Help! My unit is called "the Career Killer" and it's true.

  1. Hello. I am at my wits end. I have been an RN on a peds psych unit for a year and a half. When hired (my first nursing job after graduation), I was told that if I wasn't happy on the unit I could easily transfer to another one after a year. Needless to say, this did not happen. Management has ignored three requests to transfer. When I follow up I am first met with flattery--"You're so great with these kids!"--and then told there are no openings. So I surprised to be training 6 new graduates all summer from various units I would love to work in.

    Every day I step foot on my unit, my health, safety and license are threatened. Our patients are very violent and undermedicated in my opinion. I have been sent to the ER twice, once with an injury that took me out of work for 2 weeks (still haven't gotten those sick days back) and am regularly punched, kicked, spit on, etc. Yesterday I was punched in the face by my watch, a huge, muscular, severely pychotic kid on a 2:1. Then I was threatened with disciplinary action for leaving this watch because the doctor ordered IM meds and I was the med nurse, though I made sure a tech took my place. This is typical for our unit: the med nurse spends most of the day doing watches while passing meds. I have complained about this being unsafe, and was told to "suck it up."

    We are always understaffed because no one else wants to work in our unit. I haven't had a lunch break in months. I have filed countless Protest of Assignments which are ignored.

    I feel totally helpless, depressed and demoralized. I know I need to leave immediately but but my city is full of experienced nurses looking for work (lots of hospital closings) and with 18 months of psych experience, it's difficult to move into med surg. I have resumes out there but no bites.

    I would be grateful for advice. Oddly enough, the advice I get from colleagues is "get an allegation." IE, get accused of some wrongdoing so they'll transfer me to another unit while they do an investigation. But I won't do that.
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    Joined: Aug '12; Posts: 1


  3. by   calisunshinemom
    Wow, that's really sad No advice, as I'm new to all this as well. But sorry you have to deal with all of that..
  4. by   serenity1
    This does not sound safe. If it were me, I would stop trying to transfer and just find a job elsewhere if possible. It is obvious your unit is not supporting you on your desire to transfer. In my facility, all openings must be posted and anyone can apply. Is there a way for you to find out where the openings are and apply for them? Can you go to a different hospital? Good luck.
  5. by   Meriwhen
    It looks like transferring isn't going to happen, they actively ignore many of your concerns and requests...and honestly, are you willing to risk getting an "allegation" just to get on another unit? Odds are very good that they may as easily suspend you or show you the front door instead of relocating you to another unit. IMO, that is not a career chance worth taking: too many unemployed nurses are out there waiting to fill your shoes and the employers know it.

    You have more than a year's experience, so you are on better footing to find work elsewhere. Start looking for another position and get out of Dodge while you can.

    Good luck.
  6. by   GinginRN
    I believe you would benefit by actively pursuing another job ASAP. The staffing issues and "suck it up" attitude from management sounds like a set up for failure. I'm sorry you are having to deal with this stress and wish you the best of luck in your situation.
  7. by   Elladora
    I don't think psych is a career killer, I think the hospital you are working at is. I would immediately start looking for another job. You have that precious years worth of experience so that's a plus. Your working environment is horrible. Good luck to you - I wish you the best!
  8. by   7angeldust
    Simple solution to a tragic story.

    Look for a job while you tolerate that hell, but DO NOT QUIT OR LEAVE if you don't already have a job lined up.
  9. by   BabaLouRN
    There is a very high need for Home Health Psych Nurses. I know many agencies would hire you on the spot.

    Sent from my iPhone using
  10. by   OneDNP
    I do not want to get overly dramatic, but it sounds like your bosses are using the current job market to their advantage and while they are telling you how great you are with the kids, you are absolutely expendable. This behavior sounds institutional and I would be surprised if you heard management on other units was significantly better. You need to write an account of everything that has occurred since things started to go south and collect all correspondences regarding transfer requests, disciplinary actions, injuries, refusals, ect. Prepare it as though you were going to present it to your state board of nursing in defense of your license. In fact, you may want to ask for guidance from them - after all, the BON is there to protect the public from nurses, an if you feel you are being out in a situation that will lead to patient harm, they will listen.

    Please honor your own sanity. Best to you in this difficult situation.
  11. by   RN-Baron

    So sorry you are experiencing this. I'll concur with previous posters and make the observation that it is the institution you work for that is the problem. Although I wasn't a nurse, I worked on a psych unit for a few years and although it was a tough gig at times, we had a great team..lots of support. If you are not getting support, get out of there! It isn't worth it. Good luck to you.
  12. by   docpsychrn
    I am so sorry you are having to go through this!!! I too had a very similar situation! But I ended up quitting because I just couldn't take it another night and knowing my license was at risk every shift I worked! I too think you should have a job lined up before you quit but if that isn't feasible, quit! I quit before I had another job but I had to. I had bullying going on and no one would do anything about it on top of very low staffing and very dangerous situations. If you haven't done so already, go to your supervisor and ask her for an immediate transfer to somewhere in your hospital. If that doesn't work, then go to her/his supervisor. If that doesn't work then you go to Human Resources to tell them that no one is helping you transfer out and you have done your year as your supervisor instructed you to do. This way you have followed the chain of command. I know from experience, they hate it when nurses go to Human Resources or administration when their problems aren't being addressed on the lower levels! They actually panic and then they move! They pretty well do anything it is that you are wanting! So try that and then let us know how it goes...good luck to ya!!!
  13. by   chevyv
    Do you work for a union facility? If so, then you can challenge the right to transfer d/t seniority. Find out what your facilities policy is and try to work it from that angle. If that is a no go, then you probably have little choice but to find another job. Start trolling so that you know whats out there and can be ready if management and HR fail to address your request to transfer. Maybe once they figure out that you would rather leave than stay on your particular unit, they will grant a transfer. It really would be to their advantage because training a new employee is costly and many leave, especially with those safety issues you've presented. Scarrrry! Stay safe and keep us posted

    I have to say that while reading this I was wondering if you work where I do,lol.