New Grad Fired After 2 Weeks

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I am a new grad who graduated this summer with my BSN. I was let go from my first nursing job only after 2 weeks. I graduated with honors and had my capstone in a busy Emergency Department.

    I started my first nursing job on a busy orthopedic floor at a trauma 1 center. It wasn't what I was passionate about but wanted to give it my all. My real passion is ED, but I knew that I needed to get ICU experience before I get to the ED. The orthopedic floor would help me get my foot in the door for a trauma 1 ICU. I was hired along with 5 other new grads.

    Our orientation was only 5 weeks long but the director told us that if we needed longer that it would be okay. All other new grad started out with taking care of one patient at a time while my preceptor gave me 5. I found it difficult to find a routine and I was penalized for even asking questions or not knowing the answer to a question.

    One of the nurses on the floor noticed that I was being criticized more than the other new grads and that I should request another preceptor. Director told me it wasn't possible and the next thing I know the education department is following me around. They suggested that I spend another week on days, (I was hired on nights) and that I go down to two patients. I agreed, thinking it will help me develop a routine so I can provide safe care for my patients.

    The whole orthopedic unit moved from 20-bed unit to a 40-bed unit and nurses were taking on 8 patients at a time. They pulled me into the office last week and gave me some recommendation which I truly took to heart and made myself a whole new brain sheet and even came in an hour early to prep for the day.

    Yesterday they pulled me in office and said that I have two choices, either I was going to be terminated or I could send her letter of my resignation. The director told me that didn't have time to teach new grads how to be real nurses and that I would never make it any hospital. She said I would be better off in longterm care where there is less critical thinking. She said I shouldn't bother applying to new grad programs because I would fail at those too. I don't feel like 5 weeks of orientation is enough to provide safe care for patients especially for new grads. I don't want to believe her but I feel like a failure and wasted my time becoming a nurse. I really am passionate about being in the emergency department one day as I was an EMT/firefighter for 6 years before I went to nursing school. I'm not sure where I should go from here.



    Dear New Grad Fired After 2 Weeks,

    So you were let go after 2 weeks, meaning 2 weeks on your own (following 5 or 6?) weeks of orientation)?

    If so, it sounds as if your orientation should have been extended rather than putting you on your own. How can they document that you successfully completed orientation when you are not independently managing the workload? You had not yet found your feet, you knew that, they knew that, and yet you were independently responsible for a patient load?

    When you have a rough start or are a slow starter, sometimes managers will offer more support, believing you will develop; or will decide to cut their losses early on, if they believe you will not develop.

    Whatever they believed about your performance, the harshness of your dismissal is inexcusable. That coupled with a 5-week orientation for a new grad says that the organization may be questionable.

    If you can get into a reputable new grad residency program, it would greatly benefit you and give you the tools to succeed. Time is of the essence, and you may not qualify because you have been employed- but I'd try.

    Your Director painted long-term care as suitable for those lacking critical thinking, but that's not true. You will find many sharp and compassionate nurses in skilled nursing facilities, rehab, and sub-acute settings. Transitioning back to acute and ED can still be your long-term goal.

    Above all, do not take the words of an unkind, frustrated Director to heart. Someday she may show up in your ED and then you can shower her with kindness.

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth



    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Apr 13
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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,439; Likes: 4,308

    27 Comments

  3. by   Pixie.RN
    Just a note: typically ICU experience is not required for the ED. I have worked in several EDs, from Level None to Level 1, and that has never been a requirement. The ICU is a totally different environment than the usual ED.
  4. by   lovenursing2234
    so, i went through a new grad program
    for about a month before i started on my
    unit. was supposed to be 6 week orientation
    week 2 they said my preceptolp wasn't
    hard enough of me. so they switch and
    gave me someone that bullied me and made me feel incompetent. in turn then said i was incompetent and an educator followed me to prove i was an unsafe nurse. at the end of that the educator said that i just needed to develop organization skills. at that point i was discouraged and though i wouldn't make i as a nurse. this was 4 weeks in and i ha 2 weeks to take my full load on and provel i was where i was meant to be. i barely had a chance and they didn't even give me extra preceptorship time.i ended up pulling through but never let yourself feel discouraged, someone will appreciate what you have to offer to a unit . you earned your way and license. don't give up it just probably wasn't the right place for you. i've been on my unit for over a year now and gained respect but just never ever let others bring you down in something you've worked so hard for.
  5. by   luv2
    This place is not worth it, this is your blessing find a new grad program for the emergency room or new grad ICU in a rural area or in a hospital in another town. Do not put these people as references the nurse manager and director sound horrible. This is how some hospitals are they do not train nurses. Use your professors as references the ones who like you, cut off your former coworkers do not tell anyone your plan. buy critical care reference books go to as many conferences, Relax stay focus and humble. Please believe in yourself and do your best everyday
  6. by   Mountainnurse33
    First, please DO NOT listen to that director. When I was given the choice to leave or be terminated the hospital manager said many mean and untruthful things to me about my nursing. I didn't respond because essentially she knew nothing about me and my work. It still hurt.

    These are the experiences so many of us new grads have that we weren't warned about in nursing school. I discovered the hard way the good residency programs are nearly 18 weeks and are truly supportive. Mine was short and catered to the new nurses who did clincials in that hospital. I was automatically an outsider and behind on experience that they all had there.

    Go after what you really want right now. Get a good resume made and go after that ED new residency program at a reputable hospital: university hospitals, Dignity, Sutter, Kaiser. Check out RN Interview Tools on Facebook. It's a great resource and supportive new grad community.

    We believe in you and know you'll do great when you find the right fit.
  7. by   Medic/Nurse
    I don't usually recommend anything less than transparency but... DAMN.

    I could give you long flowing analysis, but I'm not going to do that at this point.

    Here's the deal. I'm guessing this is a two month blip on your timeline. I hope you are NOT a big social media poster. (Kids, this is why social media is not your friend). If you are big in social media about this prior spot, scrub it. Now. Nursing can be a small community in some "circles" and word of mouth is a real thing. I hope not in your case. If you have some anominity, now is the time. Use time wisely. Go meet with a former prof you were on good terms with - as a FF/EMT you might be a "known quantity" and that can cut both ways, but if you have any good contacts in even a small ER, now is the time to use them. You need to find a job. A residency. ER anything. Somewhere. Now.

    The way you were talked to is unnecessary. Just ignore it as meaningless. Move on, it reflects more on them than you. I've seen toxic workplaces and bad actor managers, but wowza. Just go to LTC. When they crap on other nurses as "less than" for critical thinking that tells me everything I need to know.

    I might just be so traumatized over the way I was "essentially terminated" I could become amnesiac over the entire event. Kinda a PTSD thing -- I've not been dishonest, but that was brutal for essentially a systems issue and I just cannot imagine a manager speaking to me like that. No. Like just forget the entire thing. Move away if necessary. Not even kidding. You could list it and reference it and just say it wasn't a good fit and it was a difficult decision, but the right decision.

    Not sure what your situation is, but the FF/EMT thing might be coming into play here (I'm sad to say that, but it has happened to many). Somehow, when other nurses know that is your background, it has the potential to make the transition unnecessarily "unpleasant" be it deserved or not. Just my opinion and experience.

    Honestly, I have also worked with several EMS'er who did not shut up about their backgrounds - including one who was not here to be getting "bedpan experience" and being ready to run trauma - and thought they were so bright as new nurses and I could not find reasons fast enough to see that they were shown the light or shown to the parking lot. I say that only because of my background. I never mention my FF/Medic/Flight background when I go somewhere new - ever.

    Also, some new nurses spend a lot of time talking about their "goals" - this is a big NO-NO when you don't get your "dream job" or you are DOING TIME till you can apply for CRNA school.
    Stop it, kids.
    Really.
    I'm just "here" till I can get to ________. This is not cool.
    You are where you are with others that are giving it their all.
    When you pull this horsecrap, it immediately lets everyone you are working with know that you think you are "passing through" "too good" "better than them" or what the heck ever. That the unit you have to be on, the one they work on is someone... undesirable. It's gonna put a target on your back. You might be good, competent - but that's just part of being a nurse and as a new grad or newer grad, I'd suggest if anyone (not implying the OP did this, just general advice for the future as so many find themselves in these situations) is doing this, you are setting yourself up for failure.

    I 100% AGREE WITH PIXIE.RN -- YOU DO NOT NEED ICU EXPERIENCE TO WORK IN THE ER. NOT EVEN SURE WHERE THAT IDEA WOULD COME FROM.

    Find an ER residency or ER new grad spot double quick. Anywhere if you are mobile. Cast a wider net. New grad, prior EMT (only to hiring folks not to PEERS ever). Your long term goal is to just be a good nurse in 6 months. Love the ER. THATS ALL FOLKS.

    Either tell any NEW JOB folks about your prior nurse job and resignation/fired experience (I hope you resigned) or not - it wasnt a good fit, I enjoyed patient care, focus on what you learned. If you have resources consider taking ACLS on your dime. Buy an Essential of Emergency Care (ENA Publucations). Join ENA. Take TNCC and ENPC (Trauma and Pedi classes). These may help you land an ER spot and you will meet ER folks.

    Also, most of this is general advice as many read these posts - social media can haunt you. Stay off the net about it. Really.

    Keep your head down and mouth shut, and just get it done - is still good advice, still applies. Keep your business, your business.

    Things will work out OP. Just give it another try, fit matters.

    6 years of FF/EMT ... MATTERS. Give it another try with different tools.

    Last edit by Medic/Nurse on Apr 13
  8. by   Have Nurse
    Quote from Mountainnurse33
    First, please DO NOT listen to that director. When I was given the choice to leave or be terminated the hospital manager said many mean and untruthful things to me about my nursing. I didn't respond because essentially she knew nothing about me and my work. It still hurt.

    These are the experiences so many of us new grads have that we weren't warned about in nursing school. I discovered the hard way the good residency programs are nearly 18 weeks and are truly supportive. Mine was short and catered to the new nurses who did clincials in that hospital. I was automatically an outsider and behind on experience that they all had there.

    Go after what you really want right now. Get a good resume made and go after that ED new residency program at a reputable hospital: university hospitals, Dignity, Sutter, Kaiser. Check out RN Interview Tools on Facebook. It's a great resource and supportive new grad community.

    We believe in you and know you'll do great when you find the right fit.
    I agree with my colleague. And I am INCENSED that a new grad was handled with such carelessness and lack of compassion and protection. I have no patience with smug higher ups who proclaim idiotic things implying that one doesn't use critical thinking in skills in long term care. What planet did she fall off of? Many LTC facilities have skilled nursing. What a moron!

    Don't be discouraged, Kiddo. You have a bright future ahead of you. You just need to allow yourself to react to this and work the emotions that go with it before you venture out again.

    I would hire you, and I would make sure that you had a firm foundation. Again, it's another example of seasoned nurses "eating their young." What idiots!!!
  9. by   TruvyNurse
    It sounds like you were really trying and gave it your all. There are some nasty people out there and it sounds like you encountered some of them right off the bat. Don't take it to heart. You're young and new. Try to find nights in an ER. I've never heard of an ER requiring ICU. I've known many new grads who start in ER. 8 patients is a lot for even a seasoned nurse. Our limit on MS was 6 patients. And I don't know but no one in their right mind ought to be punishing a new grad for asking a darn question or not knowing an answer. To hell with em. You will have a successful career elsewhere. Just keep that positive attitude and work as hard as you have been.
  10. by   BonnieLook
    Sounds like Saint Peter's Hospital. You are not the first. They also don't pay for the training.
    Last edit by BonnieLook on Apr 14 : Reason: error
  11. by   IUDismyBFF
    Sounds like a pretty one sided story...
  12. by   Jewelsforme
    I read through this and it sounds like you were set up to fail, not to succeed. You should not have received more than two patients and ask questions until you are either retired or dead. I don't know why this happened to you but it's definitely not your fault. I hope you can travel or move to a place that has a more supportive orientation program for new nurses. It isn't you.
  13. by   Leader25
    You got lucky,you got a chance to see what a hell hole that place is with rude unprofessional administration before committing to staying there and being abused .Now you have a taste of the real nursing world and you can find something better,because there are better places.There is another plan for you.
  14. by   Knotanoonurse
    This is such a mess. Try med surg at a decent facility. I know people love the specialties but MS or something like tele/step down will give you a great foundation. It sounds like this place was not prepared to take new grads and they failed miserably at trying to throw together an orientation. I would like to say I cannot believe it, but unfortunately there is a lot of nastiness and game playing in nursing. Sad but very true. I wish you well. Be careful where you take your next job.


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