Help! I am in a spiral to termination!


Recently I believe I have been targeted by certain coworkers (one of which I am certain is a charge nurse I work with) who are apparently finding anything wrong with my patient care and then promptly reporting these things to my director. Most recently this had lead to me being written up and I am two steps away from termination. I am terrified to go into work because of what I could possibly do next that might be construed as a mistake and lead to a leave of absence. I really like the challenge of where I work but the patient population is challenging enough without feeling like I have no one to back me up when a problem I need heal with arises. I feel like I am being backed into a corner and if I don't transfer soon I will be terminated. I have been in this ICU for just at a year, and I have been a nurse for 4 1/2 years. I would agree that I do have some areas of my practice that need improvement, but I do not think these short comings have lead to offenses that are I should be terminated for. My director maintains that everything I have been coached on and written up for is solely based on performance, and she dismisses me when I inquire as to whether any of what I have done can be based on bias opinions. I have this feeling of dread every time I have to go into work now and I am really stressed. please help...

iluvivt, BSN, RN

2,773 Posts

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

It is crucial to acknowledge any mistakes you have made when you are counseled by your director and/or manger . Then you make a plan for improvement and follow up with the manager. This not only demonstrated that you are an adult that accept responsibility for your actions but that you devise a plan to correct them and make changes in your improvement plan. A lot of times errors are system errors that involve processes in the system that are faulty and as the end user you eventually make the final mistake. Even in these types of errors your input is needed. If you have not done it immediately and make an appt with your director.

Next you have to get control of your anxiety and tension. If you are in that state of mind at work it will only increase your chance of making an error. It helps me when I run the possible outcomes of a sterssful time to its possible conclusions. So let's try it. The worst thing that can happen is that you get fired. If that happens you can cope. You still have your license and can seek employment and find one that is better suited for you. You coud stay there make improvement in your practice and relationships and things can get progressively better. You can stay and things get a little better but it is a slow process. You certainly cope with all of the outcomes, you may not like it but you can deal with it all, Knowing that you can handle the stress. You also can assigne yourself a certain amount of time per day to stress about it. For example, stress about for 20 minutes after your shift then stop your self nd your mind from doing it use a thought stopping technique. Also start saying some positive affirmations to yourself before each shift.

An employer can terminitae you for just about anything so better to accept what they are saying and agreesivley plan to fix it and communicate your plan to do so and then followup. Ask for an appt with your manger when you have made progress with the plan so they know you are progressing.


5,978 Posts

Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

What exactly are the areas of practice you feel you need to improve upon? You say you have been coached and written up on some areas of practice...have you taken steps to improve those issues? What did you learn from the coaching?

You need to focus on improving the areas your manager has identified a problematic. Can the two of you get together and develop an action plan to document that you are meeting goals to resolve these problems.

Don't make this about what others may/may not be saying about you. Is there an experienced nurse on your unit that might be able to give you some feedback and suggestions?

Finally, if you are having that much anxiety about going to work, perhaps some counseling would help you to get those nerves under control. You don't function at your best when you are stressed.

I have discussed the situation with a few other nurses that have been here awhile, and from what I have gathered it is something almost every new nurse goes through within their first year on the unit. I suppose it is kind of a wake up call that weeds people out.

Things I need to improve; Knowledge base, I have learned a lot in the first year but have much more to learn. I need to watch my patients more closely and pay more attention to any changes. Also timely and fully accurate assessments. It is just weird to me that I have just starting making all these mistakes and nothing of the sort has ever been pointed out before now.

After I have had a few days to breath a little and think about it, I want a change of pace. I am certain that if I wanted to stay that I could make it work, and I could improve on the things that have been brought to my attention. However, the way the whole process made me feel is what truly is bothering me. I am not a confrontational person at all and I don't want to be in a place that makes me feel like that. I think initially I was angry and did not think that I made a mistake worth a write up, but the more I think about it, I did make a mistake. I should not make excuses for that, and I need to own up to them, learn from it, and move on. I still do not think I was treated fairly, but as everyone knows life isn't fair. It isn't going to help if I am a baby about the situation.

Finally, I believe there are much better ways for nurses to be made aware of there shortcomings and mistakes than to go through what I have gone through. I feel betrayed by the people that I have to trust in a professional environment, and the bottom line is after this I just can't. Trying to go solo in a place like this will get people killed and leave me more than jobless. So in conclusion I have applied for a transfer and plan to talk to my director about the the situation again. I will submit my action plan for improvement for the short time I will remain on the unit, but hope I can really help change some of the process about how these situations are handled in the future.

Thank you all for your input, I really found your insight on the situation helpful.


5,978 Posts

Specializes in Oncology; medical specialty website.

If you really feel that you want to leave your job for another position, make sure that you are leaving for the right reasons. Leaving because you truly want to do something else is one thing; leaving because you're in a panic is another. I was in a similar situation early in my career (~4y), and I was desperate to find something else. I ended up staying there, and I'm glad I did because it gave me experience I was able to use in a job I applied for later.

No matter where you work, you do have to acknowledge your mistakes. It's hard to tell what kind of mistake you made, but instead of focusing on how you feel you were treated unfairly, focus on the error and what you need to do to avoid repeating it in the future.