So my first interview was ultimately a nightmare. It was for an Office RN position at a busy family practice associated with a big hospital. Met first with HR, and it went well. I then was asked to meet with the office manager as it seemed they were interested. I entered the facility and i got such a bad vibe. Met with the manager only to find out there would be only ONE RN for this busy practice. I would be expected to give vaccines, answer triage calls from front desk at any given time, see pts for teaching, assist the providers with procedures and jump to help the Medical assistants if the run behind. Mind you there are 2 medical assistants and only one RN. How the heck would I be expected to all this alone? Oh, and the best part was when i asked about the orientation she said it would be with her and the Medical assistants would check me off on my nursing skillls...what??!! Um no thank you! I would be also be reporting to this non clinical manager with absolutely no nursing support. SHe asked me if I knew anything about lab values. I was like, well of course i do, I am an RN and studied lab values over the course of nursing school. Such a stupid question. She then proceeded by saying "oh good, because I don't". Um okay...
I was expecting to shadow a nurse at another outpatient site for a few weeks, as most clinics do, but that wasn't the case with this place. Is it just me, or is this clearly absurd?! I was so turned off by the end of the second interview that i just wanted to exist ASAP. She asked me when i would be able to start so I guess she was interested. I would have to be crazy to accept this position if I were to receive an offer. I know that i am a new grad and that i cannot be too picky, but i don't want to work for organization that doesn't support new grads. Sorry but i am not going to get burnt out in my first year. I currently have a non clinical full time job so it's not like I'm unemployed. Im continuing on for BSN and will be done by next year. Any thoughts about my experience? Advice? Is this common? Sorry for rambling, but i was just so upset.
Jul 2, '12
If you think that's bad, I know of a local major hospital that gives RN's just 2 days of orientation for PRN resource positions with just one of those days being computer documentation training.
Jul 2, '12
Wow, I don't want to be harsh, but that sounded like a reasonable, good job. An MA may be "just" a medical assistant, but if they have done skills way more than you, then their evaluating and helping you is appropriate no matter what you percieve their roll to be and is something you should be thankful for regardless of the letters (or lack thereof) after their name. I think you walked away from a good opportunity.
Jul 4, '12
I infer from your post that you would be more comfortable in an organization with an entire nursing heirarchy/support structure. And there is nothing wrong with this preference, particularly for a new grad.
But that type of structure is very rare in office settings. Keep that in mind when applying to future openings.
Jul 7, '12
I worked in Med-Surg for several years before switching to an Urgent Care clinic. I also would help out in the Family Practice clinic as well at our facility. Clinic nursing is quite different than in the acute care setting, and even for an experienced RN there are some new skills to learn (like applying splints). I was the only RN in my clinic, and worked with 2 MAs and 2-3 doctors-this is fairly typical. Some offices don't even employ RNs, just MAs or LPNs. Sometimes you have a CPM (clinical practice manager who is also an RN) along with an office manager (usually not clinical but just administrative), but not always. Sounds like in this case there was no CPM at this office.
In terms of training, you usually train with the nurse you are replacing, but if they didnt have an RN before or the person left before they hired for the position, then no, you would not necessarily have anyone other than the MAs to show you the ropes. The MAs did orient new staff and participate in peer reviews at my clinic.
As the only RN for an office or clinic, you need to have a solid set of skills, be proficient in patient assessment (if the MA doesn't know what to do, they come to you) be able to prioritize and multi-task A LOT, and direct the flow of the clinic. The way you described the job is actually fairly accurate, and though it sounds overwhelming at first, once you get the rhythm it is manageable. Good MAs also make the job much better! Usually an office wants someone who they think can step in and do the job-I did not get much training when I started in Urgent Care. It is possible to do as a new grad, but usually better to start in a more acute care setting where you get more formal training and can build your skills. Good luck!
Jul 11, '12
Tell them to call me; I'll take that job in a heart beat. Doesn't sound like a bad gig at all.
Jul 12, '12
I took a job as the only RN in a busy practice as a new grad and have loved every minute of it, all while doing all the things you mentioned. You really learn to think on your feet, prioritize, multitask and be resourceful and independent. You do have to have some confidence in your skills or at least the confidence that you can learn what you don't know however you can. If you don't know something you ask/call/contact whoever you need to for information or to walk you through it, or just do what you have to do to figure it out yourself. And be cautious of looking down on an opportunity to learn from MAs or anyone with what you perceive to be a lesser degree or certificate than being an RN...you may have your degree/RN status, but right now they have a lot more real life experience than you and could actually teach you something.
Jul 12, '12
I'm not looking down on medical assistants at all, but i dont feel it to be appropriate to solely rely on them for all my training and to be checked off on all my skills.... yes, there's alot I can learn from them but there are major differences in our scopes of practice.
Jul 29, '12
I completely understand! It sounds like a good gig for us experienced RNs. But if this is your first job, yeah that's a little scary. A hospital position with other RNs to learn from would be a great place to start.
Aug 5, '12
I am a new grad RN this past May and I was an MA for 7 yrs. prior. I am a little offended that you would believe that you can't be taught skills from the MAs. I worked at a very busy family practice and the nurses there would never survive without the MAs.
Aug 5, '12
If you're not comfortable with the workplace structure and your job description.... Then don't take it. Remember you have a LICENSE you need to protect. And as a new licensed RN.... This is the start of exploring what part of nursing you would love to specialize ( ER, Tele, OB/ GYN, ICU etc...). I used to work in a Nursing Home while reviewing my RN exam (love the place , my co workers and job is easy) but once I passed my RN I realized I want some nursing challenge.... I applied in a huge teaching hospital as an ER RN, they did not take me since I'm "green"... So they put me in an Urgent Care.... I never stop bothering the NM in ER , I kept on telling her "i'm willing to learn, I'm a hard worker, I'll be a very good ER RN if she'll just give me a chance.... Finally after 6 months she took me.... Worked in ER for 5 years and I felt I want more challenge I applied in a 20 bed SICU stayed for couple of years and spoke to my NM I would like to be trained as an open heart ICU RN....also 20 beds. We do CABG, Valve repair / replacement, LVAD, ECMO and heart and lung transplant....Still working in the same facility for 7 yrs. now because I found what I love doing.... It's HARD WORK but I LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT.
I hope this will help you pursue your endeavor At least in your chosen profession. Good luck.
Aug 11, '12
I have worked outpatient clinics for years now, and I remember when I first started the MA's had to show me how to do an earwash.. :P There are things you do in outpatient clinics you really don't do in a lot of nursing schools, so in that case I have no problem having an MA show me how to do it - after all , they do it every day and I just don't! =)
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