57 and Don't Know Where to Turn

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I most recently finished a 6 month contract in ICU at a local hospital. After being there for only 1 1/2 months, they asked me to extend for another contract. After starting the second contract, I was waiting and waiting for them to ask me to extend again. But as at the last minute, 2 weeks prior to my contract ending, they asked me to extend for only 2 weeks. I did.

    And in the meantime, they brought in another day shift traveler. So my contract ended.
    And about a week after my contract ended, another one came up with the same facility through the company I had been with. I had my recruiter submit me but was declined.

    3 months prior to this contract, I was at a local facility on and off for 6 -7 years per diem or contract, whatever their needs were. At the end of that contract, they would not extend me stating that I wasn't using critical thinking. But yet I had been going there for 6-7 years. throughout that entire time period, I had been in one of their ICUs, and the most recent contract, I was in another of their ICUs.

    And there were 2 nurses in particular who did not like me for some reason. Of course, they are not going to come out and say it. One of them was a known bully and said some very rude things, not only to me but to other people as well. But yet, she was able to keep her job.
    I was friends with one of the charge nurses, and even she could not believe what happened.

    Prior to that job, I was doing med surg for 10 years at a well known university. I went through a very difficulty time with an illness for which I took FMLA. And when I came back, I wasn't top notch, and they terminated me.

    I am 57 years old and just don't know where to turn. I have been wanting to change specialty for awhile now but haven't been able to. Part of me want to go back for NP, but at this point, I have very little self confidence. As I reflect back on my nursing career, I never had a mentor or an official preceptor program. When I worked at the University, they had year long preceptor programs for new grads. Something I wish I had had. Also, during nursing school, I was a single parent. And there wasn't one day out of 7 days a week where I had any relaxation.

    On the weekend I would work so I could do school and parenting during the week. This went on for 10+ years. So at this point, what advice can you give me. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated. I also want to say that I have never killed a patient. I have not had any major med errors. Maybe a handful at most. I show up on time. I do my work. but yet it seems like I am not good enough. It seems as though either I am asking the wrong questions when I do ask or I am not asking any questions when I should. I feel like I am receiving so many mixed messages.

    Dear Feeling Not Good Enough,

    You were terminated or not extended from 3 different facilities not for one sentinel event or even serious error, but for a general lack of critical thinking. Leaving out the nurses who were unkind or didn't like you, there is still this theme.

    It all seems to have started with your long illness. Before your illness you were employed 10 yrs at the same facility. Do you feel there were any residual cognitive effects from your illness that affect your performance? Reading the signs, it seems you are coming up against barriers over and over to your career in bedside clinical practice. And it's certainly making you unhappy. It may be time for a change. Something entirely different.

    In most nurses' careers, there is a time to step away from the bedside. You have a lot to offer. Have you considered looking at jobs away from the bedside? Or outpatient setting, such as a clinic or dialysis, just to gain perspective until you have time to think about what you want to do?

    It would be good for job security at this point in your career to look for a permanent (non-contract) position. It would be nice for you not to have to depend upon a contract being extended.

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
    Last edit by Nurse Beth on May 17
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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,414; Likes: 4,219

    2 Comments

  3. by   LilyRN99
    With all your experience maybe you could get a job as a clinical instructor for an LPN program.
  4. by   BeenThere2012
    I feel bad for you. You have put in many years and suffered hardships along the way...I know this is a very difficult position for you to be in.
    As Nurse Beth said, a position away from acute care may be better suited for your situation now. I have a friend who was in a similar position who was an amazing nurse
    in many ways but was not cut out for the fast pace and pressure involved in acute care these days. She ended up in Home care and is thriving beyond belief. ( not to say that Home care doesn't involve critical thinking), but the pace is much different and she can think through her decisions now under less pressure. She does spend an inordinate amount of her own time doing paperwork. That is a trade off she is willing to take in order to remain in the nursing profession.
    I wish you luck and send hugs! You can find a better specialty for you. You need to explore other options is all. Have you considered Case Management?
    Last edit by BeenThere2012 on Jun 14 : Reason: Omitted a word

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