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New nurse left alone with huge blood clot and post-op bleeding

Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Dear Nurse Beth,

I have been a nurse for 5 years. My only experience is as a wound care nurse. I have been feeling like I need to expand on my nursing skills because I would like to go back to school for FNP. I decided to apply for a job at a small surgical hospital and I landed a position on the Med Surg floor. During the interview, I let the DON know that I have no floor experience, thus how long would my orientation be and he stated 6 weeks. So I thought that would work out. I started my orientation and everything was good until I seen the new work schedule. The DON had already scheduled me to be on my own...with only 4 weeks of orientation. And let me mention that the unit was closed for 1 1/2 weeks due to low census, therefore I really only got 2 to 3 weeks of orientation. So I went to talk to the DON and I expressed my concerns, he stated that he felt I was ready and due to the low acuity of the patients he felt that 4 weeks was enough. Well I could not get him to change his mind. So I started my first week off of orientation well. But on that third day, well it didn't go so well.

So let me say that this hospital was going through changes. Another company was buying the hospital. They were letting go of workers and some people even got demoted.

Before the changes we typically had a CNA, the DON, ADON, charge nurse and case manager on the floor. Well on that third day, it was only myself and another nurse (who I had just met for the first time that day). So this nurse had just came back from short term disability. I do not know how long she had been working at this hospital. But unfortunately for her she had to wear several hats that day, she was case manager, charge nurse, etc.

One of my patients that I received that day had a procedure done to the nose, I cannot recall the name of the procedure. Anyways, I was charting when the patient's wife (she was in the room) called, I went into the room and she stated the patient's nose would not stop bleeding. I did explain to her that he did have surgery so some bleeding is expected. When I looked down at the basin, there was a bunch of tissue papers with a lot of blood. I went to talk to the other nurse and she told me to call the Dr. I did and he just said to order afrin and spray each nostril every so often, I cannot remember his exact order and carefully apply a gauze in the nostrils to stop the bleeding. I remember thinking how does he want me to spray his nose often if I apply a gauze to stop the bleeding. So I followed the Dr.'s orders, when I went back to apply the spray again I noticed that the patient developed a huge blood clot to the one of the nostrils and if I removed it he would just start bleeding. The bleeding was backing up so much so that it was coming out of his tear duct. Again, I called the Dr., of course he got upset and told me that "everything is connected (as if I didn't know)...that is normal (bleeding from his eye)". I just did not know what to do. I turned to the nurse who was working with me for guidance. I told her about the bleeding and blood clot, I asked her to come with me to the patient's room so she can see and give me advice. She just said "I believe you". I really felt like I was on my own with no support. Anyways, long story short...PACU nurses came to the patient's room, called the Dr. and told him that the patient needed to go back to the OR.

So when my shift was over...I went to my car and just started crying. I just felt awful, like a failure. I ended up calling the DON told him what happened and I ended up resigning. I felt bad doing it the way I did. He did ask me to reconsider, but I already made up my mind.

Was I wrong to have resigned so quickly? Was I wrong to resign the way I did? I was there for a little over a month...should I include this experience on my resume?

This experience really has me reconsidering going to the floor 😞

Dear Felt Awful,

You were put in an untenable situation. I'm so sorry, and that should never have happened to you.

Three weeks of orientation for a nurse with zero MedSurg experience, and then you were placed on a floor with no support. Top that off with a condescending doctor and an unstable patient.

I would not feel bad about resigning because you were forced into an unsafe situation. You did the right thing, you asked for a longer orientation, and they dismissed your concerns.

Moving forward, it's your choice whether or not to include the short job tenure on your resume. Technically, if you don't, it could be falsification of a job application. You worked there about 4 weeks, so it's obvious to any recruiter that something was drastically amiss. It's possible that the facility has a poor reputation and it would be easy to put two and two together.

You never want to come out and say anything negative about a previous employer, but you can say "it wasn't a good fit" and let them draw their own conclusions.

Chances are you would do fine on the floor given different circumstances. You landed in a particularly unhealthy practice environment. Small facilities have fewer resources, and it's very possible you would thrive in the right environment. Don't give up-it's not you, it's them.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth