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New grad fired 2x- now what?!

First Year   (19,149 Views 21 Comments)
by heartbrokenRN heartbrokenRN (New Member) New Member

1,170 Visitors; 8 Posts

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Sigh... I don't even know where to begin... I've been lucky enough to be able to get another job after I was fired the first time. Am I going to be able to find a second job after the second time?!

When I graduated from school, I couldn't find a job in a hospital so I swallowed my pride and took a position in a LTC facility. Though I absolutely hated it, I knew that it was still experience and I could continue looking for another job while I was there at the LTC facility. After 3 months, I started looking around because I really just couldn't take enough of the stress: 25+ patients, passing meds, dealing with behavioral issues, not to mention the different culture of a LTC facility, and all the charting. I was confident in my knowledge of meds, procedures, treatments, etc. I hated working 5 8-hr shifts, but I have to say that I really benefited from the daily repetition and the daily OT for charting really allowed me to save $.

I was fortunate enough to land a job with my first call-back and first interview in a step-down unit. Orientation went really well for me due to my previous experience, which I hadn't even bothered to list on my application since I wasn't at the LTC facility long enough. I had a great relationship with my preceptor and I had positive feedback from her all throughout. I had some difficulty with my time management skills and there were a few bad days here and there, but I survived. I had a personality conflict with my back-up preceptor, which I *thought* wasn't a big deal since I didn't work with her often. Two nights before my probationary period was over, I had to work with my back-up preceptor. Grrr... The night went well until just before shift chage. My preceptor noticed that my post-op patient had an air leak- she was furious, but she told me that she would take care of it. I didn't cry, or have much of a reaction, but I offered my help, asked what I could do, etc. She huffed away in disgust and as soon as day shift arrived, she rushed off to tell our supervisors of the event. I humbly agreed that she should ask our supervisors to extend my orientation. I was embarrassed and horrified that I should have caught the air leak myself. My back-up preceptor was still in the office, even after I gave report on our patients. I waited around a little bit to try to say goodbye, but she never came out so I went home. The next time I arrive for my shift, I look for my name on the assignment board and I didn't see it. Oh no... I asked the charge nurse about my assignment. It was supposed to have been my last day on orientation. The charge nurse arbitrarily assigned me to one of the more senior nurses, knowing that I was about to be off orientation the next day. My morning went well until one of my patients fell because he was trying to wiggle to the edge of his seat d/t his swollen scrotum. I called for help, but no one came... (Way to go team! ) The only person that came to help me was one of our supervisors. Oh no again... I got hauled away to her office to discuss the air leak event, nothing was mentioned about the fall. I ended up getting canned the day before my probationary period was over. I was mortified and heartbroken. My badge was taken away and I had to beg security to let me out of the parking lot. I was distraught and angry at what had happened in the last few days. I wondered if these events had happened after the probationary period was over, would things have been different. In any case, I didn't have too much time to get depressed. I didn't look for a job until well over a week later. Lucky enough, I scored another position with my first interview!

My second position didn't begin until the following month. One month wasn't a horrible amount of time to wait and I was able to make some extra cash with the flu clinics in the meantime. I was grateful that luck had come my way. This time I was skeptical about my new position because of the higher acuity level and general awkwardness with a different patient population. After a few weeks time, I got over it. I really didn't have a choice. I made one huge med error where I was about to put the wrong medication in the wrong port. Oh crap! It was the middle of the night. I was tired. And I guess I was confused because the medications came in similar syringes. I had other med errors along the way: I gave an extra dose of IV lasix after it was changed to PO lasix because I missed the change; I was about to give 0.4 mg of a medication versus 0.04 mg, but it was caught because I had my preceptor check before I gave it. These med errors are inexcusable. I understand. The remainder of my orientation went well and I was sure to ask for help whenever I wasn't sure about something. Unfortunately, the med errors stuck out in my preceptor's mind and tarnished my reputation. My orientation was extended, and I was even able to make it through to the end of my probabationary period without too many complaints. I had some rough days too, but I survived. Again, two days before my probationary period, I showed up on my supervisor's radar. This time, an resident had complained about me: there was a whole slew of his orders that I had to work through and he had gotten annoyed that I was being slow. I heard about his complaint through a third party the following day; the resident, himself, never complained to my face, or ever acknowledged my existence for that matter. This complaint got through to my supervisor and I was canned again! Knowing that I had some difficult adjustments to my new unit, it wasn't entirely a surprise... But I was just horrified that I had been fired twice, again right before my probationary period ended.

At this point, I don't even know what to do with myself and I've lost confidence in myself as an RN. How do I go about looking for a job now?! Especially during this tough economic time, I'm falling into an awkward category. Am I still a new grad since I haven't had enough acute care experience or am I considered experienced, and therefore, ineligible for a preceptorship. I still feel like I need some hand holding at this point. Anyone else in a similar boat?

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Not_A_Hat_Person has 10 years experience as a RN.

7 Likes; 1 Follower; 37,360 Visitors; 2,891 Posts

How old are you? Had your health insurance kicked in yet?

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13,187 Visitors; 2,801 Posts

My experience was similar, heartbrokenRN. If you dig around through old threads you can probably find some more details. I don't have time to write much right now, but I wanted to let you know that you're not alone. And take pride in what you HAVE accomplished and learned in the last two positions!!! I think it helps to remember that it's not just you that "didn't fit" the positions but the positions apparently "didn't fit" you either. That is, as much as people tend to think of nurses as interchangeable cogs, not all positions are the same, there are so many different variables... managers, co-workers, acuity, hospital culture... that you needn't jump to the conclusion that you're "not cut out for this." And with these experiences behind you, you may now have a better idea of what will and won't work for you. Be sure to remember all of the positive things that you've gotten from these experiences... they are in no way 'a waste'!

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9,170 Visitors; 720 Posts

I am so sorry this has happened to you and I am humbled by your story. I am starting my very first job as a new grad after a year of unemployment and i am not sure how it will go especially since i will be working with a tough population at a tough hospital. I will surely keep your story in mind. Again I am sorry this happened, was there no union at your hospital to offer you some kind of protection? Keep your head up, you aren't a bad RN, it was just a bad situation and I am sure you have learned from your experience. I hope something new comes to you very soon. Never accept defeat, you can do this.

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1,170 Visitors; 8 Posts

Thank you all for your kinds words! I'm still trying to work through my situation and wondering about the kind of struggles I face as a new RN. As each day passes, I worry that my skills will atrophy. There is a dearth of jobs and I am getting anxious about finding another position. If I were to get an interview, they will want to know why I am no longer at my last position. What do I say? It looks strange to anyone to quit a job before landing another one. How do I answer this question? At this point, I haven't even mentioned this situation to many people because I am just too depressed and embarrassed.

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9,170 Visitors; 720 Posts

Be honest, tell them what happened, don't put the blame on your preceptor nurse, but just give your side of the story and then follow it up with what you learned from it so that you don't make the same mistake twice. You can either rise and meet this challenge or let it beat you down, and I don't think you are the type to let anything beat you down.

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13,187 Visitors; 2,801 Posts

Are there any nursing refresher courses with a clinical component in your area? If so, it might be worth the investment to get more clinical exposure and experience before applying for another job, to build your confidence as well as show that you have been actively building your skills.

Have you ever looked into agency work? While the majority of opportunities are for experienced, ready-to-hit-the-floor nurses, sometimes there are a few unique opportunities that may come up that would suit you. I lucked into a temporary stint at an exclusive hospice facility with great ratios and resources - meaning it wasn't overwhelming for a newbie. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a job there, but it was a good experience.

Maybe instead of applying for jobs right away, try to arrange a slew of informational interviews and shadowing experiences. You can also ask nurse friends/acquaintances if they can arrange for you to shadow them or one of their colleagues. You can compare and contrast your experience with your observations and see if perhaps certain units or facilities look like a better or worse fit than what you've already tried.

While you can't get hands on experience shadowing, you'll probably get a lot more out of observing than you would've prior to your own RN experiences. You can focus on observing whatever you want to focus on, without the distractions and responsibilities that you would have as an employee, or even as a volunteer. Many places do not allow shadowing, but some places do, so if you're interested, it's worth asking wherever you can.

I wish I had a quick, simple solution... mostly, try to keep your head and your spirits up. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. And different experiences. Best wishes!

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3 Likes; 57,224 Visitors; 10,263 Posts

Heh. Dig around for a thread named, I think, "So I'm fired. Again."

It isn't you.

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phlox has 8 years experience and works as a Retired RN who will be taking a refresher course t.

4,540 Visitors; 141 Posts

Had I or a co-worker made the med errors you did, I would expect me or them to be fired, to be completely honest. Med errors can harm or kill. Can you take another class on math and meds? or find a job where you do not pass meds? Sorry to sound so critical in your time of distress. But that is how it is were I have worked. If you need the extra help, get it and don't just keep finding more jobs of the same nature and keep expecting different results.

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1,408 Visitors; 31 Posts

Replying to shippoRN about the union...the union (at least the one I am familiar with) can't do anything unless you are done with your probation period (ours was 180 days/6 months). I was canned at 178 days for no "real" reason other than I just wasn't a good fit. The union rep went with me to the meeting with my manager but it really didn't do any good, she couldn't do anything to help because I was technically still on probation.:angthts:

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5,139 Visitors; 394 Posts

Well it seems your med errors were "near misses" that's what preceptors are there for. Since your never made it the past probationary period I dont think you need to include these on your resume. It would hurt more than help. But you have to triple check everything. Orders,meds, remember your 5 rights! They always say be afraid of a new nurse that doesnt second guess herself..you can get sloppy. Take it as a learning experience and pick yourself up and try again. Maybe try a doctor's office. Good Luck.

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1,903 Visitors; 55 Posts

try another deprtment other than step down/icu. there are floors you are just not "cut out" for. so you keep your head up and move on to a different department. every disappointment happens for a reason. very true.

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