Ineffective Orientation - help!

Experienced RN looking for guidance on navigating a new hospital position with limited support. Specialties Med-Surg


Specializes in PACU, OB, Med/Surg, Psych.

I recently moved here from out of state. As such, there has been little to no interest in my resume. I have 8 years of experience as an RN in various settings, but after at least 20 application rejection e-mails, I was only offered a Med/Surg position. (I am guessing this is because nobody is familiar with out-of-state and military hospitals.) I accepted, under the condition I would be PRN (one day per week) after an orientation period. It pays very well, and despite not being in my preferred setting, I felt I could still be a helpful team member once a week while re-evaluating what education/certifications are needed here to get a full-time job I actually want. 

I have worked in truly hostile environments. This is not what I would consider "hostile", nor do I feel this is worth quitting over. My preceptors seem like good nurses, they likely just have too high of a workload to properly teach me anything. I fear complaining too loudly or upsetting my manager, because should the opportunity ever arise in the future to work in a different department (L&D, Mom/Baby, NICU, Peds, ER, PACU) I do not want to burn my bridges--after all, it's not WHAT you know, but WHO you know.

This department usually only hires new-grad RNs. I feel there are no clear expectations set for the orientation period for a new external hire with experience. The new-hire general nursing orientation was 1-2 days in person discussing regulatory topics and then we were sent home to complete computer-based orientation the remainder of the week. Despite the EHR software being not user-friendly nor being common anywhere outside this hospital chain, there was little information regarding EHR documentation. 

Considering this is NOT a travel position, I expected that I would have more help from my preceptors or from management. This is not the case. I have completed 6 shifts total and at least 3 of them, I was asked to admit a patient from ER or PACU or discharge them independently, very close to shift change, and complete documentation accordingly in time to give handoff to night shift. Usually while my preceptor is busy answering call lights or otherwise not at the bedside to help me. Said preceptors have not been present for me to give handoff to the night shift nurse, whom I have requested I not speak with alone (while on orientation) due to her hostility towards me and her refusal to accept an unfinished admission while I am required to clock out at 7:15pm. (She shouts at me in front of her student for not knowing offhand the location of the working PIV or the patient from the ER's last BM) forces me to help answer call lights and clean patients during bedside report)

My manager called today sounding quite upset with me for "missing two orientation shifts" that she had scheduled without discussing with me. She stated that "you should have gotten a notification on the app". I have no idea what app she is referring to, and upon Googling it, I still do not have access to this.

I feel like I am being asked to build a house but was given only scotch tape as a tool. My preceptors, charge nurses, and manager have all made clear "this is a 'heavy' floor..." and "this unit has the highest turnover rate in the hospital". I get the impression that the only nurses who stay are those who have a nurse residency obligation to fill. I'm not sure if they seriously expect someone to magically "know" the whole department, or if they are just biding their time until I quit. 

As a first-time union member, I'm concerned I need to get the union involved to protect myself against missing those shifts scheduled without my knowledge.

I accepted this position for extra money while I apply to grad school and for experience within California that will hopefully make other positions more likely to take my resume seriously. I am concerned that instead, this will become a black mark on my record I have to leave off my resume if the negligence of orientation continues. Other than applying for other jobs and contacting my union rep, how do I ensure that my needs are met?

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