New nurses without clear career goals - page 3

Do you think that new nurses who have no preference as far as where they want to work have an easier time with, well, being a new nurse? Basically, if you take away the expectations of a dream job... Read More

  1. by   jaderook01
    I can't say if they have an easier time, but it doesn't hurt. When you have no particular preferences you're not constantly looking for the next great thing. You just do what you do, learn what you can, and move on if something else sounds interesting. I had no preferences either. I still don't. Lots of things sound interesting. I know that where I am right now gives me a lot of skills and I can pretty much move on to do whatever with few issues. Of course, maybe it is because I was older than most when I became a nurse. I actually used to roll my eyes at all the young ones that had it all figured and planned out before they even graduated nursing school. Some of them have already learned from their overly enthusiastic 'this is how it's going to be' and 'this is exactly what I'm going to do and when' pre-graduation blustering.
  2. by   love2banurse89
    I was absolutely convinced I was going to be a peds nurse...until about 10 minutes into my peds rotation in college, when a 7 year old boy didn't want to take his meds and his mom just smirked at me as I, a 19 year old with no experience with kids, tried and failed to get him to take those meds. LOL! Since then (1988) I've worked in med-surg, telemetry, private duty, teaching CNA class at our community college, outpatient eye surgery, home health, I've taught Lamaze and CPR...and now I'm the Clinical Educator for 2 long-term care buildings.

    My point is, how can you know what you want to go into now? Nursing school is soooo different than "real life"!

    I think a career in nursing is just the best--you have so much to choose from in terms of what you do, patients you work with, hours you work, environment in which you work, etc., etc., etc. My suggestion is interview for at least a few jobs for which you have an interest and accept the one that fits best with all of the above factors. You may be very surprised at what you find you enjoy or do not enjoy. You'll probably be drawn to something--whether it be building technical skills, working with very complex patients, working with certain age patients, etc. I've found that the part of each job I've enjoyed most is the teaching aspect. Teaching is a part of EVERY job and now I'm blessed to be teaching full time!

    As for goals, don't worry about long term goals until you get a feel of what you enjoy. Good goals for EVERY job are to learn more about specifics related to that job--skills, medications, physiology and disease process, etc. I think to be a good nurse, we need to make goals in every job; if we're not happy in the job at least we are learning! And there is something to be learned every single day--maybe not a tangible skill, but a people skill--whether about a patient, family member, another nurse, doctor, etc.

    Good luck with your career! I hope you find it as fulfilling as I have!
  3. by   calliope26
    The first year of nursing is tough no matter where you land, and the skills you learn in that first year will help you no matter where your career path takes you. Take the best offer you get, and after a year or two you will know if it's a good fit or not. I'm still looking for my "best fit" after 5 years, but I have learned so much that I have no regrets.
  4. by   MikeyT-c-IV
    When I was graduating nursing school I actually had it pretty easy. I worked as a buyer at a small rural hospital and already had prospects for a particular unit because they had amazing people working there. And as luck would have it, they had an opening when I became licensed. We had an established relationship so everything was easy peasy. I had no idea which area of nursing I would want to work, as at the time I was 99% ignorant. I basically entered the profession with no expectations. Through my experiences and observations I learned which areas of nursing I enjoyed. To be honest, I enjoy areas with the least managerial intervention... meaning, leave me alone and let me do my job. Over the years I evolved and finally found a job (9 years ago) in which I almost never see my supervisor. I just come in and do my job and I get a great yearly evaluation. Never mind departmental stats, HCAHPS, Press Ganey, or any of that jargon.... I think word of mouth is basically my evaluation. I'll take it.
  5. by   peacockblue
    I knew I wanted kids. I knew I didn't want to use daycare. Didn't really care where I worked as long as I could work evenings and weekends so myself or my husband could be with the kids. Dream job came later after the kids were a bit older. Now I'm a school nurse with adult children and I'm right where I want to be. No need to have a dream job in mind. Take care and of yourself and your life and you'll figure out your spot in nursing.
  6. by   brap740
    You should job hop every 2 years. Get married. Drop to part time. Get pregnant. Drop to PRN. Give that a few years and just be a stay at home mom.

    (I see that progression pan out a lot....and if your skin isn't thick enough to read that and just laugh it off just don't respond..........Ok all joking aside now...)

    You'll figure out what direction you want to go when you're in practice. I wouldn't worry about it. Read the job descriptions and if a lightbulb goes off....apply for it.

    I thought I wanted to be a crna. Figured out that's not what I wanted to do. Your plans change as you progress through your career.

    Having an open mind, and a sense of humor in nursing is invaluable. Not knowing where you want to go is an open mind. Nursing is so vast you can't be expected to know exactly what you want to do. That's wierd! You're ahead of the curve in my opinion.

    You'll be fine!
    Last edit by brap740 on Feb 7
  7. by   Parrhesia
    Hello Tara,

    I was in a similar position when I graduated in 2017. I entered into nursing school without knowing what specific specialty I want to be in. Most classmates were going for ICU/Med-surg/ER (surprisingly, not a lot were going for OR in my class). As I took my nursing courses and did rotations, I realized that managing wounds is something that I would love to do in the future. Yet, as you know, all the med-surg, LTC, home care nurses manage wounds, so my next big question was: which one is the better way in preparing myself to succeed and eventually work as a WCN. From what I've heard, to be a WCN/specialist in Canada, one would usually have to work for at least 3 years and get a IIWCC, Masters in wound healing or CAET certification. I had a rough time deciding which path I should take in order for me to be at an advantage. And now, I just landed a job as a community health/home health nurse up in a northern city in Canada working with the Indigenous population. I certainly didn't give up on my dream to become a WCN yet, but am truly excited to see how everything plays out.

    I am happy despite not being in med-surg at this moment as a new grad. It's just relieving for me to know that I am working full time, planning my own work schedule (830-430 M-F) and immersing myself in a loving Indigenous community. So definitely continue to keep your options open.
    That's just my personal story. Excited to learn more about the other stories as well.
  8. by   smartassmommy
    I went through school knowing I had a job on the med/surg unit I was an aide on. The available schedule didn't fit my needs, so I decided to take any position that fit my current scheduling need. I am happily employed at an ltc where the work may be hard, but they are very new grad friendly. Every shift, my DON checks in with me, and she is helping me to learn to be an effective UCN. I'm not there yet, but with time it will happen.
  9. by   MickygzRN,BSN
    I was much like you. I could more easily say what I didn't want to do than I could what I wanted to "specialize" in. Personally, I believe it may open you to many learning opportunities. I've also seen many nurses so set on what they thought they wanted to do and then find out how wrong they were. Regardless of what others think of how things should be, you need to do what feels right for you. Good luck. With an open mind you will be fine!
  10. by   Megs RN
    I don't think that either mindset is wrong, and I don't think that either will ultimately have a negative affect on your nursing career. I have worked in a number of different areas, both in the hospital setting, and in managed care (insurance). Although I have not loved all of the jobs/units that I have worked in, I have gained valuable knowledge in each position.

    As a new grad, I wanted to work in the NICU, but that wasn't an option for me. At the very least, I knew that I did not want to care for adults. So I applied to a pediatric hospital, knowing that even if I got pulled to another unit, I'd still be caring for kids. That job lead to a PICU job, which allowed me to segway into the NICU. It was a roundabout way to get where I wanted to be, but it worked, and I grew along the way.

    Now, I'm in Quality, and I never would have guessed that I would end up here. One of my most dreaded interview questions is, "Where do you see yourself in five years." My experience has shown me that my needs, my interests, and my passion for different areas of nursing change over time. Five years ago, I never would have guessed that I'd be in a desk job for an insurance company. Who knows where I'll be in five more years? And does it really matter?

    You do you. Take a job, learn while you're there, even if its the worst place you've ever been. Once you have experience, you're hire-able. THere are so many different things to do as a nurse. You'll find your place. Even if your place is one of always trying something new.
  11. by   NurseCard
    I'm now almost fifteen years into my career, and I'm no where near where I thought
    I would be. I thought I would be a psych nurse. Maybe going to school for psych
    NP.

    I'm working in Med Surge in a small hospital. My job is pretty non stressful
    most of the time, and I have no plans to go anywhere else. I have no real
    desire to climb, to go to management, to advance my degree.. I am content
    working, taking care of my patients, and making enough money to live
    fairly comfortably.


    Quote from tara07733
    Do you think that new nurses who have no preference as far as where they want to work have an easier time with, well, being a new nurse? Basically, if you take away the expectations of a dream job right of the bat, is that a big chunk of burden off of the nurse?

    I'll be graduating in May and people keep asking me what I want to do. Every time I say I have no idea (which does not bother me in the least) everyone is dumbfounded 😃. In my head though, if I have no preconceived notions of where I SHOULD be I at least won't have to worry that and can just focus on looking for a job and learning as a new graduate. This is not to say that those who have a clear vision of what type of nurse (which I envy and very much wish I had) they want to be will have difficulty if they find employment somewhere besides the dream job.

    Maybe my real question is if this is typical and, if not, could it still be helpful in the long run. So many of my classmates have such clear goals and sometimes I wonder if they will be happier in their career than I, especially if they attain the positions they desire.

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