Jump to content

New nurse feeling like she made a mistake in transferring to the NICU/CCN

Updated | Posted

Specializes in NICU/CCN. Has 2 years experience.

new-nurse-job-career-fit.jpg.e68dd49b6767d0232c0a1129a28f9436.jpg

Hi there😊

I am new to posting so I’m sorry for the long read! 

I just recently landed my dream job in NICU/CCN. Previously I worked on a Medsurg/Renal transplant floor for a little over a year (I only have a little over a year of nursing experience).  Working with babies and their families has always been a dream of mine. I have been on the floor for a little over 8 weeks now. I love the patient population but I am having a hard time adjusting to the culture on the floor and I am looking for some advise. 

I am currently working in the continuous care unit and will go to NICU In august. Since I’m used to working with adult I don’t mind starting off on the less acute side of the nicu with the growers/feeders to build a stronger foundation for when I do go to NICU. 

I was supposed to have two months of orientation but was cut after around 4 weeks due to staffing issues on the unit. During my orientation I never had the same preceptor. Most of the time the person didn’t know that they were assigned to precept me for the day. Almost everyone I worked with complained the whole time about having me with them for the day which didn’t make me feel great. There has been a lot of turn over on the floor the past couple of years because of bullying so I get that people are burnt out from teaching and I always feel bad when I am sprung on someone. I once was sitting right next to the nurse who was precepting me for the day and she was complaining to another nurse about how much she hates orienting new people. It has been hard for me to gain new skills with people who really don’t want to help you. There are still a lot of things I don’t know how to do. I always ask for help or ask questions if I can’t figure it out for myself but it is like pulling teeth to get other people to help me. My biggest problem has been the culture on the unit. All the staff spend most of their time gossiping about each other or complaining. People genuinely don’t want to help each other out and spend most of their time bullying others, especially the newer nurses. I had one nurse tell me not to expect to make any friends on the floor on my second day there. That statement itself doesn’t bother me since I’m there to help my patients and families and not make friends but I just don’t understand why anyone would go out of their way to say something like that. 

I come from a very busy medsurg unit where I am used to not having any free time. There is a lot of down time on this unit. I try to stay as busy as I can so I don’t have to listen to the other nurses complain but since cares are clustered it sometimes is hard to find things to do. I have noticed that being in this environment has started to effect my mood. I am usually a very happy/positive/bubbly person and I find myself feeling grumpy and dreading going into work. On my old floor I got along with everyone. There were obviously people on that floor too who weren’t as nice but I’ve learned to keep my head down and stay busy. My main focus has always been on my patients. However I’ve never had such a hard time making friends or connecting with other people at work before. Everyone is so miserable and hostile all the time there. I worry that it is impacting how I look at this job as well. I’ve always wanted to work in an acute care setting. I love being constantly busy and challenged at work. I find myself feeling bored while I’m there which feels horrible to say. I absolutely adore the babies and their families but since I work in CCN all my cares are focused on feedings and diaper changes. Babies there are on their way home so they are generally very stable and have no acute issues or changes in status.  I feel terrible feeling this way.  At least this is how I feel working in CCN since I haven’t worked over on the NICU side yet so I can’t speech to how busy/acute it is over there. I have heard from other nurses that NICU is relatively the same as CCN just with more lines/vents.

I’m worried I made a mistake in accepting this job but I also can’t tell if my perspective of this job is being skewed because of the negative atmosphere or if it’s because it actually isn’t a good fit for me. Any advice is appreciate it! Thank you so much and sorry again for the long read! 

 

Seems like there are two basic choices: Speak up/change this up or leave. If you're going to stay I'd (visibly) stop feeling bad about needing to learn. Take the assertive track; don't approach people timidly but use a pleasantly assertive manner as if you just expect that they would respond positively. If they don't that's on them. If you can't turn the tide in another couple of weeks consider telling the manager point blank that there is a problem and you're disappointed and are not going to be treated this way. It sounds like they are having a heyday making yet another new person feel very uncomfortable. So the solution is to stop feeling uncomfortable and in a pleasantly assertive manner get in their faces a little bit.

This is the kind of situation where you call them out a little. Like if they are going to sit right next to you complaining about how they hate precepting you might say, "What would need to change in order for this not to be so miserable for you?" They'll probably say "nothing" or "if I didn't have to do it." Or in which case you say, "Well, I can't do anything about that but I do need to learn." 

That's all I've got for solutions here besides finding a different job. I don't do the whole, "When you say ______ it makes me feel ______" and all of that malarkey; you're not there to soothe everyone and boost their egos further by walking on eggshells due to their mere presence.

You have a year of experience. You know which end is up. Whether you tackle this situation or leave is a matter of personal preference.

Good luck

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 28 years experience.

It sounds like a cruddy unit with an entrenched toxic culture. Probably not much hope for improvement. You sound like a well adjusted person who is not being a drama queen. If I were you I would find something else.

SmilingBluEyes

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 24 years experience.

I would be looking for a new job. Sounds toxic to me. I am so sorry.

JBMmom, MSN

Specializes in Long term care; med-surg; critical care. Has 9 years experience.

If you think that moving over to NICU will really be the job of your dreams, I might try to wait it out until then so you can get a feel for that work flow. I'm not familiar at all with the NICU world, are the same staff members going to be on that floor as well? As far as the personalities, it does stink that you're stuck with miserable people, please don't let it turn you into one of them. I agree with the approach of ignoring the niceties of asking for help, never apologize for not knowing something. Address your preceptor/or staff member as you would anyone else, and let them know what you need. It's important for patient safety that you feel prepared, and it's the job of nurses on the floor to help you, whether they want to or not. If things don't improve, maybe it would be in your best interest to try to find something else. Good luck!

Ashywlms1290, BSN

Specializes in NICU/CCN. Has 2 years experience.

On 6/11/2021 at 7:03 AM, JKL33 said:

Seems like there are two basic choices: Speak up/change this up or leave. If you're going to stay I'd (visibly) stop feeling bad about needing to learn. Take the assertive track; don't approach people timidly but use a pleasantly assertive manner as if you just expect that they would respond positively. If they don't that's on them. If you can't turn the tide in another couple of weeks consider telling the manager point blank that there is a problem and you're disappointed and are not going to be treated this way. It sounds like they are having a heyday making yet another new person feel very uncomfortable. So the solution is to stop feeling uncomfortable and in a pleasantly assertive manner get in their faces a little bit.

This is the kind of situation where you call them out a little. Like if they are going to sit right next to you complaining about how they hate precepting you might say, "What would need to change in order for this not to be so miserable for you?" They'll probably say "nothing" or "if I didn't have to do it." Or in which case you say, "Well, I can't do anything about that but I do need to learn." 

That's all I've got for solutions here besides finding a different job. I don't do the whole, "When you say ______ it makes me feel ______" and all of that malarkey; you're not there to soothe everyone and boost their egos further by walking on eggshells due to their mere presence.

You have a year of experience. You know which end is up. Whether you tackle this situation or leave is a matter of personal preference.

Good luck

Thank you for the great advise! I think this is a good opportunity for me to practice being more assertive with my coworkers. I want to try to stick it out. Right now I’m not sure if the negative atmosphere is skewing my perception of the job or if it actually isn’t a good fit for me. I appreciate the great advise and for you taking the time to respond! Thank you😊

On 6/11/2021 at 9:44 PM, JBMmom said:

If you think that moving over to NICU will really be the job of your dreams, I might try to wait it out until then so you can get a feel for that work flow. I'm not familiar at all with the NICU world, are the same staff members going to be on that floor as well? As far as the personalities, it does stink that you're stuck with miserable people, please don't let it turn you into one of them. I agree with the approach of ignoring the niceties of asking for help, never apologize for not knowing something. Address your preceptor/or staff member as you would anyone else, and let them know what you need. It's important for patient safety that you feel prepared, and it's the job of nurses on the floor to help you, whether they want to or not. If things don't improve, maybe it would be in your best interest to try to find something else. Good luck!

Ashywlms1290, BSN

Specializes in NICU/CCN. Has 2 years experience.

A lot of the same staff work on both of the floors. The one time I floated over to NICU the person who was assigned to orient me for the day threw a huge tantrum about having to teach me. He did later apologize to me which a lot of staff who had the same attitude while teaching me didn’t. I will definitely take this as an opportunity to be more assertive. I know management is aware of the bullying/negative attitudes on the floor and don’t know how to fix it. I think my next check in with management though I will share some of my experiences so hopefully other new nurses on the floor don’t have to go through what I am. Right now I’m worried that my negative experiences are impacting how I see this job. Im going to try to stick it out and take a step back to make sure it’s a good fit for me. I really love acute care and constantly being busy at work which I haven’t been getting a lot of on this unit. Any recommendations? Thank you so much!

nursej22, MSN, RN

Specializes in Public Health, TB. Has 36 years experience.

On 6/11/2021 at 4:03 AM, JKL33 said:

Seems like there are two basic choices: Speak up/change this up or leave. If you're going to stay I'd (visibly) stop feeling bad about needing to learn. Take the assertive track; don't approach people timidly but use a pleasantly assertive manner as if you just expect that they would respond positively. If they don't that's on them. If you can't turn the tide in another couple of weeks consider telling the manager point blank that there is a problem and you're disappointed and are not going to be treated this way. It sounds like they are having a heyday making yet another new person feel very uncomfortable. So the solution is to stop feeling uncomfortable and in a pleasantly assertive manner get in their faces a little bit.

This is the kind of situation where you call them out a little. Like if they are going to sit right next to you complaining about how they hate precepting you might say, "What would need to change in order for this not to be so miserable for you?" They'll probably say "nothing" or "if I didn't have to do it." Or in which case you say, "Well, I can't do anything about that but I do need to learn." 

That's all I've got for solutions here besides finding a different job. I don't do the whole, "When you say ______ it makes me feel ______" and all of that malarkey; you're not there to soothe everyone and boost their egos further by walking on eggshells due to their mere presence.

You have a year of experience. You know which end is up. Whether you tackle this situation or leave is a matter of personal preference.

Good luck

I agree with this. And maybe your outlook is a little skewed. You seem to be focused on the behavior of the other staff and it's living rent-free in your head. Keep your eye on the prize, and I would at least tough it out until you get to NICU, where I think you may be busier. 

And I don't think many will agree with this, but I would kill them with kindness. Greet others on your arrival. Try to find something genuinely positive to say to co-workers. If cooking is your thing, bring a treat or organize a potluck.

As for trying to keep busy, is there a chance to study or read current journals? Is there any mandatory training to do? Is your PALS up to date?  Is there something you can do to make parents experience more positive? 

Ashywlms1290, BSN

Specializes in NICU/CCN. Has 2 years experience.

Thank you! I love this feedback! That’s usually my go to is to kill people with kindness. I always greet everyone and thank the nursing handing patients off to me in report for their hard work. I’ve had nurses chew me out in report and I thank them for their feedback and expertise. In previous jobs this method has worked but not so much on this floor. I’m just going to try to find a balance between being assertive but also kind and hopefully that will change their tune towards me. I agree with sticking it out and finding other ways to stay busy! I definitely think I need to take a step back from how others are making me feels so that I can judge the jobs for what it is and make a decision based off that. Thank you for your great advice 😊

34 minutes ago, Ashywlms1290 said:

Thank you for the great advise! I think this is a good opportunity for me to practice being more assertive with my coworkers.

Yep, pleasantly assertive, not acerbic. Just visibly going about your day instead of being scared/bullied into backing away from them (and the things you are supposed to be learning) step by step.

5 minutes ago, nursej22 said:

And I don't think many will agree with this, but I would kill them with kindness. Greet others on your arrival. Try to find something genuinely positive to say to co-workers. If cooking is your thing, bring a treat or organize a potluck.

I definitely agree with the spirit of this. But, then, I make a significant distinction between pandering and killing w/ kindness. My recipe is to just be genuinely kind in a way that...well, others will look like real jerks if they keep up their bully routine. But I would not be caught dead doing anything that could be taken as trying too hard for approval. No snacks and definitely no organizing potlucks when one is supposed to be learning important stuff. That is straight up pandering (IMVHO 😉). Just me.

Welcome to nursing!  Sorry you are enduring nonfriendly staff but it is what it is at this point. Since you have a lot of down time, I would suggest asking the nurses who are busy if you could shadow them or help them out.  That way you are learning something and can continue to show a positive front.   You may be just what the floor needs to enhance and lighten it up.   Good luck - I hope it gets better for you. 

nursej22, MSN, RN

Specializes in Public Health, TB. Has 36 years experience.

23 hours ago, JKL33 said:

But I would not be caught dead doing anything that could be taken as trying too hard for approval. No snacks and definitely no organizing potlucks when one is supposed to be learning important stuff. That is straight up pandering (IMVHO 😉). Just me.

Which is why I prefaced my remarks with "if this is your thing."  For some people, gifts of home baking are a sign of kindness.

And no potlucks are not my "thing" but I have been on units where it looked upon favorably. 

 

DowntheRiver

Specializes in Urgent Care, Oncology. Has 7 years experience.

You're basically damned if you do, damned if you don't in this situation. I'm sorry. I've never seen a whole unit be toxic - usually it is only one or two people. I don't have any advice to add but I did want to say that I'm sorry you're in this situation and you don't deserve it.

I'd wait it out until you've tried the NICU as you've already come this far. And yes, no knows everything, so don't apologize for needing to learn. We've all been there and anyone who pretend they haven't is lying. I will also say this....everyone dumps on Med-Surg units & they can be chaotic....but I find that a lot of the times, the nurses are very supportive of each other compared to higher acuity floors. 🤷‍♀️