Dear Nurse Beth,
I recently got terminated from my first New Grad Job, after 3 months. I'll spare a lot of details, but I basically didn't get any direction or guidance from my preceptor on what I needed to improve. I thought I was on the right track, and 10 weeks into orientation, management has a meeting with me and gives me negative feedback. That I am overly confident, and I need to communicate more because they're concerned that I am not asking enough questions and i don't seem stressed enough.
I take accountability for assuming I was doing well and should've asked for MORE feedback from my preceptor. So for the following weeks I work on my communication, and 3 weeks later get let go. I failed to complete my probation, and did not meet the expectations. They said although they saw an improvement, they didn't think I was ready to be on my own as a new nurse, so I didn't pass probation. I am ashamed and do not know what to tell my future employers without looking bad. Please HELP! I was working at an children's oncology unit and have an interview for Cardiac ICU. I do not want to ruin my chances of failing my interview. I can't leave that out of my resume, since I worked there before I was a nurse, and they will have to call HR for references.
Dear Lost My Job,
This is really unfortunate and know that you are not alone in losing a job. There are a lot of feelings to work through but this is not the end and you still have a future. Plenty of people have been terminated at some point in their career and still go on to succeed.
It is important to land your next job as soon as possible to avoid an unemployment gap. It's very good that you have an interview lined up. Do not dwell on the previous job and say nothing negative about your experience. Simply say it was not a good fit, and move on by saying you look forward to working in an organization such as theirs.
Moving forward, reflect on the feedback you were given. Reading between the lines, they did not think you were safe. This comes from not having a sense of urgency about clinical situations that are urgent. When they say you are not asking enough questions and not appearing to be stressed enough, it's because that's how they evaluate your ability to prioritize and recognize changes in patients' conditions.
In your next job, ask for feedback regularly and repeat back to make sure you and your preceptor have reached an agreement on performance goals. Circle back regularly with your preceptor to see if you are meeting the goals. This helps to keep everyone on the same page and avoid surprises.
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
It just makes my blood boil when I read posts like yours. Being a new grad is difficult enough without having to deal with being terminated just a few weeks into your new job. When I graduated (back in the dark ages) I was fortunate to be accepted into one of the nations premier critical care internships. My hand was held for the first 6-7 months of my career. I turned out to be an excellent critical care nurse but frankly, I don't think I would still be in the profession without those than mentored me those first few months. That said...
I'm not sure I would recommend you go into a CCU position right away unless you are 100% assured you will have a fantastic preceptor. The last thing you need right now is even the slightest hint of failure in your new position. But that's just my opinion... Regardless of where you end up, I want you to think about doing something each and every day.
Get a designated notebook. After you've gone home and relaxed a bit, spend a few minutes going back over your day. In your notebook, write down what you learned that day. Maybe jot down your assessment of your most critical patient. What did the various cardiac parameters tell you? Was there anything you missed during the busy day that you can think of now? Any meds you were not familiar with? Any physician orders you questioned or did not understand the basis for? Write out any points of confusion or unanswered questions. If you are unable to find the answers on the internet, make a separate notebook of questions you want to address with your preceptor. If your preceptor doesn't schedule specific times to meet each week, you can request time to go over things. Don't be put off. It's too easy to get caught up in the busyness of the day - for both preceptor and new nurse - so don't let this get overlooked. It's way too important. Bottom line...be your own best preceptor! You can do this!
Last edit by DallasRN on Jun 11
: Reason: left out a word