I’m in my first RN position, but don’t feel it’s a good fit for me due to lack of staff support and guidance. Is it me or is it the position?

By | 2022-02-21T17:15:45-05:00 September 21st, 2012|0 Comments


Dear Donna,

For the past seven months, I have been working on a telemetry unit in an acute care facility that specializes in cardiac medicine. This is my first RN position, and the staff on the floor is not supportive. I rarely see my educators or management, and since my two-month classroom orientation, there has been no real guidance. I feel uncomfortable, have little support and am constantly bullied (for lack of a better word) by the professional staff. My co-workers seem to find fault in everything I do, yet I never hear anything from management. I am open to constructive criticism and want to do my best, but there is no real opportunity for that. As a result, I don’t enjoy my work, outside of the direct patient interaction. I want to be a nurse, but not under these conditions. I can’t help but wonder if a med/surg experience on the night shift with a nurse to patient ratio of 1-to-8 is just a bad environment for a novice nurse. I don’t want to fall out of love with my career, only because the facility is a bad fit. Is it me, or is it the position?

Uncomfortable nurse

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Uncomfortable Nurse,

From what you describe, it sounds as if your workplace and/or shift is less than ideal for you (or any nurse). The night shift has its benefits and drawbacks — for a new or experienced nurse. People usually love it or hate it. It does play havoc with your biorhythms. It may be time for you to start looking for another position. With seven months of telemetry experience under your belt, you have a good solid base.

You can attempt to change units or shifts at your current place of employment, if that is an option. Talk to your supervisor or human resources. Do a little research before making a jump to another unit or shift. Talk to some of the new nurses and the experienced ones who already work there to get a feel for the culture, workload and environment.

Start to explore other employment options before leaving your current position. Send out feelers to nursing colleagues, former classmates, instructors, friends and family to let them know what you’re looking for. Attend local chapter meetings of nursing professional associations such as your state chapter of the American Nurses Association (go to www.nursingworld.org and click on “Find your state”). You can attend as a guest if you are not a member, but I do advise you to join and participate. Networking is well-known to be a great way to explore options and find a job.

Attend nursing career fairs in your area. Even if your current employer is there, there’s no need to worry. Many nurses attend these events to obtain CE credits and network with exhibitors, such as schools of higher learning. Your presence doesn’t automatically convey that you are looking for a job. By attending these events, you get a chance to see what else is out there and practice your self-marketing and networking skills. See what’s coming up at www.Nurse.com/Events/Career-fairs. Read “How to get the most out of attending a career fair” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/CareerFair).

After seven months on the job, you know this is not the right place for you. Staying in an unhappy situation erodes your confidence, your energy and even your health. Read, “Knowing when it’s time to move on” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/MoveOn).

Some people and units thrive on negativity, while others are positive and supportive for all staff members. I’m confident you can find a suitable position and get your career back on track.

Best wishes,


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