So hard for new nurse

Nurses General Nursing


I recently started my career as a nurse in a nursing home where RNs are only allowed to work as charge nurses. This role has been quite challenging for me, but I have been working extremely hard. My colleagues, patients, and DOC have all praised my dedication and effort. However, there is one doctor who has complained about me three times.

Whenever this doctor calls, if I don't immediately know the name of the medication he's referring to, he insists that another nurse take the call. In one instance, he asked me about a patient's eczema, and when I said I would check and get back to him, he had another nurse take over the call. After his three complaints, the DOC, who had always praised my work, suddenly began to criticize everything I did. They claimed they had received negative feedback from patients, colleagues, and doctors. But when I asked what specific feedback my colleagues and patients had given, the DOC couldn't provide any details. It was clear that the main issue stemmed from this one doctor.

The DOC stated that I was not meeting the job requirements, citing that I sometimes speak and act too quickly and highlighting the doctor's feedback. I truly feel that they are discriminating against IENs, new nurses, and those for whom English is a second language. I am seriously considering filing a complaint for discrimination.

Specializes in Oncology, ID, Hepatology, Occy Health.

You need to state politely but firmly that if the DOC cannot give you concrete examples of incidents where you've done or said something wrong or who exactly has complained, then that only constitutes hearsay and you cannot take that seriously as a valid complaint. Explain that if a colleague, and especially a patient had genuinely complained about you then you would take that very seriously indeed and seek to rectify the matter - however if nobody can tell you what you've actually done wrong it's all fairy tales and ***le-tattle which is neither an adult nor a professional way to proceed. 

You could say that as a new nurse you expect some kind of development program and evaluation so that you can be contructively informed how you might improve your performance. Similarly that as this is a two way street, you'd like the opportunity to discuss your disappointment with the seemingly poor support you've received. Equally, doctors aren't gods and you could express how unprofessional you find it that this doctor in particular speaks to you rudely. Explain that if he puts you on edge, of course you're going to fluff your anwsers since you're only human. Is there an in house procedure by which YOU can complain about HIS behaviour? Does the Grievance Procedure exist where you work? Is there an HR person you can discuss with this? I don't know how nursing homes work in the US but is there some kind of licensing body or state apparatus which should be ensuring the home is functioning well in the interests of its patients - AND STAFF?

Are you unionised? If so seek their advice. Otherwise a conversation with an employment lawyer might be a wise step to take. Start to document everything that's said to you and keep it for yourself. This sounds like you're now being bullied by a previously supportive DOC who hasn't got the guts to stand up to a doctor throwing his toys out of the crib. You mentioned discrimination against non-anglophones. Your English above is fine. Has somebody actually made comments which could be construed as xenophobic? If so document them. 

This will only stop if you show strength and demonstrate that you won't be bullied. It's hard to stay calm and not get emotional since these things hurt deeply, but really, a calm head is what will help you most here.

The alternative is to grit your teeth, stick it out for what might be regarded as a respectable length of time to stay, say until you've been there a year, and then look for other jobs on the very valid grounds that as a new RN you need to vary your experience.

Good luck. 

Specializes in Oncology, ID, Hepatology, Occy Health.
DavidFR said:

 it's all fairy tales and ***le-tattle which is neither an adult nor a

I can't believe that got asterisked out 😅

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.
DavidFR said:

I can't believe that got asterisked out 😅

Just auto sensor.  😏

You offered good advice. Explain what DOC stands for as not term I've seen in SNFs so can add my thoughts.

First, I am sorry to hear of the hard time you are having with this. Regardless of reason it is unfair and wrong.


I truly feel that they are discriminating against IENs, new nurses, and those for whom English is a second language. I am seriously considering filing a complaint for discrimination.

Certainly possible. But have to say that it's probably sort of rare to find a nurse who hasn't been the victim of someone who just can't seem to play nice with the new nurse at one point or another--and  not just brand new nurses but sometimes experienced nurses trying to establish themselves in a new workplace. Unfortunately it isn't uncommon. I do think it is 100% inappropriate and qualifies as what these days would be considered hostile/bullying behavior. Regardless of underpinnings it isn't a bad idea to keep record of incidents and inappropriate treatment and if it does seem that there is discrimination on the bases you mention they should have to answer for that. Completely unacceptable.

I agree with @DavidFR; whether you plan to stay or plan to go I would not let them see me trip over myself or go to pieces over this. They're gonna do what they're gonna do anyway (as far as railroading/terminating you over the complaints or not), so they might as well hear that this is inappropriate; there's some small chance that a show of strength would be enough of a surprise that they decide to slow their roll.

If it's just a crappy place then it might be best to decide whether any of it is worth it to you. If it were me I would start looking for a better place right now.  While job hopping is not a good look, there really isn't anything noble about staying and taking abuse working for jerks. In my opinion there's nothing wrong with deciding to move on and spend your "formative years" (novice/beginner years) actually learning and growing instead of fighting against crap like this.

I hope things turn around fast or that you find something better fast.

Take care

Specializes in Postpartum/Public Health.

I'm truly sorry to hear about the challenges you're facing in your nursing role. Discrimination and unfair treatment can be incredibly disheartening, especially when you're working hard and receiving praise from others. Here are some ways to navigate the situation that I came up with:

Document Everything:

Keep a detailed record of incidents, interactions, and feedback. Note dates, times, and specifics.

Document any positive feedback you receive from colleagues, patients, and other doctors.

Speak with Colleagues:

Reach out to your colleagues (especially those who have praised your work) and ask if they've experienced similar issues.

Their insights can help you understand whether this doctor's behavior is an isolated incident or part of a larger pattern.

Request a Meeting:

Arrange a meeting with the DOC to discuss your concerns.

Be respectful and professional during the conversation.

Ask for specific examples of the negative feedback and seek clarification on how you can improve.

Know Your Rights:

Research your rights as an employee, especially regarding discrimination.

Consider Filing a Complaint:

If you believe you're being discriminated against, filing a formal complaint may be necessary.

Gather evidence (emails, records, witness statements) to support your case.

Seek advice from a lawyer or a human rights organization.


Reflect on your communication style. While it's unfair to be judged solely based on language or speed, consider if there are areas you can improve.

Seek feedback from trusted colleagues on your communication skills.

Remember that you deserve fair treatment and respect in your workplace. I hope you get things sorted out soon!


"The DOC stated that I was not meeting the job requirements, citing that I sometimes speak and act too quickly and highlighting the doctor's feedback. I truly feel that they are discriminating against IENs, new nurses, and those for whom English is a second language. I am seriously considering filing a complaint for discrimination."

What you described in the above paragraph is what I've seen done to an employee when management wants them out.  They either make it uncomfortable so you'll quit or they'll start to assign you a bunch of tasks, which they know you won't be able to complete, so it gives them a reason to fire you.  I know, it's not fair.

I would start applying to other jobs.

Specializes in Gerontology, Med surg, Home Health.

What is an IEN? I'm guessing DOC is director if clinical but in my 40+ years never heard it called that.

I was hollered at by a doctor during my 1st shift in the hospital as a new grad. I knew I was right so I politely explained it to him again. The supervisor was standing behind him and verified I had told him the patient's diagnosis on the phone. He never apologized but he never rose his voice at me again.

what good would a discrimination suit do? If I were you, I'd speak to the doctor about he thinks you specifically did that incensed him.

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

IEN = Internationally Educated Nurse

Specializes in CWS Certified Wound Specialist.

I am sorry you're going through this.

Being a new nurse is so difficult. Nurses tend to eat their young. I've always strived hard to be kind because I remember how difficult it was.

My first year on the floor, a doctor threw a chart at my head. I was screamed at for asking for a clarification three times to a doctor that had very broken English.

I have also worked in snfs. Nursing homes are very challenging. The best thing you could do is go directly to the source.

Kindly ask the doctor for 5 minutes and ask him what you can do different to help out in the situation and let him know that you're trying very hard.

If That does not work,  it is important for you to look for another job and also consider all the factors regarding discrimination. ( because it just could be discrimination but it may not be).

Nursing homes can be an absolute nightmare. Try somewhere else. You have a grace period if you just decide to pursue legal action. This will give  you a comparison on what level of hell you were in.

Welcome to nursing!




Thank you all for your comments and support. I won't be able to reply to each one individually. I want to let you know that I have resigned from this nursing home. On a busy morning shift, I was the charge nurse on one floor while the charge nurse on another floor was on sick leave, so I had to handle the work for both floors. On that same day, a new patient was supposed to arrive, and the nurse responsible for admitting new patients was on leave, so that task also fell to me. Early in the morning, I informed the management that I had never been trained to admit new patients and needed assistance. Later, a nurse said she would come to help me.

At around 11 a.m., the patient arrived, but the nurse was busy with other tasks and only came to show me how to admit the new patient at 12:30 p.m. While I was admitting the new patient, the doctor called to ask if there were any concerns. I took out the doctor's notebook to tell him, but less than a minute into the conversation, he asked another nurse to take the call, so I handed the phone to another nurse.

Later, I received a call from the Director of Care (DOC) wanting to talk to me. I knew I had received another complaint. By the time I finished handling the doctor's orders, it was already the end of my shift. The various assessments for the new patient had to be left for after hours, so I stayed two hours overtime. Since I was working part-time and wouldn't be back for another three days, I chose to complete the task because the nurse responsible for admitting new patients wouldn't be back for a week.

The next day, the DOC held a meeting with me regarding the doctor's complaint. This doctor is the medical director, and it was clear that the DOC was afraid to criticize the doctor and instead completely denied my work. He didn't consider the unreasonable workload for RNs, nor did he mention that I had done double the work and admitted a new patient for the first time. He kept saying that I didn't know how to organize or prioritize, and that I should have dealt with the doctor's orders first. In fact, the patient had no urgent issues that day, and the call to the doctor could have been made the next day.

As a new nurse, and an international one at that, I didn't have the courage to argue because it was obvious that the DOC was afraid of the doctor and didn't want to offend him. Moreover, my colleagues told me that a doctor had previously complained about another nurse, and the DOC threatened to report that nurse to the nursing association. So I was also very afraid that he would threaten my license. As a result, I resigned. 

Well this has certainly been a rotten experience for you. I doubt that moving on will prove to have been the wrong move.

Take whatever legitimate learning experiences you can from this (there is almost always something we can learn) and go forward. Remember that others' inappropriate behavior is not about you; they are in control of how they conduct themselves.

I'm sorry for this; hopefully brighter skies on the horizon for you ~


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