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How do I explain not finishing my orientation?

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by Cheechwizard Cheechwizard (New) New

358 Profile Views; 8 Posts

I need help, please.

Last year in December I started a new job. A dream position. The only male in a decade to work this unit. The first 30 days were the absolute best, and my review was probably the best review meeting ever for any profession with my preceptor and manager laughing and thanking me for being apart of the unit. 

I felt welcomed and secured. Context: I've been a nurse for 3 years now, this isn't my first rodeo. I'm also male, and nearly 50.

Anyway, I then switched to nights with a new preceptor. I was forewarned by my manager that the folks on the nightshift are not very kind or empathetic, and that she had been working on changing their disposition for a year. In fact when I first started the position I was given a choice of days or nights, and was told that nights would be harsh.

Still I went in excited. My preceptor was keen on knowing my age, right off the bat. I refused, politely, to answer. This went on. Then work started and everything was fine. I asked if I could have more patients than I had on days and things went smoothly...until night 2. On that night a new patient and their family arrived. The son and his wife were not familiar with the small city and we're hesitant to leave the father's side as he was actively dying. Another aside, this is palliative care. They ask for some sodas to drink and so I went to fetch them with cups of ice. When I brought them in my preceptor poked her head around the corner of the room, made a gasp, and ran out. 

Once I was finished in the room I was greeted by the charge nurse on the way out. She opted to dress me down in front of the family. She tore into me and said that our unit rules kept us from giving soda for patients to the family members. I explained the situation. She said it didn't matter.

Well, the family was besides themselves. One that the charge nurse would do that in front of a grieving family, and second that she would tell me to act without compassion. The son pulled the charge aside and went off on her. He just completely unloaded all his anger and grief on her and my preceptor as he knew that she was apart of it.

After that moment everything changed, but I didn't know it until later. No one treated me poorly, I was simply ignored and left on my own. That was pretty great, to be honest. I was never once disciplined or told I did anything wrong.

Fast forward to my final night of my orientation. Everything went fine. My first shift solo was 3 days away. At home, the day before, I was told to come meet with the manager before my shift. I thought it was to go over my orientation stuff and talk about me being solo. 

Next thing I know I'm before my manager and the CNO. My manager said I was a very good nurse and especially excellent with patients and their families, but that for the good of the unit I was being let go.

I questioned further and all she could say is that I, apparently, didn't work well with my night time peers or vice versa, but she had to let me go. I reminded her that she told me the night shift was harsh and she was worked to change them, and that I had never been disciplined or told that I had done anything wrong. 

That's when the night 2 episode came up. The nurses involved, the charge and my preceptor, took it that because I acted in a morally sound, humane, manner that they felt I was better than them and they worked it up so much that they couldn't work with me.

I realize this is one sided, and one may believe this is hyperbole. I assure you, sadly, it is not. I loved that job with all my heart. It's still unbelievable to me. To be sitting there and being told I'm a good nurse and excellent with patients, but they have to let me go.

Now I need to look for new work, and I am uncertain how to explain that I didn't make it through my orientation, as my manager and CNO say. For their part they told the unemployment people they laid me off. Nice of them.

What can I do? I've spent time wondering if I should even be a nurse. I feel like there are too many games. I love palliative and hospice, I love interacting with patients and families. I interact and am social with my peers. Anyway, what do I tell folks interviewing me? I didn't make it through my orientation. Why? Because my peers didn't want to work with me (because they're petty)? And what was the issue with needing to know my age? My preceptor asked me throughout my night orientation. Strange.

I need help. Thank you.

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llg has 43 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

7 Followers; 13,380 Posts; 60,838 Profile Views

Under what "terms" are you leaving?   Are you being designated "eligible for re-hire or not?"    Will you be able to get a recommendation from anyone there (e.g. day shift preceptor, educator, etc.)?

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8 Posts; 358 Profile Views

On 6/4/2020 at 12:33 PM, llg said:

Under what "terms" are you leaving?   Are you being designated "eligible for re-hire or not?"    Will you be able to get a recommendation from anyone there (e.g. day shift preceptor, educator, etc.)?

I can probably get a recommendation from my first preceptor. As for the terms,I've contacted hr and I still have no response. To be fair, though, hr is out sources to the Philippines, and the hospital only has 3 local HR reps. Apparently the terms weren't too bad as they stated I was laid off, rather than terminated.

Eligible for rehire, again, I'm uncertain as I'm awaiting a call back from hr. They may be trying to ask local- manager, CNO, etc. And getting no immediate response.


Still, I need to work. What do I tell the next place I interview? That they laid me off ? They'll ask why they let someone go without trying to find a new unit/position for them if I'm so good.


Thanks for the reply. I really loved that job.

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speedynurse is a RN, EMT-P and specializes in ER.

113 Posts; 451 Profile Views

Can you just use references from former jobs? It sounds like this was a very frustrating situation that you honestly had no control over. If it wasn’t that one incident, it probably would have been another if that’s how the unit environment really is. In all honesty, there ARE jobs with “mean girl clubs”. Been through that myself....It sounds like you are a good nurse and need to just move on and find a more supportive environment. There are plenty of very good units out there!

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