another unhappy RN, help

Nurses Safety


I just started in another job in the float pool. I am a cardiac nurse and graduated 1 1/2 years ago and just finished my BSN. I am a good nurse but still have a lot to learn. I started working on a surgical floor and told my boss I could handle an assignment alone, not paired with another nurse. I was so wrong.....They hammered me, gave me an assignment of 5 when I was supposed to be capped I was so scared. These patients were really sick, one should have been in ICU. They kept giving me more stuff, admits, I kept saying I couldn't do it but they kept laying on the guilt trip. I came home, cried and almost threw up. The next day I cried half the day at work. It's been a long time since I felt that way. I told the manager of that unit and my boss that the way I was treated and the assignment I was given wasn't cool at all. I took responsibility for saying I was ready to be on my own. I was also humble enough to say I needed more help and I was wrong. I feel lost, scared, and thinking of leaving the profession....the problem....I love what I do and the people I take care of. Any advice from those of you who have experience?


45 Posts

I haven't been in the situation yet, but I still wanted to reply to you. You love what you do and I don't think you should leave. I think you should take it as a learning experience and keep it in the back of your mind in the future. There are going to be many rough days ahead but there are also going to be days that remind you of why you are there. Stay calm and focused and never be afraid to ask for help. I bet you can handle this and when you get through it you will be a little wiser and a little stronger. Nursing is a continuous learning process and you will be pushed to your limits many times. But you love what you do so give it a chance. If you leave now you may find yourself regretting it in a few years and it would be a waste of all that time you gave to school and learning how to be a good nurse. I wish you the best of luck and stay strong!;)


4,516 Posts

Kudos for talking to your manager about this. She likely does not want to lose you and may well consider working with you if you are fairly clear about what you need from her. I would ask for an extended orientation and make yourself a list of your goals in that timeframe. Give her a chance to help you work through this. If she says she cannot help you, then you will have your answer and a new dilemna to consider. But I would give her a chance.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out. :cool:

renerian, BSN, RN

5,693 Posts

Specializes in MS Home Health.

Everyone of us has been through the " reality shock" period your in. It is so very hard to work through that, takes a good year. Give yourself time and it is great you talked to your manager about. Let them help you grow and work through it.



27 Posts

I agree, give it time. It gets better. You'll learn to prioritize and organize as you go. Believe me, everyone goes through this in the beginning. It's very stressful but hang in there. You sound like a very caring nurse.


Nurse Soc Mom

18 Posts

What I read in your posting is that you truly care! Great job! You need to keep that attitude and work with your manager about giving you lighter assignments until you feel comfortable about taking on more challenges. It will get easier but you will also have difficult times ahead so stay strong and focused. Take care


60 Posts

Specializes in ER, ICU, Occupational, Radiology.

I agree with the wise advice everyone has posted. I would also suggest talking with other nurses on your unit, ones who have been there awhile and are more experienced, ask for their guidance and suggestions. Find a mentor. *Most* nurses are glad to take someone new under their wing when asked.


3 Posts

Thanks for all of the advice guys and gals. Days have gone better, although my lack of appetite and weight loss since the bad day is concerning. I have made my requirements "very clear" to my manager. Believe it or not, I asked the unit manager to give me more time (after 3 days ont he unit) and she wasn't very willing, that was a red flag! ( I did get more time by the way but it was like pulling teeth and through a lot of tears).

Sorry that you were treated in this manner. Sure reality shock of nursing is something we all have gone through, seems like we still have days that we, as experienced nurses, can barely cope with the stress and overload of paper work and high patient acuity. You did the right thing to ask for more orientation . If the nurse manager is reluctant, or you feel negative vibes from her, be honest and ask her why she has a problem with giving you the extra time. If you feel like she is just wanting a warm body to fill the unit needs, then go to the DON. Explain as nicely as possible that you have requested more orientation time and the manager is not supportative. Do not place blame, be positive, state you are glad she feels like you are doing a good job, but you need a little more help for a period of say 3 weeks. If, after that time , you can see that you are coping fine, then go on your own with a buddy assigned to ask for help when a problem pops up. I think you will do fine. You sound like a caring and knowledgeable nurse. Don't feel down because you may need a little longer to get you "sea legs". We all have different speeds of learning. I wish you good luck in the new job. Keep us posted on how things go.


656 Posts

Perhaps you need more solid experience before you continue to work in a float pool -- it's a different type of nursing altogether. I If, in your facility, is that floaters are expected to take full assignments with a relatively short orientation (or none), then perhaps you need continue to advocate for yourself, get more experience, or change positions. You are in charge of your career. Don't take an assignment which you feel is unsafe. On the other hand, I imagine that the other nurses are also overwhelmed with their assignments and also feel that they can't possibly admit another patient and give safe care.

Regarding your comment that one patient really was an ICU patient -- I'm certain that most nurses on this board would shake their heads up & down in agreement. We've all been there ...

Best of luck ... it takes time to feel that you are "settled" into a nursing position, but it is especially challenging when you work in a float pool. Your cardiac background will serve you well in your med-surg practice, but med-surg (like cardiology) is a specialty -- you need to know your stuff (and find your resources!)

Best of luck to you & Happy New Years. You control your career ... be happy. :)


780 Posts

Because Insurance doesn't want ot pay for hospital stays the acuity level of patients has radically changed. The patient of 5 years ago who was admitted to Intermediate ICU, or even Regular ICU is now getting a 23 hours stay for observation, and judgements are made at the 22nd hour who they keep in the hospial and who goes home. Train Wrecks get admitted to ICU now.

This information is never told to the newer nurses and they are lead to believe they are ready to handle anything, and are lesser nurses if they can't.

The sad part is the Baccalaureate Myth. All nurses get thrown curves in the first couple of years. Boxing lessons would help so the Nurse can Bob and weave the sucker punches.

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