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At the End of my Rope.

Posted

Specializes in Cardiac, ER, Pediatrics, Corrections.

My preceptor is ruining my first job experience and taking a toll on my sanity.

I am new grad. Got my BSN in May and was thrilled to land my first job.

My preceptor is an older LPN. I know she mocks me for having my BSN and not "knowing it all." WHO DOES?! The first week I did nothing but what she asked and even functioned independently. I had a sit down with my manager and she told me that the nurses thought my voice was ear splitting and I'm way too bubbly and I annoy them. (I work in Peds, why should I pretend to be grumpy? LOL) They also complained because I didn't know much. (I am a new nurse!) Well, I took the advice.

The next week I kept my voice down and toned my cheerfulness down. I slowly became more independent. My preceptor is nitpicky and her way is the only way to do things. She makes a point to loudly correct my mistakes in front of my other co-workers. And she is not constructive, she is insulting. I took 20 minutes with a patient and she yelled at me when I came out of the room, "You took way too long, we are behind now because of you." She swears in front of patients when she is stressed put. She once stopped me in the middle of an exam and told me I wasn't measuring the way she does it. I was humiliated. In turn, the parents didn't trust me thinking I was dumb. And when I took the parents with the baby back to their room I heard her yell "Why is no one with her?! She doesn't know what she's doing" I may not know everything, but I can get a baby's measurements for crying out loud and sorry I used the table and not your measuring tape. She would grab patients and take them back while I was stuck answering phones, thus giving me no further experience.

The next sit down I had with my manager, she told me my preceptor said I didn't understand anything and I was way too slow and she was concerned. She also said I wasn't taking enough initiative. (I volunteer to do EVERYTHING and she grabs up patients while I'm on the phone.) I was in shock. The others nurses were praising me for doing so well only being 2 weeks in at this point. My manager told me if she doesn't see improvement in 2 weeks, my job may be terminated. I kept my mouth shut and left. I cried on the way home.

My third week, I would ask her questions and she would give me smart-alek answers like "yeah, why wouldn't you do that?" I made an appointment for a sick child 45 minutes before we closed. The doctor did not see him until our closing time. She ripped me a new one. I offered to stay late but she yelled at me and told me to go home. I did. The next day she guilt tripped me in front of everyone that she had to stay late.

I am at the end of my rope. She lies or purposely sets me up to fail. My next meeting is set for Tuesday. We'll see what she tells my manager this time. It will be her word against mine, but I pray my coworkers will come to my aid. They have been praising me and so helpful. They even hate my preceptor. Why am I expected to know it all in 3 weeks when the other nurses on the unit said they are still learning 6 months in? I feel bullied and this has not been a good first job experience. I am trying to find a new job.

I can honestly say I am giving my all in this job. I am always offering help, I do what is asked, and do things the correct way. I feel for only being 3 weeks in nursing, let alone Pediatric nursing, I am doing well!

Any advice? :(

Edited by laKrugRN

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 10 years experience.

A couple of questions come to mind:

Has this office hired a new grad before and is the manager of the office a nurse herself? If not, those two are your answer. I am sorry you are going through this. I think you should continue to try hard, but also continue applying elsewhere. This is a toxic environment for you.

Chrystal3014

Has 2 years experience.

She sounds like she is threatened by a younger and likely better nurse than she will be! I had a similar experience, I felt like I made a horrible career choice and was definitely not meant to be a nurse. After talking to one of my instructors, when I was going to give up nursing completely, she said something to me that completely changed everything I will ever do as a nurse, no matter who's around me.

When you choose to be a nurse it's because something inside you makes a good caretaker. The people who want to be nurses for the money never make it through school and if they do they have to work hard at it, it's not a genuine interest or passion... It's forced!

Your the one who has to look at your self in the mirror each and every day, if what you did makes you proud your a nurse then do it! No matter what anyone else says, all that matters is how your patients feel after you care for them... Were your patients grateful? If the answer is yes then continue to be you! Others criticize in nursing cause of jealously, spite or dissatisfaction with their self. Never let someone else decide who you will be... You are you for a reason, and a nurse because of that, not because you did what someone else told you to do!! :up: Be you on your terms no matter where your at!

Clovery

Has 1 years experience.

I'm sorry this is happening to you. I've worked with a bad preceptor in the past and it didn't end well for me.

Can you ask to work with a different preceptor? Try not to criticize the one you have, just say something like you and her really don't "click" and your learning style doesn't match her teaching style. Ask your manager for the opportunity to resign rather than be terminated if it looks like that's what's coming. And ask your co-workers, preferably anyone who supervises you, for references now.

laKrugRN

Specializes in Cardiac, ER, Pediatrics, Corrections.

Thanks everyone! Good advice. I'd like to stay because I love what I do there but I cannot keep this toxic environment up. I have not bad mouthed her to anyone, as I do not want to rock the boat at all. I just hate it because she tells me to just "watch" and then goes and tells my manager I don't do anything. I feel she is out to get me no matter what I do. I begged for a new preceptor and I was denied, I was told "She is the best. She will make you know your stuff." New grads have been hired and scared away. My manger IS a nurse, and you'd think she'd be more understanding, but no. :( I just hate to quit and not have something lined up, but on the other hand I do not want to get fired. I went to my preceptor and asked her what specifically I could do better. I told her I wanted to fulfill her expectations and her response was "I know you want to do well." She NEVER gave me any examples of what to improve on. WHAT DO I DO?! Also, did I mention I started on a different unit here and once I transferred to Peds, my old preceptors bad mouthed me for how "dumb" i was? No wonder this hospital has such a high turn over rate...Oh man guys...what do I do?

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 10 years experience.

Unless you are in a position to not have to work, I would suggest you stick it out as long as you can and keep applying elsewhere. This situation just sucks and I am so sorry. It is NOT like that everywhere and it is obvious the problem is NOT you if they have chewed through numerous new grads in recent years.

kaylee.

Specializes in Stepdown . Telemetry. Has 8 years experience.

What type of nursing are you doing? Outpatient? Bedside. Just wondering bc i had a very very similar preceptor experience in an outpatient setting. Was run out after 2 weeks.

I ask what field because I am wondering if the job will be a stepping stone to others, or is it a specific niche that doesn't give you broad skills to take elsewhere.

Mine was this specific thing. An outpatient infusion center. It was a horrifying experience. But in retrospect it was sort of a dead end anyways.

So if the current job has the potential to lead you somewhere, or you love the field, it might be a good thing to stick it out.

But honestly, the whole reporting to the manager that you don't know anything--while intentionally withholding skills, experience, or info to improve--is a red flag that she is trying to see you let go...

As long as the environment is toxic, you deserve better. It's definitely a legitimate reason to leave a job.

laKrugRN

Specializes in Cardiac, ER, Pediatrics, Corrections.

Thanks guys! And it is a Pediatric clinic. Not my dream job but I do love working with the kids. And yes, I do not want to let go until I find something else but I don't want to be fired. I am trying to stick it out as best I can and quietly leave. I have another meeting with my manager tomorrow or Tuesday. I will keep you all updated to what lies she feeds her with this time. I documented times and dates of everything that my preceptor did that was unprofessional. I have a few nurses who can back me on this, and I hope they do.

kaylee.

Specializes in Stepdown . Telemetry. Has 8 years experience.

I'm so sorry you are going through this!

The documenting of her behavior is definitely good.

When you talk to your manager about your progress, try to take the focus off this horrid preceptor.

Pretend she is not part of the picture if the manager allows it, and tell her what you are doing well with as well as what you are struggling with.

"I love connecting with patients and feel that that I have made progress in patient care...i am finding it difficult to balance the time management with my patient care...Do you have any suggestions? "

Or whatever your personal examples are. By all means have the discussion about this preceptor and defend yourself.

But let the manager know your progress as you evaluate it. Maybe she can be the one to give you specifics.

Best of luck!

laKrugRN

Specializes in Cardiac, ER, Pediatrics, Corrections.

Good suggestions! I will remember that during my meeting. However, I do not want to wrongfully thrown under the bus and will defend myself if need be. I have taken the high road and not bad mouthed her my first few meetings, but that is boiling to a head ready to explode haha. Of course I won't explode and will be professional as possible. I have a feeling I may need to go to HR because my manger is buddy buddy with her and I doubt anything gets done.

tyvin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice / Psych / RNAC.

The thing is you didn't nip it in the bud when it started. Yes, I've worked with an LPN who told me upfront that my BSN was crap and it meant nothing. I kept a close dialogue with the DON because when I tried to approach this LPN....well, let's just say it didn't go well. I didn't run to mommy, I protected my interest.

IMO you should've opened up a dialogue with the LPN at the beginning. If that didn't work you could have went to the DON. All the DON knows is what the LPN has said.

So, are you saying you've kept a journal of her behavior? Hmmm; it might be too late, as this could be interpreted as you setting her up because of your lack of performance as the LPN says. Don't you see how it looks? Instead of working and taking the advice of your preceptor you're documenting her behavior as you see it! Someone else might have another take on it but to me it makes you appear as if you are on some kind of mission to bury the LPN because you're not doing well (so says the LPN).

I don't know you from Adam but have you seriously evaluated the situations the preceptor is advising you about? There are 3 sides to a story; yours, theirs, and the truth. We see what we want to see. The place you work at is a business, and you don't have to like the people your work with; just get along with mutual respect.

Even at this late date I would come clean with the DON and let the chips fall where they may. It depends how big the place is but the DON probably already knows what's going on. The LPN has been there longer and is probably trusted. You have built yourself into a hole at this point with your silence. You have also been talking to other staff (you say you have witnesses to her behavior). So we have gossip in the mix. The LPN is probably aware of what you've been doing (people love to gossip). This could also be seen as disrupting patient care.

What happens is going to follow your future job references. Have you evaluated the situation from the LPNs view. If possible, go to the LPN before your meeting and apologize (yes, I said apologize). Tell her how much she has taught you and how much you want another chance to build your relationship with her to learn. If you feel you are absolute in what has transpired, go open that dialouge anyway. The first thing the DON will ask you is if you've tried to work this out with the LPN.

I'm sure your nonverbal behavior has told her how much you don't like the way she's evaluating you. You need to be sincere and be aware that your behavior says so much more than your words. Have you ever thought that maybe she's not comfortable with having to teach you, that perhaps she feels uncomfortable with it and is projecting?

BTW; welcome to nursing...this is just your first taste. Stand up for your rights and your reputation.

Remember, this is just my opinion...:geek:

laKrugRN

Specializes in Cardiac, ER, Pediatrics, Corrections.

Thank you. This was raw advice and I will admit my silence may have screwed me at this point. I was just so scared to lose my first job. But, you are right, I am between a rock and hard place.

vintagemother

Specializes in Med-Surg, Psych, Geri, LTC,.

I am not saying that you did anything wrong. BUT.... When I was in training I kissed my trainers arses.

Nursing can be very political er catty.

Making nice with a preceptor can go a long way! I learned to say, "oh. That makes sense." When they "corrected" me about something that wasn't really that relevant.

Eventually, I earned my coworkers respect. I think, I hope, haha! I know I earned my program managers respect and the physicians respect. Making nice with co-workers goes a long ways.

I'm not judging you! My 1st new grad job ended in my termination- for no good reason, but it was a toxic workplace and I stood up for myself, so I think I know what you're going through.

But in my 2nd job, I learned how to play the Game and so far, it's working for me.

(((Hugs))) and I hope it works out for you!

In acute care, an LPN (and I am one) can not direct an RN clinically. I am not sure what state you are in, or if this applies to your situation, but food for thought.

At your next meeting, get down to specifics. The "you are not blah blah" stuff is all talk unless a plan is put into place for improvement. Specific improvement. Do you have a checklist of what you need to do in your orientation? Can the manager indicate what you still need to learn, what expectations you have met, and how you can change your practice to meet other expectations? Seems like these meetings are getting you nowhere fast. You need timelined goals, and I would ask for them. Ask for clarification. Is the manager you are even speaking to a nurse?

As a multi-year LPN, I can and do help RN's with how to do clinical skills. Pointers. Helpful advice. But it is slightly inappropriate that and LPN regardless of experience level is precepting you. Mentoring, yes, precepting, no.

MAYBE at this point, you can be off of orientation, go to whomever if you are stuck, or if there's specific things that you need to learn how to do show competency in those, then you are on your own--with help if you need it. I would also as the manager if you could just show competency in skills to her, another RN, or the doctor themselves.

Bottom line--everyone has their own groove, their own way of accomplishing things. Unless it is a patient harm issue, it is not necessarily correct or incorrect--just a difference in practice. If you have a manager that is not doing much to stop the escalation of this situation, not giving you constructive goals going forward, you may need to look elsewhere.

I hope you have the opportunity to continue employment. Should you not, be absolutely sure that you are given the option of resigning as opposed to being let go if you believe that will benefit you in the long run.

Best wishes, and keep us posted.

tyvin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice / Psych / RNAC.

I am not saying that you did anything wrong. BUT.... When I was in training I kissed my trainers arses.

Nursing can be very political er catty.

Making nice with a preceptor can go a long way! I learned to say, "oh. That makes sense." When they "corrected" me about something that wasn't really that relevant.

Eventually, I earned my coworkers respect. I think, I hope, haha! I know I earned my program managers respect and the physicians respect. Making nice with co-workers goes a long ways.

I'm not judging you! My 1st new grad job ended in my termination- for no good reason, but it was a toxic workplace and I stood up for myself, so I think I know what you're going through.

But in my 2nd job, I learned how to play the Game and so far, it's working for me.

(((Hugs))) and I hope it works out for you!

Oh yes; this is exactly how I learned (except a nurse in one of my rotations in school let me know how to survive the first year). I learned to jump through those hoops as big and senseless as they seemed. I'm not saying to kowtow to everything, but choose your battles wisely.

At first I was resistant but after talking to this nurse I realized that I knew nothing and I needed to keep my mouth closed and listen and learn from all around me. It's nothing but a learning process. Best advice I ever got. She also told me that I was going to be the best RN ever and to never let anything anyone told me otherwise to discourage me.

VANurse2010

Has 6 years experience.

It is very inappropriate for an LPN to be precepting a new grad RN, for a host of reasons. Orienting an experienced RN to a facility? Sure. Precepting a new grad? Hell. No.

I agree with jadelpn. Unless your'e getting a specific plan for improvement and orientation objectives, your management is being very unprofessional in dealing with this situation.

Nienna Celebrindal

Has 12 years experience.

It is very inappropriate for an LPN to be precepting a new grad RN, for a host of reasons. Orienting an experienced RN to a facility? Sure. Precepting a new grad? Hell. No.

I've been an LVN 12 years and I whole heartedly agree. It would be one thing if she was just showing you how they charted or getting an idea of the pace but precepting a new grad?! That blows me away, I would never have said yes to that even if I thought I could do a good job.

Is you manager a nurse?

Oh when I red this I thought it was my story! This year I had a horrible preceptor (she was not a lpn though), and she ruined my experience too by telling the nurse manager how not knowledgeable I was... Anyway I wanted to be tough and "swallow the pill", but it became worse and when I asked for a new preceptor at the end of my orientation it was too late...

Ultimately I ended up quitting my job. Other nurses wanted me to write a complaint to higher instances but I made the choice not to because this was my first job and I didnt want to have a trouble maker reputation at the very beginning of my career!

Anyway if I had to do one thing different it would be to tell my manager from the start that I want to change preceptor. But now I am very happy with my new job and I am glad I made the change. People now respect me and looking back I realize it was just a bad luck that I ended up with horrible preceptor/manager, not every workplace is like this ;)

good luck!