Yesterday, I went to a big university hospital to interview for GN positions (KU Med), interviewed with the senior nurse recruiter and 3 different nurse managers. Overall, I was impressed with the hospital, and the nurse managers were very happy, and seemed very eager to interview me. Their view of nurses furthering their education was very positive and encouraging (I plan on pursuing a Bachelors and Masters degrees down the road). The benefits were great.The clinical orientation and training they offer their new grads is great (6 months to a year in specialty areas), and have a fellowship program for new grads. Only 6 other hospitals in the country offer this program. KU is the only hospital in the area that is a nationally accredited Level 1 Trauma Center...so they see a great deal of stuff. I left the hospital feeling very good about the whole day.
Today, I interviewed with a nurse manager at the hospital I currently work at (I work on an Ortho floor). I've worked at this place for the last 7 years. This position was for the ICU, which is the area I want to go into. I interviewed with the nurse recruiter, the nurse manager and one of the staff nurses at the SAME TIME. SICU/MICU/CICU are all integrated into just one general ICU, and the nurse manager told me that she expects the new grads to be able to jump right in from day one, and she expects her nurses to have a broad knowledge of all areas because it is integrated. This is not a bad thing, but she implied that her ICU was better than those of a teaching hospital. The kicker is that they only put their GN's in clinical orientation for 4 weeks on days, and 4 weeks on nights (its a night shift position). Somewhere within those two months, they give you a day or two in New Grad orientation, put you through unit specific classes (ACLS, Dysrhythmias, Hemodynamics). This hospital is more of a community hospital than a trauma center. We didn't discuss salary as I didn't feel comfortable talking about salary in front of a staff nurse, and it really is not of her business what my salary would be anyway. When I popped the "advancing my degree" question, she was sort of quiet for a minute, and then said she encouraged education, she really preferred to have a nurse that wanted to stick around for a while (i.e. no ambition for advanced degrees). My senior semester clinicals at school are focused on the Critical Care areas, and this nurse manager made it sound like I was supposed to get all the information I need from the handfull of times I was there, and it would prepare me for working an ICU in real life. Overall, I was disappointed in the entire interview. I left the hospital secretly hoping they offer that GN position to someone else.
Here's the deal. I owe time to this hospital I work at because I utilized their tuition reimbursement, so it is in the hospital's best interest to keep me. If they do not have a job for me, I am released from my contract. I have worked at this place for 7-plus years, so I have time vested, and by rights I should get the job before internal staff that has been there for less time (this is what my unit manager told me). I hate the idea of having to go somewhere else and starting from scratch all over again, especially since I know my hospital's policies, layout, and staff so well. On the flip side, the paltry orientation I am being offered at my current place doesn't sit well with me. If you are a new nurse, dealing with critically ill patients, wouldn't you want a little more than 8 weeks of training? If your family was sick in the ICU, would you feel comfortable with the fact that your nurse has only been in the ICU for 2 months?? I feel like I would be taking my newly acquired license in my own hands.
I'll probably accept a position in the fellowship program at KU, based on the simple fact that they are offering to prepare me as a critical care nurse who can tackle ANYTHING that is wheeled through the doors. As one nurse manager told me, "Your training here will render you more than competent to work in ANY ICU in the country." The fellowship is an intense program which requires a two-year work commitment.
I just wanted to hear your thoughts on the matter, and maybe a little support to know that I am making the right choice.
Mar 17, '04
Your heart is clearly with KU. Follow it!
(Also don't dig the line your current place is giving you. Time to say thank you and good bye.)
Mar 17, '04
Based on your post, I would choose KU. If you will owe money to your current employer because of their tuition program, I feel that's a fair price to pay to get the opportunity you really want.
Mar 17, '04
I was pretty fresh out of school when I was accepted into the 7 month long Nurse Internship program in perioperative services at my university hospital, also a level 1 trauma hospital. I'm glad I chose it over the other two positions I was offered at private hospitals. No, it's not as pretty as the private hospitals and maybe the pay is a few cents less than the private hospitals. But the training was outstanding, I've seen everything and can handle anything because of the structured training and support given the new grads. I truly do believe our hospital (even with all it's warts) still provides the finest and most up to date nursing care in the entire state. The nurses are strong and very autonomous. A nurse from our hospital can pick anywhere she wants to work because of the training and the fact our patients cover the full range of possible human conditions/illnesses/injuries. Go where they will support your dreams and aspirations.
Mar 18, '04
I say go for the long orientation. The fact that your gut is telling you that the place you are currently working is trying to shaft you on orientation should set off some kind of alarm.
Can you get out of you financial obligations to your current employer if you are offered a job but choose not to take it? Maybe you can negotiate something with the teaching hospital to help you out with this??
Mar 18, '04
I think you've kinda made up your mind already. Go for the university hospital. Also, have you looked at their tuition reimbursement? Most larger hospitals provide more benefits. Good luck....
Mar 18, '04
ABSOLUTELY go with KU. I was a new grad who went into the ICU and you DEFINITELY need more than an 8 week orientation!!!!!! Run, run, run....