ADN Graduate : Feeling discouraged and overlooked for promotions in LTC

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I am a 37 year old who graduated from an ADN program in May. My nursing experience previous to graduation was limited to a few months of working as a PCA. The first job offer I received out of school was in long term care. I accepted a position on a med cart with the understanding that I would be trained into a unit manager position and fill that position when an opening presented itself.

    My DON recently interviewed and hired another, more experienced RN for a unit manager position that will be opening soon. I don't like working the med cart and am feeling very discouraged and disappointed. My DON told me that she still has me in mind for the position in the future, but is giving this opening to the more experienced nurse.

    I'm not sure if I want to stick with this job, as I don't know if she is telling me the truth, or just keeping a nurse on the cart. My goal is to go into psychiatric nursing, so this job is just a stepping stone. However, I also have enough life experience to know that several short term jobs don't look great on a job application either.

    What would you do?

    Dear What to Do,

    I would be actively looking for a new job for the following reasons:

    • It takes time to locate, apply for, and land a new job
    • Employers realize that new grads often take their first jobs in long term care because of the market, but don’t plan to stay there any length of time. Don’t stay in a bad working environment in order to have a a few months more tenure on your resume
    • Your employer has not been truthful with you
    • You deserve better

    There are a couple of lessons to be learned from your experience that will help you in moving forward. If a job offer/promise is not in writing, it holds no weight. The DON’s “carrot” of promoting you to unit manager was just that- a “carrot”. You need to step back and question the motives of a DON who is telling a brand new grad that she/he will be the next unit manager.

    When the top employees at a facility do not have integrity, it’s a good sign that the organization has a similar lack of integrity. Things do not get better- you are the one who has to change. By leaving.

    I wish you the best of luck in your next job.

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,537; Likes: 4,550
    Nursing Professional Development Specialist; from CA , US
    Specialty: Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho


  3. by   Rose_Queen
    Honestly, with only 6-7 months as an RN, you aren't ready for a unit manager position. Instead, make yourself more attractive for other positions: complete your BSN and get some experience under your belt.
  4. by   kbrn2002
    Is this DON aware that you just see this job as "a stepping stone?" If so I don't blame the DON at all for deciding not to promote you into a management position that you plan on leaving as soon as you possibly can. Not to mention that with so little experience at the bedside I highly doubt if you are ready to step into a management role just yet.
  5. by   Frankie.L
    I completely agree with what Rose said above. Having just a few months of experience as an RN is close to nothing. It's not easy climbing the ladder so quick, but if you are still committed to it then your focus should be on your academics and getting at least a BSN. It will definitely open more doors for you.

  6. by   MrsK62
    If you want to be a psych nurse go get a job on a psych unit. Apply to a geroppsychiatric unit if you have to. There's a lot of overlap between a geroppsychiatric unit and a nursing home.
  7. by   elkpark
    I wouldn't necessarily consider the DON hiring a more experienced RN into a management position over a new RN with 6 mos experience to be the DON not being "truthful" about training you for a management role. Maybe this other nurse was someone she really wanted to hire, who is a real "find" for the organization. When she talked about moving you into management "when an opening presented itself," did she say (or even suggest) that she specifically meant the very next opening? 6-7 months of experience really is not v. much experience. Lots of organizations would not consider a new graduate a candidate for moving into a management role with that little experience.

    I am also curious about whether others have been able to figure out that you consider this job "just a stepping stone." If that is the case, it would not be surprising that the DON is not going to be investing any further effort or resources into your future there, regardless of what was said when you were hired. You mention that you "don't like" your current role; how is your attitude at work? I'm sure you're making an effort to do and say the right things around the DON, but people talk, and, if you've shared any of your negative views with coworkers, that info may have been shared with the DON.
  8. by   hppygr8ful
    Be careful what you wish for - Unit Manager may not be all you think it's cracked up to be. It could include a lot of administrative worked that you are not prepared to do. I much prefer focusing on patient care than being a manager and I have done both.