Unsafe working conditions - (Graphic) - page 4

Hi all-- I was in the chat room last nite and talked to a few people and got some pretty good advice but was trying to still process what would be the best thing for me to do. I am a new grad since... Read More

  1. by   NurseDennie
    Hey, Mickey mom -

    I really don't think Hoolihan meant anything LIKE a slash. I've never seen her say an unkind word at all.

    I think everybody - well, okay - MANY - maybe most of us - agree that it was just too much for a new grad, somebody supposedly on orientation. The seasoned nurse said SHE couldn't handle it - obviously Amy was just fresh meat there, a warm body being utilized. That's just not right.

    I think the ones of us who felt the least prepared are the ones who realized that all of a sudden - IT ALL MATTERS. Desperately, sometimes. I think it's realistic to be afraid and need some support at the beginning. Orientation, I'm thinking.


  2. by   NurseDennie

    I didn't see Hoolahan's post as an attempted "slash." I've never seen her write an unkind word to anybody!!!!

    I think that the people who come out of nursing school cool and calm and confident aren't the ones who are paying attention! I think it's reasonable that a new grad, without experience, NEEDS more than "have at it."

    Orientation is supposed to help you head the RIGHT direction. The floor nurse (seasoned nurse one assumes, but maybe not, if the turnover is that high) said SHE couldn't handle it and bailed. So Amy was left holding the bag.

    I think the advice to suck it up and improvise would be harder on me, more of a slap, because it implies that she doesn't have a valid problem!


  3. by   4XNURSE
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by MickeymomRN
    ....[I agree with 4XNURSE. She hit the nail on the head.

    I'm gonna let that one slide, this time. I've been called a lot worse. - Some of my best friends and colleagues are "SHE".


    I hope you don't think I was taking the situation lightly. I do not. I am however probably a little jaded in the response department. I had the advantage of working as a NA on a surgical floor when I was in nursing school. I knew about drains and foleys early. They are both sterile, and usable.

    As I Rx'ed - a glass of wine and a hot bath is the start. You have to take care of you. Problem is, sometimes we have to finish with our patient first. - That patient needed a nurse. You happened to be the one there at the time. It may be Mickymom next time, or me or hoolahan, or...., any one of us may be there, ready for it, or not.

    I did a night in one ER where we had 2 babies, under 2 yrs old, that didn't make it. 1 we coded for about 2 hours, the other about 1.5. Finished with the 2nd one about 0730. When I got off I had to go home and just hug my little ones, and cry. I was there that night. I was experenced, and knew what to do. It was my job. I didn't have a choice that night. It was part of the territory.

    YOU have to take care of you and then go on. I also have places I won't return, - For less of a trauma than what you went through. (I can be a real A** at times)

    Adapt, improvise, get through, and then regroup. Pick up the pieces, and do the job you love.

    Take care.

  4. by   4XNURSE

    I did say improvise, I did not say "suck it up". We do have to do what it takes to get through the toughest of times for our patients. Fall apart afterwords. But, do what it takes to get through it first. The better you learn to adapt and improvise, the easier you will be able to handle the aftermath.

  5. by   susanmary
    I'm very sorry for what you have gone through and believe that you are taking positive steps to help you through this terrible ordeal. Amy, the patient should never had been admitted to your unit. In some ways, your experience was a "snapshot" of what is wrong in acute care today -- patients being placed inappropriately on floors (a bed is NOT a bed is NOT a bed), lack of support/teamwork. You should be proud of yourself -- you acted professionally and were there for your patient -- unfortunately, your preceptor was not there for you or the patient.

    You have gotten some excellent advise on this board. Follow through on EAP, HR, and Risk Management -- document and keep a copy of everything. Hopefully, you will be able to work through this with time and support. I'm praying for you.
  6. by   Brownms46
    Originally posted by Mary Dover
    Marvelous suggestion Brownie. Amy listen to her. Gotta 'work out the kinks'.
    Thank you Mary Dover.......LOL. I'm glad you and others agreed it was time to get Amy's mind off the situation, and onto getting the scene, that I know is probably replaying in her mind constantly. I'm glad Amy has some very wonderful and supported posts today! I'm very glad she has sought out further help in "real time".

    Amy.... take it all in stride...you did well...and you are now the one that matters! You can't change the events of the past...you can only change the future, and believe me Monday will take care of itself. No amount of worrying about what someone will do or not do will change anything. Just listen to your own heart, and take time to decide what is best for you. Don't allow yourself to be rushed into anything...except what you feel comfortable in doing.

    As Shakespere wrote:"This above all: to thine own self be true"..speaks volumes here...IMHO

    I hope you took time out for yourself today. Peace with you
    tomorrow...and always...(((((((((((Amy))))))))))
    Last edit by Brownms46 on Mar 10, '02
  7. by   Jenny P
    Amy, I was in chat with you last night and between some of the other stuff you'd mentioned, there is some "workplace mobbing" going on there PLUS the dangerous short staffing and inadequate orientation that you are dealing with. I do feel that what you wrote last night shows that you need some professional help with this whole situation and I'm glad you called EAP. PTS is a very real problem, and I advised you to go to YOUR doctor for a note for your workplace.

    I think I would hand in my resignation for the 18th (you hadn't mentioned how close that 6 month date was last night) and call out sick for that time - with my own doctors' note saying that you're out for medical reasons. Then handle some of the other things happening in your life due to the stress of this whole mess. Do meet with your manager and HR as EAP advised; and follow RNcountry's advice about the professional letter to HR and your manager also.

    Depending on your energy level, I would follow up with the other letters as she mentioned; BUT ONLY if you have the energy! You may have too much on your plate already at this time for you to handle. Stress somehow manages to drain all extra energy from a persons life.

    Good luck, and GET OUT OF THAT TOXIC PLACE !!!!!!
  8. by   thisnurse
    i work on a busy med/surg unit. we get all kinds of cases, and sometimes we get pregnant patients but thats EXTREMELY rare, although we are the ER dump.
    That must have been a horrifying experience. I know it would be for me. But the good news is YOU HANDLED IT WELL. Sounds to me like you actually were more prepared than you thought.
    I've had to skate thru a lot of procedures and treatments where I didn't have a clue what I was doing. I didn't feel "safe" but in the end I was able to provide excellent care without letting the patient know I was scared to death. Sounds like you did the same thing.
    Another poster said early on that you shouldnt have worried because the er and supervisor deemed it was "safe" for that pt to be on your unit. I really have to disagree. If patient safety were a consideration, she would not have been on your floor.
    New grad or not, I don't think it was proper for the PATIENT to be put on that unit. While it's true that her baby was already dead and could be delivered anywhere, there are so many things that can go wrong during and immediately after delivery. A med/surg nurse is not trained to spot these things as quickly as an OB nurse. This could result in delay of care in an emergency situation.
    I think its horrible what they did to you.
    Especially your preceptor. It is unacceptable.
    But I can't say that it's all that unusual for med/surg.
    When you work med/surg-unlike the speciality floors-you never know what kind of patients you are going to get. We get EVERYTHING. It is one of the things I like about it though (mostly). I get a lot of experience in so many things that help make me a good nurse.

    What happened to you may well be the worst experience of your career. This was not a normal situation by any means. The nurses on that unit, especially your preceptor, should be ashamed of themselves, though I am sure they are not.
    My second night off orientation I had a pt go into respiratory arrest. It wasnt a sudden thing and I recognized it right away and called the docs. I had 3 docs calling out stat orders to 1 me.
    There were experienced Rn's sitting at the desk and chatting. The charge nurse said she was glad that wasnt her patient and thats how they break the newbies in.
    I had 4 other patients along with that one. 2 new admits just up from er, one fresh post op, and a confused elderly who sat on the call bell all night demanding meds.
    I was terrified. I was angry at my coworkers for not even once asking me if I needed help.
    At the same time I saw something in myself I hadnt seen before. I am a really good nurse. I was able to recognize the problem and carry out the the orders WITHOUT anyones help. I did it well. In addition, I was able to take care of my other patients, tho they had to wait longer than I would have liked.
    Amy, they threw some crap at you but you handled it better than the experienced nurses, especially your preceptor who COULDNT HANDLE IT AT ALL.
    Only you can decide to stay or leave. You are going to have awful experiences. These things happen to us. It's the nature of our job.
    Hugs to you and much strength while you think this through.
  9. by   SICU Queen
    Don't worry about walking off the job without giving notice, although it would be easier to get a reference if you did. However, you'll still find another job.

    You may want to take a week off instead, and give yourself time to realistically evaluate your situation as far as a job search goes. So, develop the flu or something!

    And just to let you know, it DOES get a little easier. You will acquire the mental strength it takes to deal with situations like that. Give yourself time. It's hard to assist with something like that, but that IS what we're there for.
  10. by   AmyRN1227
    Hi everyone!
    Well, a quick update....I DID try to get into the chat room last nite for a good hour...but couldn't. Really would have liked to talk to everyone and thank you for ALL your wonderful support. I felt so much better after reading all your messages. What a GREAT bunch!!! I went to church this morning and feel a little bit better. I still feel a bit raw though, like I got punched in the stomach or something.
    As far as what I will do about a notice or not, I probably messed up by leaving a voice mail for my boss earlier yesterday. I was pretty distressed and I told her I can't work under these conditions and didn't even know if I could give a proper notice. Then after talking with the doctor from EAP I called her back this morning more calmly and told her I had to call them, and that I'm following up with them. I told her I would be contacting HR on Monday and will not be able to work Monday and Tuesday. She's known not to call people back, wow---there's more NONsupport. Not surprising....but at least I kinda told her how I feel, how distressing this was for me and I also told her I need to do what's right and mabye this isn't the best fit for me as a new grad. What I really want to do is cry and tell her HOW could you run a staff like this!!! But I realize I must remain professional even though they haven't been the least bit professional with me. Yes, It's unfair and I'll never forget the way these nurses treated me, but I know it's also a learning experience. I just hope I can pull myself back up again by my bootstraps and not let this tear my self confidence down....
    Thanks to all of you, I think I'm doing better.
    Thanks again!!!!!
  11. by   MickeymomRN
    Apologies to all who think I'm upset about some of the comments by what I've posted. When I reread my original post to Amy, I still thought that I was supporting her not giving excuses or stoking the fire about fellow team members or the work environment. As for me knowing who you guys are and keeping track of who's naughty and who's nice, I don't spend THAT much time in this site. I don't keep a list of who I like or dislike, I just go by what I read in the thread. OK?
    I was just going with what my feelings were when I read Hoolahan's original post re: "new grads do not know how to improvise". Hoolahan, I accept your correction that yes,some new grads do not...... I have seen new grads that know a lot (either from their schooling or their past experiences) and I've seen new grads who don't know a thing or pretend they don't anything (we all know how hard school was. They passed with something under their belt).
    I thought that my original post was letting Amy know that I think she did a great job prepared or not. And yes, I have worked with doctors who specifically want something. I have either gotten these things for them or I tell them that's the best I could do with what I have available. If the doc said his (or her, SORRY 4XNurse, I fell for the nurses are girls and doctors are boys stereotype. Help!Dig me out of this hole.), requests in front of the patient then the pt. will know that it wasn't your fault for having her lay there for so long while waiting for OB to bring their stuff.
    Again, Amy, follow your heart and your dreams. Don't allow these events and feelings snuff them out. Go with your gut feelings. If it's not right for you then it's not for you. Don't internalize your thoughts or anyone else's. Does your preceptor know that you're having a hard time with this b/c she abandoned you? Some preceptor's assume that you can handle things and it's our job to let them know that you need assistance. I've pushed call buttons before and yelled for help. If this person wasn't helpful maybe she shouldn't be a preceptor. Write a letter or several letters. Even if you don't send them out at least you've got your feelings out. Make a list of all the things you've done well. You will see that you are a good nurse because you have a heart. Again, (((((HUGS)))))) to you and everyone who's helping you.
  12. by   Mary Dover
    Hi Amy,
    Sounds like you're feeling a bit better this morning, even if still somewhat ragged around the edges, which is quite understandable. Sorry not to have been able to chat last night. A few of us tried several other things, i.e. Yahoo/MSN. It was actually pretty late by the time we got it worked out, but at least it's available for future reference just in case. Caj says the chat room is down for some updates or something (some technical stuff).
    Anyway - hang in there friend. You've definately got guts - and that will get you through the rest of this mess.
    Take care,
  13. by   mattsmom81
    I'm glad you're feeling better Amy! The EAP counselor was a great idea!

    You're on the right track now for sure! I'm so glad to hear you handled yourself professionally because in some areas of the country it WILL follow you around if you aren't careful how you handle resignations. I left a hospital here in Texas 16 years ago with only a one week notice because I lost my babysitter ( the hubby was traveling and unavailable a lot). This 1 week notice STILL follows me around to this day; shows up on a Group One pre-employment screen as a "will not rehire". Talking with older nurse coworkers will help you get a feel how things work in your area. I've never heard a nurse say she regretted handling herself professionally in any event!

    As far as the future, try to look back on this as a learning experience, as corny as that may sound. I've been there and we all have. Each time you make a decision best for you or your patients you learn more about yourself and become a better nurse. Best wishes, girlfriend!)