My Reasons For Avoiding The Acute Care Hospital - page 2

I’ve been asked the same question by members of Allnurses.com, real-life coworkers, and even some of my own family members: “Why aren’t you interested in working at a major hospital?” My relatively short nursing career... Read More

  1. 4
    I am glad you shared this. You sound a lot like me actually, but you really stuck to your personal beliefs and preferences...you stayed genuine with who you are and did not falter despite what other people may have thought, especially when you stated,
    Some uninformed people insist that real nursing only takes place inside the walls of the acute care hospital setting.
    I admit that I fell for this false belief and that's why I'm still working in an acute setting and miserable! I tried to convince myself that working at a more prestigious hospital is what I want, but it's not. Unlike you, I haven't really contemplated what I want and actually stick to it and stay genuine. I get too caught up in what other people think of me--parents, friends, other nurse colleagues--if I were to leave the acute care setting and "settle" for something not fast paced or a hospital with a big name.

    I'm going to really take an introspective look at my own personality and beliefs in order to feel content and happy with my work because frankly, I have a hard time leaving work at work. I think if I don't make a change it'll just continue to bleed into my personal life and I can't have it affecting my patient care either.

    Thank you for sharing.

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  2. 1
    This is a very helpful and reassuring article. You named all the things I fear about a hospital job. Thank you for reminding me that nursing =/= hospital.
    TheCommuter likes this.
  3. 5
    I wonder if part of the reason people are so adamant about new nurses needing to start out in med/surg and get that golden year of experience is because it's what they did...and what everyone told them to do...and what their professors had to do...etc, etc. I'm not saying it's always the case, because I'm sure there are people who chose to take the med/surg route when they had the opportunity to go straight into their specialty, but I think some people start out in med/surg because it's the only option available. So, instead of saying, "I couldn't get a job as a new grad in the specialty I want," they say, "I really wanted to start out in med/surg and get some experience."

    I struggled with whether or not I should start out in med/surg even though I really wanted to do psych. I KNEW I wanted to do psych and that I would hate med/surg because I worked med/surg as an intern. Still, I had so many people say, "You should really get a year in med/surg as an RN," that it made me question my choices.

    Ultimately, I chose to go with the job I've always wanted. I was talking to a nurse who works in psych about this very thing before I decided and she said, "I can't imagine getting paid what I get paid here (at the psych facility) to work on med/surg." I agreed. I worked on med/surg before, even though the role was different, I knew it would be almost constant high stress, very physically demanding, and I remember so many nurses saying, "I feel like my license is always on the line."

    Who knows. Maybe one day I'll regret not getting that golden year of med/surg experience, but right now I highly doubt it. I don't think any nursing job is totally stress free, but mine is pretty laid back. I live in one of the lowest paid areas in the country and I don't feel as over worked and underpaid as many of my peers do. I dunno if I like my job because it's low stress, or if it's low stress because I like my job. Either way, I'm certain if I would've stayed in med/surg or anything like it (which was my plan as an intern) I would be completely miserable and burned out.
    TrueAtHart, joanna73, citylights89, and 2 others like this.
  4. 2
    Quote from TheCommuter


    To be perfectly blunt, I know my personality is not compatible with acute care. I’m a mellow type B girl who does not like responding to codes. I dislike dealing with changes in condition. I detest taking off orders that constantly change on the whim of the doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician‘s assistant. I cannot stand constantly performing procedural skills such as IV starts, Foley catheter insertions, nasogastric tube drops, or blood draws. I despise having to drop what I'm doing to address a stat order. I do not look forward to constant interaction with physicians, families, dietary staff, visitors, RT, and other people.

    Some uninformed people insist that real nursing only takes place inside the walls of the acute care hospital setting. People can think whatever they darn well please. As long as I’m happy, secure, and comfortable with the work I’m doing, that’s all that matters to me. Patients outside the hospital setting need nurses, too.
    What's interesting to me is the variation of practice within different nursing environments.

    When I graduated from nursing school I consciously rejected acute care employment for many of the reasons you listed. I took a job at a correctional facility and found myself doing all of what you listed above - but without the backup a hospital provides. Many of our nurses at the prison went to the local hospital because they said the pace was too much at the prison. They liked med/surg at the local hospital because they said the pace of work was better. A couple joked they could "rest" in med/surg compared to our prison jobs.

    Now I work acute care psych and find this hospital job is nothing compared to my previous non-hospital job.

    I really don't care about uniformed nurses who think real nursing takes place inside a hospital - their narrow scopes and perceptions don't concern me.
    Meriwhen and TheCommuter like this.
  5. 1
    Commuter- You have done it again.... Put my feelings into an article. I was told to start off in a hospital because "that is the right thing to do" as a new grad. Even though I had previous LPN experience prior to becoming a RN, I had a really hard time adjusting to the hosptial setting.
    Stat orders, codes, critical labs, call lights, all memebers of the disciplinary team, rounding, and etc. It was overwhelming. I think I'm a mixture of A and B personality, mostly b though.
    During my time in ICU, I thought this was just normal new grad blues but I was wrong. Working in ICU nearly drove me into an early grave. I was drinking wine almost 3-4 times a week, taking ativan, and just really really depressed. Ofcourse my co-workers didn't help with creating a hostile environment. I came to the realization that this specialty and type of nursing is NOT for me and doesn't fit my personality.
    To test my theory, I interviewed and shawdowed at another ICU and felt the same way.
    I typically like a routine with an occassional code to keep me on my toes. In ICU, I felt like I was putting out fires all day long. I have an offer pending for the ER, my husband tells me I shouldn't take the job because he knows my personality does not fit one of the ER. I agree with him, however I need a job.
    I'm praying I get into PP or NBN. I think I would be excel in that area.
    TheCommuter likes this.
  6. 6
    I'm tired of ER,ICU nurses thanking they are God. I used to hear my ICU co-workers put down every single specialty in the hospital. I would get so offended. Specialities are not a one size fits all. Everyone has their own unique gifts and talents that contributes to every area of nursing.
    C-lion, TrueAtHart, joanna73, and 3 others like this.
  7. 2
    Quote from OnlybyHisgraceRN
    I'm tired of ER,ICU nurses thanking they are God. I used to hear my ICU co-workers put down every single specialty in the hospital. I would get so offended. Specialities are not a one size fits all. Everyone has their own unique gifts and talents that contributes to every area of nursing.
    That's so weird. I don't get it. There are a few specialties I would never, ever want to work in but I really don't think about them at all...much less put down the people who work in them. That's just...odd.
    OnlybyHisgraceRN and Grizabelle like this.
  8. 1
    Quote from Ntheboat2

    That's so weird. I don't get it. There are a few specialties I would never, ever want to work in but I really don't think about them at all...much less put down the people who work in them. That's just...odd.
    I don't understand, either. I know there are many specialties/settings in which I wouldn't want to work simply because I know I would not be a good fit.
    I think every nurse has a specific calling. For example, one of my nursing friends says that she couldn't handle the ED, while I state I couldn't handle rehab nursing. But I believe we are where we both need to be to be the best nurses we can be. It is too bad that acute care seems to be glorified, but I really am grateful for all of you nurses who do the less "notorious" specialties. Nursing is an art and a science across the board, no matter where you practice or who receives your care.
    TheCommuter likes this.
  9. 3
    Glad I'm not the only one to think this. I always dreaded my Med-Surg clinicals and thought "If this is where I have to be a nurse, I'm not sure I want to be a nurse." Then, I realized that I don't have to, well, unless it's my only choice. It's probably not that bad, but the patient load variances between various hospitals and units frighten me because there is always that chance that I never know how many patients I might have for the day. However, I would pick it over ICU, even though ICU has less patients. ICU is way too much. ER too. Slower paces, I say! However, I ultimately settled on OR being my specialty of choice. Go figure. I definitely appreciate the "one patient at a time" approach.
    roughmatch, bg6RN, and TheCommuter like this.
  10. 2
    @ TheCommuter
    Totally inspired by your experience as a 19 year old working in a disabled persons' facility and enjoyed reading your thread! I somewhat share that experience. A year ago I got a hourly job as a tutor at my community college while I was talking my GE's, but it was for the disabled students programs & services. Well actually, my technical title is Student Assistant III but my job consisted of tutoring disabled students (physically or mentally; severe or not) in all educational subjects and working with acquired brained injury (or ABI) students on memory programs. Not only was it AND still is (I'm still currently working there) a great experience in a different environment, I've come to admire both the people and the care takers. I'm currently a new nursing student (I start this coming spring); however, I do want to become a psychiatric nurse in the distant future, but I definitely see myself as a nurse in the psychiatric or disabled field. I DO want to head straight into ICU when I finished nursing school since I also work in the ICU/CCU as a lift team technician (or mobility technician) and I love the "thrill" and "adrenaline" and there is always something new every day

    Just thought I'd share my experience as well hehe.
    OnlybyHisgraceRN and TheCommuter like this.


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