Conflicted newbie in need of advice

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    I am looking for some advice from the wise hearts and minds of the AllNurses community. This is a bit long, but here is my situation. I graduated in nursing school in 2011. While applying for nursing positions, I was offered a short-term position in healthcare IT which I accepted, thinking it would be a good way to make some money while searching for a nursing job. I was eventually hired on permanently and have now been in this job for over a year. There are lots of things I like about it. My coworkers are great, I'm constantly given the opportunity to learn new things, and I love the fact that the work I do makes a difference for every patient that enters our hospital.

    Despite this, I still had a lingering desire to work as a floor nurse so I applied to a local RN Transition Program and was very lucky to be accepted. My job agreed to allow me to work part-time to accommodate the 3-4 shifts per week I would be interning at another hospital. I am now halfway through the Transition Program and am questioning whether floor nursing is really for me.

    I don't know if it is the fact that I've been out of nursing school for so long, if my unit/preceptor aren't a good fit, or if I was just naive to think otherwise, but I feel totally incompetent. I constantly ask questions and ask for help, but I still feel like I'm mostly on my own and am not getting the kind of learning experience I had hoped for. I am on a very challenging unit with patients who often cannot communicate and am not confident enough in my skills to feel that I'm able to care safely for this patient population (or any for that matter) with this degree of independence. Unfortunately, it is not an option to try transferring to a different unit. I realize it is somewhat normal to feel afraid as a new nurse and I know I am not in a place to be picky about experience. I feel like a horrible person when I think about how many other new grads would love to be in my position. At the same time, I am so unhappy and overwhelmed. I feel like this may be my last chance at a floor nursing position and I don't know if I would regret never trying it (most interns are offered a position on their unit at the end of the program). On the other hand, I have a job that I enjoy that still allows me to work in healthcare and doesn't make me miserable. Would I be giving up too soon if I were to go back to my IT job after the Transition Program is over? Any advice/personal experiences would be much appreciated. Thank you!
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  3. 4 Comments so far...

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    Floor nursing isn't for everyone. I think the nurses who make a lifetime career out of it are just superhuman! I think it just depends on what you want to do in the future. If it's something that floor nursing would prepare you better for then you should stick it out a little more. Talk to your director if the preceptor isn't a good fit- ultimately you are the only one who suffers. Floor nursing will ALWAYS be there for you if you decide to go back to your former position. As a new nurse you will always feel insecure about some things, and you should be worried about new nurses who aren't that way. Don't ever feel dumb for asking questions. The dumb thing is not to ask and have your patient suffer as a result. In the end, your work should make you happy. If its not, then do something that does! I hope you find your place in a rewarding, stimulating area. Good luck!
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    There are all kinds of ways to be a nurse. Any job that enables you to apply your nursing knowledge is essentially a nursing job. So - even though nurse informaticists are working in IT, it does not mean that they are less 'nurse-y' than their colleagues on the floor. It just means that their nursing practice is focused on improving health care for groups or entire populations of patients rather than one at a time. There are many other areas of nursing within this same "macro" scope of practice such as Administration, infection control, case management, research, education, public health, etc. We are all nurses.

    If you enjoy your work in IT, don't make yourself miserable by trying to force yourself into a very narrow definition of "nursing" that only includes direct patient care.
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    Ugh. Ya floor nursing is pretty bad. I agree. I believe if you are happy, and using your nursing degree....stay in IT. Maybe do PRN on a floor to maintain skills. That is usually only 5 shifts a month. Good luck. I left a comfy job to be a nurse... in the same boat sort of. But I dont have a gig that I love that uses my degree.. lucky!
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    Thank you all for the support and advice! I'm going to do my best to keep an open mind and learn as much as possible for the rest of the program then see where I'm at in two months when it's over. It might not ultimately be the right place for me but I'm glad I at least have the opportunity to try floor nursing without jeopardizing my current job. Thank you for helping me realize that the important thing is for me to do what makes me happy! Good luck to all of you!


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