Is my First Job as a Nurse setting my Career goals back?


I am new to this site, but have enjoyed the knowledge from the information and support I have encountered. I am in great need of advice from you fellow nurses! I am a very young nurse, will be 21 in May and have been a LVN since March of 2009. Since graduating from a vocational nursing school I have failed and retaken state boards. When I failed i was heartbroken because I knew I had the knowledge required, I went in there too confident and too worried with outside stressors so instead of giving up I took a step back and began studying to retake the dreadful test. Here is where the problem began. While waiting to retake my test I needes income so I applied for a job as a MHA (mental health aide). Two days into my 1st job ever I found myself helping the nurse, and by the end of the day the the COO of the company along with all other home office staff offered to help me pay fr my test if I would be their nurse. After retaking the test and passing I became the nurse for a contract facility of MHMR dealing with psychiatric issues. Not only was I a new nurse, but the only nurse so I really had to put my knowledge from school to work. The facility opened in Jan 2009 and that is really when my journey began, we managed to get te approval to be without a nurse until I passed. I took the job and ran with it from startup I had to figure everything out from how the nurses station would be set up to training 20+ individuals on med administration. This included helping establish policies and procedures for two different programs. While doing this Unintentionally i began catching mistakes from the facility our clients were transferred from. The mistakes I was catching and still am, were and are from individuals that have been nurses for years. This of course is a job where I have gained great experience and knowledge in leadership.I went from failing state boards to being a nurse to 40pts and kept this facility up and running because the while purpose and base of the facility centers around medication. Not only do I do the nurse role I also work hand in hand with both administrators, MHMR caseworkers, DRs (which are not on site nor do they supervise me) and help them with decisions that pertain to the whole facility.... Maintenance, staff, client behavior... Everything my administrators do. I am not only on call 24hrs a day 7 days a week for med related issues but also worked into an on call schedule or the facility along with my admins. Now I feel very lucky to have gained such experience and respect at this stage in my career, but i also feel like my first job as a nurse has hindered my career as a nurse. I feel as if I have lost much knowledge that I worked so hard learning because of all the roles I have played in this facilty I feel it has taken away from the nursing job I accepted. I get paid bare minimum for a nurse with my years of experience and receive no type of benefits or 401k or anything of the sort. I feel as if I have been used and taken advantage of. I have kept this facility going not single hand but have had a major role in this, and I have yet to get a raise. I asked for one and two weeks ago and still have no word back. I love nursing, and plan to continue my career and go for my RN and may even go further to PA, but how am I to go back to school when I have all this responsibility on top of my outside life of being a single mother and making too much for any type of Assistance so my child has no benefits. I dont even have the time to look for another job or school with working fulltime, how will i go to school if I do happeb to find a school that doesnt take too long. I look back to my nursing books and have to relearn material I once knew because " if you dont use it you lose it". Does anyone have any advice? School advice or advice in ways to professionally approach HR about this issue and my feelings towards it? I am scared to lose tge knowledge I worked so hard to gain just trying to make it, when in reality I went into this field because of my passion to give to others and help them in ways that they cant do for themselves. This job is not letting me show all my capabilities as a nurse.It seems there is no room for being promoted here. Fellow nurses please give all advice or suggestions, I dream of putting smiles on faces that are in need, not sitting behind a desk working hard for somone else to take credit for. BTW I didnt mention this but everyrhing I have set up my boss has to be in the middle of everything but if nothing is going on that e can get recognition for hes in his office hiding, not once has he helped our patients. I do not enjoy working for someone who is like this.... Sorry for the rambling just thoughts I finally let out....

NurseThis21, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 121 Posts

Specializes in Adolescent & Adult Psychiatry.

To be completely honest with you, I think you should start sending your resumes out to actual nursing positions so that you can gain that experience (i.e. everything you learned in school)! And your experience that you're getting now can really boost your resume potential, so it's not all that bad. However, think about what you really want to do with your license. Do you want to learn the role of a nurse or that of a manager/supervisor? Some of the things they're making you do are probably not even within the scope of nursing.

As a new grad, they should know better than to give you so much responsibility because if you make a mistake (and never say never, you just might), they probably won't even stand up for you and claim that you willingly took responsibility for so many tasks. Unfortunately, I've seen this happen to several of my classmates ... it's not pretty!

So really think about whether or not you feel comfortable with continuing on in such a demanding role. If you're comfortable with it and feel it could provide a different way of gaining experience then go for it! If not, don't waste your time trying to sprout gray hairs and wrinkles.

I know we only have one life to live, but let's save the Superwoman role for another day!

Good luck in your decision process and I hope you figure out what's best for you and your family!

NurseThis21, RN, BSN :nurse:

UIC Alumna