Let go during orientation, will I ever work again?


  • Specializes in Transitional Care.

I am feeling great distress over my current situation.

I received a job offer to work full time in a birthing center. This was what I thought was my dream job and was incredibly excited and was counting my blessings for such a wonderful job. As I got into the unit and the orientation, I felt I was struggling a little bit, but was assured by many a nurse this was normal because I was a new grad. I switched from L&D orientation to mom/baby. The expectation was 3-5 days of orientation then I would do a couple more weeks in L&D. I felt the expectation of being completely oriented to mom/baby in 3-5 days was a little unrealistic, but felt I could do it. I did my absolute best. I struggled with organization a little, but overall felt I was doing well. During this entire process I constantly sought out feedback about how I was doing. I was told I was doing well. Then came a meeting with the two nurses who were orienting me and our unit's educator to check up on my progress. I received some harsh feedback and was told I was doing things wrong, and what not. I was incredibly confused because this was the first I was hearing of this. I was told by one of the nurses I was not where I should be according to how far along I was in my orientation. Then I was told that I was asking way too many questions. I left work that evening pretty upset, because I felt attacked, not constructively criticized. I had a long weekend, but ultimately decided I was going to work extra hard and make sure I addressed every area that was discussed with me. I pumped myself up and was feeling confident I was going to overcome this little road bump. THEN... my next day back at work I was pulled into another meeting. Only this time it was my educator and my manager. To keep it simple, more was said to my manager by my orienting nurses and my manager felt I did not meet their expectations and they fired me. I was in shock. I was not allowed an opportunity to fix any problems, etc.

I have several issues with what happened, but regardless I am jobless now and must find a new job. So I decided to move on and not be bitter. I added the two months of experience to my resume, because I feel it counts as nursing experience. I received the feedback that I should just let people know that the job was just not a good fit.

I had my first job interview yesterday since my firing. I told the manager that the job was not a good fit. The manager asked me "What do you mean it wasn't a good fit?" (With quite the attitude I might mention). I said "The manager felt as though I needed more nursing experience to be successful in a high acuity, specialty unit" (my exact words). This manager sneered at me and said "OH!" I was incredibly offended. To say the least the rest of the interview was quite rocky. I got the impression I was wasting her time and she was not nice at all. I left the interview feeling very beat down.

So, here are my questions for you all (preferably management): Is what happened to me with my first job going to negatively effect me the way it did in this interview? I am afraid I will have an incredibly hard time getting a job now. Also, my confidence has been stomped on twice now. I am afraid that if I am offered another job that this will effect my performance and I will constantly doubt myself to the point of performing poorly. Any suggestions??

Specializes in Hospice.

while those two months are definitely valuable in terms of you learning and growing as a nurse they are not going to be valuable in terms of you getting a job. personally i would keep it off my resume....but if you are required to have it on there i would prepare you answer to that question because it might very well come up. Im sorry you didn't get feedback so that you could have improved during your orientation. very unfair. but you will move on and it sounds like you have a positive attitude. good luck!


159 Posts

Specializes in LTC, Pediatrics, Renal Med/Surg.

I'm so sorry this happened to you...I really feel this did not play out right at all. There is something shady about what happened to you.


162 Posts

Specializes in pcu/stepdown/telemetry.


you are opening a can of worms by letting them know you are possibly unable to handle work. This may not be the case, but listing a job that was really an unsuccessful orientation is not the best way to make yourself stand out. Start over and go to interviews with a positive attitude. It is very hard to do L&D, post partum as a new grad. Many nurses are surprised at how little they know out of school. I could see a new grad wanting L&D but it isn't the safest specialty to start with because the stakes are so high and maybe they should think about that before hiring. Get your experience in another area and then maybe after some time and experience somewhere else you could try again

good luck

Specializes in Critical Care.

I'm sorry this happened to you. At our hospital if a nurse struggles on a specialty unit they our usually given a chance to transfer to a tele, med-surg unit rather than just being let go.

Regarding the job interview I think your reply was the right thing to say. I'm sorry the hiring manager reacted the way she did. Maybe others can give you other suggestions, but I don't think you said anything wrong.

Orientation can be hell, you'll hear you're doing great, then over hear your preceptor slamming you to the boss! It's hard to know who to trust. You should be able to ask questions, but some people will use it against you!

To the preceptors out there be truthful to the new nurses, be gentle and honest and let them know their weak areas to improve while also mentioning their strengths. Your not doing them any favors but lying to their face saying everything's great, than running to your manager behind their back to complain!

Share your knowledge and experience explain why you would do such and such, and don't belittle them for asking questions. I would rather work with a new grad that wasn't sure and was honest and asked questions; than one who was overconfident and knew everything and then ended up making a big mistake. Don't forget back in the day when you were a new struggling nurse. Now some of you were so overconfident.and maybe spoiled, you never struggled as a new nurse, and if you don't have empathy please don't orient new nurses!

Look for a job with a new nurse residency program, with an emergency medical response team, with stat nurses. You can ask about these programs during the interview. Magnet status hospitals tend to offer more education and tend to have these extra resources so be on the lookout for them.

Research the hospital and the dept if you are able, so you can mention how excited you would be to work at XYZ and want to be part of their team. Let the manager you know the importance, advantages and prestige of working at a magnet hospital where you'll be encouraged to learn and work as a team and have shared governance.

Karl Farmer

308 Posts

Specializes in LTC, MDS, plasmapheresis. Has 25 years experience.

If you left a job before you completed orientation, my advice is to forget it and not mention it, since you did not 'work' there. Sad tho, that you were not told of what was wrong at the time it happened, sounds like not a place that nurtures its staff.

tokmom, BSN, RN

4,568 Posts

Specializes in Certified Med/Surg tele, and other stuff. Has 30 years experience.

consider yourself lucky to be out of there.

Ginger's Mom, MSN, RN

1 Article; 3,181 Posts

Has 41 years experience.

You will get another job, since you were in your probationary period I won't mention this position on your resume. Chalk it up to a bad experience. To expect a new grad to function 100% after a short orientation is not realistic. You got some good feedback though.

Remember you are being employed as RN and not a student, your preceptor is not there to teach you nursing. I would limit your questions in your next job to issues that are not easily looked up in a textbook or unit manual. With your next job try to produce not ask questions unless it is safety related I would write down my questions and look them up on your own time, not at the expense of the patient or your preceptor. It seems they used 2 nurses to validate their assessment of your nursing skills.

I would also contact a former instructor and ask for feedback. If you have anxiety, I would ask your primary care provider how to deal with it in the workplace.

To summarize you will get a job. You will succeed. You need to move on from this experience and start fresh. You passed your boards and have gotten interviews so you have some great credentials as a new grad. You are applying for a professional nursing position, you are not there to learn you are employed to provide care. If you have questions or feel unsure find ways to outside of work to cope. Don't be too hard on yourself you will move on, I don't think that job was your perfect position with the unrealistic expectations they placed on you.

rn/writer, RN

17 Articles; 4,168 Posts

I concur with the majority that you should not list this job on your resume. One of the few blessings of a tight job market is that being without employment does not look at all abnormal.

That said, I have a couple of other observations. You mentioned that you asked a lot of questions. In the ideal world, you should be free to do that, especially during your orientation period, which is, after all, a time of learning. Unfortunately, in the real world, there is a tendency to view "too many" inquiries as not knowing what you are doing or having a lack of confidence. I put "too many" in quotes because it's such a subjective measurement, varying from one nurse to another and from one day to the next.

It's unfair as all get out, but there you have it.

When (not if) you find another job, I would suggest that you ask only about things you are totally unsure of. If you have no clue, you have no choice. But, if you have some idea what the answer might be, float it out there and say, "Here's what I'm thinking. Am I headed in the the right direction?"

This can give the preceptor the comfort that, while you may still need some fine tuning, you at least have a brain to take out and play with. Doing this has the potential to help you look more engaged, more enterprising, and less timid.

During this entire process I constantly sought out feedback about how I was doing.

Sounds like a good idea. But instead of making an orientee seem teachable and willing, it smacks of being needy and seeking too much reassurance. Unfair? You betcha! And yet that's often the way it is. Be approachable, but don't look hungry for approval. That makes you far too vulnerable. And easy to dismiss.

I sometimes want to know too much about various topics. I can't help it--I like depth. This can irritate people who don't want to dig that deep or who think I'm trying to embarrass them. In formal learning situations, I have to practice self-awareness, tone down this part of my personality, and satisfy my curiosity on my own time. This may not apply to you, but keep it in mind anyway.

Finally, each day you go into the job, choose to believe and act as if you belong there. When insecurity comes a-knockin' (and you know it will), remind yourself that you CAN do this, instead of asking your co-workers or preceptor if you can.

Dust yourself off, and get back in the game, kiddo. You have two months of experience up your sleeve that ought to give you a boost in the next go-round.

Please, keep us posted. I wish you the best. :up:


849 Posts

Specializes in Home Health.

I agree with all above. You never 'worked' at that hospital, so don't list it on your resume. If you have to give a reason for having extended time off after finishing school or between jobs, say you travelled with a relative. Best luck. You'll do great.


152 Posts

I am sorry this happened to you. Don't let it beat you down.

Simply Complicated

1,100 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, Neuro, ICU, travel RN, Psych. Has 5 years experience.

I also agree, take it off your resume.

I also agree with RN/writer. After having oriented some people, I realized one thing that can be very frustrating, is to precept someone who it does not seem takes the initiative to look things up themselves first.

If it's a medication question, pull out your drug guide. Or if your site uses a drug reference online, look it up.

If it's policy related, or even related to a certain procedure.. the policy often covers a lot. Look it up first. Then ask for clarification if you do not understand something. You absolutely should feel comfortable to ask questions. But as was mentioned, you do not want to appear incompetent either.

Good luck to you. Take this as a learning experience, look at it as some extended clinical experience if it helps. You will get there!!