Jump to content

What to do

Nurses   (1,349 Views 11 Comments)
by winkiebob winkiebob, BSN, MSN, RN (New Member) New Member Educator Nurse

winkiebob is a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in Family, primary care.

1 Article; 1,406 Profile Views; 34 Posts

My story feels like to large to tell. I graduated on December 12 and got a job at a community hospital in the ER on dec 15. Everything was going well until they brought me from the 7 am -7pm shift to the 3pm-3am shift. To beging with I never felt welcome in there. After working 9 hours straight on my feet I asked for a lunch, I was told: "we don't ever go eat here when we want, we eat when we can". I got visibly upset, because I asked the charge nurse, I begged her for some time to eat something before I would drop in the floor. So I got like 3 minutes to eat. So from that I learned not to ask for a break, or lunch. I would just try to snack until my shift was over at 3 am and the eat.

The nurses on that shift seemed to be uncaring and careless. They were quite unapproachable, so I tried to never ask anything or stay on their way. One day like 3 weeks ago, I got sick while on the job, I actually almost had a syncope, and the attending doctor said: put her in a room. My BP was sky high, and the it drop so sudden, they gave me phenergan IV for the nausea and sent me home, the next day I went to see my doctor, and I just couldn't work. The supervisor called me upset asking me what happened the night before, because I went back to work, but I felt bad again and I had to go home. Later on I came back to work, and I continued to work just fine, until a week ago I gave my resignation letter to be effective at the end of the month because my husband got orders from the army to move. They accepted that I continued to work.

This past Tuesday night I was working and pushing it as hard as I could, it was around 10pm when I couldn't no more, my head was spinning, I had nausea and started trowing up, I let the charge nurse know and she sent me home. The next two days were my days off. On Thursday morning I got a message from the director saying: "I heard you were sick, would be able to work this weekend". At that point I was honest and I told her I was feeling bad, by the way I had gone to another ER the night before to get IV fluids because I had had watery diarrhea all night and had not eaten a solid meal in 24 hours. So I thought I would be nice to let them know I had viral gastroenteritis ahead in case they needed to have someone to work for me. I was honestly afraid to go in to work and have diarrhea while there. I really though they cared for their employees being sick.

Well, I got a voicemail on my day off from the director to call her back. She asked how I was doing, I was honest I told her not so good. She said: did they doctor told you not to work this weekend, I said not she didn't say that because I never even asked for an excuse. So the boss said: well I'm just going to take your resignation effective as of today, and wish you a good life, and she hanged up on me. That was the most unprofessional thing I have ever seen, but at this point I wouldn't expect anything less from them. To work for a place where there was so little caring for the employees If none is very rough. There so many things I wish I would of have said, but at the same time, there never seemed to be any time to talk to no one. I never had a chance to be heard, I guess there isn't such a thing. All I can think of is I have so much to learn.

I don't what to say or what not to say, as a brand new nurse I honestly don't have much confidence in being heard. That's the only placed I have ever worked, and they weren't very friendly or caring. I felt like they took advantage of the fact that people need a job and they could just use and abuse anyone, the survivors in that game are the tough ones who feed of each other. They have set up ways and I was some how a treat to them. How? I was new, and even though I tried my earnest best, never complain of anything, I put up with so much, their words, their mistreatment, they would be really really mean I would just act like I didn't hear it, I would smile back. At one point the charge nurse treated me like I was a dumb ass because I lose an IV line on a two year old, and because I didn't have the time to make coffee for the family of patient that asked me for some... They would get upset if went to have a lunch even when my rooms where empty... I could feel their love, not really. They didn't said they hated me probably because they weren't allowed to say that at loud.

So that's just a synopsis of my story. I just wanted to share it. Now I have to figure out how to chose a better place to work, surely I know I don't want to work night shift and I feel like I'm done working at a ER.

Edited by TheCommuter
re-formatting / paragraphs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you a credible source? Add your Credentials, Experience, etc.

1 Follower; 51 Articles; 4,800 Posts; 93,360 Profile Views

The ER can be a tough gig. I am sorry that you had such a horrible experience.

Sometimes, anxiety can rear its ugly head in not so pleasant physical ways. Wherever you end up. be mindful of the fact that perhaps tension and anxiety cause real physical symptoms in you. So I would highly suggest perhaps seeing a therapist who can help you work through that, as it would be to your benefit.

If you have a union, that would be where to go if you are not getting any breaks at all. This seems to be a continuing theme of many nurses in many departments. It is not your issue that staffing is such that no one can take a break or a meal. There are more than one facility who "speaks to" or "writes up" a nurse for eating in a common area as they are not able to break. Sad indeed.

Remember, your co-workers are just that and not friends. The only thing that is important is that there is a sense of a team if something goes astray.

Moving forward, in job interviews, I would not trash the other nurses, the facility....I would simply state that the culture of the unit was not conducive to how you need to practice effectively. And leave it at that.

There's urgent care, a clinic, home health....lots of other areas that you could still have a patient turnover, however, not as high stress as the ER.

Wishing you nothing but the best!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

winkiebob is a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in Family, primary care.

1 Article; 34 Posts; 1,406 Profile Views

Thanks so much for the reply. Luckily for me, I am moving out of state, and I just wish to have learned something good from this experience. I will definitely know what to look in for a job. I just got married and I definitely don't want to work nights, even working a small job in a doctor's office with a lower salary would be ok for me. I did remember feeling like walking into a lion's den when going to work everyday. What is interesting is the patient load or the job responsabilities were never a problem to me, what I couldn't deal with was the hatred from the other nurses, their demeanor, their ugliness, their lives seemed to be so bitter, there was no joy, mostly the ones with the bad attitudes were the charge nurses, even the doctors and the mid level providers always had a bad attitude. There was only one doctor that was always nice no matter what, the rest were honestly pure jerks, it was so hard to ask them anything. I saw so many nurses that had been there longer go inside the med room and cry.

As far as bad reviews goes, I don't have to give any because it all speaks by itself, nurses and other employees leave there on a weekly, monthly basis. They can't keep no one in there. I heard so many complains daily from other workers, and Me.. I smiled, went home feeling like a truck load just went over me. Never said anything, but that one time when I was visibly upset because I wasn't allowed to take a break to grab a bite. That is why there is a nursing shortage, somebody has to do something, you can't work 9-10 hrs straight with an empty stomach, I'm not talking about sitting down in a desk, I'm talking on your feet... Constant work... It is simply awful. We are humans too, and yes we do get sick as well. Anyways, I know I will be better, I will make sure to have a much better lifestyle after this, I will have time to exercise and eat right. I know that, after all no money can compensate ones health. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you a credible source? Add your Credentials, Experience, etc.

1 Follower; 51 Articles; 4,800 Posts; 93,360 Profile Views

And you have to remember, OP, that the ER is a constant barrage of bad news. Patients die, are seriously altered, have a complete loss of function, are in acute distress. Times that by many hours, many years, and a nurse learns to develop a wall. If they did not put up walls, we would all be a mess. Sometimes, the walls develop a crack, and someone needs to excuse themselves to cry it out a little--much better than screaming. Nurses leave because the burnout rate is so high. It is tough to smile.

That doesn't excuse poor staffing, or the inability to take a meal break. But that seems to be the way of nursing in any number of facilities/units as of late. Do a ton with little assistance and come up for air whenever. Poor staffing with a direct reflection on the nurses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Paws2people has 13 years experience.

495 Posts; 14,658 Profile Views

God riddance to that job, and best of luck to you and your hubby in the future:smug:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gooselady has 23 years experience as a BSN, RN.

601 Posts; 7,249 Profile Views

I agree with the first poster -- you are having physical problems that are interfering with your job. That is 'aside' to the issue of the horrible morale on that rotation and being hung up on by the manager or whatever she was.

Pretty much, a nurse needs to be physically intact enough to get through 99% of the shifts she works without getting sick in the middle of them. We get sick or injured just like the next person, but what you are describing is unusual, the dizziness, vomiting, near-syncope happening several times. If these symptoms are related to you not eating regularly, then you have your answer and your next job won't be so bad. As long as you get a break and some food, your performance should be fine :) If it's something else, like your particular response to stress or anxiety, then you need to look further into it and get some kind of treatment going and/or try a different kind of nursing. Not being cut out for ER nursing is something I know I'm not, and haven't had to work in an ER to prove it to myself :D

You'll find as you go along there are some places that are terrible to work in because of the personalities of the coworkers or the management. All a person can do is leave, once they start catching on. And it will get 'easier' over time to give yourself permission to interview the prospective manager as much as he/she interviews YOU. I refused a job offer many years ago because the nurse manager, who interviewed me, YELLED when I told her I already had a weekend job :D Not funny. If that made her lose her temper, I'd hate to see how she handled real problems.

This really WAS a learning experience, and there's a LOT to be taken away as 'education' from it. You either need to eat/have yourself checked for hypoglycemia, or you need to be assessed for panic/anxiety, which often causes the symptoms you were having. These are huge impediments to being a nurse in the first place, and as a new nurse, you gotta get those big impediments outta the way. Nursing will provide it's own impediments and as many of your own as you can get rid of, the better your whole career will be :)

Oh and ETA: you got a good look at the kind of unprofessional environment you don't want to work in again. If the DON is a problem child, that trickles down to the staff every single time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jules A is a MSN and specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

2 Followers; 8,863 Posts; 46,912 Profile Views

Pretty much, a nurse needs to be physically intact enough to get through 99% of the shifts she works without getting sick in the middle of them. We get sick or injured just like the next person, but what you are describing is unusual, the dizziness, vomiting, near-syncope happening several times. If these symptoms are related to you not eating regularly, then you have your answer and your next job won't be so bad. As long as you get a break and some food, your performance should be fine :) If it's something else, like your particular response to stress or anxiety, then you need to look further into it and get some kind of treatment going and/or try a different kind of nursing.

Hopefully it was just an extreme stress response because I have some sympathy for your former team even if they weren't the most friendly. Having a brand new nurse who can't finish a shift, requires a bed, calls out and then resigns would result in a brief exit at my hospital also.

Good luck in your next job and I always bring a snack like a granola bar so in the likely event that I don't get an opportunity to stop for a meal I'm not dropping from hypoglycemia.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

winkiebob is a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in Family, primary care.

1 Article; 34 Posts; 1,406 Profile Views

Well... The Fainting at work and all that not feeling well wasn't in my head. I found out that I am pregnant! What an exciting moment for our lives. My morale was down because I felt bad for having to leave in the middle of the shift and getting sick at work. But now, I don't feel guilty anymore. What I felt wasn't something I made up. :) Glad to have these days so I can have more time for the move and also to spend with my hubby.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you a credible source? Add your Credentials, Experience, etc.

1,073 Posts; 16,309 Profile Views

Well... The Fainting at work and all that not feeling well wasn't in my head. I found out that I am pregnant! What an exciting moment for our lives. My morale was down because I felt bad for having to leave in the middle of the shift and getting sick at work. But now, I don't feel guilty anymore. What I felt wasn't something I made up. :) Glad to have these days so I can have more time for the move and also to spend with my hubby.

Congrats!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

winkiebob is a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in Family, primary care.

1 Article; 34 Posts; 1,406 Profile Views

Found out I am pregnant. :) that solves the hunger, nausea, and fainting mistery :)

extremely happy!

Edited by rnfly29
Typing error

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here.I.Stand has 16 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro.

1 Follower; 4,919 Posts; 42,434 Profile Views

Congratulations, first of all! :)

It sounds like that was a toxic environment, and you're better off without them. Also, that was a personnel/workplace culture problem, not a night shift problem.

Going forward, remember that you MUST take care of yourself. That includes eating and drinking fluids. Think of it like on the airplane when they tell you to always secure your own O2 mask before helping others; you will be helpful to NOBODY if you're dehydrated and starving. Don't beg or plead with anyone to please allow you to go eat. State fact, "I am going on break now," and give a mini report on your pts. So "nobody ever takes breaks around here," they may say? That's THEIR bad choice. YOU are under no obligation to make that same choice. Your shift is 12.5 hours long because there is an unpaid meal break factored in. If you simply work through it and never document that you worked that extra 0.5 hour, you are giving them 0.5 hours of free labor. Do they deserve half an hour of free labor from you? No. That time is yours. Of course there will be days when the feces are hitting the fan and you can't take an uninterrupted 30 minute...document that you did not take your break so that you get paid for it. Don't work for free.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
×