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Unsafe work environment--advice needed!

First Year   (1,299 Views | 3 Replies)
by Elisgirl Elisgirl (New) New

Elisgirl has 1 years experience and specializes in well newborn nursery.

941 Profile Views; 14 Posts

Hi,

I've been in my current job, my 1st job as an RN, for about 10 months now. I enjoy working in the particular specialty area, but the work environment leaves little to be desired. There is serious understaffing at my facility to the point that it is unsafe for patients and unsafe for my license. When it is crazy busy and I'm the only RN doing my particular duties for multiple patients and I have a time frame of 2-3 hours to do what I have to do and get the patient sent over to the next unit, the possibilities of missing something become very real. I don't want to get too specific on the area I work in as one never knows who peruses these forums, but suffice it to say, everyone I work with is seriously concerned and upset about the understaffing. People get floated to units before they are even properly trained and nurses with 1 year of experience have to do charge many times, like it or not. My sister, who has been an RN for 20 years, thinks it is a very dangerous facility based on the details I have given her and has encouraged me to get out as soon as possible (she lives in another state and I am not willing to move for various reasons, so working at her place is not an option, by the way).

My question is this: Would I have a better chance of getting another job if I stay here until the 1 year mark instead of looking for a position now? Another RN friend who just left the facility encouraged me to look now during "season" as there are more jobs available. I'm disappointed in the way my 1st job has turned out and it seems the hospital corporation I work for has a well-earned reputation of understaffing as they are profit based. Experienced nurses, please advise.

Edited by Elisgirl

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laKrugRN specializes in Cardiac, ER, Pediatrics, Corrections.

479 Posts; 5,699 Profile Views

Have you spoken to management or HR about your concerns? If you love the place, do all you can to hopefully resolve these issues. If management or HR doesn't change anything, I'd look for another job. Understaffed=stressed nurse, mistakes, etc. It's a snowball effect.

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HouTx has 35 years experience as a BSN, MSN, EdD and specializes in Critical Care, Education.

9,051 Posts; 45,646 Profile Views

I sympathize with your concerns. But remember, any violations of your Nurse Practice Act will be due to your own decisions... although you may feel that the organization's environment is not supportive of nursing practice, your own actions are the only thing that will have a negative impact on your license. As licensed professionals, we are "mandatory reporters" - which means that we must take appropriate actions if we become aware of any legal or professional violations. If we simply ignore them, we become complicit.

Does your state have some sort of Safe Harbor process? If so, I urge you to learn about it and use it when needed. If you have specific concerns about patient safety, these need to be discussed with your manager. Take advantage of any appropriate mechanisms that your organization has put in place, such as a confidential 'compliance' reporting system or incident reports. There is probably some risk involved if you take these actions, so be sure to maintain 100% compliance with P&P to make yourself less of a target for retaliation.

In the meantime, it's perfectly OK to look for other employment. But NEVER bash a previous employer or supervisor as an explanation for leaving a job - it's not professional. Instead, just rely on one of the stereotypical phrases such as "it wasn't a good fit for me" or "I was seeking career growth opportunities".... we all know what those mean. ;)

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Elisgirl has 1 years experience and specializes in well newborn nursery.

14 Posts; 941 Profile Views

Thank you so much for your replies...very useful information. I think what I will do is wait until my 1 year mark (which is coming up in a few months) and then start applying elsewhere as I think having that magical 1 year under my belt will look better to potential employers (I surmise). My sister also suggested writing an incident report, but I do fear retaliation. I did speak out my concerns to management and they know the situation. We'll see what happens.

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