New Grad Loses Job at 3 Months

  1. 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.




    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 16
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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

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    7 Comments

  3. by   rnpatrick
    I have worked pediatric OR but not oncology. I can only imagine who difficult that unit might be. I suspect you are right in that your preceptor did not provide enough guidance and feedback. Maybe a classic case of " see one, do one, teach one." This is a destructive attitude by "preceptors" There are some who are in teaching positions that have no business being given that responsibility. IOM Keeping Patient's Safe says asking questions can be viewed as a sign of incompetence. I bet this was an attitude there and you sensed you might be so judged. For goodness sakes! You are just out of school. I hope you find nurturing environment and get another chance. The shortage does not allow for throwing away a new nurse as was done to you.
  4. by   DallasRN
    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
  5. by   Jumall
    As a retired nurse I have seen a lot. The quality of preceptor is very important and judgements based on perceived attituded can be very destructive. However, I would not recommend a crital care area for a new grad in any circumstance. Learn the basics abd become a good bedside nurse before specializing. Do you think the bedside is beneath you and /or you have nothing more to learn? I can see a preceptor being critical of a new grad who is looking for greener pastures early in employment. Take your dismissal as an opportunity to learn.
  6. by   nursegj
    First, let me say I'm sorry this happened to you. However, the current nursing trend makes this all too possible. Unfortunately, new grads are no longer required to "pay their dues" before going into specialty areas. Whatever happened to being required to work Med/Surg for at least a year before going into a specialty? You worked Pediatric Oncology and now are applying for Cardiac ICU without ANY Med/Surg experience?? At least you should have first worked on a Med/Surg Pediatric unit. If you think you got all the basics of Med/Surg in nursing school, you are mistaken. I know a lot of nurses will disagree and many go right into specialty after graduation. They are shortchanging themselves and their patients. Working Med/Surg is no joke. A year under your belt there gives a new nurse a better foundation in which to step into specialty.
    The two specialty areas I worked after Med/Surg were Labor & Delivery and the Operating Room. Those months in Med/Surg made me more prepared to care for those patients.
    Please think twice about the Cardiac ICU. It sounds glamorous, but are you really ready?
  7. by   Kooky Korky
    Sounds like your preceptor didn't do a very good job.

    Best wishes on your next venture.

    I think it's ridiculous to tell you to show agitation/stress. Maybe you just have a calm basic demeanor.

    I think it's much better to be outwardly calm, even when drastically upset. But that's just my opinion.
    It comes from the times our Instructors told us students to never show a patient or anyone else that we
    were stressed, fearful, etc. Good or bad, I took it to heart and have always tried to be outwardly calm.

    But leave it to some people to think that calmness indicates a superior, overly confident person.
  8. by   Kooky Korky
    Quote from Jumall
    As a retired nurse I have seen a lot. The quality of preceptor is very important and judgements based on perceived attituded can be very destructive. However, I would not recommend a crital care area for a new grad in any circumstance. Learn the basics abd become a good bedside nurse before specializing. Do you think the bedside is beneath you and /or you have nothing more to learn? I can see a preceptor being critical of a new grad who is looking for greener pastures early in employment. Take your dismissal as an opportunity to learn.
    Where do you get the idea that she thinks the bedside is beneath her? Or that she thinks she knows everything? Or that she's looking for greener pastures?
  9. by   Jumall
    That she would even consider a job in Cardiac ICU as a new grad, and one who had just lost her job, does not show much insight.

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