doesn't solve the problem or frustration. I believe I have been a nurse long enough to have gained the experience and knowledge base enough to know this place is a disaster waiting to happen.

    I am fortunate to have a mentor Nurse Manager, at another facility I work at who is the most supportive, calm and intelligent nurse I have ever worked with. I have seen her diffuse a violent confrontation with gentle words and take her philosophy with me where ever I work, patient's come first and if the off going has fallen behind, you are there to pick that slack up and carry on.

    I have gotten report from night shift and they would be in tears telling me how bad they felt due to the impossible load and I reassure them I will do my best to complete the plan of care and they did the very best they could within the contraints afforded them. THEY don't have to deal with this "hitwoman" nurse who must be getting some type of bonus incentive for finding nit picking things wrong with day shifts duties !!!!!
  14. by   soliant12
    Welcome to the state of nursing. This is why so many people leave nursing and move on to other things.

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