New grad told to sink or swim

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I'm currently a new grad RN in an ED. I have two years experience as an ED tech so the ED is not a completely new environment to me.

    My preceptor has just informed me that I'm not progressing fast enough and I have a meeting with her, the manager, and the educator tomorrow. She states that my ability to manage my time and prioritize tasks isn't where it needs to be.

    They're going to come up with an action plan to help me. However, the environment is not very supportive and even my preceptor says that it's "sink or swim" here. She agreed with my suggestion that I should start looking for another new grad job in case I fail. My question is, how should I reflect this experience on my resume if I fail?

    I'd want to try for
    tele jobs at this point since my confidence is now blown for ED jobs at this point. Thanks for the help!

    Dear Sink or Swim,
    First of all, at your meeting, be open and receptive to the feedback. Hopefully the action plan is measurable and designed to help you succeed.

    Do read What to Expect When You Receive a Warning at Work.

    Since you already asked your preceptor if you should start looking for another job, and she agreed, consider asking for an in-hospital transfer to another unit. This would give you a fresh start and it would avoid termination. The problem may well be that you just need a more supportive environment.

    A "sink or swim" expectation is still perpetuated by some nurses, especially those who were trained in that manner. They feel that if they just had to tough it out, so should everyone. At the same time, there is an expectation that new grads progress at a certain rate, show initiative, and manage progressively harder assignments.

    On your resume, if it shows a short tenure in the ED, simply list the dates. When asked in an interview, you can say that it wasn't a good fit.

    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 18
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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,447; Likes: 4,324