Am I in the wrong Field?


Hello all,

I graduated May 2011, after numerous applications I got a job on the surgical unit with one of the teaching hospitals in town, YES I was excited and ready to give it my all, I actually worked as a tech on the same unit pending an opening for RN, I was offered Rn position just 1month later. I started off pretty good and confident that I was born to be a nurse, I took care of my pts geniuely from my heart, I always get thank you notes and how I will be a wonderful nurse from my patients. My orientation was 6weeks of which i did 3wks of both days and nights. After my day shift i started night with a different preceptor, we are both soft spoken so the communication between us wasn`t great, I didn`t get any feedback from her so I assumed I was doing okay though she tends to put me under pressure most of the time, from our interactions she expected me to know most of the stuff since it was my 4th wk of orientation, mind you, I was always assigned 6pts (comprises of 3CL blood draws, q1-2 flaps, 3pts constantly seeking pain meds, 2-3 isolations) and most of the time I have 3-4 total care as in NO TECH assigned. I never complained, I thought that was the orientation process. I am always on my feet running in circle all thru my shift, no time to get a drink or pee not to talk of eat. I alway try to squeeze a little bit of charting in here and there standing up, because I get dizzy as soon as I sit down, but still I was thankful to God I got a job and hoping it gets easier with time like everyone keep saying.

The morning (5am with new orders flying in) before the end of my (2 shift in a row) night shift I was told I will have a meeting with NM, educator and my preceptor, I said okay but I was so exhausted, the night was a rough one for me, cried couple of time, suddenly my preceptor asked if I changed the TPN rate from 63mlX1hr to 84mlX14hr (which should have being changed like 10hrs ago), I FREAKED OUT AND SHUT DOWN immediately because I couldn`t remember changing the rate, she rushed into the pt`s room to check, while she was gone I was thinking to myself that was it, I will either get fired or quietly quit. She came back and said it was at the correct rate (First time in my life that I believed in GHOST, my dead grandma must have changed it).

During the meeting, my preceptor told them most of the things i did wrong e.g I wanted to give a 50ml bp med to a pt with no running primary fluid, though i primed the line with NS but wasn`t sure if to start a primary line or not, while I was trying to figure it out she walked in and I asked if I should since the pt was discharged and i didnt want to waste any supplies, She calmly said I needed a primary line. I never knew that was a downfall for me (they told me to always asked if I wasn`t sure of what to do).

After all said and done I was asked to speak, I couldn`t my throat was closed and couldn`t help but cried (worst mistake of my life), they so my weakness and they pounced on it. The NM told me right there that maybe that unit wasn`t for me, (all I could think was that even the NM doesn`t want me on the unit), to be fair on NM she told my preceptor to be considerate while assigning pts to me.

I got home so depressed and frustrated with myself, I tried to reflect on my past shift and see what I can do better, of course everyone is now aware of the crying baby on the unit, my orientation was extended by 2wks and I switched back to day shift with a different preceptor, I still strongly belived that i can prove to them that I belong on the unit, I come in everyday though with my heart in my stomach but ready to give it my best. But my best wasn`t good enough because 1) I asked for help from my day preceptor when i had multiple task due at the same time, (that was interpreted as I can`t handle the stress on the very busy unit), 2) I don`t finish charting before 11am, ( are you kidding me, some nurses with only 3pts on the same unit finish charting from home after thier shift)

Yes there were somethings I should have known, there were mistakes I made, but hey, I am only couple of wks old as a nurse. All I needed was a little be of time and some encouragement that I will surely get there.

One shift into my 2wks extended orientation, we met and I was politely taken to the Nurse recruitment office to see if i can get to work on another unit with less stress, I am currently on the 3rd week of 4wks pay leave pending getting another unit within the same hospital. I am currently STRESSED and depressed as the 4wks is coming to an end with no job offer (I will officially be terminated after the 4wks). I have appling to everywhere both within and outside but no luck yet. Thanks for reading.

Double-Helix, BSN, RN

1 Article; 3,377 Posts

Specializes in PICU, Sedation/Radiology, PACU. Has 12 years experience.

That's a very rough start to nursing! I'm sorry you are going through this. :hug:

Only you know the answer to the question in your title. No one else can tell you that.

I can tell you that it sounds like you were thrown in over your head on a busy unit with little support. Unfortunately, this is all too common for new graduates who leave school with little or no experience managing a full patient load. The hospital only wants to spend so much time and money on training a new employee, so it's either "sink" or "keep your head above the water for as long as possible" for the unfortunate new graduate hired on to the unit. It doesn't mean that you're a bad nurse. It means that you were tossed into a broken system and your outcome was just the most likely.

When you interview for a new job, be sure to ask what the orientation process is like. How long is it? How many patients will you have? What if you don't feel comfortable at the end? When you talk about this past job, explain how much you learned about caring for a full patient load, but the unit was not a good fit for you as a new graduate. Avoid talking bad about your experience, but instead focus on the positives and how it gave you a better understanding of where you needed to be working.

One part of your post that I want to comment on specifically is this: "I started off pretty good and confident that I was born to be a nurse, I took care of my pts geniuely from my heart, I always get thank you notes and how I will be a wonderful nurse from my patients." In my experience, statements like this mean that you are going out of your way to go the extra mile for patients. As a new nurse, that's what we like to do and what we are used to doing as nursing students when we only have one or two patients. It's when you spend the time talking to patients, getting them extra food, blankets, etc, etc. that they tend to notice and remember. However, while it's great to be able to do that, it also takes up a lot of time. As a new nurse, it's really important that you focus on getting your basic work done- medications, assessments, charting, etc. rather than running around catering to all the requests your patients might have. Even though it feels awful to say "I'll get the tech to do that for you." Or "I don't have time right now but I'll try to come back later." it's something that you have to learn to do. Otherwise you'll spend your whole day making people happy, but not actually completing your duties as their RN. Just something to think about for the future.

Again, :hug: and best of luck.

BostonTerrierLover, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 908 Posts

Specializes in Adult/Ped Emergency and Trauma. Has 16 years experience.

Ok, I'm gonna get the worst part out of the way first. There are holes in your story. From what you said on here, the IV Primary Fluids are NO reason to get all excited, or call a new nurse "incompetent." Besides that, that VARIES from facility to Facility about how they handle that issue. What I am NOT seeing is a reason to get you out the door.

Now, Let's look at your emotional responses. Do you think they percieve you as "emotionally unstable?" Please know that I am NOT judging you or accusing you of emotional instability. What I am doing is purely asking. Because, that is the ONLY thing I can gauge as to why they have acted so EXTREME towards you. If the mistakes were greater than a wrong tube feed setting

(that ended up being OK), and not knowing their policy on IV Primary Fluid with IVPB medication, you haven't opened up to us about it.

You also state your "communication" was awkward during your "Orientation." You didn't say you felt that it was an inefficient experience. You didn't say you felt like you were "thrown in the deep end, and told to swim."

So if you have told us everything, and the worst of the mistakes, It has to be your emotional response to the constructive criticism. It sounds like they ARE doing some real "out-of-the-box" attempts at making you happy with a position, but something has definitely assured them that you CANNOT be successful on their unit. If you know that in your heart, you ARE competent, and you just had some real bad days that can blamed on "not fitting in," then that's great news, you'll be fine once you get in a better "fitting" position. And, the fact that you are on "paid leave,'' shows they have hope for you, they could have been alot harsher.

So my point is, if nothing worse than what you mentioned happened, though this is a terrible shock of an experience- it's just a bad fit, (a speed bump) on what will hopefully be a great fulfilling career later! Also, if you do have some emotional issues, seek some help, GOD, we have all had "emotional" issues, some just handle things different- that's okay with Boston:loveya:!!!!

I heard once that we are all Crazy, Insane, and totally emotionally unstable!!! The thing that separates us from the guys in the mental institutions, . . . . . is that we are still able to hide it enough to live productive lives. :bugeyes:

Good Luck, and Take care of yourself, you will only be a "New Nurse" this once. You can laugh about this one day!!!!


Anna Flaxis, BSN, RN

3 Articles; 2,816 Posts

Has 16 years experience.

I think it's amazing that you got six (actually eight) weeks of orientation! Wow! Would you believe I got 10 shifts as a new RN on a post interventional cardiac unit? Of course, I only had 4-5 patients, not 6. I agree with the above poster that it sounds like you were thrown into a "sink or swim" situation. With the specific patient population and nurse to patient ratio you describe, a good preceptor would have focused on showing you solid time management practices. Instead of so much emphasis on the specific nursing tasks, the focus should be on how to organize your work day. The preceptor can be present during the tasks to make sure that you are doing them safely and correctly, and helping to guide your thought processes as to what you should be noticing and what you should be thinking about doing next. I also agree with the above poster that a lot of us want to do so much for our patients to make them comfortable and happy, to the detriment of getting other, more important things done. While it's true that a warm blanket can mean the world to a patient, it can also mean that another patient is getting their medication late, or that your'e delayed in your assessment so that something that should be noticed isn't noticed as promptly. You have to learn how to say "No" in a way that conveys caring and respect.

Best of luck to you in the future.


5 Posts

I read too that the emotional reaction may have been the basis for their decision, but I am not judging you, I wasn't there. Like Boston, I can't see why they would have reacted so strongly to what you have stated.


38,333 Posts

I am sorry to read that this has happened to you. I hope that you are able to recover and continue with a career in nursing.


47 Posts

Thank you all for reading and for you words of encouragement. I read through your words and I realized that I was part of the problem. And NO I am not emotionally unstable, I have most of the things I want in life which I`m so grateful to God for, I decided to change career because I love to be a nurse. I am naturally a layback person that won`t force anything my way. But I felt cheated with the whole experience, because of the pt load, high acuity level, no tech sometimes,( I am aware of the nurse pt ratio of the unit but other nurses have at most 4pts) and no matter what I say my preceptor words overrides mine. YES i made couple of mistakes (not life threatening), I didnt write in my post because it might be too long, but will try and summarize now, 1) I cleared an order for STAT (urgency) RBC,(rushed to give some meds) 10mins later I told my preceptor, she said I should have taken action as soon as i cleared the flag. 2) I gave a prn pain med 2hrs early, as soon as i noticed I check to see pt was okay, filled out the incident report and paged the doc and my preceptor said every nurse on the unit has made atleast one med error including herself. Those were the 2 things that I know were severe to the best of my knowledge.

When I asked why I was asked to leave, the 2 reason they gave me was I asked for help (which I felt was a set up because they said even the experienced nurse still ask for help) and secondly I was late in my charting. (on this particular day I finished charting before noon though 4pts). I felt if I was allowed to finish my 2wks I would have improve a little bit. But hey, I am grateful for my experience on the unit, and the effort they are putting into finding me a diff unit. I have moved on and I hope this will make me be a better nurse in future. I have let go of the past so I can see the future.

I am so grateful to AN, as soon as I posted my vent yesterday, I felt like a superwoman, I felt so relieved, and your comments and other posts gave me hope, I realized I wasn`t alone and some poeple have worse problems. Once again Thank you all.

BostonTerrierLover, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 908 Posts

Specializes in Adult/Ped Emergency and Trauma. Has 16 years experience.

Good Luck!! I hope you find a wonderful position that is fulfilling, a great fit, and finishes your dream of becoming a Nurse. I hope one day you are able to look back on all of this that happened and laugh while comforting a new nurse that is crushed and thinks their whole world is falling apart.

It is amazing how much a good or bad job can affect the "Whole" of our lives- you deserve a fair shot at it too!!!!!


(If I upset you asking about the emotional thing- I am totally sorry- I don't know toooooo many new nurses that ARE emotionally stable- I know I wasn't- just hid it well). Do not think I implied you were "Insane" by any means. Emotional Problems can be brought on by myraid of issues (e.g. Death in family, New Environments, Overwhelming Challenges, Relationship Stress, and any other life affecting problem. It's no crime to loose grip on how you feel, and I hope you understand that I wasn't judging you- and would totally understand either way. Who would I be to judge a nurse with an emotional issue anyway (if you knew my mother)- Lol, you would know I have a huge heart for emotionally expressive people. Just wanted to add after I read your follow-up, and I know you will be Okay!!! The reason I took time to post- I want you to be Great!!! Happy!!!! and Fulfilled!!!!!!

Thanks for your update.

Has 33 years experience.

Well, Majestic... you are being screwed. You are able to keep up with the demands of a stressful unit.

They are nitpicking you... because they are eating their young .

You are particularly tasty because you are sweet and sensitive.

Spruce up your resume,, get assurance of work references from someone there that is not dining on you.. give your 2 weeks notice..

and get out of there!

allnurses Guide

NurseCard, ADN

2 Articles; 2,847 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surge, Psych, LTC, Home Health. Has 13 years experience.

Keep us posted about the new upcoming job. Hopefully the hospital comes through for you and you

don't have to go looking for a new job.

Specializes in LTC and School Health.

I pray things get better for you. Sounds like you could use a better preceptor and new unit.