New Grad RN forced to resign- help

Nurses New Nurse


Specializes in NICU, New Grad RN.

Hi, I'm a new grad RN- I graduated May 2022 and began a NICU Nurse Residency in the fall of 2022, and just a mere 5 months in I was asked to resign from my program.


Some background- I began in September what was supposed to be a 6 month orientation. The education team off the bat was trying to shorten it to less than 5 months but said if we need more time we can ask for more time with a preceptor. I had many different preceptors due to staffing issues. There was one I had for a decent amount of time that I clicked with and learned well with- I found myself wanting to go back to work and learn more about the nicu patients in the beginning when I was with her. I had pretty easy patients being in a Level IV nicu but I really sought out more challenging experiences so I could be prepared for the sicker kids when coming off orientation. I didn't get those sicker kids until I had a difficult preceptor who was a bully to me.


Early January I had a new preceptor almost every shift (night shift too) until I got to one who I would have for my remaining three weeks of orientation, these all being day shift. This preceptor had a way of giving feedback which was very condescending- making me feel stupid. I thought I was the problem, until I really got the brunt of the negative feedback and bullying. Anxiety increased with this person and I really regret not asking for a new preceptor earlier (but again, I'm new to all of this and trying to give myself grace- I was made to feel I was the problem when I was still someone who was learning). This preceptor brought up 'concerns' to my education team to which I tried to improve upon (again, still learning, still on orientation) and a lot of these were new experiences to which I didn't know what to do off the bat-and I was criticized for. One Friday I was going to a weekly education meeting (which we were supposed to have weekly, except they didn't do this with night shifts because the educators didn't work nights- only twice was I asked to come in earlier to have a meeting and that was after not having one for weeks). This Friday meeting included one of my managers whom I hadn't seen since my first week of orientation. Management did not lead the orientation and in speaking to a mentor from college, my manager shouldn't have been in the meeting unless she was running orientation. She had said that based on what the poor preceptor was bringing up, I should "self reflect on whether still see [my]self here, in the nicu at the hospital I was at.” I was broken- I had called this my dream job and was made to feel I didn't belong. No help was offered, and I was visibly upset. The following day, I chose to come back- I fought myself and I was really proud. Unfortunately, I had one of the worst shifts of my life. 


I was with the not-so-kind preceptor and we had a super sick kid. My friend who was freshly off orientation had an assignment near me and offered me and my preceptor any help, as it was a pre-ecmo kid. Lo and behold, later in the day we had to turn to ECMO cannulation. My preceptor scoffed at my friend offering help, scolded me that I "can't not be focused" after a practitioner delegated me the task of recording the meds given and significant events, and shouted at me later in the day. My friend noticed all of this, and even heard this preceptor ***-talking me and another orientee at a different time during the day. The following day I decided to email my education team asking to be put with an educator so they can see firsthand how I was performing. They agreed, but wished I "had asked Friday after my meeting for this-“ to which I didn't even fight back. I was sobbing after that meeting and rethinking my life choices, and the worst day with this preceptor happened after that Friday meeting. Again I wish I asked for a new preceptor sooner, but I genuinely thought I was the problem-my bully was a good bully.


Fast forward, I went to work the following Tuesday and was with an educator. The morning went great- I had a 3:1 assignment which was chaotic but got through the day despite some hiccups with an infiltrated IV. I received any and all feedback from the educator, discussed points for improvement, and really valued the shift we had together. 


Wednesday morning I returned. I was with a different educator. Early in the morning I was called into a meeting with both of my managers. I figured it was to talk about my previous preceptor and how she treated me. HR was not present, but I was told I was leaving the program. 


It was a mere five days after my FIRST meeting in which a manager was involved and I was not clued into the fact that HR and the chief nursing officer were involved. Not once have any of them witnessed my personal skills. That week was the FIVE MONTH MARK from my first week of hospital orientation. I was told more time wouldn't benefit me to continue in the program and that I was too much of a risk. I did not have a union rep present, and I was told I could either sign a resignation (which wouldn't be seen as breaking my contract since it was still the probationary period) or they would hand me the termination letter they had in front of me. I was appalled and at a loss for words. Once I was able to gather my thoughts, I told them how incredibly unsupported I felt by my management and education team. My managers asked "well, when did you come to us physically for support? We oversee over 240 nurses we can't reach out individually" (which in my mind, if you have new grad nurses and you want some sort of retention, you make sure they're all well and good). I was told to "not give up on my dream" and to keep going as I wrote out a resignation. I was heartbroken. 


In speaking with a mentor from college, she had said she'd been hearing from other new grads lately that hospitals are doing this- they're trying to get their new grads off orientation faster to not have to deal with preceptor pay and to fix their staffing. My mentor also added that after describing this situation to her, she conferred with other college advisors and after bringing up the hospital I was at, heard many other stories incredibly similar to mine. My hospital hired a lot of new grad RNs and reports are now coming out about the hospital's high turnover of those new grads leaving before orientation even ended.


I am shocked that this would happen and am really, really struggling to move forward from this. My world was flipped upside down- I moved back home, have no job right now, and just have a huge distaste for nursing and management at this time. It was helpful talking to my mentor about this, but I really don't want to go through this again with another residency (not that I think it will- my situation was poorly handled) and I don't want this to affect my future.


Any advice or relatability to my situation is greatly appreciated- I feel so lost and don't know where to go next. 

I am sorry this happened. Have you found another job?

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