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Help Quit New Grad ICU Job

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by lclapps lclapps (New Member) New Member Nurse

105 Visitors; 4 Posts

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Hi guys!

I am freaking out. I ended up getting a dream unit fresh out of nursing school.  I was working on the neuro ICU at the only level one trauma center in the area since January and emailed them today to say I wouldn't be returning. I ultimately feel relieved, but I wonder if I messed up my future goals of becoming a CRNA. Most days I would cry before going or think about going or wish I would crash my car while heading to work (not trying to be dramatic either). I do not regret it seeing as I was unhappy. I loved ICU but the people and my preceptor were all catty. They made me feel stupid and unwelcomed. I had an old nurse tell me "You shouldn't feel overwhelmed, you have easy patients" Week two of orientation when I stated I was overwhelmed bc she would leave me alone for 20-30 minutes each hour to socialize, one of which my patient was crashing!!!. They also were only giving me 8 weeks orientation out of the 12 I was promised.

The only regret I have is messing up the ties I had with this academic health care system. 
My ultimate goal is to be a CRNA so the ICU is where I need to be. I have applied to other ICUs in the area but I don't know what to say without sounding like I am attacking this healthcare system. Honestly, I would of stayed and transferred units but I could not make it there another 3 months (you must work 6 in unit before applying to others). I called HR and they stated that it is a possibility that other units would hire me but it might be harder seeing as I left without a two week. I honestly don't have a question. More so looking for support and opinions from fellow nurses and nurses that may have been in this situation.

I should also state I moved four hours away from home 1. To work at this hospital that is affiliated with the university I would like to attend for grad school 2. to make sure I enjoyed the city before committing to a three year program 3. for the experience (new grads seldom get into ICU at the hospitals I live around back home.

HELP. I don't know what to do. Should I stay and try to apply to more places or move back home.

Edited by lclapps

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1,010 Visitors; 66 Posts

Breathe. 

You can't go backwards, so it's time to move forward. I know ultimate goal is CRNA for you , but that will take time and who knows if it is really something you will enjoy. Sometimes the thought of something, is better than the reality.

You've got yourself all wrecked from trying to fast track yourself into your dreams. I would start applying to other jobs, and take a job that will continue to help build your skills and confidence. I can't promise that other ICU's won't be catty though.  If you can still get in with the hospital system, despite your two week-- it doesn't hurt to try. 

There are other hospital systems, cities, jobs, and opportunities. Learn from this and rebuild! Y

Edited by SteelGrey

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Blue_Moon has 18 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a Registered Nurse.

1 Article; 4,754 Visitors; 429 Posts

I understand how you feel as I have been there. However I gave a 2 weeks notice but thankfully they let me quit right away since I was still in orientation and told me they would put me on the rehire list since I followed policy. If I were you I would find a med-surg unit anywhere and get your basic skills, assessments, your confidence, etc built up and then transfer to some type of ICU that's more supportive. 

Used to, all new grads were made to start out on med-surg and I absolutely hated that rule but was made to and learned the value of it. Now I hear of so many instances where new nurses are put in specialized units right out of school and many struggle (not all) but I think a good background in med-surg helps prepare you for almost every where else you work as a nurse.

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I know this isn't the most constructive advice, but I think you made a big mistake in quitting without a two week notice. You very likely made yourself ineligible for rehire at that hospital. Or if you are eligible to apply for other units I very highly doubt any would hire you. I hope this won't impact your ability to do clinicals at this hospital for the CRNA program that you stated you hope to attend that it is affiliated with. 

Depending on the size of this city that you're in you may want to consider moving and starting fresh. I understand that you weren't having a good experience in that unit, but two weeks is only 6 shifts. If you had toughed it out for those 6 shifts you would be in an entirely better position. In the future I would be mindful of this.

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dianah has 43 years experience as a ADN and works as a Cath Lab/Stress Lab/Cardiology Case Management.

2 Followers; 9 Articles; 66,914 Visitors; 2,615 Posts

During a new job interview: This first position was "not a good fit for me."

Hopefully no one will press for details.  But you may wish to formulate and memorize a script of sorts so that if you are questioned further, you will have something to say without bashing the institution.

And, as you may gather if you read more here about new grads entering the workforce, it takes at least a year to become somewhat confident in your skills.  At least a year.  That's with peer support and guidance.  That's after a proper orientation.  You need time to learn new skills, to translate all your book learning into "Aha!" moments that make the connection between what is happening with your patient and WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH YOUR PATIENT and what to do to help.  Time.

Good luck to you as  you advance.

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6,988 Visitors; 945 Posts

You quit without notice and you did it in an email.  I would consider this bridge burned.  You should have spoken to people in person.

You went at this job long enough to adequately assess the situation.  If your end goal is CRNA you have to have ICU experience.  It is very overwhelming in the icu.  Especially only 2 weeks in.

Your CRNA goal may have to be put on hold a bit while you learn somewhere else at a slower pace.  You can then build back up to icu and then get your 2 years of icu in.  

I would also see about getting your anxiety under control.  Sometimes those slower floor aren’t always easier for a new grad.  If your hoping that your car would crash on the way to work, you have some serious anxiety issues.

 

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12 hours ago, EllaBella1 said:

I know this isn't the most constructive advice, but I think you made a big mistake in quitting without a two week notice.

This^^^^^^^^

The only time you just quit and walk away is if you win the big prize in the Lottery (and make sure you don't tell a soul!).  

Even if you despise the job, always give a two-week notice.  Many jobs nowadays don't want somebody hanging around that gave notice, so a lot of them will just ask you to leave that day the minute you give notice.  They do this so others won't ask where you're going and find a better gig and also leave.  This would've been ideal for you had you given notice.

Even with notice, you would've only had, what.....3-6 shifts??  Chances are, you will find it very difficult, if not impossible to be hired within that particular system/company again.  Not sure about any future clinicals.

Just chalk it up to a lesson learned. 

Good luck.

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On 3/22/2019 at 6:02 PM, lclapps said:

HELP. I don't know what to do. Should I stay and try to apply to more places or move back home.

Ok, this is really what you have control over right now. The first questions are honestly totally financial--do you have a lease on your apartment that you'd be breaking? Are there other hospitals in the area with jobs that you could apply for, and can you afford to pay for your apartment during the application process (which can take months)?

You've gotten a lot of valuable feedback, but I'd like to add a few points that I don't think have been said.

First, starting a new grad job right after moving away from home is tough. No matter the specialty, nearly every new grad nurse feels a ton of anxiety for the first year or so. It's hard enough to begin with, but it can be even harder when you take away your social support system and you're learning a new city as well. It may be in your best interest to move back home if there are hospital opportunities there as well.

Second, and I mean this in the nicest, most constructive possible way so that you can do better next time: there were better, more productive ways to handle your orientation situation. Quitting (especially without notice) was probably your least appropriate option, especially if that's the school where you want to do your CRNA. Like I said above, nearly every new grad nurse experiences a crisis where they feel unprepared and freaked out by the learning curve, especially in a high-acuity specialty like ICU. You will probably have this same feeling again at your next job; if you do, here are some suggestions:

First, talk to your manager or educator. I've had crappy, absent preceptors before. Yes, it feels unsafe, and yes, it is terrifying. If you believe that your preceptor isn't giving you what you need, you should tell someone. Your manager or educator could try to assign you to a preceptor who is a better fit, or at worst, tell the preceptor that they need to be more present and available. Chances are, this preceptor has already received similar feedback from other orientees and has had this problem before (again, speaking from experience).

Second, if you truly feel that you're in a situation that is deteriorating (either on orientation or as a new grad), do not be afraid to assert yourself. Find or call your preceptor and flat out tell them that you need help. If you're alone or the situation is critical, use the staff assist, rapid response, or code bell. That's what they're there for. If your preceptor treats you like an idiot for asking for help, then that's something you need to discuss with your manager or educator (circling back to my last point).

Third, if you really feel that a unit isn't working out (and you've already tried asking for a different preceptor), you should tell your manager. Usually, they'll recommend moving you to a different unit. It avoids potentially burning bridges with an entire hospital system, as you've done in your current situation. All of the above points circle back to having an honest, open relationship with your manager or educator. In addition, if you get to the end of your orientation and you still feel that you need more time, tell one of them!

Fourth, and I mean this in the kindest, most supportive possible way: have you considered seeing a therapist to work on your coping skills? Wishing you would die on your way to work is not normal, and you will probably feel that way at some point again as a new grad (like I've said, no matter where you work, your first year is tough). I've seen a therapist on and off as a nurse to cope with work-related stress, and as a new grad (especially in a new city) you may find this beneficial. Most hospital employers also have a free short-term counseling service (usually called the Employee Assistance Program) to help you get a few free counseling sessions. If you hadn't quit your job, that probably would have been your best bet. If you ever feel like quitting your job in the future, I'd seek out this resource first.

Finally, yes, you may have screwed over your chances for this CRNA program, but that's a who different topic for future you to worry about. For now, I'd just try to focus on finding a new job and getting through your first year before you add any more stress worrying about the CRNA program.

Take care!

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OH man, you screwed up.  Well, we all make mistakes. If you ever get in this spot again, just call in sick or take a leave or something.  There is such a thing as needing some mental health time.  Yea, I hate places that make you feel like crap.  So, that's over now.  Just new decisions of what to do.  

Staying and applying for more jobs is possible if you have your bills paid up ahead. It may take some time to find something, but right now I think you better take what you can find, and it may not be very appealing.  That would be a quick cure, then you need to stay there awhile to build your work history.

You can go back home, it's not that far away.  Start over.

The question is how will you address this if it comes up in an interview.  Keep it to yourself, but if they should ask.  Yea, you better come up with a good answer that doesn't make you look unable to handle stress.

The only job I ever quit without notice was when I was on orientation and the place and practices were NOT safe. I was there just a few days only.  I won't work somewhere that puts patients in harms way.

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31 minutes ago, adventure_rn said:

Ok, this is really what you have control over right now. The first questions are honestly totally financial--do you have a lease on your apartment that you'd be breaking? Are there other hospitals in the area with jobs that you could apply for, and can you afford to pay for your apartment during the application process (which can take months)?

You've gotten a lot of valuable feedback, but I'd like to add a few points that I don't think have been said.

First, starting a new grad job right after moving away from home is tough. No matter the specialty, nearly every new grad nurse feels a ton of anxiety for the first year or so. It's hard enough to begin with, but it can be even harder when you take away your social support system and you're learning a new city as well. It may be in your best interest to move back home if there are hospital opportunities there as well.

Second, and I mean this in the nicest, most constructive possible way so that you can do better next time: there were better, more productive ways to handle your orientation situation. Quitting (especially without notice) was probably your least appropriate option, especially if that's the school where you want to do your CRNA. Like I said above, nearly every new grad nurse experiences a crisis where they feel unprepared and freaked out by the learning curve, especially in a high-acuity specialty like ICU. You will probably have this same feeling again at your next job; if you do, here are some suggestions:

First, talk to your manager or educator. I've had crappy, absent preceptors before. Yes, it feels unsafe, and yes, it is terrifying. If you believe that your preceptor isn't giving you what you need, you should tell someone. Your manager or educator could try to assign you to a preceptor who is a better fit, or at worst, tell the preceptor that they need to be more present and available. Chances are, this preceptor has already received similar feedback from other orientees and has had this problem before (again, speaking from experience).

Second, if you truly feel that you're in a situation that is deteriorating (either on orientation or as a new grad), do not be afraid to assert yourself. Find or call your preceptor and flat out tell them that you need help. If you're alone or the situation is critical, use the staff assist, rapid response, or code bell. That's what they're there for. If your preceptor treats you like an idiot for asking for help, then that's something you need to discuss with your manager or educator (circling back to my last point).

Third, if you really feel that a unit isn't working out (and you've already tried asking for a different preceptor), you should tell your manager. Usually, they'll recommend moving you to a different unit. It avoids potentially burning bridges with an entire hospital system, as you've done in your current situation. All of the above points circle back to having an honest, open relationship with your manager or educator. In addition, if you get to the end of your orientation and you still feel that you need more time, tell one of them!

Fourth, and I mean this in the kindest, most supportive possible way: have you considered seeing a therapist to work on your coping skills? Wishing you would die on your way to work is not normal, and you will probably feel that way at some point again as a new grad (like I've said, no matter where you work, your first year is tough). I've seen a therapist on and off as a nurse to cope with work-related stress, and as a new grad (especially in a new city) you may find this beneficial. Most hospital employers also have a free short-term counseling service (usually called the Employee Assistance Program) to help you get a few free counseling sessions. If you hadn't quit your job, that probably would have been your best bet. If you ever feel like quitting your job in the future, I'd seek out this resource first.

Finally, yes, you may have screwed over your chances for this CRNA program, but that's a who different topic for future you to worry about. For now, I'd just try to focus on finding a new job and getting through your first year before you add any more stress worrying about the CRNA program.

Take care!

That all sounds good to me to.  I think where she worked had a bad culture and she wasn't experienced enough to manage that.  However, I have had jobs where it just made me sick to go to work.  Seems like some jobs, you have to have a certain degree of apathy to make it.  When you really care about your work and your patients it affects you more.

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not.done.yet has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and works as a Professional Development Specialist.

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Okay, so not giving two weeks notice was probably a mistake. Will this impact your CRNA goals? It might. It might not. Life is long and time is a funny thing. Unfortunately the medical community is smaller than you might think and, as you noted, opportunities for a new grads in an ICU specialty is not something you see every day. Your likelihood in getting another one is slim to none, even if you move to another city.

Find a position in a stepdown unit if you can, or an ER, which also bridges nicely to ICU and the ultimate goal of CRNA. Try not to freak out, but recognize that poor stress management lead you to make this move, which was far from your only option. You are new at this, so do your best to forgive yourself and go from here. Your doors are not closed per se, but you didn't make things easier either. That being said, it will be okay. It really will.

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ruby_jane has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN.

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Call the hospital and see if you're rehirable. Plain and simple, that's the only way you know if the bridge is now ashes.

If not...that's going to matter.

Other posters have made reference to a script or things you can say. The reduction in timeline for orientation is legitimate. "As a new nurse, I did not feel ready for the acuity I was seeing" may be another reason.

I also left my precepted ICU experience within six months of getting the job. The orientation was decent but the preceptor was not. Hang in there. Take the job(s) that you can get right now, and move forward. Your goal is to safely transition into adept practice (and stay somewhere for a longer time so you don't look like you're job hopping). Best of luck.

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