what to look for in 1st job as BSN

  1. Hi,
    I will be graduating in December and have started interviewing at hospitals for RN positions. I would really appreciate anyone willing to share some wisdom on what they thought was most important when they started/what to look for/what to avoid.

    Should I try and get into a "new grad RN" program? Is it the longer the program, the better prepared I will be? Some hosp's I interviewed at offer a 2-month orientation period program w/preceptor and some it's a 1-yr program.

    To those that have done it..how hard is it to have ur 1st nursing job on nights? Having never worked a night shift, I'm a little concerned. Do u always work consecutive shifts?

    What is most important to ask in the interviews? I've learned to ask about 4th day paybacks and continuing ed. To my (unfortunate) surprise, most of the places I've been to are not offering any kind of tuition forgiveness, only willing to pay if I want to go on and pursue my MSN (which I can't even think about now).

    Thanks so much!
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   medsurgnurse
    Early in your carrer look for a position that offers a stable and supportive chance for growth. Many new grads want to jump right in to speciality fields like ICU or NICU, but med-surg is a great enviroment to learn. Also, you will feel more comfortable on your own if you have had a long peceptorship. Things like pay differences will work out in the end. if offered a choice; choose the one with the best preceptorship. when i got out of school 8 years ago hospitals would not hire new grads. I had to work a year in long term care first
  4. by   SpecFuz
    Thanks... my gut feeling is that a long preceptorship would be best. Unfortunately my 1st choice hospital doesn't really have a set "program" like many others.
  5. by   eak16
    I just started working as a new grad two months ago. Honestly, the main thing I looked for was low ratios. You do not have time to learn if you have six patients! My preceptorship lasted only five weeks (with an option to extend) but now that I am on my own with 3-4 patients, I acually have time to ask for help when I am not sure of something.
    I also looked for a floor where there are a lot of recent (past five years, maybe) grads. There are a ton of relatively new nurses on my floor, so there are a lot of people asking simple questions and debriefing over lunch. A nursing school friend is working on a different floor- same hospital- where the majority of nurses have been there 20+ years and are VERY cliqueish. Even though this friend is in her 40's (the same age as most of the nurses there), she still feels excluded and friendless.
    Good luck in your decision!
  6. by   hittme123
    Quote from medsurgnurse
    Early in your carrer look for a position that offers a stable and supportive chance for growth. Many new grads want to jump right in to speciality fields like ICU or NICU, but med-surg is a great enviroment to learn. Also, you will feel more comfortable on your own if you have had a long peceptorship. Things like pay differences will work out in the end. if offered a choice; choose the one with the best preceptorship. when i got out of school 8 years ago hospitals would not hire new grads. I had to work a year in long term care first
    I don't want to sound ignorant, but I'm finishing up pre-reqs for nursing school, but just so i'm aware, what exactly does med-surg entail? What kind of environment is that?
  7. by   rngreenhorn
    All of your questions sound like questions to ask at the interview... but more importantly: to ask nurses at the hospitals you are interested in.
  8. by   RN4NICU
    Quote from hittme123
    I don't want to sound ignorant, but I'm finishing up pre-reqs for nursing school, but just so i'm aware, what exactly does med-surg entail? What kind of environment is that?
    Terribly simplified (and for lack of a better way to explain it). Med surg is the patients in the hospital (not outpatients - just there for tests, etc.) that are not in a specialty area.

    Specialty areas are OR, ER, any ICU, L&D, cath lab, etc. All the other inpatients are med-surg. There are sub-specialties within med-surg -- respiratory floors, cardiac floors, endocrine, renal, pediatrics, orthopedics, etc. In larger hospitals, the med surg areas will be separated similar to the above, but in smaller hospitals they are often meshed together. Med/surg nurses have to be ready for pretty much ANYTHING.

  9. by   anc33
    I just graduated from school three months ago. I started working in a large teaching hospital on a neuro med-surg unit. I had about one week in a general hospital orientation (benefits, policies, etc) and six weeks with a preceptor on the floor. I do not feel as if this was an adequate amount of preparation. If I had not done my clinical preceptorship on a neuro floor I would have been totally lost with all of the diagnoses, symptoms and procedures. I know other new nurses who went straight into specialty areas and are currently participating in longer, more intense orientations that integrate classroom experience with working on the unit. I would definitely go with a facility that spends more time developing new nurses.

    By the way, I also oriented on and currently work nights. Nights are not so bad. The pay is better and it is relatively quiet from 2-5AM. However, it is not the best time to orient. You do have more time to sit and learn about different disease processes and so on but you do not get to do as much hands on stuff. Whatever you choose..Good Luck!

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