Culture Shock!!!!

by MeldogRN MeldogRN (New) New

Specializes in Pediatric, Neonatal. Has 10 years experience.

I'm from Connectucut, worked at the same hospital for the past 9 years and a small hospital in Boston for one year before that. We just moved to TX. It took me several months to find a job, but I finally found a job that I thought I would love. I haven't actually started yet and there has already been drama!

My concern about this hospital began with the application process. They don't hire tobacco users. Fine, I don't use tobacco products. They make you take this crazy personality test...fine I take the dang test. I get the call from an HR person that I got the job...I tell her I have a few things I need to discuss with someone before I accept the job, tell her what they are, she says don't worry about it and schedules my pre-employment activities with occupational health for the following Monday. I just go with the flow. Show up on monday and for drug, alcohol, and tobacco screening. I let them take my blood, pee in a cup...fine. Tuesday I get a call from the background check place that they can't confirm my employment from my first job, 10 years ago. The HR department at that hospital doesn't keep records that far back, and my manager doesn't remember me (I only worked there for one year, 10 years ago, I'm not surprised.) I call the HR department at my new job and they tell me I can bring in my W2's from my first job. Humm. Well, I go to my 20 foot by 20 foot packed storage unit, and by some shear stroke of luck I find both W2's, in two separate boxes, that I didn't pack myself. Go back for day 2 of occupational health stuff. Find out that in addition to drug, alcohol, and tobacco screen, they also ran a CBC, triglycerides, and glucose test. A) Why do they need that? B) Why didn't they tell me that they were going to do that? Fine, what's done is done. Then I felt bullied into getting a flu vaccine, not by the OH nurse, but by the policies and laws put in place by this hospital and state. Go back to HR and take a med test and pass by the skin of my teeth, not because I can't do math, but they ask me questions about meds that I never give and how to calculate drip rates, which I haven't done since college and will not need to do in my new job. Talk to an HR person who runs over things breifly and gives me a bunch of stuff to take home and read. Also makes a huge point that if I do start orientation on friday, I need to dress business casual, uh, ok. After HR, go to buy some new scrubs so I can make a good impression. I have fun, get 5 or 6 sets of scrubs in pink, gray, and teal, with some cute patterns, and a new pair of nursing shoes in gray and pink. Like a true shopaholic, I feel a little better.

I get home and start digging through the paperwork. None of my doctors that I just picked out are covered under my new insurance plan, which we now have to use because of some crazy policy at my husband's job. The free parking option is further from me than the hospital and will add at least 20 minutes to my 10 minute commute. Pay options are around $100 a month, if they are availiable. Lastly I get to the conduct code, wherein lies the dress code. For shoes, you can only wear black, white, or shoes the color of your uniform. If you want to wear a t-shirt under your scrubs, it can only be white or the same color as your scrub top. If you want to wear a scrub jacket it has to be a solid color, the same color as your pants. It references unit specific uniforms. No one had talked about any of this! So, I muster all the courage I can (because I have a crazy phone phobia) and call one of the managers I hadn't met to find out if there were any unit specific uniform requirements. She matter of factly tells me what the requirements are, which none of my new scrubs match. I express a bit of shock, she makes me feel like a crazy person...explains to me why it's oh so important, and that every hospital in Texas has a uniform code, and she would have told me in the interview. I tell her it's fine I will get over it, but I would have appreciated someone telling me before I spent almost $300 on new scrubs and shoes. I get off the phone with her, and a few minutes later my phone rings. One of the interviewing managers called me and asked what happened, she heard I was upset, etc., but it didn't seem so much out of concern, but like she had just gotten yelled at. I explained to her that yes I was upset, but I didn't mean to make a big deal about it. I also explained a little about what happened in OH, that I was definately experiencing some culture shock, and that I'm a little worried, I don't want to start out working there like I am some uppity northeasterner. She said that she thought she covered it in the interview, but that people usually ask. It never occured to me to ask, because I've never worked anywhere where they were such control freaks over what you wore, down to the color of your shoes!

I get it, put up with it or find a different job. There are plenty of nurses out there looking for jobs, the employer can call all the shots they want. I will have to get over it. I still have things I need to talk to the managers about, and now I am even more nervous than I was before!

Thanks for reading my ramble...has anyone else had this major of a culture shock?

Edited by MeldogRN

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

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

It sounds like you could use a hug. It would be a culture shock to me to NOT have those stringent uniform requirements! :laugh:

I hope you adjust okay. Welcome to ultra conservative Texas!

Here in Georgia, the Same ..a uniform Code. Enforced some few years back...I do miss the Variety of colorful scrubs. Smile.. find was to accessorize that are with in Code, and pray for a change.. those come often enough:)


Specializes in Pediatric, Neonatal. Has 10 years experience.

Thanks guys! Yes I could use a hug today. I feel like I am totally getting off on the wrong foot :/ I'll get over it. I'm going to try to looking on the bright side, at least I won't have to put too much thought into what I am going to wear every day!

CrunchRN, ADN, RN

Specializes in Clinical Research, Outpt Women's Health. Has 25 years experience.

Welcome to Texas!:lol2:

Seriously, I had culture shock too, but after 8 years here I LOVE it.

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

Native Texas here... Sorry you feel overwhelmed. But I'm sure that running around outside without a coat in January will make up for a lot of it - LOL. Where are you located? Sounds like you must be working in a medical center... most do not offer free on-site parking.

You need to enroll in a Texas citizenship course ASAP, to make sure that you understand the language & customs. If you aren't fully acculturated in 12 months, we just may have to send you back..... :) It's true that some of issues you mentioned are Tx-specific, such as the mandated vaccines. But other things are just 'different' and no matter where you go, you will always encounter something different.

I think you will find that we are definitely not "ultra conservative" when it comes to nursing practice or health care in general. In fact, Texas is the only US state/territory with a legally defined "nurse-patient duty" that cannot be superseded by the physician-patient duty. One of our big advantages is that the state legislature only meets every other year... for 6 months. It doesn't give them much time to mess things up. (insider secret... state is actually run by the Lt. Gov as our Govs are only for general entertainment & messing up national elections). I recommend you read anything by the late Molly Ivins Molly Ivins - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia or Kinky Friedman Kinky Friedman's Official Site - to get some real insight.

BTW, standard uniforms are NOT anywhere near state-wide. There are lots of hospitals that still allow all colors of the rainbow & the cute little kitty cat prints.

I don't want to worry too much about you. The big event is pronounced "Row - dee - oh", not "ro-day-o". Don't wear a 'cowboy' hat unless you want to look like a tourist... we wear gimee caps unless we are at the big event or actually working around livestock. Remember to wear your sunblock all the time - make sure your lotion and makeup has a fair amount of SPF. Stay away from those big dirt piles (they're fire ants). Wear boots or snake guards if your're hiking. Despite what you may have heard, urine does NOT help with jelly fish stings (just saying). Sail boarding is not as easy as it looks. Don't look for good Mexican food at a franchise restaurant. DON'T MISS Mardi Gras in Galveston - Feb 10 - 21 or Christmas on the River Walk in San Antonio. There... that about does it.

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

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

You forgot....if someone is fixin' to ... nothing is going to get fixed, but something is about to happen. There is no pop or soda in Texas....any carbonated beverage is a Coke, whether that brand name or not. And our summers here are as miserable as the winters up there.

Welcome to Texas!


Specializes in Pediatric, Neonatal. Has 10 years experience.

LOL! Thanks! This is why I sometimes need to vent to random internet strangers, beacuse at least one (or in my case four) people will know the perfect thing to say! You made me laugh :)

You are spot on...working at a med center. My very first nursing job was in a big city, and although I got free parking where I worked, I didn't expect too. Even some of my nurse friends in CT had to pay for parking with NO free options, but never $90-$110 a month! Eh, I'll figure it out. Off to return my scrubs!

Bortaz, MSN, RN

Specializes in CDI Supervisor; Formerly NICU. Has 12 years experience.

When I took my first job as a nurse, they informed me that I'd need to buy navy blue scrubs. So, I ran out and bought about $240 worth. 3 months later, some genius decided my department needed to wear a totally different color (wine? WINE?) than the rest of the staff (I work NICU, they couched it in "saftey for the babies!"). I was not a happy individual. But, I went and bought wine scrubs.

Sorry you had to go through all that