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Need Advice. I'm afraid my nursing career is over.

Nurses   (7,531 Views 52 Comments)
by Emma123 Emma123 (Member) Member

4,527 Profile Views; 142 Posts

Hello everyone.

I don't want to make this so long that you have to muddle through it, so I will do my best to keep it as short as possible because I really need some advice.

I'll start by saying....I messed up. Bigtime. I graduated nursing school last July as an LPN. Started working for a skilled nursing facility as a graduate nurse until I got my license. I was very "green", didn't have what I feel I needed orientation wise to be competent to be caring for vented patients, so I asked for help a lot. I didn't appear very confident, and behind my back I got called "dumb blonde nurse", etc....I heard this through my coworkers who were fellow students of mine. They didn't share the opionion, thankfully, but I really felt unwanted there. One night I had a patient (non vented) with rapid resps and tachy. Hx of anxiety, as he was terminal (and very young). I worked midnights. After doing my assessment I decided to call the doctor. Nurse manager said, "You're calling the doctor this late? Just give him a neb treatment and see what he does." (This pt, despite being terminal, was "yes to hospitalization" on advance directives...newly dx'd c lung ca). In the orders, there was NO PRN or scheduled neb tx. And, of course, it's not a standing order. NM looked at me, rolled her eyes and said, "Just give the neb tx". I didn't. I gathered my vitals, and called the physician. He was transfered to the hospital.

That is only one example; there are several more, in which I was treated pretty rotten in my opinion. The nurses there were miserably overworked, understaffed, and in the nursing community this facility is known for being a bad place to work. But...they were the only ones to hire a new grad and I obviously needed experience.

Here's the problem. I turned in a written resignation, after being hired with a new facility under a huge organization. We were under quarantine for the norovirus. CNA's were told they couldn't leave d/t no replacements, despite vomiting and temps over 100. They never called in for agency help or anything. The day after I turned in my TWO week notice, I called and left a voice mail saying, "I just wanted you to accept my resignation effective immediately. Myself and my family are ill and I have to tend to them right now. If you have any questions, please call me."

Onward to the next place of employment. They have (and still do) an ad for RN's and LPN positions; the ad has been there for over a year now, and is on several employment websites in our area. But....I thought, well, at least they have a staffing department. Can't be as bad as the previous place, right? At least this time I had experience and a lot more confidence. Again working midnights, I look around and notice that I have worked several shifts being the only staff nurse. The rest being agency. So I'm the only nurse with access to the pyxis, among other things. But that's ok, because I don't mind helping out others. I appreciate help too when I can get it.

Different place....different problems. But just as, if not moreso, sickening. I see offgoing nurses, in tears giving report. Oncoming are just as upset. Mainly administration type issues.....more work piled on with no additional staff to get it done without submitting overtime. Staffing errors...I was called at 11pm by the house sup asking where I was...when I wasn't on the schedule. Got written up, went to HR and they found the error. But did they remove it from my record...nah.

There are more issues, but I'm still trying to simplify this so I can get to the real problem: I quit. On the phone (I wasn't on duty). The HR person was hollering in my ear (I hadn't been there but 5 months so I wasn't supported by the union just yet), and I said, "Please accept my resignation effective now". She said in an upbeat voice, "Ok".

So.....for all I did there, for all the residents I cared for, all the help I offerred my CNA's, because I care and am willing to lend a hand. For all the times I've heard residents complain about always "seeing new faces" and hearing "Ohhhhh you're my nurse tonight. Oh, good, honey!" I genuinely CARE. I am attentive. I am a strong pt advocate and I stand up for what I believe in. I LOVE NURSING.

But now I have two very poor references.

I'm looking for a new job. My only nursing experience is bad experience. I won't be receiving good references from either place. Particularly the last position, because my attendance was poor d/t my mom's illness. (systemic lupus with many secondary problems and she's only 54...it's hard because I am so close to her.....anyways....).

What do I tell potential employers? They have me sign a form that asks my references specifics like work ethic, attendance, attitude.....the HR people who fill these out never work midnights. They don't know that I've worked 14 hours without taking a break some nights. They don't know that I've caught a lot of potential problems and initiated treatments. They didn't see ANY of the good things I did. But records don't lie. I called in probably 5 times in 5 months. I let them know that my mom was ill and that I take care of her. They just recommended that I take personal leave. Only being on the job 5 months, I can't do that. I need the income. I've since made arrangements for help with my mom, but if anything emergent happens, of course I want to be there.

I have 3 kids. My husband left me (in nursing school still....not working, no income), last May, only 6 months after my children's father died unexpectedly (1st husband).

Needless to say I don't feel I can afford to "take time off for a while".

Is my career over? I've applied to several positions. The interviews went VERY well. Agency offerred me work, but the main company contract is through, well......you guessed it...the place I just quit. In fact, three agencies to be exact. So not much help there.

I want something permanent, obviously. And where I don't have to feel sick when I go in. Where I don't have to see nurses crying when they leave.

The permanent places I have interviewed say, "If this doesn't work out I have another position I'd LOVE to have you in".....and other very positive, promising comments. Then they say "I'll check your references and be getting back to you. Call us midweek"....and then....nothing.

I KNOW that it's because of my work hx. I know it's my references. I can't not put them down because that is the only nursing experience that I have.

What do I do? What do I say on the interviews? That I know that I won't be getting glowing reviews?

Thinking maybe I should become a Walmart greeter.....

Please help. I messed up and was unprofessional and unreliable.

Is it over for me?

Thank you so much for your input. I've been crying and sick to my stomach for 2 weeks now over this. I appreciate any advice you may have for me.

Sincerely

Emma:o

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GingerSue has 20 years experience.

1,842 Posts; 28,394 Profile Views

do you have some earlier references that you could ask?

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2,441 Posts; 14,333 Profile Views

It's not over, but sometimes you have to eat a little crow to keep your employment record intact. Everyone, gets really, really bad jobs from time to time.

I'm not saying I have never quit a job without giving a notice, I have, but I also made sure I didn't need them for a reference.

It is always easier to get a job when you already have a job. Dead giveaways on a resume or application is that you can start "immediately".

This is what I would do, and see what happens. Go apply for another job, put the other two places down, send a resume. If they ask you to come in and fill out a formal application, and it says, "may we contact your former employer", just leave it blank.

There are so many automated systems that HR uses anymore to verify previous employment (www.theworknumber.com), you may be ok.

However, you NEED to get two years on your resume immediately. So unless you feel your license is at risk...pick your next job carefully and stick it out no matter what.

Good luck.

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Dalzac is a LPN, LVN, RN and specializes in CCU,ICU,ER retired.

697 Posts; 7,711 Profile Views

your career is not over it has just started. One thing I do know, here in my state is the only thing future employers can ask is are they (prospective employee) eligible for rehire? And nothing else. Just keep looking you will find a job.

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Thank you both for your quick replies.

I have two previous employers that will give good references. But they are non nursing. And I am sure if I list them, it probably is a dead giveaway too. But I do list one of them, as it is medical related (PT tech for 4 years).

What do I say on the interviews?:confused: I am thinking I should say something up front so as not to waste their time (or mine). Because like I said, the interviews go well and then I don't get hired.

BTW, I did feel my license was in jeapardy (all of us nurses felt that way) d/t the lack of staffing and other issues. In the first job I mentioned the state was called and they were cited for having employees working while ill. The date of the citation correlates with the norovirus quarantine. So someone must have called the state on them about it.....plenty of the staff were disgusted with having to work while being pretty much violently ill. Yuck.

Thanks again. I really appreciate the help.

Emma

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6,487 Posts; 21,436 Profile Views

In both cases it sounds like you could make an argument that you left before your license was jeopardized. Neither place sounds like a safe place for a nurse to work, much less for a pt to be. Are you in a position where you could move to another area? Doesn't sound like there are many good nursing prospects where you are now.

Prospective employers will listen to your side as long as you present yourself as matter of fact as possible.

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The forms I fill out after the interview for the references ask specifics such as work ethic, eligible for rehire, attitude, attendance.

At the top I fill out my name, etc. At the bottom there is a paragraph stating that I agree not to hold past or potential employer liable for the information provided by the reference. At the very bottom I have to sign it.

Puts me in a very serious pickle, doesn't it?

It's so frustrating.

Thanks again

Emma

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6,487 Posts; 21,436 Profile Views

your career is not over it has just started. One thing I do know, here in my state is the only thing future employers can ask is are they (prospective employee) eligible for rehire? And nothing else. Just keep looking you will find a job.

Prospective employers have found a way around that. Both home health agencies I applied to last month had consents attached to the applications. In order for my application to even be considered, I had to give the agencies consent forms that allowed my previous employers to answer questions about me, including why I am not eligible for rehire.

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6,487 Posts; 21,436 Profile Views

Emma, don't lose hope or heart. I was terminated recently under very sticky circumstances. I applied at a home health agency that is trying to put together the most attractive offer possible to get me to sign on in spite of it. It really does sound like the two places you worked at were unsafe, and if you say that you were protecting your license, you should be okay.

Also, I don't understand why you wouldn't have been protected by the union? My experience with unions, as well as my husband's in a different industry, is that you are protected from the time you pay your dues, which should be right after you're hired.

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DutchgirlRN has 33 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in OB, M/S, HH, Medical Imaging RN.

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I've been told that employers cannot give a bad reference no matter what because they can be sued for slander.

I was told just today that perspective companies can no longer ask if the former employee is re-hireable or not. This all came up because of a DON I know of who was fired from her last 2 positions and I wondered how she manages to get new DON positions. One of my closest friends is an HR director for a large home health corporation and that's what she told me.

I don't know if this is in my state or all over the US?

Maybe you need to get out of LTC. Most of them are not ideal places to work. Have you thought about private duty? I did it as an LPN and loved it.

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Jo Dirt has 9 years experience.

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It also doesn't help to get bogged down in negativity. If your nursing career is as miserable as you are making it sound why on earth would you even want to continue in this field?

There is bad and there is good. There is plenty to gripe and complain about but ultimately you can't blame the jobs for why you are miserable. I've had more than my fair share of being made fun of by others in this profession, you will find no shortage of people who see fit to call you dumb, no matter what you do. You know how to handle it? Go on worrying about your job and leave them to stew over their own insecurities.

The post reeks with negativity. You will have to find satisfaction and self-worth within yourself.

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Yes Tazzi...that's EXACTLY what I am up against. I have to sign the consents, too. And I know that's why I am not getting hired.

You know the other thing is: When I interviewed for my former jobs....they made it sound sooooo wonderful. Staffing up to par, supported by a major organization, great mission statement, yadda ya....

So I've learned the right questions to ask on the interview, such as "Is this a new position?" and if not "Why did the last person leave?", things like that....to get a feel for them. But they are so crafty and are desperate for nurses that they make it sound GREAT. And then you get there and you're nothing but a rat trapped in a snakepit.

If only I knew what to say to them when I'm being interviewed. How to explain myself without sounding defensive or negative??

I'm not in a position to relocate (kids and family) although that would sure be nice.

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