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Flatlander 6,559 Views

Joined: Jul 21, '12; Posts: 258 (50% Liked) ; Likes: 278

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  • Jun 12

    Hi. I was terminated in July at the end of orientation on a cardiac tele unit, first RN job. Yes, felt horrible, ashamed, devastated, you name it. Can totally relate with all of the above. Have had a couple interviews and struggled with how to deal with the termination. Recently I went to the state job service office and was able to speak to an employment specialist there. He was extremely helpful in suggesting some wording to use. Basically it was keeping the explanation as brief as possible, i.e. that it was not the right setting for a new grad due to the high acuity, and then to go immediately into discussing my strengths and what I can bring to the new job. He also said it's necessary to rehearse your answers and video or audio record it with another person asking you interview questions.

    I really appreciated all who shared their experiences, which were so much like mine. It is extremely heartening to know you are not alone. It is also very helpful to hear from others who went through this and continued on to have successful careers. Thank you!!!!

    I don't understand the connection with firing and licensure... You're scaring me. How does this affect my RN license?

  • May 10

    Wow. Where to start? I am 69 years old. I started an ADN program in a rural community college at age 62, graduating at age 64. It took me 9 months to find a job and I had some rough starts. I encountered rampant ageism in school and on the job, though not quite as blatant as I'm hearing on this thread. Frankly, many of the comments here disgust me, but I applaud the few who see through the ageism.

    There seems to be a badge of pride in working 12 hour shifts without a drink of water or nutritious meal and a breather. It's like saying "I'm so bad, I can go 12 hours without having to pee, eat, sip water, or clear my head and rest my feet for a minute." I call that a grade-A recipe for burnout, and yet nurses keep doing it and bragging about how tough they are. The really tough -- and smart ones -- know when to call BS and speak up. They demand to have coverage for meal breaks and breaks to take care of basic bodily functions -- to get a drink of water, sit down for a minute, have a moment of quiet to clear the head, and jot a note to get organized.

    Do not for a minute let anyone tell you that you are too old. Most of the candidates for US President this year are older than you are. Do you think they will have a "cake" job? Flying all over the world, managing conflicts and wars, dealing with disasters of every imaginable kind both day and night, plus the constant battering of the press and political opponents? Really. Come on, people. Get a grip and show a little respect for the knowledge, wisdom, and experience that aging brings. And have a little much-needed humility.

  • May 2

    A Cautionary Tale (Feedback and advice would be appreciated....):

    Just wanted to say I was recently terminated after a 12 week orientation. The reason given was that I was not able to handle the level of acuity and pace of the unit. The managers did not believe I would be able to succeed, based on their experience with "hundreds" of new nurses. They suggested I apply for less acute units in the hospital or in the associated clinics, but did not offer any referrals. I was told to clean out my locker. This was after receiving no formal written performance appraisals and having passed all my orientation classes. My preceptor had told me I was not picking up things as quickly as I should at about the 10th week, but never mentioned the possibility of termination. She verbally suggested I work on "focusing to prevent distraction and organizing my workload". She wanted me to try the night shifts to see if I would do better with less distraction. She did say that 10 weeks was the new length of orientation and I was already at the end of that period. (My orientation book said it was 12 weeks -- apparently old information.) No one mentioned the possibility of termination -- not the preceptor, the manager, the supervisor, or the nurse educator.

    Termination after orientation can happen. This was my first job after graduation and a very difficult transition for a new grad, an older-age one at that. It has been extremely demoralizing to be fired. I wonder if I should quit the profession and give up, but I have invested too much in time and finances, and have staked too much of my future on becoming a nurse.

    It is disheartening to hear the comments (on a different topic thread) that it is very rare for a nurse to fail orientation. I do feel like a failure. Looking back I see that I could have done some things differently. I did not come home and study or study on my days off, which now I believe I should have done. My excuse is that I was too tired and stressed from the exhausting and overwhelming hours at work. Often it was 13+ hours straight, with 6 to 8 hours before a break or chance to eat. (When really busy, nurses worked 9 to 13 hours straight through, counting extra time for report and charting, with no breaks at all). And there was the constant bombardment of new information to digest. It was just full-tilt boogie for the whole shift. It would take me all of the available hours before the next shift just to recover my energy and clear my head.

    My advice: If you truly want to keep your job, you must push through the exhaustion and stress and study. Ask for written evaluations early on and if you are not at the expected performance level, ask for a remediation plan and regular reviews of progress. If you sense something ominous in the wind, speak up and ask what's going on. These things I did not do, since I expected a chance to review my performance with the supervisor and manager and to remediate if necessary. (Part of me did have a growing fear that I might be terminated... This is when I should have point-blank asked!)

    There were many things in the way my termination was handled that I could complain about, but I don't wish to dwell on that here. I need to learn the lessons and move on, whether it is to continue in nursing or not. It has been a little over a month since my firing and I am still trying to get over the emotional trauma.

    Good luck to you! (I don't know how old this post is. I hope you've succeeded and gone on to become a great nurse.)

  • Feb 28

    I agree this seems to be the standard nursing practice.

  • Jan 28

    Quote from forestlover
    Hello everyone-
    This is my first post, but I am curious....When I finish nursing school (if I even get in) I will be 62 years old. Is there anyone out there in the same situation? I am currently struggling through Physiology, and am not sure I can get the required B, but I don't have a lot of time to waste taking it again. Do you find learning is harder because you are older?
    This is my final dream, to become a nurse. Done everything else I have ever wanted to achieve, but this just might be not possible.
    Thanks
    Physiology class and other nursing courses are darned difficult!

    Like other groups affected by prejudice, elders tend to identify with the traits society ascribes to us (doddering, forgetful, infirm, ready to be put out to pasture, etc... UGH!!!!) The first challenge is to forget all that, to simply not believe it. We must educate ourselves first about the reality of living in our later years in the 21st century. We are not the same as our grandparents or even our parents. We have benefitted from tremendous advances in medicine, nutrition, and education. Perusing the current research on the effects of aging will reveal a hopeful picture. Keeping your brain active and challenged (yes, you CAN do physiology) will only help prolong your productive years. We need to support each other too, to counteract the all-too-prevalent attitudes of ageism in the young and not-so-young around us.

    I'm with you in the age-group category. Graduated in May 2011 at age 64. Though that used to be retirement age, I think you will find that more and more people are taking on new challenges for this last phase of life. We look at our parents living well into their 80's and 90's. Who can afford to retire comfortably, or even wants to spend the next 20 to 30 years puttering in the garden or doing mundane volunteer work? As the saying goes, 'been there, done that'. I took early retirement from another career and had a good 10 years of doing lots of different things before going back to school to become a nurse.

    I would love to have a forum with you older new grads and nursing students, especially the 60+'s. I've been trying to find such a group since joining allnurses! I will now work my way through this thread and try to connect with all of you old new nurses.

  • Oct 29 '17

    When asked if I thought I would miss hospital nursing if I took the job in psych for which I was interviewing, I said, "That remains to be seen." Probably the stupidest answer I've given in an interview, so far. The interviewer just kind of gaped at me! Needless to say, I did not get a callback and I learned to think twice before giving the first answer that comes to mind!

  • Sep 7 '17

    Quote from nekozuki
    When I quit or request to be taken off a case, I’m not shedding any tears over my agency being inconvenienced, but I do feel a tremendous amount of guilt for (some) patients. Sure, there are the wacky new assignments you never accept again (Mom running around the house naked talking to ghosts, one family decides to turn off the AC in July, maybe a case feels like a big fat lawsuit waiting to happen, etc), but what about the ones you’ve had for awhile?


    If I’m leaving a case because it’s gotten stale or because I feel like I’m being involuntarily sucked into the family dynamics, I usually never tell the family. The agency is informed well beforehand, but I feel like the family would take it as betrayal if they knew I was voluntarily leaving, and possibly retaliate in some way. So, I smile big, wave, and never come back.


    I’m torn because I’m having elective surgery (weight loss surgery) and will be out for six weeks. I’m agonizing over how to break the news to my patient's family, and whether I should say anything at all (or simply lie about it being some other surgery). I’ve been the only nurse staffing their case for almost two years, and given their rural location and complexity of the patient, I know they will have a hard time replacing me. I *have* to do this for myself, my health, and my future, but that doesn’t help the crushing sense of guilt I feel for “abandoning” my patient (whom I adore like my own niece). The family has received a series of devastating blows in terms of the patient’s health over these past few weeks, and I figured I’d drag my butt to the AN forums to commiserate.


    What is your MO for quitting a case? Do you tell the family, or do you high-tail it out of there without a word? Do you ever feel guilty for moving on? Anyone have any stories?
    Thanks for posting this, Nekozuki. I just left a case I was on for a year and 10 months. I had an injury that required me to be off work for 2 weeks following an almost 2 week vacation. When I asked to go back to work, my shifts had already been covered for the whole next month. At that point I had to request a new assignment, which fortunately looks like a "go." This agency pays no vacation or any other paid time off until after FIVE YEARS ! of service.
    Anyway, yes. I don't feel guilty, but I miss my client very much and worry that she will feel abandoned and confused about my unexplained and abrupt departure. I asked the agency to explain why I accepted another assignment, but I was discouraged by my supervisor from making contact myself.
    I have a master's in counseling psychology and one of the things always stressed in that program was the importance of preparing the client for termination. It was also considered important to recognize that after a long period of working together, both parties will have feelings about ending the relationship. The work at the end was to allow both parties to process and come to terms with issues and feelings that arise and the acceptance that it cannot continue as a friendship because of the professional boundaries. That is the reality.
    I believe it is okay to feel sad at the loss of that person. I believe it is okay to miss them. I think it is okay to tell them that you will miss them, and they may miss you, but they and you will move on and get over the missing in a fairly short time. I believe it is important to explain your leaving face to face, if possible, and if the reason would be hurtful, to not explain fully. It is always possible to find a grain of truth and to hold back anything that harms rather than helps.
    I don't feel guilty, because it is the agency's responsibility to get the shifts covered and find a good fit for the family.
    In my case, I think I'm going to send a brief note to my patient and another to the patient's family to briefly state that I enjoyed working with them, have made a change that will work out better for me, and hope they are well and remain so.
    I am interested in what you decide to do. Keep us posted. I relate to some of the issues others raised about agency differences in this area.

  • Sep 4 '17

    Quote from nekozuki
    When I quit or request to be taken off a case, I’m not shedding any tears over my agency being inconvenienced, but I do feel a tremendous amount of guilt for (some) patients. Sure, there are the wacky new assignments you never accept again (Mom running around the house naked talking to ghosts, one family decides to turn off the AC in July, maybe a case feels like a big fat lawsuit waiting to happen, etc), but what about the ones you’ve had for awhile?


    If I’m leaving a case because it’s gotten stale or because I feel like I’m being involuntarily sucked into the family dynamics, I usually never tell the family. The agency is informed well beforehand, but I feel like the family would take it as betrayal if they knew I was voluntarily leaving, and possibly retaliate in some way. So, I smile big, wave, and never come back.


    I’m torn because I’m having elective surgery (weight loss surgery) and will be out for six weeks. I’m agonizing over how to break the news to my patient's family, and whether I should say anything at all (or simply lie about it being some other surgery). I’ve been the only nurse staffing their case for almost two years, and given their rural location and complexity of the patient, I know they will have a hard time replacing me. I *have* to do this for myself, my health, and my future, but that doesn’t help the crushing sense of guilt I feel for “abandoning” my patient (whom I adore like my own niece). The family has received a series of devastating blows in terms of the patient’s health over these past few weeks, and I figured I’d drag my butt to the AN forums to commiserate.


    What is your MO for quitting a case? Do you tell the family, or do you high-tail it out of there without a word? Do you ever feel guilty for moving on? Anyone have any stories?
    Thanks for posting this, Nekozuki. I just left a case I was on for a year and 10 months. I had an injury that required me to be off work for 2 weeks following an almost 2 week vacation. When I asked to go back to work, my shifts had already been covered for the whole next month. At that point I had to request a new assignment, which fortunately looks like a "go." This agency pays no vacation or any other paid time off until after FIVE YEARS ! of service.
    Anyway, yes. I don't feel guilty, but I miss my client very much and worry that she will feel abandoned and confused about my unexplained and abrupt departure. I asked the agency to explain why I accepted another assignment, but I was discouraged by my supervisor from making contact myself.
    I have a master's in counseling psychology and one of the things always stressed in that program was the importance of preparing the client for termination. It was also considered important to recognize that after a long period of working together, both parties will have feelings about ending the relationship. The work at the end was to allow both parties to process and come to terms with issues and feelings that arise and the acceptance that it cannot continue as a friendship because of the professional boundaries. That is the reality.
    I believe it is okay to feel sad at the loss of that person. I believe it is okay to miss them. I think it is okay to tell them that you will miss them, and they may miss you, but they and you will move on and get over the missing in a fairly short time. I believe it is important to explain your leaving face to face, if possible, and if the reason would be hurtful, to not explain fully. It is always possible to find a grain of truth and to hold back anything that harms rather than helps.
    I don't feel guilty, because it is the agency's responsibility to get the shifts covered and find a good fit for the family.
    In my case, I think I'm going to send a brief note to my patient and another to the patient's family to briefly state that I enjoyed working with them, have made a change that will work out better for me, and hope they are well and remain so.
    I am interested in what you decide to do. Keep us posted. I relate to some of the issues others raised about agency differences in this area.

  • Jul 21 '17

    Hi, nursemaddie... I can't read the saying on your photo...the print is too small. What does it say?

    Sorry your'e feeling bad about your preceptor. Mine was nice, but she seemed to demonstrate things way too fast. And expected me to have it down after seeing it once, as you said. Others have suggested jotting a note each time there's a skill, a med, a lab, anything you need to look up. I should have been doing this daily after each shift. I think it would have helped. I could have reviewed my skills in my texts, all of which I saved, thankfully.

    I don't know about asking for another preceptor either, but I do believe there should be a way to give feedback to the preceptor if their style is not a good fit for you. In hindsight I could have done that more. When I met resistance from her to my requests for more help, I just shrank back and gave up. Like you, I was afraid of rocking the boat. Little did I know, the boat was already rocking and about to pitch me out!

    I think people learn in different ways. I'm trying to find out now what I need from a preceptor to be successful. I'm reading about time management in a book called Getting Things Done, by David Allen. It is excellent! It's hitting the nail on the head about how to get a handle on complex, overwhelming workloads. (Can you relate?) I recommend it highly. It talks about how trying to hold everything we need to do in our heads is a recipe for disaster. Our short-term memory just crashes from the overload. That is exactly what I felt was happening to me, when I couldn't take two minutes between patients to clear my head and plan my next actions for the next patients. I felt like I had someone over me cracking the whip! It was awful! I'd get so stressed I couldn't even think straight, much less remember everything I needed to do.

    I'm not giving up either, nursemaddie! I've worked too hard to get to where I am. Turning back is not my style!



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