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New nurse needs advice. Might be let go at end of orientation

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I thought I was doing well in my orientation until around week 9 when my preceptor starting telling my manager a bunch of things I was doing wrong. This was the first time I was aware of these problems. My manager called me in for a meeting and my confidence went down a lot. She said she was extending my orientation by 2 weeks. Since then I’ve made a few mistakes. None of my patients were harmed and I don’t see them as major but my manager does see them as big problems and was concerned. In our last meeting she said that she’s not completely sure if I will have a job at the end of orientation if she doesn’t see improvement. I’m not really sure what to do at this point. I will try really hard to do well in these last 2 weeks. If I don’t make it though should I still include the 3 months of experience on my resume? If I have to provide contact information I’m not sure if she will say anything good about me. This was my first job so I don’t have any other experience. I’m just really scared right now and need some advice.

So did you all come up with an improvement plan?

If they are not at least that invested, I'm afraid the writing is on the wall. As I've said here before, it isn't just about not making any mistakes or about the nebulous "improvement" they hope to see in the next two weeks, but also about completely changing the opinions they have formed without being able to directly change their perceptions at this point.

I say try your best and don't give up, because that wouldn't be what's best for you. Learn whatever there is to learn, both in your actual duties and from this situation as a whole. At the same time, start thinking about plan B. Be careful to remain professional and as kind as you can muster; IOW don't burn bridges.

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

Orientation should include weekly reviews. If you are just receiving this bad review at 9 weeks , there is a problem with your orientation. Your precepter has failed YOU.  Management should know that. 

Request  clear instruction , as to what the further expectations are.

If  you do get canned for this lousy orientation, I would surely leave it off of my resume.. as it is bull ***.

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

3 hours ago, medapop said:

I thought I was doing well in my orientation until around week 9 when my preceptor starting telling my manager a bunch of things I was doing wrong. This was the first time I was aware of these problems. My manager called me in for a meeting and my confidence went down a lot. She said she was extending my orientation by 2 weeks. Since then I’ve made a few mistakes. None of my patients were harmed and I don’t see them as major but my manager does see them as big problems and was concerned. In our last meeting she said that she’s not completely sure if I will have a job at the end of orientation if she doesn’t see improvement. I’m not really sure what to do at this point. I will try really hard to do well in these last 2 weeks. If I don’t make it though should I still include the 3 months of experience on my resume? If I have to provide contact information I’m not sure if she will say anything good about me. This was my first job so I don’t have any other experience. I’m just really scared right now and need some advice.

I don't know what your mistakes are or the personalities of the nurses you're dealing with. What I can tell you, is that something similar happened to me and I managed to fight for myself and stay onboard. I gave an impromptu, impassioned speech. It's very possible that the nurse manager agreed with me so I would shut up and get out of her office.

What saved me (I think) was a bold and assertive can-do attitude, finding friends anywhere I could find them, and never speaking a word about any interpersonal problems to anybody for any reason. I also changed preceptors for "a better fit" ...never hinting at the disdain I felt for the first one, no matter how hard people tried to get me to talk.

Good luck. It doesn't always work out, but sometimes it does. It's good to be realistic, but "it ain't over 'til it's over".

Ella26, BSN, RN

Specializes in Allergy and Immunology. Has 3 years experience.

Hello, 

Sorry to hear you’re having a tough time. 
Whatever happens, use it as a good learning experience. Reflect on what you could do better on abs what you need from a future employer to guarantee your success.
 

If you are let go, as others have stated, please remain professional at all times. That is very important. Thank them and show gratitude for the awesome opportunity and experiences you received.

It will be devastating however, but, keep your head high. Do lots of self care. Do not talk negatively about anyone. Take some time to grieve the loss. 

If you do decide to put it in your resume, and are questioned about it, just say the unit wasn't a good fit to foster your learning. It didn’t meet your needs or expectations. Which in itself is true, but, it doesn’t imply you did anything wrong. Then, you can outline what your looking for in a residency program or preceptor. 
Good luck. 

speedynurse, ADN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ER, Pre-Op, PACU.

It always frustrates me when I hear things that happen like that. You should be receiving weekly feedback.....not 9 months after the fact. It also sounds like they are essentially throwing you under the bus so to speak. Some departments are like that.....others will really try to allow new grads to learn and grow and will support them. IF this job doesn’t work out, don’t let it crush you! I had a job once as an experienced nurse where I was treated like absolute garbage. It crushed me and made me feel like a failure even though I knew I was a competent nurse. Fast forward - leaving that job is the best thing that has ever happened to me and best decision I ever made. I am in a new department where I am treated well and feel comfortable with my team. I am at peace with my job. I hope as a new grad nurse this job works out, but if it doesn’t, keep trying and applying to other jobs! One day you will be with a team that is good to you.

HarleyvQuinn, BSN, RN

Specializes in Military, ER/Trauma, Psych, Post-Partum, Med-Surg. Has 12 years experience.

On 10/11/2020 at 6:11 PM, medapop said:

I thought I was doing well in my orientation until around week 9 when my preceptor starting telling my manager a bunch of things I was doing wrong. This was the first time I was aware of these problems. My manager called me in for a meeting and my confidence went down a lot. She said she was extending my orientation by 2 weeks. Since then I’ve made a few mistakes. None of my patients were harmed and I don’t see them as major but my manager does see them as big problems and was concerned. In our last meeting she said that she’s not completely sure if I will have a job at the end of orientation if she doesn’t see improvement. I’m not really sure what to do at this point. I will try really hard to do well in these last 2 weeks. If I don’t make it though should I still include the 3 months of experience on my resume? If I have to provide contact information I’m not sure if she will say anything good about me. This was my first job so I don’t have any other experience. I’m just really scared right now and need some advice.

I agree with everyone else. If you're only receiving feedback at the end of your preceptorship, they've failed you. I've said the same to managers who want to write negative annual employee evaluations without having a single discussion with the employee throughout the year. You're failing your employees. In the military, in order to give a bad evaluation (at least officer evaluation), it's required to have counseling paperwork to back it up or it can be appealed. To not discuss problems with your employees/new orienting employees until it's time to give bad reviews at the end of the year or orientation is lazy, poor leadership skills at best and shady practice at worst. Unfortunately, it seems all too common. Not having a concrete improvement plan in place or specific guidance on what needs to improve only further hints at the "not a good personality fit," or that you're not going to change their mind regardless of what you do. Don't take a bullet for people who wouldn't even bother to notice you lying on the floor bleeding afterward. 

It's better to have the place on your resume and explain that it just wasn't a good fit for your learning needs and explain that you prefer timely feedback on your performance than HR to find out you did work somewhere previously and fire you later for not listing it on your resume. 

Abetterway, BSN

Specializes in CCU,ICU, Neuro. Has 38 years experience.

I precept often and have mentored many nurses. We have a weekly meeting with the manager (the Orientee and I) and discuss the orientation in depth. The Orientee is free to speak their mind as to how WE can make improvements, as well as us telling the improvements we need to see in them. A plan is formed in the office right then and there. There are no surprises at the end of the orientation. If they request extra weeks of orientation, it is given to them. Please request a meeting to detail the improvements you need to make. If they cannot meet this requirement, you can decide if they meet your expectations. I have been places where the orientation was poor, And frankly I found the unit lacking in many ways. Hopefully, your management will step up and give you the proper orientation that you need and require. If they do not, I would look at this as a valuable learning experience and search for a unit that uses professionalism and modern orientation techniques so you can be the excellent nurse that you have trained to be.

On 10/11/2020 at 6:46 PM, JKL33 said:

it isn't just about not making any mistakes or about the nebulous "improvement" they hope to see in the next two weeks, but also about completely changing the opinions they have formed without being able to directly change their perceptions at this point.

I'm going to support what you said with an example.  I was in that situation in my first job as an aide.  But I made all the changes they told me to make, and I improved to exactly where they said they wanted me to be.  After finding a patient on the floor when I came back from my lunch break because nobody answered the call bell while I was on break (Which is scheduled by the charge nurse, so I had no choice but to be on break during that time), in my report of what I saw, I put that when I came back the call bell was on (INSANELY important detail), and when I went into the room I found the patient on the floor.  My manager said that I was complaining that the call bell was on when I came back from break and since that doesn't fit with the hospital's culture, I was fired.

Edited by TheDudeWithTheBigDog

SaracaraRN05

Specializes in Psychiatric Registered nurse. Has 15 years experience.

I've been an RN for 10 years and have been in the same situation. First did they not meet before 9 weeks with concerns with a plan with goals? In my opinion if 2 weeks is all you get for reevaluation, move on because this employer wants you off orientation quick and throw you on the floor. You'll find managment and fellow employees beside you just bully you. If they let you go it wasnt meant to be and you want an employer who encourages educating and teaching nurses while working, experience or none. Again your not alone I've been there. Keep your head up, kill them with kindness and do your best. We all make mistakes matter the experience and learn from the entire situation! 

clamchopz, ASN

Specializes in New Grad- Emergency Room.

I have been in your shoes before.  I thought I was doing well on orientation, and towards the end, the preceptor gave nothing but negative feedback to the managers and creating a lot of anxiety for me.  The manager gave me 3 shifts to "improve," but eventually I was called to meet with her in HR.  I've worked long enough to know that you never go to HR without a union rep.  My union rep heard my side of the story and agreed that I had a poor orientation and a bad preceptor.  But because I was still on probation, the union was "not allowed" to interfere as much, and I could be fired "at will."  So after a good fight, I was still fired.  I guess it was a blessing in disguise because that department was definitely not a "good fit" for me.  It took me about two months to find another job.  Orientation in the new hospital was completely different, with much more positive learning.  

Like what everyone else has been saying, do your best.  If you can involve a union rep, please talk to one.  Whatever happens, you have tried your best.  Unfortunately, not all first nursing jobs are ideal.  Nurses eat their young.  You are not the first, and only person that this has happened to.  If you end up leaving in whatever terms, you will be able to find another job.  It is best to include this job in your resume.  During your interview, just say the unit was not a "good fit."  You mutually decided to part ways.  You have learned a great deal and decided to move on.  Some nursing experience is sometimes better than NO experience at all.  Never speak badly about anyone or any place.  Good luck!  Please keep us posted!

dawnicarose

Specializes in CNA.

A preceptor is supposed to be teaching you, and guiding you through the new flow of your position. Ask questions. If your preceptor won't answer them, find someone else who will. If your preceptor is not helping you, tell your manager. You might need a new preceptor. Everyone makes mistakes, and that is a big part of orientation. To learn. Your preceptor is supposed to be telling you what you need to improve on. If they have not been doing this, explain this to your nurse manager. As a CNA, my preceptor didn't do squat. Said that I needed to work on time management, and do this, or that. I was charting on time, doing vitals on time. Bathing my people. Helping other CNAs, while my preceptor sat on her butt, studying for school. I requested a new preceptor. First preceptor gave me all 3s out of 5s, claiming she does that for everyone, because supposedly no one comes into orientation knowing how to do it all. The second preceptor gave me 3s and 4s, for the same reason. Told me I needed to work on my time management, even though he also claimed I was not behind, and did everything on time. A couple of other CNAs took me under their wings and helped me. Showed me the ins and outs. Showed me tricks to make it easier. Find someone who will help you.

Take your time. Double and triple check what you are doing. Rushing can cause mistakes. If you feel anxious, take a breath. 

I will say this. Mistakes can be a big deal even if it seems like they're not. If you forget to turn the bed alarm on, a patient could get out of bed, and fall. It can seem so small, but have big consequences. 

I'll say this again. If your preceptor is not helping you, tell your manager. At my hospital, preceptors received extra incentive pay, or preceptor pay. If they aren't teaching you, or guiding you, they are not doing their job. They shouldn't be getting that extra pay. 

Edited by dawnicarose

ghillbert, MSN, NP

Specializes in CTICU. Has 20 years experience.

What were the "few mistakes" that you don't see as a big deal since the discussion? What types of errors? I do not agree that it's "not a big deal" to be making repeated errors while orienting - is your preceptor working with you? Supervising? Available for questions? Are they errors where you weren't taught what to do properly? 

I need so much more info.

19 hours ago, ghillbert said:

What were the "few mistakes" that you don't see as a big deal since the discussion? What types of errors? I do not agree that it's "not a big deal" to be making repeated errors while orienting - is your preceptor working with you? Supervising? Available for questions? Are they errors where you weren't taught what to do properly? 

I need so much more info.

I understand why you ask but it's irrelevant if they aren't going to either let this orientee go or else help him/her to make a real plan for improvement. The bottom line that was posted here is that this individual has been lead to believe that they are doing well (or maybe at least on par) for 9 weeks. Now it's getting down to the wire and the preceptor/employer suddenly wishes to air their concerns and opinions about everything s/he has been doing wrong that they haven't previously disclosed/critiqued--which is a situation we read about here not infrequently unfortunately. It's baloney.

It's quite possible this is someone who needs significant improvement. But people need to give a little clue and then probably a lot of direction. That's why there's (the pretense of an) orientation.

ghillbert, MSN, NP

Specializes in CTICU. Has 20 years experience.

Perhaps irrelevant to YOU, but that's your opinion. It's very relevant to me. It's a separate issue than the quality or lack thereof of the orientation process. It will most certainly be relevant to the OP when he or she tries to get another job, and progress in his or her career.

 

10 minutes ago, ghillbert said:

Perhaps irrelevant to YOU, but that's your opinion.

What the heck. The entire post is about what happened before the errors of unknown significance that you are referring to.

 

Edited by JKL33

I'm not saying this isn't a growth opportunity one way or another or that there's no use discussing the OP's part in this.

Yet the topic is about the fact that someone believed they were on par for 9 weeks and then got trashed. Again, not an unheard of story around here. The only way the OP is completely responsible for this is if they had been meeting regularly and telling him/her that there were significant deficits that needed to be corrected pronto. Doesn't sound like that was the situation though.

Secondly, have you seen some of the things new nurses consider significant mistakes? We have a very recent thread about devastation related to not putting an isolation sign on a door during a busy night shift.

I will admit that I'm completely biased because I am **over** nurses always having to be the party, out of whomever all was involved in something, to be the ones who have to display massive penitence for their failings no matter how meager or insignificant, which are often equated to either moral or ethical failures.

 

ghillbert, MSN, NP

Specializes in CTICU. Has 20 years experience.

I think you're taking this a little too personally, or imbuing things into my post that I did not say or think. I just asked for more information.