Scared of Termination

Nurses Professionalism


So, I'm a new nurse and this is my 4th week out of orientation. I'm working by myself and most recently, I broke down and started becoming more anxious and panicky. I broke down for various reasons.

1. I am being bullied by senior nurses/preceptor. I was given an assignment where one of my patients were on contact/droplet precautions for HMV and my other patient was on airborne and contact precautions for R/O TB and (+) RSV. From previous observations, senior nurses who received 2 patients on precautions would often be able to switch out one of the isolation patients. However, when I asked ANM and told her it wasn't fair, she responded with, "Well...for one of them you just put on a mask." I don't feel like it's fair that senior nurses can take advantage of the system whilst, new nurses are being chewed up like dirt.

2. Some of the aides on the floor refuse to help me and I have trouble delegating to them because every time I do, I constantly get an excuse saying "I'm behind in my charting."

3. Some of the new nurses refuse to help me.

4. I was told by ANM to ask questions and quite frankly, for literally everything I'm unsure of, I'll ask and people on my floor either sneer, roll their eyes, or give a sigh as if I'm asking for too much.

5. I've been written up 2x in the course of 4 weeks being by myself. Those were my mistakes and I've owned up to it and am more meticulous about doing things more efficiently and slower (as doing my tasks fast led to mistakes).

6. I've been told some of the nurses think I'm a weak nurse (this bothers me because I don't really speak to anyone about my personal life; they don't know me. I just try to do my job, take care of my patients and get out).

So basically, I'm at this point where I have 2 more weeks until I'm off probation and I feel like I'll be fired right after probation. I'm just trying to do my job, I'm a new nurse and I'm not trying to blame these issues on the fact that I'm new (I do look up diseases and do try to understand why patients manifest certain signs and symptoms). I just feel horrified and worried that I'll be fired because of little things here and there and what management and what my coworkers are thinking of me. Management puts on a poker face and has told me that I can voice all my concerns to them (Obviously, I would not because that's just digging myself into a deep hole and setting myself up). I don't know what I should do because I moved to this state for this job and I don't have anyone here. Bills need to be paid, food needs to be put on the table. Should I started looking into other jobs? Applying for new ones? And if I apply, I'd have to wait months before HR gets back to me, during that time period, I honestly can't think of what to do to pay bills and sustain myself. Please help.

I'm sorry you are going through this. It's hard starting out because you're finding your footing and figuring out who you are as a nurse

That being said, the eye rolling and sneering sound like bullying, but the rest unfortunately is just being part of a nurse. I've lost count of the number of times my entire patient assignment has been on some sort of precautions. It sucks but I wouldn't say say it's unfair unless you have an actually written policy which says an assignment can only consist of one precaution patient. I doubt it, as that would be a nightmare to create assignments during a cdiff/ flu outbreak. How you phrase your concerns also makes a difference in how people respond to you. Whining to a charge nurse that the assignment isn't fair is different than explaining x,y,z makes you feel unsafe or you're worried about the acuity of your assignment for x reasons. Often factors you are unaware about are involved in creating the assignment. Perhaps the ward is just very busy at the moment. The charge nurse could have responded differently, but I wouldn't say you've been bullied in this instance.

The sneering and eye rolling I would classify as bullying, but, take a look at yourself as well. Are you asking the same questions over and over again. Are you asking questions that could easily be looked up online??

My other though is how do you approach your colleagues? I know from personal experience that people will respond differently to you if you appear confident (fake until you make it) or timid, shy and unsure. Acting timid, shy and unsure unfortunately does not install confidence in your colleagues about your competency as a nurse. This may have been why you've been labelled a weak nurse. Unfortunately, ding written up for two errors will not help that perception.

Is it possible to ask for more orientation? Can you approach your educator and say something along the lines of, "I notice I've been struggling in (list specific areas) and was wondering if I can have more time in orientation? Beforehand, create a learning plan of how you will address your insifficienies and what steps/ further education you are going to undertake to make the additional time worthwhile to the employer. It will show that you are self aware and able to take initiative, which are important nursing personality traits.

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

I think Triddin gave you good advice. At the moment, it's more important for you to prove yourself to them than for you to like them. You might ask for a sit down meeting with whomever you answer to and ask for some honest feedback. Be receptive to the feedback and develop a concrete game plan for the areas that need improvement.

Your post comes across like you have a chip on your shoulder. I have no idea if you actually do, but complaining of an "unfair" assignment does not make you look good. Ask for help when you need it; be firm and polite. If you are refused, ask the charge nurse who might be in a position to help you at the moment. She might know of someone less busy, or it might alert her to shirkers on the unit without putting you in the position of complaining.

If someone perceives you as a weak nurse, it has nothing to do with your personal life and everything to do with how you present at work. Put your focus on how much you can learn and how much you can improve. Do not waste energy worrying about the behaviour of others. Being new is the pits wherever you go. Jumping ship will just mean you have to start over somewhere else, likely with the same problems and a gap in your earnings.

Hang in there. Wishing you all the best.

Specializes in Hospice, corrections, psychiatry, rehab, LTC.

I would like to know how sneering and eye rolling are bullying. Bullying involves coercion through either verbal threats or physical intimidation. This is neither.

Sorry, but one of my pet peeves is all of the unrelated behaviors that people classify as bullying.

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

I have had up to four patients on isolation before. This is not bullying. This is part of the job.

If you are constantly asking questions about things you could easily find the answers for yourself with a little research or critical thinking, it is going to both get irritating and make you look like a weak nurse.

Mistakes bad enough to get written up twice in four weeks is indeed concerning. Combined with constant asking of questions it is going to start to look like you are a weak nurse.

Patient care techs will push back. Delegation is a skill and one you will have to learn to get better at. What are you doing about them refusing to assist the patients?

I hope you do not get fired but I hope too you are able to take a deep breath and see that there is more to this story than what you painted here. The first year of nursing is tough. Prove that you are tougher. I wish you the best of everything in your career!

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.
I would like to know how sneering and eye rolling are bullying. Bullying involves coercion through either verbal threats or physical intimidation. This is neither.

Sorry, but one of my pet peeves is all of the unrelated behaviors that people classify as bullying.

I don't think there is any doubt that sneering and eye rolling can create a hostile work environment. I don't like the term "bullying" either, but there is no way acting like this toward a co-worker is acceptable.

If you don't think you can salvage this, then start your job search now. Being proactive may get you a new job before you need it whereas waiting to be terminated could make it almost impossible to get that next chance. Whichever the case, a good look at your actions and reactions are called for before you start the new job. Good luck.

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