Bad hospital experience making me question my future career.


This may be a long one...

I recently started attending school again to become a nurse. There aren't many things in my life that I am completely sure of, and for a while, I thought that I was SURE I wanted to become some sort of nurse. That has changed lately...

The hospital in our town has a pretty poor reputation, and most people choose to go elsewhere, if possible. I know that if I want to be a nurse that this is most likely where I am going to work. There are a few smaller hospitals near, but none that have the opportunities as the one here in town. Moving away isn't really a choice, as my husband has a good job, and my family is here.

My mother was just recently admitted to the hospital, and to keep a long story (semi) short, her care was pretty bad. She would be given one antibiotic one day, then not given another for another 36 hours. Sometimes they were even unsure which antibiotic to give, and would go between two inconsistently. Sometimes they would forget to bring her dinner, and other times she would get two meals within an hour. Tests were ran, and results were supposed to be received within the hour, the results would end up taking a day or more. No one was sure whether or not they were going to run certain tests until 15 minutes prior to testing. She was given a laxative when she had not had a bm for days, and had only been passing blood prior to that... I could go on...

Don't get me wrong, there were a few very good nurses, but like I said, there were a few.

My mother has been released, and is doing well, but the whole experience kind of left a bad taste in my mouth. I don't know if I want to work in an institution that seems to be completely disorganized. Maybe I had a distorted view of what it is like to be a nurse in the first place, but I was thinking it would be more care, and less politics. Am I overreacting? I don't want to go into a field where I feel that I can't do a good job. I have a long time before I graduate, but don't want to have unrealistic expectations either. Any insight, help, words of encouragement, or smacks in the face would be greatly appreciated!


78 Posts

Specializes in med/surg/tele/LTC/geriatrics.

Our local hospital had a pretty bad nickname. A few years ago it partnered up with a chain of other hospitals and has since been trying to improve it's reputation in the community. Most people notice the change, but there are still people who call it by it's nickname. I know that as a nurse I do the best job I can everyday when I go in. It is so important to have a good local medical center. Yeah you could move and join another hospital, but think about how proud you would be working at the hospital to make a change. You stated the "good nurses" were few and far between, if you joined them they would have one more "good nurse". If it not a bad work environment you should try to change the public's perception of this hospital one patient at a time. Many hospitals have committes you can join to make change while you are a floor nurse, this may be an outlet for you.

Specializes in Emergency Dept. Trauma. Pediatrics. Has 6 years experience.

You can always go in and be one of the good nurses and take what you see as a what not to do. It seems like they are in need of good nurses.

Specializes in M/S, MICU, CVICU, SICU, ER, Trauma, NICU. Has 19 years experience.

It would only make sense not to work there.


903 Posts

Don't end your new career before it's even started just because of one bad experience.

There are a TON of opportunities for employment in health care besides working in a hospital.


38 Posts

Specializes in Psych, Onco, ED, Tele, Med/Surg. Has 4 years experience.

haha. My local hospital is called 'deadcentral' by the people I see in home health. I wouldn't take my dog there, either. Better plan on a different hospital or else change your perspective, suck it up and be a part of the solution. I live and work far away from home for just that very reason. Good luck! I love being a nurse, so I know I made the right choice. What your best solution is, I couldn't say.

Specializes in cardiothoracic surgery. Has 6 years experience.

Don't let this get you discouraged. Strive to be a good nurse and like another post stated, there are many different places to work as a nurse. One of the perks of the job!

I am just curious about the antibiotic. Some antiobiotics, like vanco, may not be given every day if the patient has renal failure. I don't know if that was the case with your mom, but it may be a possible explanation. Just a thought.

Specializes in Infusion, Med/Surg/Tele, Outpatient. Has 15 years experience.

Not a justification, but I don't know when one of my pts will have a test until radiology/EKG/Sono/Echo either comes up to the floor or the transporter comes to get them. Once I was very surprised when the OR came to get a pt who I was not even told had a surgical consult at that time (ER doc apparently got the surgical consult.) The IM attending also wasn't very pleased when she came to see the pt.


147 Posts

Don't get discouraged, and DO be a part of the solution, not part of the one of the other posters said; many many times in the hospital the nurse doesn't know about their patients going to testing until they are actually being wheeled off the floor, so sometimes (a lot) of times, working on the floor is organized chaos, but that's what happens when you have a facility of 300+ patients all waiting for a spot in testing or therapy or a consult doc or a meal, etc. It's literally impossible to organize each person for a specific 15 minute time slot. I will tell you that working in the hospital (IMO) is very political, and sometimes patient care does get pushed to the wayside in order to satisfy a political or economical agenda. That goes against everything that I believe in, and against every reason that I became a nurse, HOWEVER, the beauty of being a nurse, is that there are millions of ways to utilize your education and your license--so I have found another position outside of the hospital that both fulfills my own personal and professional goals. I can't think of any other way I'd rather earn a living, and I would be miserable if I had pursued another line of work.