"Bad" Evaluation..I'm So Frustrated and ready to quit!!


I transferred to my hospital's ICU/CCU at the end of February. Anytime a nurse transfers departments, they evaluate you at 45 and 90 days after you started the new job. I've been an RN for 5 years with 4 years of med-surg experience. I started off my orientation on day shift(7a-7p) for 6 weeks. My 45 days were up on April 12th. I had my eval and it was good! They pointed out a few minor things that I need to work on.

April 16th, I went to night shift(7p-7a) for 3 weeks of orientation. Night shift has no official preceptor so I had two different Senior RN's precept me while on nights. Before I started my night shift orientation, my head nurse "warned" me that the night shift crew can be difficult at times but that I needed to "earn my stripes" so to speak. My head nurse has been on medical leave since April 1st and won't be back until the middle of July/beginning of August. Well, almost all of the night shift crew is female. There is one male RN in my ICU and he is the Assistant Head nurse on night shift. Excellent critical care RN. I figured that I would have the most difficulties with him. WRONG!!!

One night, while on orientation, I ws assigned to care for a pt with DKA who had been in the ICU for a few days and should have been transferred to the floor that day but wasn't. I got out of report at 7:15pm and looked at the pt with the off going RN from day shift. After the day shift RN left, I stayed in the room to assess her and get vitals, etc. I was in the room for 10-15 minutes. Did a full assessment etc. She was my only pt at the time. So, since I was up for next admit, I then left the room to go do my charting. Fifteeen minutes later, I get my preceptor to help me change and clean this pt. While we are turning the pt, my preceptor says, "Did you chart your assessment BEFORE you assessed her?" in a condescending tone of voice. I said no, I assessed her, why? "Well, you were awfully quick about it, weren't you? I explanined that I listened to her BBS, BS, and all that other stuff. She didn't say anything. Well, I was upset that she would accuse me of falsifying records? Turns out, she reported to the Asst. Head Nurse on Days , who is acting as the Head nurse while she is on leave, that I am not thorough enough with my assessments and this showed up on my 90 day eval which was done yesterday.

My eval also stated that I act as if I "know it all" and am "over confident" and don't ask enough questions and that I drew blood from a central line and didn't know what I am doing cause I didn't have the proper syringes(am I not allowed to have a brain fart?) I've drawn blood from central lines my entire nursing career.

Well, I was intimidated by the night shift preceptor cause she was so blatantly rude and I have never been talked to like that ever!!! So, I've been hesitant to ask her questions. I've not jeopradized pt safety mind you but I didn't know You HAD to take 15 minutes to assess a pt? I didn't do my assessments any differently on nights than I did on Days and there was never a problem with it then? I explained all of this to the AHN, the DON was also present and she said that I am right where I should be with my critical care skills and it takes a year to get comfortable in an ICU. How am I gonna get comfortable if I don't get to work in the unit and am always bumped out to the floors because I am the low man on the totem pole. I knew that I'd have to float when I took this job. But I don't know how they expect me to be a good ICU nurse if I never get to work in ICU!!!!!!

If I am uncomfortable around people then I am quiet which the other night RN's perceived as being "cocky". I had NO idea I was being perceived this way and I explained this to the AHN. We talked for 45 minutes yesterday. I still don't feel any better even though the AHN said it wasn't a bad eval per se. I said well it doesn't sound like a good one either! I was so upset that I almost started bawling. I'm getting tears in my eyes as I type this.

The night shift ICU RN's who have worked there for over 10 years are cliquey and can be hard to deal with. I knew this going in but didn't think it'd be this bad. They don't talk to me when I'm there unless I initiate a conversation. Another RN who I worked with on my old floor transferred to ICU last September and they LOVE her! I don't know what to do, I'm ready to quit! Please give me some advice. Sorry this is so long!


Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

153 Articles; 21,232 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 31 years experience.

Please don't quit...it WILL get better. Take a deep breath and go on. Keep going back, doing your best, ask questions when in doubt - you know the drill!!! Its a shame that with the incredible nursing shortage - we are so mean!!!!! Know that your doing your best and get on with orientation. What shift will you be working permanently?


153 Posts

Poor Kelly...

Why can't people try to work together and be a source of encouragment for one another?

If this is what you want to do then stick with it despite what that hag says!

When you are new it seems like there is always at least one person that wants to give you a hard time.

If you know you are doing good patient care then that's the most important thing.

Performance evaluations... Sometimes I think they should be called popularity evaluations...

If I didn't agree with the evaluation I would not hesitate to make a comment on it. Always make some sort of comment!

Bottom line is how do you feel about what you are doing?

Don't let them get the best of ya!


105 Articles; 5,349 Posts

Specializes in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds. Has 16 years experience.

Sorry you're having such a horrible time, Kelly. Been there, done that, could have written almost the same thing you just wrote, minus a few minor details. Have been in the ICU now for 9 months and have encountered these same "Attitudes." Have had 6 years of med-surg, OB, tely experience. High ratings on other floors. This cold, unfriendly, back-stabbing, nurse-eating atmosphere makes it so unpleasant to come to work! Destroys ones confidence if you let it (just DON'T let it). I am not bitter about it, just a little sad. Will be leaving the ICU shortly to start a new career as an ADN instructor, but the "lessons" learned here about horizontal violence will not be soon forgotten! Hopefully I will be able to model care, empathy, integrity and acceptance in the classroom, and do my part to educate future generations of nurses to be kind and nurturing, not just to the patients, but to each other!


153 Posts

And another thing! Just keep telling yourself that they are giving you a hard time because you are prettier than they are!:rolleyes:

Okay did that bring a little bit of a smile to your face...

Specializes in Med/Surg, ER, L&D, ICU, OR, Educator.

Continue to show up on time, put your patients needs first, keep up great assessment skill and articulate charting, and be first to offer help to coworkers. They will be happy to "take you in" with them. Some shifts are harder than others on accepting new ones into the fold, but hard, efficient work, cheerfulness, and competence will get you there. Being quiet does not make you cocky in my book! Hang in there.....you'll make it!

The best revenge is success!


223 Posts

Dear Kelly

Don't be intimidated, ICU is a specialist field and the nurses do tend to be "an authority" Maybe this nurse is attempting to test you mettle. To see what your made of.

Perhaps you could try to adopt a student role with her for a while. Ask her for advice etc even when you know what you are doing. Phraze it as - this is how I would do it, what do you think.

Several years ago I found myself in a simular situation in CCU. I eventually realised that people there found it hard to evaluate me because I didn't ask questions just got on with it. I know you feel sad but things will improve

Good luck and keep smiling



1,577 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg Nursing.
Originally posted by nursegoodguy

And another thing! Just keep telling yourself that they are giving you a hard time because you are prettier than they are!:rolleyes:

Okay did that bring a little bit of a smile to your face...

Yeah, I laughed a bit! Thanks! I am prettier and younger too by at least 10 years!

I've been off orientation since May 1st. I had 4 weeks where they weren't able to bump me out to the floors. That protection was over June 1st. Their Critical Care course consisted of watching 4 two hour Interactive Video Disks in Nursing Ed.

My point is, if they (the experienced night shifters and yes that is my permanent shift) see that I am not doing something properly or not doing something that I should be doing, then why didn't they tell me personally and not run to tattle to the AHN? I mean that is how I handle things out on the floor?

Why are nurses so mean to eachother? Why do we backstab one another? I guess I'll never figure it out.

The night shifters told the AHN that I don't do certain things, like double checking calculations on a dopa gtt with one of them(I checked it myself)---I forgot, was very busy. Well, how do I know, I'm new to critical care(didn't have a dopa gtt on days orientation). They couold have very nicely reminded me and I wouldn't have minded one bit. But noooooo.....they run to the AHN first...doesn't seem like the way to do things to me.. Oh well, maybe after three days off, I'll feel better. I really want to be a critical care RN but maybe at my present facility isn't the place for me to do this.


1 Article; 2,394 Posts

Specializes in Everything except surgery. Has 27 years experience.

I wholeheartedly agree with everything said here! Hang in there, and don't let them push you out! All of the above advice here I would take to heart...and remember it everytime you go to work! The nurse who precepted me in NICU was a witch! My buddie who I graduated with and went into the unit with, got the best preceptor EVER! Me I was also quiet...but not because I wasn't a talker...but because I was miserable!!! I got on the nite shift after my preceptor was sure we would kill a baby...and found it a whole different world! A resident walked up to me, and stated she could see the change in me....and this was only after a week of being off days!!

So sorry to hear that it has happened to you the other way around...:o. I'm a baker....and nothing gets to people like sweets. I have had people who didn't speak to me before ...speak to me all the time...after tasting one of my pies..:chuckle. I know...you shouldn't have to do this kind of stuff to get people to be nice. But right now....those hags are trying to block your path...and you need to unblock them. And if it takes putting something fattening to loosen them up....hey...whatever works...:chuckle.

I would also become a broken record ..seeking out their opinions and input...as has already been said. If you can't beat them ...join em. At least until you get where you want to...:).

Take heart...unfortuantely you're not the first who has had to "prove herself"...to those who couldn't wait to stand in quick judgement. But YOU can, and will be able to do this! Even if it takes fattening them up a little bit before the kill...:chuckle...just kidding...:cool:


153 Posts

They run to the boss because they think it makes them look better by ripping you apart, plain and simple!

I hope that I will always put the patient first and if I notice something will ask the other nurse, "Hey did you double check that" just to ensure the safety of the patient at the time rather than waiting to run to the boss to make myself look good at anothers expense...

Personally I can't stand the boss and would just as soon run in the opposite direction!

Take your 3 days and do something nice for yourself you deserve it!


487 Posts


Ok, why not try something new? Be positive. Smile. Ask for and then listen to every last piece of advice any one of them can give you.

Tell them what they want to hear, that you need their input. Accept that is part of your "learning".

Look things up in text books, look up your meds, take a critical care course outside of the hospital, become engaged with the wonderful world of critical care on your own terms......... it will show through.

The main point I would stress is TO LISTEN. I know they are not taking the high road by running to "others" and not you when something is seen as being done "wrong". However, take the high road. Go to them, say, "listen, I hear from so and so that you feel......." and then tell them you appreciate the input.

May not be everyone's way, but I have found it can work.



475 Posts

Kelly, I just hate that all of this bs is happening to you. Wish I could be there with you to take on the Bullies!! I went to the exact same thing in a big ICU night shift my first year out of school, only I was a new grad. The best thing I learned that year is that I will NEVER treat anyone the way I was treated. I hope things get better for you, but if they don't , get the H*LL out of there, you don't the stress. (especially since you are trying to get pregnant!!):D

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