Awkward situation while putting in 2 weeks notice

  1. 0
    I have been working at a Psych hospital for 5 months. This is my first nursing job after graduating nursing school. I got hired for the overnight shift. I have heard overnight shift is a little slow paced, so I figured I would ease into nursing. After the first month, my sleeping pattern went erratic. I tried everything in the book to try and sleep during the day. Nothing worked. I told my manager during the 2nd month that I would like to switch to evening shifts because of these issues. She said from there on that she will give me 2 days evening shifts, and 1 day overnight shift. The schedule came and I was still scheduled overnights till today (5th month). During the 3rd month, I asked again about the status of my shifts, and she said she is working on it. By now, I take 15 melatonins & 4 benadryls to go to sleep during the day, and during my shift I drink about 15-20 cups of coffee. I even carry caffeine pills with me if things get worst. Even with the sleeping pills I would only be able to sleep 3-4 hours a day.
    It got to the point where I could not pay attention during work. I started making mistakes. I even threw up during my shift. By the end of the shift my body would shake from lack of sleep. During the 5th month, I asked my boss if I can switch to resource. She said NO! I then told her that I'm putting my 2 weeks noticed, because of all these issues that I'm having. My boss told me to not show up at work at all. She told me that I don't need to give her a 2 weeks notice, and "just be done with it." So basically she said don't come back.
    Now the problem is: What do I tell my next employer. I need to put down that I worked at this Psych hospital because it will be counted as experience. It is too hard for a new grad to find jobs. Putting this definitely will help me. But when I fill out the application, it always asks: Can we contact your previous employer. What should I say?
  2. Get our hottest nursing topics delivered to your inbox.

  3. 16 Comments so far...

  4. 6
    Honesty is always the best policy. I had a similar situation and when I was asked about my previous employment by a potential employer, I said "you know what I'm going to be honest I had to leave because of scheduling conflicts and the manager was not happy about it, and although I wouldn't chose her as a reference, I wouldn't object to you contacting her because I know the issues were related to scheduling and not my nursing skills". Generally new employers do contact old ones, so it's just better to tell the truth. Good luck! Keep us updated.
    RunnerRN2b2014, Meriwhen, poppycat, and 3 others like this.
  5. 0
    Quote from Prairienurse1989
    Honesty is always the best policy. I had a similar situation and when I was asked about my previous employment by a potential employer, I said "you know what I'm going to be honest I had to leave because of scheduling conflicts and the manager was not happy about it, and although I wouldn't chose her as a reference, I wouldn't object to you contacting her because I know the issues were related to scheduling and not my nursing skills". Generally new employers do contact old ones, so it's just better to tell the truth. Good luck! Keep us updated.
    That is a very good answer. Did you end up getting a job after you explained this to your next employer?
  6. 0
    You quit. She didn't fire you. I don't see the problem with saying they may contact your previous employer.
  7. 2
    I agree with above. Be honest. Say you didn't tolerate night shift. You left on your own terms. Not all jobs contact the manager btw, a lot ask for references from you - so perhaps you could use a co-worker etc?

    On a side note, 15-20 cups of coffee plus caffeine pills?! No wonder you couldn't sleep. That is probably why you had the shakes and were throwing up. That is too much caffeine. When I did night I would have 1-2 cups but cut myself off for caffeine after 1 am. That way I could fall asleep by 9 am. Room darkening curtains, white noise machines. I can see using a benadryl or melatonin when needed but 15 melatonins and 4 benadryl at a time? No wonder you were tired at work going in. It's surprsing you didn't have an MI.
    I think that you were over caffeinating and then relying on sleep aids, rather than allowing your body to be tired etc. Also doing a mixture of evening and night can be confusing on your body. Night shift is not easy, but it's doable. If you get hired for nights again in your career (which you probably will be), I would recommend that you cut down on the caffeine and sleep aids.
    elkpark and jadelpn like this.
  8. 1
    When I left my last job, I made sure to get references from some of the MDs as well as coworkers and my charge nurse.

    You resigned and gave your notice as per policy, so you did nothing wrong IMO. As everyone said, you need to be honest with future employers: you resigned because you couldn't handle night shift and gave your notice but was told that you didn't need to work it. And there's other good responses in this thread that you can use. Of course, you could always ask HR what they'll say, or have someone pretend to check your employment and see what they're told.

    And yes, you CAN swing night shift without relying on caffeine and sleep aids. It takes some time to train your body to do it, but it can be done. Where most people with night shift problems mess up is that on their days off, they try to revert back to a day lifestyle. You can't do that because it'll mess you up; you'd also lose two days each week as you (try to) transition from night schedule to day schedule and then back. On the days off, you need to keep a somewhat similar schedule to your nights...no, you don't have to stay up to 0800 as though you were working. But keep the waking/bedtimes somewhat similar.

    When I worked nights (2000-0800), I'd get up at 1700 and go to bed around 1000. On non-work days, I'd get up around 1300-1400 and go to bed around 0400-0600. I did it for a couple of years and after I adapted to it (took about four months), I rarely had to use stimulants or sleep aids. Fortunately I lived in NYC at the time, so it was easy to have a social life even with those hours.
    elkpark likes this.
  9. 0
    When I applied for a new job after working for a new manager who absolutely would not comply with a neurologist's order not to assign me rotating shifts. I had been fine if I worked days and 3-11, OK with any one shift of the three shifts, but she would not get it into her thick head that I had seizures if I rotated between 3-11 and 11-7 within the same two week schedule. She finally said I could submit my resignation OR she would fire me on the spot.

    I resigned and when I was job hunting, I simply told my interviewer that my old manager had left and the new manager had a completely different scheduling and work style. It wasn't badmouthing, yet it told the interviewer the manager was an uncooperative
    XXXXX.

    I had a new job within a month.

    I had problems working nights at first. What worked for me was to run any errands I needed to run on my way home. When I got home, I'd make a cup of herb tea, eat something, play with the cats, turn on either classical music or the TV and stretch out on the couch and read. I'd almost always be asleep by 11:00 am.
  10. 0
    Quote from LynnLRN
    You quit. She didn't fire you. I don't see the problem with saying they may contact your previous employer.
    The problem is that she is ****** off. So do I still add her as a reference?
  11. 0
    Quote from MommyandRN
    I agree with above. Be honest. Say you didn't tolerate night shift. You left on your own terms. Not all jobs contact the manager btw, a lot ask for references from you - so perhaps you could use a co-worker etc?

    On a side note, 15-20 cups of coffee plus caffeine pills?! No wonder you couldn't sleep. That is probably why you had the shakes and were throwing up. That is too much caffeine. When I did night I would have 1-2 cups but cut myself off for caffeine after 1 am. That way I could fall asleep by 9 am. Room darkening curtains, white noise machines. I can see using a benadryl or melatonin when needed but 15 melatonins and 4 benadryl at a time? No wonder you were tired at work going in. It's surprsing you didn't have an MI.
    I think that you were over caffeinating and then relying on sleep aids, rather than allowing your body to be tired etc. Also doing a mixture of evening and night can be confusing on your body. Night shift is not easy, but it's doable. If you get hired for nights again in your career (which you probably will be), I would recommend that you cut down on the caffeine and sleep aids.

    It gradually led up to that point. I started with one melatonin. After a couple of weeks it stopped working. So I add more until I could fall asleep. Later on, even when I took 5, I still could not sleep after laying in bed for a couple of hours. That is when I started to increase my dose.

    My question to you is: How do you pay attention at work if you are already sleepy? I have 4 hours of auditing to do at work every night. I wish all I did was pass meds. But auditing charts require a lot of attention, and if I am not fully awake, then I make errors. Not to say that passing meds doesn't require attention also. But at least when passing meds, I'm physically moving around. When auditing charts, I'm just sitting.

    I do darken my room, turn on 2 fans for the white noise also. Half of the time it works.

    I agree with your advice. I will try my best to lay it off.
  12. 0
    Quote from Meriwhen
    When I left my last job, I made sure to get references from some of the MDs as well as coworkers and my charge nurse.

    You resigned and gave your notice as per policy, so you did nothing wrong IMO. As everyone said, you need to be honest with future employers: you resigned because you couldn't handle night shift and gave your notice but was told that you didn't need to work it. And there's other good responses in this thread that you can use. Of course, you could always ask HR what they'll say, or have someone pretend to check your employment and see what they're told.

    And yes, you CAN swing night shift without relying on caffeine and sleep aids. It takes some time to train your body to do it, but it can be done. Where most people with night shift problems mess up is that on their days off, they try to revert back to a day lifestyle. You can't do that because it'll mess you up; you'd also lose two days each week as you (try to) transition from night schedule to day schedule and then back. On the days off, you need to keep a somewhat similar schedule to your nights...no, you don't have to stay up to 0800 as though you were working. But keep the waking/bedtimes somewhat similar.

    When I worked nights (2000-0800), I'd get up at 1700 and go to bed around 1000. On non-work days, I'd get up around 1300-1400 and go to bed around 0400-0600. I did it for a couple of years and after I adapted to it (took about four months), I rarely had to use stimulants or sleep aids. Fortunately I lived in NYC at the time, so it was easy to have a social life even with those hours.


    That is very good advice. I agree with not reverting back to days on my days off. I did not try to revert back. But my body did. Sometimes I would be laying in bed for 5 hours with no sleep (even though I did not have caffeine 5 hours before I started to lay on my bed).

    If I did fall asleep at 8 in the morning right after work, I would wake up in 3 hours. Then I would stay awake from 11-9 pm. Then at 9 I would want to sleep again, but I had work at 11 pm. So how do I solve this next time? I seemed like getting 8 hours of sleep was impossible.

    Also, the weird thing was that when I wake up around 11 pm after getting a few hours of sleep, I would still be very much fatigued during my waking hours. I would skip the gym because of fatigue. Any suggestions? Thank you for your response.


Top