Should I stay or should I go?

Nurses General Nursing


Specializes in Medicine.

I graduated in April of 2010 and got a job last week through an agency. At first, I was excited about getting a JOB and also fancied the idea of working at different hospitals on various units, which I thought would be a great experience. Immediately upon being hired, literally 30 minutes after leaving the interview, I was called for a 12 hour night shift. I was told there is no such thing as orientation with agencies and I would be thrown into the pool.

So there I drove into the pool head first. I worked that first shift on a busy medical isolation unit in a fairly big hospital. I was running around like a headless chicken trying to figure my way around and get myself organized. The nurses on the unit were amazing and helped with finding things around the unit, turning patients and etc. I still felt inadequate and of course unprepared for the caseload. It was my first time with the preceptor leash being off and I felt overwhelmed.

I was called for another 2 night shifts and 1 day shift of all 12s, which I accepted still hopeful of getting the hang of it. Units being: Med/surg, coronary care and rehab. Again, the headless chicken was running around but miraculously able to get things done. Going home I kept thinking "Did I chart everything?" "Was anything missed". Most of the staff on shift were busy with their own workload and unable to assist me when needed, which I completely understand and do not blame them since I'm from the agency and should be expected to know things.

Sorry for the long story. Basically, I am wondering if this is safe for a new grad? I did not work for the last two days and I literally dread the idea of going into something I'm unfamiliar with and or losing my licence doing something wrong! Should I quit and wait for something with orientation involved?

What would you do?

Please give me a little advice. My family and friends think I'm just being a whiner/complainer and that I should be satisfied with a job in this economy. I'm just frightened of making a mistake and terribly regretting it.

Thanks in advance :D

Specializes in med/surg, tele, OB.

Wow... I think it would be very difficult as a new grad to just be thrown out there. I would be very uncomfortable. Most new grads in a hospital get several weeks with a preceptor and then still have someone they can ask questions of... I would be very concerned. I hope it works out for you.

Do not stay it is not safe for you or your pts. Look for a position with oreintation. Good Luck

Specializes in adult ICU.

NO, this isn't safe. I'm actually surprised they hired you. Most agencies will only take nurses with a minimum of a year or experience.

I would not recommend continuing to do's just not smart. With no backup you are inevitably going to make a mistake and it may go badly. I think it's likely you are so new you don't know just how scary this truly is!

Kudos for you for trying though...look for something more permanent so you can get your skills solidified before you try to float again.

Specializes in med/surg, TELE,CM, clinica[ documentation.

You need orientation as a new grad, you are setting yourself up for problems by working inareas that you are not ready for. The fact that you are questioning it, should be your answer, if it fees wrong to you, it is wrong. Your family doesn't hold your license, you do! Good luck!

Specializes in Medicine.

Thanks so much everyone for the wonderful feedback. Those are the answers I needed to hear! I definitely do not feel safe continuing with it and will be getting out of it ASAP. And you're right lakergirl my family does not hold my licence.

Thanks a bunch :D

Specializes in Hospice.

We have new grad agency nurse's coming to our facility and I think it is INSANE. Not only is it unsafe but you are most likely shooting yourself in the foot. When i was an agency cna every place i went to locked me out of working there for 6 months after my last shift... agency as a new grad really hurts your chances of finding stable employment and most importantly you are going to specialty floors with zero training, that isn't fair to you or the pts.

Specializes in LTC & Private Duty Pediatrics.

Hi there:

- Why don't you try agency night shifts at Long Term Care facilities? This would

give you a chance to work with more stable patients, and hopefully give you a

chance to get more comfortable in your role as a registered nurse.

In the nursing home environment, if the patient starts going downhill, and they

are not DNR/DNI, then you send them to the hospital.

On the downside, the shifts are only 8 hours long as opposed to 12 hours in a

hospital, but at this point in your career you need to be protecting both your

license and your patient's safety.

- In the meantime, keep trying to get a full-time job in a hospital with a good 3

month orientation program. I don't understand how you would know to take

off post-surgical orders and do med-reconcilliation reports without working with

a preceptor for 6 to 8 weeks (at a minimum).


- A patient returns from surgery.

- The doctor orders Vancomycin IV 1gram Q12H.

- So you sign the orders and fax them over to the pharmacy and you write the

order in the MAR and Kardex.

- But wait!!!! Does the patient have a PCN allergy? Did they give the patient

his/her first dose of Vancomycin in the PACU? Meaning, do you give the first

dose now, or do you have to wait x number of hours. These are easy misses

that my preceptor (hospital) has shown me.


- Getting back to agencies. I too have talked to agencies, and they have no

problem sending "new grads" to hospitals. It's all about the money to them.

- I just started working in a hospital (regular full-time job), and am totally amazed at

the responsibility we have as nurses. Also amazed at how little nursing school

really taught us. Seems all I know how to do are bed changes, and patient


- Just my two cents.


Uh, I would run, not walk, away from that situation...yes, I know you need employment but more importantly, you need a functioning nursing license that I'm sure you worked hard to achieve.

When I was a new grad, I actually left the position because after 3 weeks my orientation was inadequate and most importantly, UNSFAFE. It is just not worth the potential harm to your patients, yourself and your license. Once you do find a position with an orientation, make sure it is with a team that is truly about being a team. Trust your gut, always. If it feels unsafe, it probably is. Good luck!


I would seriously consider the ethics of this agency. After 25 years of working in critical care, I recognized it was time for me to go. I signed up to work with a reputable agency. I was provided with a brief orientation (4-5 days) at each institution I went to, except for LTC facilities. My assignments ranged from a 6 wk stint in a GI clinic, 7 months in a medical corrections unit, and 1.5 years in a substance abuse rehab facility. There would have been no way in hell I would have accepted any assignment without an orientation. My license is too important to put on the chopping block.

IMHO, a new grad working for an agency is not a good situation. You need to have a few years of experience before taking on this challenge. Find a suitable position that will help you to build a foundation. I would run from this agency, and question their reputation as well. For them, the bottom line is the almighty $!

Specializes in Medicine.

Thank you all for the feedback, it is much appreciated!

I wanted to update you all and let you know I resigned. It felt good to be honest. They tried to convince me to stay and take a 4 hour orientation per facility that I would be placed in. That is still not going to cut it for me and allow me to get the hang of everything mentioned above. I certainly am not prepared to handle an emergency situation without the proper orientation and knowledge of the facility policies (or not having enough time to look it up) and etc. I am dedicated to nursing and caring for people but I am not risking my hard earned licence. I will stay patient for something consisting of a decent orientation time.

Thanks allnurses! The best place for a good advice :D


Just remember it is hard to get a job, but it may well be impossible to get your licence back if something major went down. Just food for thought to pass to your family.

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