Quote from azzurra29
My intution tells me that I should probably go to a better established hospital that has something I'm interested in specializing in eventually. Would you say I'm somewhat right or could you steer me in the direction of some good guidance and advice?
I think your intuition is right! The thing is, that all three of the hospitals you list are
established in the area that you are talking about. All three places are very different as well.
Kaiser is someplace that I will never work. It's a personal thing with me and my feelings about giant HMO's. I know a few nurses who work for and are happy with Kaiser. I also know a few RN's who left Kaiser unhappy and have left for what they perceive to be greener pastures. Kaiser Santa Clara does some teaching. Many of the docs are from Stanford doing their residency there. Kaiser claims to be not for profit, but they are the richest not for profit HMO/hospital in the nation.
El Camino Hospital is KNOWN for their excellent patient care and their excellent employee relations. El Camino is a private community hospital who does next to no medical teaching. They do have specialty areas in which they excel, but you will be dealing mostly with private docs. ICU and med/surg here would be good.
Now VMC, on the other hand, is a HUGE teaching county hospital. I worked for VMC for 8 years in a department other than nursing before becoming an RN. I LOVED Valley. I still do, but it's not where I work (but I'm considering per diem!). This hospital is affiliated with Stanford. Many of the attending docs teach at Stanford Med School and hold dual attending positions at VMC and Stanford. The resident docs rotate from Stanford to VMC to the VA in Palo Alto. It's an excellent
place to work in ICU, ER, Spinal Cord trauma and rehab, Burn, Pediatrics, and NICU. I would NOT recommend med/surg here. At VMC you will see stuff unique to the population of the south bay area. This is an incredibly diverse hospital. When I worked there, the language bank for translation services spoke over 100 languages! This is a unique place to work. The employees are very devoted to this hospital and to their commitment to the community.
My choice of hospitals were the some of the same as yours when I graduated several years ago. I chose a large level one trauma center because
of the fact that it was a teaching facility. Not only do we learn from the residents and attending docs, but they learn from us. The whole atmosphere in a teaching hospital is just that...teaching. Nurses, docs, everyone is accustomed to having students learning all the time. I know I'm mentioning alot about the docs, but I feel it's very important. Nurses who work at these large teaching facilities are also highly adept at dealing with and teaching students (both nurses and docs). I think this is great for a new nurse. I think you will get more support in a large teaching facility.
Your choice should depend on what area of nursing you want to get into eventually if you don't already know.