Dear Nurse Beth,
I have a concern and am hoping to get some advice on how to handle my situation. I'm a new grad RN and I am 2 months into orientation. The nurse manager on my unit is a very challenging being. She's been the manager of the unit for well over 10 years, and has worked with the same hospital system in a different capacity for even longer (so she is highly "respected" (scared of)).
The nurse and tech turnover rate are incredibly high due to management. Staff retention is close to nonexistence, so most of the staff are fairly new. People know to stay away from our unit. A brief description of my manager includes overbearing, micromanaging, disrespectful to the staff, nothing is kept confidential, and when a concern is voiced she reacts punitively (which makes people hesitant to voice anything).
The main concern I have is that she is known for writing people up whenever she learns that they are interested in an internal transfer. So essentially, she makes it impossible to transfer as there is a time frame that you have to wait after your write up. Needless to say, the morale of the unit is low.
As a result, this makes me question my decision on accepting the offer for this position. It's only been two months, and I have already had a bout with her just by voicing a concern about my experience thus far. Now I am nervous that I have a target on my back, and once off orientation, I fear that she is going to set me up/write me up and mess up my clean slate as this unit is just a gateway for me and she knows. I can tell when she has spoken to my preceptor because usually, my preceptor is nice and in a happy mood, but whenever she talks to my preceptor to check up on how I'm doing, my preceptor's energy is way off (stressed, anxious, and hurried), which makes me uncomfortable and interferes with my learning.
I'm at the point where I want to put in my notice as the managers of the residency program informed me that there is nothing that they can do to help. When I first spoke with one of the managers of the residency program, she told me that they can definitely see if I can be put on another unit. A couple days later, she was kind of rude, stern, and said that a transfer was not an option. Turns out they spoke with the unit manager regarding my concern and the unit manager told them not to transfer me. To note, I have met several people in the residency program who were granted a transfer due to issues with the manager/unit with no problem. This takes me back to my comment when I said, "people are scared" to step on this particular manager's toes.
I'm aware that this can happen in any unit that I go to. The beginning of this experience started off terribly, and I am ready to leave..maybe apply to another hospital's residency all together, or seek out other nursing opportunities in the community. I don't want to be miserable with my job because of management. Every day I go in with a positive attitude, but whenever there is interaction with the manager I find myself to be stressed and the rest of the day goes downhill. I'm just sad that my nursing career started off this, and I am 100% positive that this experience with this manager is not going to get better.
Dear Miserable because of Management,
This is not a good situation but let's figure out what's best for you.
Although you say "several people in the residency program were granted a transfer due to the issues with the manager" this is not typical. Typically new grads are not allowed to transfer to another unit mid-orientation. I have seen 1-2 new grads max per cohort transferred due to significant performance issues and when the hospital wanted to provide them a better fit. Usually none are transferred.
You also say that she she makes it almost impossible to transfer but that the turnover is incredibly high. Are they quitting the facility?
You had a "bout" with your manager, appealed to your residency manager for transfer, but then later you were blocked from transferring. It sounds like the residency manager heard the other side of the story and then changed her position. Think about the "bout" and perhaps how you could have expressed your concern differently. You got off to a bad start with your manager, but consider making it a goal to turn this around. You will learn and grow far more than you could by running away.
I would concentrate on my performance and learn everything you can. Ask your preceptor for performance feedback and take it to heart. Just learn your job and try to be the best nurse you can be. Don't give them any reason to target you.
Even with a poor manager, quitting at 2 months in is not recommended unless you have another job lined up. Potential employers will look at your short tenure and not the inadequacies of your manager. Try to stick it out and in a few months, you may see the situation differently than you do today.
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!