So long story short, here's my career in a few sentences:
1) Went to accelerated program with no previous hospital experience. Not fun, but I did well. We had minimal clinical experience. NCLEX on the first try, no problem.
2) No jobs even to apply to when I graduated. I wanted an ED new-grad program, but I ended up getting a med-surg job at a small hospital out of state. I was very green when I started, but I did pretty well there.
3) 10 months into job #1, an ED job opened up at a really tough hospital back in my home state (poor hospital, lots of drugs, rough patients, crazy experience). I did not get a great orientation and ended up getting pushed out pretty green. It was a really tough place to work, but I loved working in the ED. I always felt like I was catching up and I was working on a basic level, but I also trusted myself enough to know when I needed to ask for help, when I was over my head. Never really had a problem there. One of the charge nurses used to ride me pretty hard, said I was inexperienced, which I was.
4) pretty much exactly a year after that, I got offered a job a BIG NAME teaching hospital. You've probably heard of it. This was my dream job and looked like it was going to be a great situation. The training program that I was looking for (3 months). The educator there seemed to take a dislike to me from day 1 (started calling me her "problem child" from the day I met her, which I thought was bizarre. She bounced me around between 8 different preceptors. She said they all said the same universally negative things about me. I worked extremely hard to make things work, but eventually they fired me (after 3 months). I honestly have never been so depressed or felt so bad in my life. I never even anticipated that it was a possibility to get fired.
Ok this is more than a few sentences. Thanks for reading.
5) So I was at a loss. I did not want to go back to the floor. I thought I'd done pretty well at my first ER job. I made the mistake of asking a lot of simple questions at the dream job, stuff I knew but just wanted to make sure I was doing everything right. Apparently that bothered the educator. I felt like it was really unfair. She said "you are not very experienced, you only have two years of experience and you come from an accelerated program" all of which was on my resume.
Anyway, getting-longish-story short, I ended up getting a contract job at a local hospital. I really liked working there, and everything went pretty well. I generally liked everyone I was working with, and felt like I was doing a good job. One charge nurse occasionally would act impatient with me, but generally things seemed to be going well. No complaints from the staff or management. I was really hoping that I would get my contract renewed, because it's a wealthy hospital and there are a lot of women who are pregnant there. I've been asking them for two weeks if my contract would be renewed, but my boss was out of the office for a week. So I've been waiting.
Today I found out that I'm not going to be renewed. I'm really bummed. It's way better than being fired, but I'm concerned about my resume. I thought if I did 6 months there, I would feel a lot more confident about my career. I feel a bit like I'm out on the skids again. If I'd never taken the job at the teaching hospital, I'd be coming onto my 2nd year of good ED experience at my original hospital. But because I made that jump, I feel like I'm really struggling to get my resume to look good.
I remember the interview process to get this contract was minimal. I'm hoping I can get another contract shortly and just move one with things. I'm just a bit confused about how to proceed. I really don't want to move out of my city, but I guess I might have to depending on what's available (I live on the east coast).
Any advice or thoughts? On the good side, I wasn't sure if I would be able to survive a travel contract, and I did. I feel pretty good about the work I've been doing. I know that I'm a new, greenish nurse, but I think my instincts have been good. And it was just a three month contract. I'm just stressed out about being a green nurse with another job jump on my resume and no end in site.
Thanks for your thoughts.
Mar 7, '13
Nothing wrong with a 3 month contract job on your work history, I have 17 years of them. Just identify it as such.
Otherwise, I'm not sure what you are asking. If there are no hospitals that will take you locally, then you have to look for a staff position or a travel assignment elsewhere. You survived one assignment, I don't know why you can't survive another one and build some confidence. It may well be a lack of projecting confidence that has been your biggest issue here, not your abilities or competence.
Mar 8, '13
Thanks. At the job previous to this assignment, the educator and my manager were so nasty to me, I left really shaken. They told me things like "you don't have the skills of a new grad nurse" "we could never train you". Things like that. I spent so much time there trying to make it work that when I finally got fired I felt really awful. It took me a month to recover.
I've felt pretty good about my work on this travel assignment, but I'm still left with some lingering paranoia about my skills or the way people see me after what happened. I was hoping to get the contract renewal because I thought it would take the sting away from being fired. It didn't happen though.
I guess it will all wash out. I appreciate your encouragement. I was hoping for this renewal as a way of washing away the previous experience. But I guess just finishing it out is something in itself and I'll just have to keep working on being a better nurse. I learned a ton at this job and feel pretty comfortable there.
Mar 8, '13
I'm confused . . . you've been out of school less than two years and have already had four jobs? One was a travel position? I'm not sure how you could even get a travel position without at least two years of experience. You didn't have enough experience to take a travel position, and it probably showed. You've probably already figured out that you should have stayed at either your first or your second job, even if the third one was your DREAM . . . . Now you've deservedly got a reputation as a job hopper. That's going to make it difficult for you to get your next job.
When you find a new job, stick it out for at least two years no matter what attractive opportunities appear. You need to show a willingness to stick with a job. Managers don't want to spent the effort, time and money to find, hire and train someone who will be gone in less than a year. After two solid years of experience, you should be more attractive as a hire no matter where you look. If you keep jumping from job to job, you don't develop as a nurse. You just get the same 3 or six or 10 months of experience over and over.
Mar 8, '13
I agree that her work history is sketchy for a staff position, especially for one without a new (to the applicant) specialty internship that trains you for 3 months up to 18 months. But certainly not impossible as the old nursing shortage rears its head again. Recently I applied to a local hospital for a per diem position which I think required 12 days of work a year to keep. I have 20 years experience in the OR and they wanted me to orient for three months first!
While a thorough internship is ideal starting out, it is not required at this point. Look, we all learn on the job - we graduate pretty helpless unless you are an old nurse from a diploma program (which is really learning on the job actually). And we get better each day. While the OP may not have the experience most managers would like, she probably has enough to survive most travel assignments. And she will get better with each assignment that she does, as we all do. I'm still learning after 20 years (of course things keep changing too).
Job hopping looks pretty appealing to most managers if they were travel contracts. That usually shows a far wider experience range than you could have at most single staff jobs.
Mar 9, '13
To be honest, I don't understand why any facility would hire a novice nurse for a travel contract. I'm sorry that happened to you but keep plugging along...you'll find your niche eventually
Mar 11, '13
Wow! That was one heck of a "long short story"! Anywho, don't sweat it! Unless you really messed up, you fulfilled your contract and your recruiter will place you in another contract soon (remember s/he doesn't make money unless you're making money!). You hit the nail on the head: "just finishing it out is something in itself and I'll just have to keep working on being a better nurse. I learned a ton at this job..."
Apr 20, '13
Something sad has happened to our profession in the past 15 years or so. I feel like there used to be more comradery & a bit of nurturing when I got out of school 31 years ago. There seems to be so much criticism & competitiveness that it makes it hard to work. I'm sorry this happened to you... it has been happening to me, too in this stage of my career. WHAT IS HAPPENING to nursing? I was on a travel assignment & these newish grads (<5 yrs in specialty area) get miffed when this ol' gal starts talking standards of care & professional guidelines. I believe in my heart it is only a symptom of a deeper illness in our profession. I hope you make it. Keep trying, study up on guidelines in your specialty. And smile!
Apr 20, '13
After a floor closed at the first hospital I worked at as a new nurse, I took on Travel and Agency as NO ONE would hire me anywhere for a permanent position. I waited too long waiting for places to call me back. So I went back to the old routine. I am a fast learner and have done well so far. I have met some wonderful nurses along the way too. My experience is very vast, which some Managers seem to like. Plus, things do happen for a reason.
I think you will be okay getting a new assignment/contract/position. You have to keep your head up and do what is good for you.
Last edit by dance4life on Apr 20, '13
: Reason: add more
Mar 18, '15
If anyone reads this, I have been travelling for 2 years since this happened, never had a problem since. I think one of the charge nurses at that hospital didn't like me A LOT, the feeling was mutual, she would dump the sickest patients on me when everyone else was sitting around and then give me dirty looks all the time. At the end she said "you've come a long way" which was nice, but really she came a long way...I was the same guy.
Anyway. Got through it, it was a tough time but I'm working in world class hospitals these days as a traveller and doing pretty ok. Tough job but I keep doing it.
Thanks for the advice back then.
Mar 18, '15
Congratulations on surviving! That should feel good.
May 8, '15
I'm really happy for you.