New Grad: grunt work or unique abroad experience?

  1. Hi All!
    I would love your input on this....
    So I have a unique opportunity that presents some interesting pros and cons. I was curious what the nursing community would have to say about this...
    I graduate in Dec of this year from an accelerated BSN program, out of one of the best critical care hospitals on the East Coast. My first degree was in Health Psychology, and I worked with a group of physicians in Nicaragua for a year and a half, triaging patients, moderating, translating for medical groups, and teaching. We're talking boondocks medicine here (No pulse oximetry, all clinical diagnosis, x-ray is considered a luxury, etc.)
    They have invited me back to work as an part because they know me well and because they need the support. Its a lot of emergency medicine and uphill-primary care.

    I plan on completing my MSN as an FNP after a few years of work. I also want to gain the experience needed to be a competent professional in the states...

    Knowing how hard it is to find a job for new grads (esp. in CA and western MA), I was considering taking the Nicaraguan NGO's offer, but I am afraid I won't be "hirable" on returning. Many of the nurse elders stick to the "year-o-med-surg" dictum, but some say I should go for it.

    What looks better to grad schools and employers:

    Try-damn-hard-to-get-a-med-surg-job-or-ICU-job right out of school, and do what everyone else does?

    I'm honestly up for either!

    Excited to hear your input (esp. from those nurse managers and recruiters out there...)
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    About LuxCalidaNP

    Joined: Feb '09; Posts: 229; Likes: 268


  3. by   MaryEMT
    I don't have any real knowledge of what it would mean for your career but I say go for Nicaragua. It is a great experience and that has to look on applications! Plus as you said it is hard to find jobs here even if you wanted to go for the one year Med-surg. Again though I'm not nurse recruiter--but follow your heart.
  4. by   LikeSweetSoulMusic
    A career ago, I had a similar opportunity and I chose to go work abroad. It was an amazing experience and one that recruiters comment on. Honestly, that was enough to get them to sit up and notice me. They knew I had a passion, could work with change and different cultures.

    I am so glad I did it before I got married and had children and look forward to when our kids go to college so I can go work abroad again.

    Follow your dream - it sounds like an amazing opportunity and the right job in the states will recognize that opportunity was special and think better of you for it. If you love that type of work, anyone who poo-poos it is probably not someone you want to work for anyway.

    Good luck!
  5. by   AE78

    that is a definite no brainer!! Go abroad. Life is too short and when opportunities come along you have to grab it! You don't want to be elderly looking back on your life saying "hhmmm I wonder what would have happened if....", instead you can look back and say "wow, what a life!"

    Also, why do what everyone else does? It's your life, go make it what you want and if it doesn't work at least you gave it a bash!

    Best of luck, keep us posted,

    Alayne xx
  6. by   Orca
    Working without equipment that is considered essential in most American hospitals would definitely prepare you for just about anything. Sounds like a great opportunity.
  7. by   A.HammoudRN
    I am a new RN as well. Graduated in Dec. with and AS Nursing Degree, was a Radiographer for ten years in a local hospital since I was 21. Wish I would have worked abroad befor setteling down and starting a family. I would think working in a rural enviornment you would gain more experience than nurses working in the states. You learn to use and develop you nursing skills due to the lack of luxuries nurses have these days. Go for it, don't let it be a regret later down the road. You will be a better nurse for it!!
  8. by   P-medic2RN
    Go to the Jungle, or you'll kick yourself the rest of your life.
  9. by   Lizzy88
    I am not from Nicaragua nor I know much from that country but people please! Nicaragua is not a "Jungle", it is a country like every other country, it has poor and rich people. And there are some hospitals (for low income people) where some medical technologies are a luxury but this doesn't mean the whole country lack them

    To the OP, if you have that opportunity I'll say go for it! I think it is better to go for a job that is being offered than waiting to get hire as the latter may take some time (as you can see a lot of new grads are struggling to find a job here in the USA). You won't lose anything because at least you will have some hands on experience. Good luck
  10. by   juliaann
    Quote from Lizzy88
    And there are some hospitals (for low income people) where some medical technologies are a luxury but this doesn't mean the whole country lack them
    Haha, that could also describe my run down Public Trust community hospital in the middle of the good ol' USA! I'm only slightly kidding. I love it there, though, even if we have to kick the machinery a few times to make it run.

    If I were in the OP's shoes, I'd be headed to Nicaragua. That sounds like a great opportunity.
  11. by   GilaRRT
    Do it, ghetto medicine and "clinical" diagnosis based on a good H&P is as good experience as you can find. It should be seen as an asset. My experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq were second to none when it came to assessment and improvisation. Just look at the foreign language thread to recognise how ignorant many Americans really are about working with other cultures. This is a golden opportunity for you.
  12. by   twinpumpkin
    About 10 years ago, I had an opportunity to go on a medical/dental mission trip with my church. I have a B.A. in Spanish and was an exchange student in Mexico, so I went as am interpreter. Not only did I learn medical vocabulary in both English and Spanish, but I decided to become a nurse! Ever since then, all of
    my employers have been impressed with my knowledge of the Spanish language, the Mexican people and culture and the ability to use that knowledge to take care of patients. This is really useful here in Texas!

    So, go to Nicaragua!!! You won't regret it.
  13. by   LuxCalidaNP
    Thanks to everyone for your stellar advice! We shall see what the future holds...My partner is super supportive, and the loans repayments don' start for a while. I'll keep you all posted!
  14. by   Gardener5
    Hi New Grad,
    I have been a nurse for 19 years as an ICU nurse, nurse manager and manager of an outpatient department and think you have a great opportunity. Being a nurse is not just about the specific clinical experience you have but who you are and the ability to think critically is the most important skill. Anyone can learn to operate a piece of equipment or follow a specific protocol but the skills developed when everything isn't set are essential.
    To be honest, I found your post by accident as I searched the web for job opportunities in Nicaragua. So I joined allnurses to speak to you. My family and I are looking at moving to Nicaragua in the future and I would love to know how you found the organization that you previously worked for and who are now offering you the position. In that area you are more experienced than me. Any information you would like to share on that I would greatly appreciate.
    Last edit by Gardener5 on May 27, '10 : Reason: remove quote