drowning in despair


Hi all,

I need some serious advice.

I was/am on orientation at a well respected teaching hospital; I have been let go without a definite reason other than "you have failed to make progress with orientation thus far."

I have also been told that I will be, upon finding out for sure if I am terminated or not, meeting with a peer review committee.

I've only ever heard of peer review committees in terms of "you've done this, this and this wrong, shame on you," and other than the typical orientation things that new grads do --I've committee ZERO errors of comission/omission resulting in patient harm- I can think of nothing.

Does this mean that my hospital is considering reporting me to the Board? I have committed no medication errors, I have no known complaints against me from patients or fellow employees (other than my preceptor, who would be frustrated with me at times, which is normal from what I hear about the preceptor/orientee relationship) and other than having trouble with some charting--forgetting to chart somethings and my preceptor catching it, etc-- that's it.

I really DO NOT know what to do.

My hospital has given me no solid reasons as to why I am possibly being let go, other than "failure to progress with orientation." The person who tenatively fired me this past week told me I had done things like failed to attend a class (I had attended, but my badge wouldn't work, so I had to get a piece of paper with signatures verifying my attendance--I have copies of it).

On top of all this stuff going on at work, I have an injury I am about to have surgically corrected (a very minor issue which will be fixed in the outpatient setting with a very short recovery time and virtually no short term or long term affects), and I am going through a marital change. I've been professionally upfront about these issues, and I feel like the hospital staff (management, education) has basically ripped a rug out from underneath me.

I'm a total nervous wreck. I know I will learn from my mistakes, as any growing human being does....I know I am for sure not perfect in any capacity, including being a new RN in orientation, and I know I make mistakes in my life every day........but this just ....throws me for a loop.

I guess, even though I know I haven't *done* or *failed to do* anything, I am worried about being reported to the board and losing my very new, very hard earned license.


31 Posts

I'm so sorry this has happened to you. I don't know a lot about this, but I was always told that orientation is for room to grow. If someone feels that you are not doing a good job, they are supposed to talk to you about it from the beginning, not let you struggle. How long have you been on orientation? Where I work, the nurse is evaluated AFTER orientation. I finished my orientation 3 weeks ago and I have a review in three months. I would definately demand a meeting other than the peer review with your nurse manager and preceptor. I hope everything works out.


16 Posts

thanks for your reply and support...i feel the same way re:the feedback from preceptor and management...in fact that was supposed to be occurring all along but they, in their total chaotic and disorganized state, dropped the ball......despite my repeated attempts to find out where I stood with orientation.

i am feeling really down right now.

part of me over the past few days has been like "well yea who needs them?!?!? i will go work somewhere else."

part of me is feeling really...just...so down on myself. like i'm a terrible nurse, even though I know that I haven't done a thing that would merit being reported to the board of nursing for my state. i just thought that peer reviews were something that only happened if someone was being reported to the board and not that occurred if "hey, the hospital has some concerns and we would like to help you address these concerns and be the best nurse possible..." etc.

anyone know?


13 Posts

Is there someone involved in your orientation who is not your preceptor and not someone working on your unit? If possible, you should have someone to be your advocate at any meeting that might occur. Do you have documentation from your preceptor about goals met/ things to work on- anything to show that you were making good progress in some areas? What about your interview- is there a recruiter who was impressed with you? Obviously they wanted you enough to hire you, and orientation is something that takes some people longer than others. Does your hospital sometimes move new nurses to another floor, if the unit you are on originally is just not a good fit? Is there a union? Focus discussion on how orientation is a time to learn, and you are there to learn. Maybe your preceptor doesn't have the same teaching/ learning style as you do. Maybe your personalities clash. That should mean a new preceptor, maybe on a new unit, not being fired. Good luck.


13 Posts

Oh, and I just can't imagine that this will have anything to do with the board. This sort of thing happens all the time, they wouldn't be able to deal with it all! Not progressing in orientation is not the same thing as being an unsafe nurse. When you do the peer review thing, go prepared with SPECIFIC examples of when you asked other people if you could help them out, times when you were told you were doing a good job, etc. Ask what you have been doing well- there may be people involved in this meeting who don't know you, so don't let them only hear negative things.

We aren't perfect. Neither are nurses who have been there a long time. Ug.


16 Posts

Thanks for all the replies--more welcome of course. The main issue is really whether or not I will be reported to the board.

Like, I can think of NOTHING I have done that would result in me needing to be reported to the board--there was one time when I accidentally ran an IV infusion a bit too quickly and his line blew....it was on a stable teenage patient and the Peripheral IV was about to fall out anyway, as we later found out per another RN's report that she had had trouble with it too...but the patient suffered no harm whatsoever..... his parents weren't even at the bedside and he had another P. IV already inserted...(I ran it at the rate ml/hour that the pharmacy had told me to) ....not to discredit the potential severity by any means--I mean, this was like....a month ago and I never ever heard a thing about it ever again....I can think of NOTHING I have done...seriously...NOTHING.

Like, my preceptor and I would check off meds together, and sometimes she and I would catch each other's mistakes, like, oops, I meant to pull this PO antibiotic out of the fridge, NOT that one--oops-- but nothing ever ever ever got to the patient, EVER.

I feel a little bit better after reading that, but like--most of the issues I had trouble with were with time management (EVERY NEW RN has issues with this from what I hear!!!!) and charting (and I was very up front, in a professional manner, about my injury and the steps I was taking to correct it---and then boom,I was let go.).

My doctor says I need to call an attorney.....

iluvivt, BSN, RN

2,773 Posts

Specializes in Infusion Nursing, Home Health Infusion. Has 32 years experience.

I think your preceptor threw you under the bus. I think she did not like you for some reason and so got rid of you. The things that happened were not big deals. An IV site that infiltrates is an everday occurance around here and it is totally normal to struggle with time managment and charting and all the other stuff you have to learn. A decent place would have nurtured you and supported you and given you advice on how remedy any issues you were having. You may not be able to do anything about it b/c you were in a probation period. Learn from it and if you do not like your preceptor for any reason.....ask for another one...this relationship is so crucial in nursing and a lot of preceptors are clueless about how to effectively teach!!!


133 Posts

I highly doubt that you have to worry about losing your license. It just sounds as thought they think that you are not reaching the milestones in their expected timeframe.

It sounds like you have a lot on your plate and I empathize with you. I really hope things get better for you and I'm sure they will. Sooner or later- but they will.



1,348 Posts

Something is fishy. Usually the "failure to progress" comment means that they don't want to pay for orientation and they want you to hurry up and work on your own.

It is very hard to fight this kind of termination, especially if you are in a right to work state.

Personally, I would not attend any meeting with any persons at the hospital unless I had my trusty digital recorder and recorded everything that is said. If they refused to have meetings with a tape recorder, I'd tell them that they need to correspond with me in writing.

There is no telling if they will try to report you to the BON or not. I've seen them report nurses for NOTHING, just to be able to terminate the nurse and intimidate them so that the nurse didn't try to sue for wrongful termination.

Hang in there. They are trying to intimidate you. Don't let them ruin your reputation, even if you have to get up and walk out on them. Be nice, be professional, but stand your ground and protect yourself.


87 Posts

wow I am so sorry you going through this. Unfortunately when someone is in that 90 day orientation phase, they can fire you if they dont like your shirt. I very much doubt that they will report you to the board. The same thing happened to me (you can probably read about it if you look at my old posts in the history) I thought my career was over. Sometimes hospitals are just unsupportive of their new grads and still unfortunately eat their young. You'll be able to move on and get the better experience you deserve and this will all be behind you. I do not think your licence is in any trouble.

Vito Andolini

1,451 Posts

You erred seriously in telling them about your marriage. Never do that again. You also should have kept your medical news to yourself. It's not your boss' or coworkers' business. Never tell your business at work. I mean it.

Stop saying "like" all the time. I know all the young people do it but I hate it! I doubt that was why you're being let go, if you are being let go - it sounds like you don't really know. It's just grating to me, that's all.

Probationers can be fired for any reason, or no reason. Your doctor is probably wrong to think a lawyer can help. But, hey, what the heck? Get a free consult.

Ask your preceptor to be totally up front with you. She might surprise you and actually tell you the truth about why she is recommending you be terminated.

Why can't you get another chance with a different preceptor?

If they won't come clean with you, count your blessings that you and that outfit are parting ways now, rather than later. They really sound like a bunch of people you'd be lucky to be rid of.

I advise you to be very silent in the peer review meeting, which, BTW, should have taken place much sooner, so you could be nurtured and brought along and helped to develop. It should not be the coup de grace as they throw you out on your ear. I don't know if you even should go to the meeting, which will be a roasting of you. If you don't, they will definitely fire you, though, so I guess you're stuck. Find out if they will give you a good reference. Or must you never mention this job on future job applications. BTW, you should be looking for a new job NOW, while you are still employed. Nothing makes it easier to leave 1 job than to have another one lined up. Your reason? The current place and you are just not a good fit. Or, better, you took some time off to rest after school. Try to put off your surgery a while, if safe to do so.

Specializes in Hospital-Med Surg, Subacute, Rehab..

Have you heard the expression "Nurses eat their young", it seems as though your preceptor and nursing supervisor/admin validate this totally negative belief r/t nurses. From what I've read you haven't done anything that would justify submitting your name to the BON. I agree with the other post, you need an tape recorder, union rep ? or a co-worker who is willing to support you when you enter the Loins Den. This is all about money and your employer not wanting to pay out disability should your recovery be longer than anticipated, staffing shortages r/t your recovery etc. Also they could be fearful that you may require time off r/t personal issues and or possibly a leave of absence in the future. Regardless of their concerns/rationales they're being unprofessional and dishonest. I read numerous verses in the BooK of Psalms on a regular basis, Psalms 7,12,17,31,57 and my absolute favorite Psalms 91 all relate to your situation. Hope this helps, keep us posted.

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