Re: Potential Employers and your not wanting them to contact previous employers

  1. I've been an RN a little over a year, and the first 8 months was spent in home health.
    I absolutely hated that job, and though when I left the administrator told me I could count on her to give me a good referral...I will just say that in light of the goings on I saw in that place and how cut throat it was I would not want to count on it. It really is an experience I would rather forget and I wouldn't even want to put it on my job application and if I do, I would check "no" when they asked if they could contact the employer.
    This leaves me thinking I might have some splaining to do. So what do I tell them? I tried but it wasn't good enough...I couldn't take the stress of being expected to go out every single day of the week instead of just being able to do my job and GO HOME... I got so sick of running the wheels off my car...I got so sick of my cell phone ringing all the made me stressed out and nervous to have to go in so many different peoples' houses...I got so sick of being blamed for things I had absolutely no control over...
    If I'm going to be truthful that is what I would have to say. I'm not someone who wants to sugar coat things, either, and I wonder if this will hurt me? I'm a what you see is what you get person and I want everything to be out front from the beginning. Problem is, I know this isn't always a smart thing to do, especially if they don't need to know every little detail. So how do you go about explaining why you don't want them to call one of your former employers without ruining it for yourself?
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    About Jo Dirt

    Joined: May '04; Posts: 3,422; Likes: 1,298
    Specialty: 9 year(s) of experience


  3. by   withasmilelpn
    Truthfully just let them call. Employers have to be very careful about what they say about you. Usually they just stick to the facts like did you call out alot, you were late... With the nurse shortage it is likely you will at least get an interview and a chance to present yourself in a better light. As far as your explanation as to why you left, less is always more. You can say with all honesty that the job just wasn't for you, not a good fit. They want specifics, say you weren't crazy about all the driving. Do not mention politics at all though, every job has that and employers never want to hear you bad mouth other employers. It'll only make you look like a potential difficult employee even if you are absolutely right. Most of all tell them why you think you will be an asset to them, why this job will be a better fit for you. Convince them that your experience at your past job showed that your talents were best suited at ----- and that you want to continue to develope your skills and knowledge at -----. You get the picture? You can always be honest and I think you need to be. The trick is to keep it positive not negative. For really what you are trying to do is to find the best fit for you for which your patients will only benefit, right? Good Luck!:spin:
  4. by   rn/writer
    I agree with withasmilelpn. Your best bet is to say, "the job wasn't a good fit." That can mean a million things. If they press for more information, you can tell them that because of ________ (fill in "hours, driving, scheduling" or whatever other aspect seems appropriate) you didn't feel that you could give your best to the job and you didn't like that feeling. You could even say that you feel you need a more structured setting than home health. That should work if you're trying to get into any kind of actual facility.

    In your case, the fact that you will have just had a baby makes for a natural break in your employment. That's about as personal as I would get. It doesn't seem that maternity leave would require a whole lot of additional explanation.

    Come across as confident and capable no matter how you feel.

    As far as letting them call a former employer, that's a judgment call. As the previous poster said, they're only supposed to be able to divulge certain information, but who knows what is actually said.

    I wish you the best.
  5. by   DDRN4me
    I think that being honest without divulging personal feelings (i wasnt good enough) but saying that you did not feel that hh was for you is fine. hh is a very unique specialty and not for everyone, and a good recruiter or nurse manager that interviews you would know that! good luck!!
  6. by   happybunny1970
    Hey, it's your first job out of school, and you gave it a good try -- 8 months is more than many would have given it. So, yeah, I think it's appropriate to say "Just not for me."

    As far as what former employers can say, that's a matter of individual state. In Texas, a former employer can say or NOT say anything that they want, as long as it isn't slander -- meaning it's not an outright lie that can be easily proven wrong (like, 'she was always late' -- that can be disproven with a timesheet or witness reports, for instance). I found this out after calling several offices, including the state and federal Attorney Generals and Workforce Commissions. I had this employer in my past that was so ticked at me, that they just figured if they refused to respond to prospective employers' request to verify employment dates, that would somehow preclude me from ever getting a job in nursing again. They gave both me and the prospective employer the runaround, saying they can't release any information (not even to verify dates!) without my express written permission and refused to return any phone calls to either of us. I sent in the 'written permission' to no avail. After a few days of this, I just brought in my tax records proving that they had paid me for SOMETHING for those two years. Talk about VINDICTIVE!
  7. by   CseMgr1
    Quote from motorcycle mama
    This leaves me thinking I might have some splaining to do. So what do I tell them? I tried but it wasn't good enough...I couldn't take the stress of being expected to go out every single day of the week instead of just being able to do my job and GO HOME... I got so sick of running the wheels off my car...I got so sick of my cell phone ringing all the made me stressed out and nervous to have to go in so many different peoples' houses...I got so sick of being blamed for things I had absolutely no control over...
    Just tell them that you discovered that Home Health Nursing was not for you. There's nothing wrong with telling them that, which is the truth. And it isn't for everybody.

    During the 19 years I worked in Home Health, I saw many a nurse and CNA run for the hills after working in the field for less than a month (and some quit after one day). The majority of them had no idea what they were getting themselves into, and chose to return to the "safe" confines of the hospital.

    As for me, I finally left Home Health last year for many of the reasons you have addition to the fact it had become so cutthroat. The incompetence was absolutely radiant at all levels, and I was sick of the "Good Ol' Boy" bureaucracy, which determined who got away with what...and who didn't. :angryfire

    You made the right choice.
  8. by   RNOTODAY
    Well, I can tell you this. I had my first nursing job in a facility that I loved. Due to life circumstances, I left that job without notice. In fact I called out sick, and never came back. I always put them down as a previous employer, always say they can contact them, and I have never had a problem getting a job. It never even came up once in an interview. Just let them contact them. Ass a previous poster said, they can only state facts, and they *did* say they would give you a good reference, right?
    I would just let them contact them. Really.
  9. by   RNOTODAY
    OT, I know, but when you mention "cut throat" in reference to home care, what do you mean? I worked home health, I did only work for one agency, I but I didnt experience this....
  10. by   VIXEN007
    You should have asked for a letter of reference. That way you can submit it with each application.
  11. by   happybunny1970
    Letter of Reference is a good idea, but any prospective employer who actually checks references is going to call, anyway, don't you think? I mean, I have had some say they really don't care what the previous employer had to say about me one way or the other, just that they had to call to verify dates of employment.

    Any yahoo with a computer and a printer could forge a letter of reference.
  12. by   Jo Dirt
    Quote from RNOTODAY
    OT, I know, but when you mention "cut throat" in reference to home care, what do you mean? I worked home health, I did only work for one agency, I but I didnt experience this....
    When I signed on with this HH agency, it was teetering on the edge of being shut down by the state inspectors. So there was a new DON and ADON. Within two months the ADON managed to see the DON was fired so she could move into the DON position.
    She did work hard once she got the position, and when I would say I felt too inept to take on some of this stuff (like flushing port-a-caths) she assured me she had confidence in me and told me that all you do is palpate the port-a-cath and aim for the middle, sink it to the hub until you get blood return...won't go into details but I wasn't about to go out by myself and do something alone I had never done before, and this stressed me out a lot. I didn't want to let them down, though, because all the nurses were quitting and I knew they needed help. So, unless there was a willing nurse to come out and help the port-a-cath would have to be flushed at the doctor's office which stressed me out a lot more because I knew I was supposed to have done it.
    Same thing with blood draws. If I couldn't get blood it would make me lose sleep.
    But they kept assuring me things would get better.
    Since most of the nurses were quitting (some lasted only a month) I was expected to cover their areas, which literally meant sometimes more than 2,000 miles every two weeks on my car.
    Not to mention this was the first DON position this new DON had and there was chaos in the office, so the office staff was left to figure out what to do themselves. We didn't really have any direction, even things like, who did we turn new referrals for PT and OT into? Papers would get lost in the shuffle and have to be redone.
    I don't really believe there is anyone to blame, it was just like a lot of inexperienced people thrown together in a swirling toilet that was about to go down the drain.
    But then, things started to happen that really bothered me. For example, when the DON would get frustrated with something it would be taken out on me. I can deal with this once in awhile, but it was all the time. One particular example is a patient had a new doctor, everything had been changed months ago, but somehow when the new oasis was printed the old doctor's name showed up on the 485. The office help went ahead and faxed it to the doctor and the doctor called back and told the DON off. So the DON said loudly in front of a bunch of people that if I had changed the doctor like I was supposed to have done this wouldn't have happened. Heck, I wasn't even working there when this patient changed doctors.
    It was just things like that happening all the time and you get worn down. Not to mention when the state inspectors came in and found mistakes the DON threw me and the only other nurse at the time under the bus. And a lot of the mistakes they found didn't have anything to do with us. But then the state pulled a fast one and sided with the nurses! They told the DON it was RIDICULOUS to expect one RN and one LPN to cover 11 counties and 100 patients! But it wasn't entirely the DON's fault, either, because the owner of the company wanted a skeleton crew to save money.
    And of course my pay was salaried. So even though we were on the road 7 days a week we got paid for 40 hrs. I became burned out, cynical, dreaded going to work. The final straw was when a workman's comp case worker for a patient accused me of not doing my job. I told the DON I wanted out. She told me she understood and would always give me a good reference but after that it was kind of like she snubbed me. Stopped talking to me in the motherly way she used to. Which is why I don't want to even count on her for a reference.
    It's a bad experience I want to forget.

    But I also know how you would be suspicious of someone accusing HH of being cut throat. When I would hear how horrible some of the nursing homes were I didn't believe it, because the nursing home I worked for right out of school was top notch. The CNAs worked hard, the DON was excellent. The patient's were taken care of, there were hardly any skin breakdowns, the place was spic and span, people would comment on how there was no odor in the whole place, we always got good reviews at inspection time. Then I would hear some people from other LTC facilities talk about patients with moldy dentures and maggots in wounds and CNAs who would sit around in the lounge all shift while call bells were going off and I couldn't believe it.
    But knowing what I know now I do believe it, which is why I say if you find a good job you'd better consider yourself extremely lucky and appreciate it, because for every good place to work I'd bet there are a dozen horrible ones.

    Even talking about this has rehashed horrible memories...I'm traumatized.
  13. by   santhony44
    I think that saying "HH wasn't a good fit for me" is fine. However, I'd be prepared to answer questions like "And how do you think this job would be a better fit?"

    So, you could answer "One of the things I didn't like about home health was that I had to drive a lot; this job is 15 minutes from my home, blah blah blah." That will work as long as the job you're interviewing for doesn't involve a long commute or frequent travel.

    Life changes also may give you some built-in reasons for a job change. "I was on call every XX days/weeks and frequently got called at night; after I got pregnant I found that much harder to handle physically..." OR "My husband's work schedule changed and he could no longer do thus-and-such so the hours for this job will work much better for us; besides, I really enjoyed my school clinicals in this area..." Have some good reasons why you left/are leaving plus why you want to work wherever it is you're applying.

    No matter how horrible the job was, don't bad-mouth them but also make sure you come across in a positive light. (And it does sound pretty horrible).

    Good luck!
  14. by   caliotter3
    I can tell from your post that you are very conscientious and take everything to heart. This makes you suffer more when things are not right and you feel responsible for more than you can reasonably do. Your concern about references is valid, but only if there are negative outcomes. I have encountered various forms of problems with references and came to the conclusion that I wouldn't put "do not contact" on job applications to avoid contributing to any reference problem. That's because when I put "do not contact", guess what, they called anyway. Sometimes they don't call at all. Sometimes they call and God only knows who they get on the phone and what they do or do not say, or what their tone of voice says, etc., etc. This is out of your control unless someone actually tells you that you were given a bad reference and provides you the info you need to counter the reference. Most negativity can be dealt with in the interview anyway. You should just be prepared for your interviews and do not obsess about the references. My daughter told me this because I was doing the same thing. Worrying about something that I couldn't help. Most of the time the people whose names I put down for references or supervisors are gone down the road by the time I apply for new jobs anyway.

    I was given this tip a long time ago. It may or may not help. Obtain a written letter of reference when you depart a job. As pointed out, these can be faked, but since they can call anyway, they can simply verify the letter if they want. But the letter itself may prevent those calls. And I take copies of these letters with me to interviews and offer them to the interviewer. To me, this is the best way to counter whatever may, or may not happen, over the phone. Good luck with your job hunting.