Terminated at end of orientation.

  1. A Cautionary Tale (Feedback and advice would be appreciated....):

    Just wanted to say I was recently terminated after a 12 week orientation. The reason given was that I was not able to handle the level of acuity and pace of the unit. The managers did not believe I would be able to succeed, based on their experience with "hundreds" of new nurses. They suggested I apply for less acute units in the hospital or in the associated clinics, but did not offer any referrals. I was told to clean out my locker. This was after receiving no formal written performance appraisals and having passed all my orientation classes. My preceptor had told me I was not picking up things as quickly as I should at about the 10th week, but never mentioned the possibility of termination. She verbally suggested I work on "focusing to prevent distraction and organizing my workload". She wanted me to try the night shifts to see if I would do better with less distraction. She did say that 10 weeks was the new length of orientation and I was already at the end of that period. (My orientation book said it was 12 weeks -- apparently old information.) No one mentioned the possibility of termination -- not the preceptor, the manager, the supervisor, or the nurse educator.

    Termination after orientation can happen. This was my first job after graduation and a very difficult transition for a new grad, an older-age one at that. It has been extremely demoralizing to be fired. I wonder if I should quit the profession and give up, but I have invested too much in time and finances, and have staked too much of my future on becoming a nurse.

    It is disheartening to hear the comments (on a different topic thread) that it is very rare for a nurse to fail orientation. I do feel like a failure. Looking back I see that I could have done some things differently. I did not come home and study or study on my days off, which now I believe I should have done. My excuse is that I was too tired and stressed from the exhausting and overwhelming hours at work. Often it was 13+ hours straight, with 6 to 8 hours before a break or chance to eat. (When really busy, nurses worked 9 to 13 hours straight through, counting extra time for report and charting, with no breaks at all). And there was the constant bombardment of new information to digest. It was just full-tilt boogie for the whole shift. It would take me all of the available hours before the next shift just to recover my energy and clear my head.

    My advice: If you truly want to keep your job, you must push through the exhaustion and stress and study. Ask for written evaluations early on and if you are not at the expected performance level, ask for a remediation plan and regular reviews of progress. If you sense something ominous in the wind, speak up and ask what's going on. These things I did not do, since I expected a chance to review my performance with the supervisor and manager and to remediate if necessary. (Part of me did have a growing fear that I might be terminated... This is when I should have point-blank asked!)

    There were many things in the way my termination was handled that I could complain about, but I don't wish to dwell on that here. I need to learn the lessons and move on, whether it is to continue in nursing or not. It has been a little over a month since my firing and I am still trying to get over the emotional trauma.

    Good luck to you! (I don't know how old this post is. I hope you've succeeded and gone on to become a great nurse.)
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    About Flatlander

    Joined: Jul '12; Posts: 258; Likes: 278

    36 Comments

  3. by   elprup
    I had similar experience. Then I moved and got to second interview for new grad Versant Program, only to be disqualified for having a few months of experience! I was totally bummed. Just an FYI.
  4. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from flatlander
    a cautionary tale (feedback and advice would be appreciated....):

    just wanted to say i was recently terminated after a 12 week orientation. the reason given was that i was not able to handle the level of acuity and pace of the unit. the managers did not believe i would be able to succeed, based on their experience with "hundreds" of new nurses. they suggested i apply for less acute units in the hospital or in the associated clinics, but did not offer any referrals. i was told to clean out my locker. this was after receiving no formal written performance appraisals and having passed all my orientation classes. my preceptor had told me i was not picking up things as quickly as i should at about the 10th week, but never mentioned the possibility of termination. she verbally suggested i work on "focusing to prevent distraction and organizing my workload". she wanted me to try the night shifts to see if i would do better with less distraction. she did say that 10 weeks was the new length of orientation and i was already at the end of that period. (my orientation book said it was 12 weeks -- apparently old information.) no one mentioned the possibility of termination -- not the preceptor, the manager, the supervisor, or the nurse educator.

    termination after orientation can happen. this was my first job after graduation and a very difficult transition for a new grad, an older-age one at that. it has been extremely demoralizing to be fired. i wonder if i should quit the profession and give up, but i have invested too much in time and finances, and have staked too much of my future on becoming a nurse.

    it is disheartening to hear the comments (on a different topic thread) that it is very rare for a nurse to fail orientation. i do feel like a failure. looking back i see that i could have done some things differently. i did not come home and study or study on my days off, which now i believe i should have done. my excuse is that i was too tired and stressed from the exhausting and overwhelming hours at work. often it was 13+ hours straight, with 6 to 8 hours before a break or chance to eat. (when really busy, nurses worked 9 to 13 hours straight through, counting extra time for report and charting, with no breaks at all). and there was the constant bombardment of new information to digest. it was just full-tilt boogie for the whole shift. it would take me all of the available hours before the next shift just to recover my energy and clear my head.

    my advice: if you truly want to keep your job, you must push through the exhaustion and stress and study. ask for written evaluations early on and if you are not at the expected performance level, ask for a remediation plan and regular reviews of progress. if you sense something ominous in the wind, speak up and ask what's going on. these things i did not do, since i expected a chance to review my performance with the supervisor and manager and to remediate if necessary. (part of me did have a growing fear that i might be terminated... this is when i should have point-blank asked!)

    there were many things in the way my termination was handled that i could complain about, but i don't wish to dwell on that here. i need to learn the lessons and move on, whether it is to continue in nursing or not. it has been a little over a month since my firing and i am still trying to get over the emotional trauma.

    good luck to you! (i don't know how old this post is. i hope you've succeeded and gone on to become a great nurse.)

    i'm sorry you lost your job. contrary to what you might have read on a different thread, it does happen. about 20% of our new grads don't make it off orientation. many of them were completely unaware of the possibility of being terminated, and too few of them had any idea how poorly they were doing. you are absolutely correct about studying at home -- whether it be after your shift in preparation for what you know you're going to run into on your next shift, or on your days off.

    how organized was your orientation? were there defined benchmarks that were shared with you at the start? did your preceptor explain her expectations early on?

    my advice -- and take it with a grain of salt since i don't really know you or your situation -- is not to give up. try a less acute unit and work very hard on time management, multi-tasking, and anything else you've been told or suspect you need to work on. could be you just need a slower start. i'm not sure why, but second career nurses often seem to do better in a slower paced environment for their first job. (could be we're not 21 anymore.) my own orientee told me that she's figured out that the problem with older newbies is that they (and she includes herself) lack a sense of urgency for some reason. her self awareness and hard work in that area saved her job.

    i wish you luck.
  5. by   libran1984
    I think it was for the best.... imagine going to a job where all your co-workers thought less of you and completely undermined and devalued you.

    I had the opportunity to assist in the training of an RN that moved to the ED from a med-surg floor. The guy simply couldn't remember how to put in a bed request, handle more than 2-3 patients at a time, and found difficulty in prioritizing a patient load. He was eventually dismissed at the end of his orientation.

    In the end it was for the best. While my ED maintained enough respect to never gossip, they had a hard time from rolling their eyes at the very mention of this nurse's name.

    Sorry you became so distraught. That particular floor or specialty just may not be for you.
  6. by   HouTx
    OP - seems like you have reflected on the situation and gained some very valuable insight that will be very beneficial in future jobs. Believe it or not, but this is indicates that you share a common characteristic with 'experts' in nursing and medicine ... the ability to learn from mistakes and bad/unexpected events.

    I am a firm believer that everyone should be fired at least once (been there, done that - twice). It gives you a whole new perspective on the employer/employee relationship and ensures that you will probably never take anything at face value again. A much healthier relationship than nurses who are complacent about their jobs.

    Believe in yourself. Apply your new knowledge to your next job. And - when it is your turn to be a preceptor (and it will happen eventually) remember to never treat your newbies like this.
  7. by   jpeters84
    It's interesting that new grads go into orientation thinking they can't be fired. I knew during my orientation that the easiest (in legal terms) time for a hospital to get rid of you is during orientation. The first three months of employment in most states are considered a "try-out" and a company can fire you with needing as much proof as to why you aren't working out. With that being said...I am so sorry that you are having to go through this. I can imagine after all of the hard work of nursing school and dreams that you had for yourself getting fired at the end of orientation is a big disappointment. Instead of getting down on yoruself and asking yourself if you're meant to be a nurse why not look at this as an opportunity to step back and find a more humane first job. I started out in home health and it was a wonderful way to get my feet wet without the immense stress, workload, and time management required of you in the acute setting. Why not try a LTC? There's one thing we always forget in the beginning which is we should be enjoying our careers. The acute floors do not allow for much enjoyment. Taking things slow and giving yourself time to build confidence, skills, and time management in a manageable situation is nothing to be ashamed of. I know a lot of new grad nurses pooh pooh working in long-term care but some of the best nurses I know were smart enough to start their careers that way and make the transition to acute care floors much better than new grads. Just ebcause this one job and this floor wasn't a fit doen't mean there isn't a nursing job out there that will be a good fit. Have heart, keep trying, and keep your good attitude going and you will be just fine!
  8. by   NurseDirtyBird
    I would like to second a couple of sentiments expressed above:
    Getting fired was a great way for me to learn that I wasn't as awesome as I thought I was. I don't mean that I don't think I'm a good nurse, I mean that I am not the indespensible super-nurse I apparently viewed myself as. The experience brought me back down to earth, and I'm grateful for it.

    Also, when I was in nursing school, I said "I'll never work in a nursing home!" Hahahahahaha! I've been working in LTC for a while now and like it. I finally (after 7 years) know where I want to go with my career and I'm in exactly the right place right now. My experience in LTC will be very valuable when I eventually move on after going back to school.

    Sometimes you have to find out you don't fit well in an area of nursing the hard way. It's hard, but it can definitely be a good thing. Sometimes you really don't know where your passion lies until you try something different. Good luck, I hope you find where you feel you belong.
  9. by   ToughingItOut
    I just wanted to say that I'm really sorry that you're going through all this, but I admire your spirit and attitude. While I was not personally let go after orientation, I sometimes think that I may have been close... Stay strong; you are not alone. Take this as an opportunity to find a place where you can truly make a difference without running around like a chicken with it's head cut off! Thank you for sharing everything that you have learned. It's time for you to get excited about nursing again - the possibilities are endless! Good luck!
  10. by   caliotter3
    Although you seem to have identified shortcomings, it is also possible that personality took a role in this. It is quite easy to use the reasons given to you for getting rid of someone that they did not feel would fit into the unit culture. Good that you have picked up lessons learned. Hope you are able to keep at it and that you succeed.
  11. by   Flatlander
    I can't thank all of you enough for your feedback and advice. You have given me hope and encouragement, and helped me to put things in perspective. This is a great website. I'm so grateful to have found it!
  12. by   CrunchRN
    The good thing about nursing is there are many settings you can try and it will be easier because of the skills you have learned in the 12 weeks. Always hard to be fired, but it happens and can happen to anyone and you never really know the real reason usually. You could have been to slow or they just may not have liked the way you smile.

    Dust yourself off and get a new job!
  13. by   Flatlander
    Thanks, CrunchRN. It's good to be reminded how much I've learned and that being fired isn't the end of the world. I feel stronger, knowing I can survive this. As long as I have breath I can make life worthwhile. And it's true that we can never really know the whole story. How we interpret events can either help us pick ourselves up or completely crush us. It's our viewpoint and attitude that matter, I think. I think there were parts of that particular culture I don't want to fit in with! Maybe they sensed that. Watching the Olympics this week has helped me, too. Top athletes can fall off the balance beam or land on their heads instead of their feet, then come back to win a gold medal. Mistakes are made as often as victories. There is no shame in trying and failing. I've seen inspiring examples of Olympic teams supporting each other after every event-- hugging, celebrating, and crying together. Everyone hugs everyone every time. Even when they mess up. No one is left out, ignored, or shunned. There's no eye-rolling or whispers behind the back. Nurses could learn much about strong teamwork by watching these young athletes! This forum gives me a taste of that support. It's almost all positive. I've noticed that even when someone feels the need to correct someone else on a certain point in this forum, it is done with kindness and tact.
  14. by   ENicuRN
    I am so sorry this is something you have to go through. I am very appreciative of the fact they you are willing to share you experience so that numerous nurses can learn from it.
    I am a new grad starting in the NICU in two weeks and will definitely use some of your suggestions while in orientation.

    Just by reading your initial post I know you will make a great nurse because of your ability to learn from past experiences, apply them, and institute teamwork! :-)

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