in need of advice after getting fired

  1. My situation is as follows:
    I have only been an RN for a year; up until today I had been employed on the MR/autism floor of a large psychiatric hospital. I will make no bones about it, I am not a brain surgeon, nor was my job brain surgery; I passed meds to either 13 adults on one wing, or 11 children on the other wing -- what everyone has in common is aggression as a targeted behavior. I am also not delusional about why I was employed there; I am stronger than the patients, & I have a high tolerance to pain. I was good at what I did, however. By being a real person, I was able to successfully deescalate crisis situations on many occasions. My ancillary staff loved me because, unlike some of the other RNs, I treated them as equals with all of us striving to successfully make it through a shift; although the place was/is a cesspool, together, we truly attempted to provide quality care. And those are the reasons I enjoyed the job, regardless of the 40 mile drive. The reasons I felt like sticking the barrel of my 12 gauge in my mouth are too numerous to mention.

    Here is how I got fired today. I am a bit rough around the edges, & that may be why I was able to achieve success with most of my patients. I was working an 11a to 1130p shift on the kids side today, & in the course of adminstering 1400 meds to a new (to me) patient this afternoon, I was unexpectedly attacked with an unexpected ferocity. I would have never guessed this little guy would have had the ability to hit or kick so hard. All I could do was take a butt kicking while I held the med-laced applesauce up high enough so it wouldn't become part of the crap stained carpet & I wouldn't have to wait for pharm to bring me down some more. I had good ancillary staff today & they all like me because of what I previously mentioned, & they were on this kid & took him down. I'm like "geez, let's try it on the floor, then." This kid was writhing like a ***** off aligator & he wasn't having none of it. It might not sound nice, but many times on this unit, the only way to get meds into a patient is the hard way. I wasn't even mad at the kid when I conversationally asked him to please just take the ******** meds. And honestly, that is not the first time I've conversationally used the term, & just as honestly, I'm truly cognizant that this is not an appropriate manner to speak to a patient, but equally as honestly, I gotta tell you, that is the very least of the problems on that floor. Okay, but anyway, regardless of how many times I slipped up in the past, this was the first time it happened when the PHD Behavioral Specialist was just coming through the door in the hallway where I was attempting to get this boy to take a mg of Tenex. I won't go into how ballistic she got & how apologetic I got, but the long & short of it is that I wound up getting a letter of suspension which at this place, is simply a formality prior to getting fired. They asked me if I wanted a union rep as I wrote up a staement, & I was like, nah lets just get it done, so we did, & I wrote up what happened pretty much the way I wrote it up top.

    All right, it doesn't kill me to lose this job, it was hardly my dream job, 80 mile roundtrip, I was serving time in a tribe with way too many chiefs & not enough Indians -- I had no aspirations beyond throwing pills or being part of the goon-squad. But what does concern me is getting fired. I just got through submitting an online application to another psych hospital in the area, & when it got to the part about why I left my last job, well, what could I say? I wrote it like I wrote it up top. I also wrote that I felt that I learned a life changing lesson, & hopefully I have, but who knows? I've already confessed to being a tad rough around the edges, I'm possibly on the fringes of being bi-polar, & this was a mid-life career change; I spent 30 previous years in airplane hangars working with men who used the F-Bomb as a noun, verb, adjective and adverb. (It's almost comical that this is what I got fired for when I consider all the rules I used to break to get the job done.) Regardless, how should I handle this as I search for a new job? Will I even get through the front door once I write on an application what i wrote up top? I have a friend who use to do agency work; he gave me the name & assured me it wouldn't matter if I was a convicted serial killer, but the benefits aren't there....

    I'm a veteran, & I'd really like to try to apply that to starting a career at a VA hospital, & I also know a girl who graduated with me who told me previously that where she was working (way closer to home) was always going through nurses, however she said she was not infatuated w/ the DON.... I mean, I honestly think I'd rather sling pills at this LTC & drive 20 or 30 minutes as opposed to the 1.5 hour drive I was making.... But assuming they even are truly hiring, once again, how do I get past the getting fired part?

    Anyway, I'm open to all suggestions & advice.
    Thanks/matt
    Last edit by UM Review RN on Jun 5, '09 : Reason: profanity
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    About matt59

    Joined: Mar '06; Posts: 84; Likes: 17

    46 Comments

  3. by   summerrose_10
    Wow, sounds like a VERY difficult floor to work on. It definately was not a good fit for you.
    "I've already confessed to being a tad rough around the edges, I'm possibly on the fringes of being bi-polar".
    I would suggest you see a counselor to investigate the possibility of a bi-polar disorder and seek treatment.
    LTC is not just "slinging pills" If that is what your old classmate thinks of her job, well she is not being helpful/therapeutic to her patients and is not challenging her capabilities. If that is the mind set you would go into LTC with I strongly suggest you do not apply there.
    You need to reflect upon why you choose nursing and what being "the nurse" really means to you. What unit was your favorite during clinicals?
    Sorry if this seems rude, but your post sounded like an angry person who has some issues to resolve. By placing blame on the situation and others, you are choosing to be the victim. I'm sorry if someone hurt you in your past. You must now become the adult and realize that what happened to you in the past is what helped to make you who you are now (an RN who must follow the code of ethics), and, no one can hurt you now unless you choose to let them.
    You mentioned you strived to give quality care, sometimes in a "cesspool" situation it is difficult. Definately don't give a detailed reason for leaving your last job, no one will hire you. Just mention there where "issues" and leave it at that.
    First, congratulations for completing RN school, it's not easy. Second, good luck in your job search.
    Last edit by summerrose_10 on Jun 5, '09
  4. by   Lenee925
    hmm..looks like you've already found therapist! ^ Anyway I'm sure you'll get a couple fingers shaken at you on this board but I'm going to say I understand how you must feel. The floor you work on is not easy and you are being put in situations that would test ANYBODY. I have worked around all blue-collar type men for a lot of my career and understand that a lot of them cuss like sailors so I can identify with you on that. I'm not going to judge you for telling the violent patient in frustration to "just take the effing meds". If most of us were honest we would admit we have thought about saying somethings that were not exactly professional more than once. Key word: "thought". Sounds like you learned your lesson here so I'll save the sermon. Do you think you could possibly go talk to someone while looking for other nursing positions that would better suit your personality?
  5. by   NRSKarenRN
    I wound up getting a letter of suspension which at this place, is simply a formality prior to getting fired
    Written up fro profanity and unprofessional conduct can see....maybe other GOOD deeds will prevent firing she you immediately realized mistake. Definitely get your union rep involved pronto.
    Learning to remain calm under this kind of crisis is tough...will be lesson you'll take to heart and be stronger for in the long run.

    Passing out the "good stuff" stress reliever:




    Wishing you better days ahead---don't beat yourself up too much as we've ALL been there.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Jun 7, '09
  6. by   ArwenEvenstar
    Quote from purplehockeymom
    Wow, sounds like a VERY difficult floor to work on. It definately was not a good fit for you.
    "I've already confessed to being a tad rough around the edges, I'm possibly on the fringes of being bi-polar".
    I would suggest you see a counselor to investigate the possibility of a bi-polar disorder and seek treatment.
    LTC is not just "slinging pills" If that is what your old classmate thinks of her job, well she is not being helpful/therapeutic to her patients and is not challenging her capabilities. If that is the mind set you would go into LTC with I strongly suggest you do not apply there.
    You need to reflect upon why you choose nursing and what being "the nurse" really means to you. What unit was your favorite during clinicals?
    Sorry if this seems rude, but your post sounded like an angry person who has some issues to resolve. By placing blame on the situation and others, you are choosing to be the victim. I'm sorry if someone hurt you in your past. You must now become the adult and realize that what happened to you in the past is what helped to make you who you are now (an RN who must follow the code of ethics), and, no one can hurt you now unless you choose to let them.
    You mentioned you strived to give quality care, sometimes in a "cesspool" situation it is difficult. Definately don't give a detailed reason for leaving your last job, no one will hire you. Just mention there where "issues" and leave it at that.
    First, congratulations for completing RN school, it's not easy. Second, good luck in your job search.
    I respectfully but totally disagree with the above response to you!! I'd say ignore it. Nothing about your post sounded angry. In fact, I think you sound refreshingly balanced, open, and honest. You sound like you have learned your lesson. We all have weaknesses. At least you admit yours. Some people can't even do that! : ) Know your weaknesses and learn how to best deal with them. A good employer might help you work through this...with ways to best handle yourself and the patient in some of these unique psych situations.

    I've been a nurse 18 years and plenty of times I've thought about saying all kinds of inappropriate things to my patients. Of course I did not actually say it, but my background is different than yours. No excuses for what ya said, but I can totally understand where you are coming from!!

    It doesn't sound to me like you have personal "issues" to resolve either. (huh? I don't know what in the world the above post is talking about!?!)

    From my experience, suspension does not equal being fired. So don't be so fast to assume you are fired. Maybe not! I think I would have gotten the union involved. Call the rep now. It is not too late.

    Different situation...but the union "saved" my husband years ago. Long story. He was actually falsely accused of using the F word. There was hospital downsizing and layoffs and bumps going on, and things got nasty with some people wanting to keep their jobs. This is where the false accusation came in. The union investigated the accusation and there was no evidence that it was true. The accuser said he said the F word in front of several people. But when interviewed, these so-called people who supposedly heard it had no idea what they were talking about! My husband was totally cleared. Although I tend to be anti-union, we sure were thankful for the union in this case! Anyways...

    Although I have never worked psych, I think someone a bit rough around the edges would actually be a good fit for psych!! Maybe just the particular area you working in was not a good fit. MR/autism would require a lot of patience. Maybe try a different area of psych? Or a different shift? Sometimes things can be quite different on different shifts...
    Last edit by ArwenEvenstar on Jun 6, '09
  7. by   FireStarterRN
    I agree with Arwen, you sound forthright and honest to me. The situation that you vividly describe sounds like harsh working conditions. You sound like you were tough enough for the job that most people would faint at the thought of contending with.

    Maybe the union can help you. You sound like such a sturdy, hard worker to me.
    Last edit by FireStarterRN on Jun 6, '09
  8. by   matt59
    Thanks for answering.
    I'm not sure if it was a good fit or not, Hockey Mom.
    There were sure as "heck" some days I felt it wasn't; then there were other days I was seeing everything with crystal clarity.

    The counselor thing is out, at least until I get a gig w/ benefits. As I've said, I usually had a pretty good raport with my patients, because I was real with them, as opposed to laying the phony lines on them out of my psych book ("You seem like you are angry about something?") With me, it was "What's up, man? You feel like not screaming in my face for a little bit & maybe we can talk about it?" Honestly, I was better at deescalating a crisis than most of the other RNs, & I'm not bragging, I just was, & it's not because I'm very smart, because I'm not, I just was not scared of any of my patients, & most of the other RNs are.

    I know that it probably sounds terrible to say what I said, & I'm owning up to it like a man, but if you saw or smelled that place, I don't think you'd find the cesspool metaphor a long stretch.

    I'm really not angry; I chalk it up to karma, & as I was once told, bad karma comes around full circle & lands twice as hard where it roosts. I'm sure I had it coming, & as I've said, on this floor, going out of the nurses station & through the locked doors was kind of like walking into a free-fire zone where you sometimes had to make up the rules as you go; I repeat that I almost find it comical that it was the F-Bomb that got me canned after all the rules I busted before to get the job done.

    My short previous stint in LTC made me believe it was slinging pills, & the faster the better. (I just wasn't keeping up with the poly-pharm involved for 30 patients, & I didn't feel that I was doing the residents justice, although my work ethic was never questionable.) I am just not built for speed, which is why I thought psych was working for me, because I found it easier to stand my ground than run.

    Regardless, honesty has been one of my great downfalls in life; ergo, I feel that heeding your advice & writing about "issues" may be what I should do.
    Thank you.

    Yes, Lenee, I guess I probably learned a lesson. it's just that after I got out of nsg school where I had pretty much cleaned up my act, when I wound up in Hell-Hospital, I just slipped. I mean, it just slides out without me even thinking about it. Kind of like most people would say "ouch!!!" when some kid was kicking the crap out of them. regardless, Lenee, do you also feel that I should stay away from giving a detailed explanation for being terminated & just go with "issues?"

    Karen, it's too late to get the union rep into it. I already passed on that hand. & to be completely honest, I really wanted to look for a new job anyhow. That place just sucked all my energy, & I didn't have what it took to start seriously looking. What is your opinion of how I should handle being terminated on interviews &/or applications? Disclosure, or just kind of allude to issues?

    Oh, & by the way, Hockey Mom, this is also comical: psych was my favorite rotation, & LTC was my 2cond fav. Just goes to show. I probably should consider driving a truck for a living.

    Thanks for your input, & I'm wide open & receptive to anything else that comes my way/Matt
    Last edit by rn/writer on Jun 6, '09 : Reason: Edited personal info.
  9. by   matt59
    Wow, Fire Starter & Even Star!! Thanks!!!!
    But I already did the Gary Gilmoure line -- I said, "let's do it."
    It's done.
    & at this place, i was always told this is how they fire, they take your keys, body button, & ID badge & suspend you pending investigation, then they send you your termination letter.

    I typed earlier that I am too honest for my own good; do you guys also feel I should just allude to "issues" on my ensuing job search?

    & BTW, Hockey Mom, I spent most of my time, when I wasn't getting the pills ready, on the unit & not in the nsg station. I ALWAYS knew what was going on when it was "my" unit.

    Hey, thanks again/Matt
    Last edit by matt59 on Jun 6, '09
  10. by   Bortaz, RN
    You're taking triple your prescribed dose of Elavil? o_0
  11. by   canoehead
    Watch those pills- they can grab you and take over.

    I honestly don't think a good effing would've turned too many hairs on that unit, but it is still inappropriate. Those kids have heard and seen much worse, probably. In your interviews be honest. You let a cuss slip out while in the midst of a physical struggle, and you are very ashamed. Tell them you were at the job for X amount of time before it happened and they may congratulate you for your fortitude.
  12. by   matt59
    [edited]

    Thank you, Canoe; that is kind of how I am inclined to see the situation; but, I also know that the sky tends to be a different hue in my world than everyone else's, or I woulddn't be in this predicament.

    Thnx again/Matt
  13. by   elkpark
    Quote from matt59
    (It's almost comical that this is what I got fired for when I consider all the rules I used to break to get the job done.)
    Did anyone else find this particular statement as scary as I do? (And I say that having spent many years specializing in child psych -- been there, done that.)
  14. by   matt59
    Quote from elkpark
    Did anyone else find this particular statement as scary as I do? (And I say that having spent many years specializing in child psych -- been there, done that.)
    Well, I was never crazy, myself, about the way things had to be on that particular floor in order to make things work. In a perfect world, I'd have done things a whole lot different on both wings, but I am here to tell you that this place is far from perfect.

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