How is working PRN?

  1. I don't expect to hear that it's wonderful. I just wanted to know if it is worth taking a PRN position if it is offered to you. I have been applying to different LTC facilities, and I was told last Friday by a DON that she would rather not hire a new grad because she feels that a new grad may have a better chance starting out in a hospital because it can be too difficult caring for 23 residents. I tried to explain to her that I am no stranger to LTC. Most of our clinical experience in nursing school was in LTC and Med-surg. I told her that during our Nursing Leadership portion of the program I was responsible for caring for 12 residents for a month. She told me admissions can get hectic. I told her that during that time I had two new admissions while another resident of mine had to be rushed to the ER, another had just passed away, and another was on her way out (not in those words). But anyway she was insisting on telling me why I would not fit in. I know for a fact that many of you were hired as new grads so I was not bothered by this.

    I know that I should keep applying at other places, but I was wondering if it was worth it to accept a PRN job in the meantime. Will I even get any hours? How much notice are you given before having to work? I have two small kids that would need to go to daycare. Did any of you end up getting hired full time shortly after? Please tell me your experience with this.
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   military spouse
    Hello!
    I've usually started out part or full-time and then switched to prn:spin: Do you need benefits? If not, prn might be perfect for you! The majority of places that I've worked have had so many hours available that prn nurses can essentially work full-time if they are interested. The sad truth is that both a hospital and a SNF can be very challenging for a new grad. Is it a nice SNF? Perhaps the DON knows the workload is unrealistic and that is why she is suggesting that you start elsewhere. A nice SNF can be a great learning environment, but many aren't too nice. I'm sure it will all work out for you!!!!!!!!!!!
  4. by   CoffeeRTC
    Wellll, I've just ventured into the PRN world in LTC. As a new grad. I would say NO. Not until you are really, really familiar with getting a routine down and actually have some experience in under your belt. What type of orientation will they be giving you? I've been doing LTC for the last 10 years, so the transition in different facilities wasn't all that hard,but sometimes I wanted to pull my hair out.
  5. by   wefdm21
    Well, the place did look kind of shaby. There were confused patients out in the main lobby where I was filling out my applications. So maybe you're right about that place. It may have been a stressful environment. But I thought that many grads start out in LTC facilities all the time. Or was I wrong?
  6. by   linzz
    Please listen to the other poster, Michelle 126 (I think), working PRN as a new grad is not a good idea. I also did LTC in my clinicals and sailed through it. However it is much harder once you are working. I think that she is right on about needing to get a routine of your own down. There are many things to learn about passing meds quickly without tons of errors. It can also be challenging to pass meds QID when you are behind because then the next doses also are behind. Anyways, I tried PRN and it is not for me. I have decided that I need to work part time somewhere first, then maybe PRN. I also found that it was next to impossible to arrange childcare as the facility I was at would give at most one hour's notice.
  7. by   military spouse
    Quote from wefdm21
    Well, the place did look kind of shaby. There were confused patients out in the main lobby where I was filling out my applications. So maybe you're right about that place. It may have been a stressful environment. But I thought that many grads start out in LTC facilities all the time. Or was I wrong?
    I think many new grads do begin in LTC. I worked my last year of nursing school as an LPN in a SNF and learned soooo much. I also worked as an RN in a deficiency-free SNF, where we had med aides, and it was still challenging. Some places are just dumps and expect one nurse to provide assessments, med, treatments, doc calls, etc. for 30 residents. Another aspect I would look at is how many patients with wounds? Oftentimes that is a good evaluator of the quality of care being provided. Of course, there are always people that will get wounds very close to death and people that transferred into facilities that already had wounds. Other places are more reasonable and choose to provide better care. How is the job market where you are? Many SNFs are begging for nurses. If that job doesn't work out, are there other places in which you are interested? When I first graduated, I worked med/surg and HATED it with a passion. The patient load was so unreasonable. Ten years later, I worked med/surg and the environment and workload were MUCH better. Still not a huge fan of med/surg, but I was in a city that had an 80 bed hospital--50 of which were med/surg. Hospice is a great job, but you would probably want some experience. I'm currently working corrections and it is very interesting..much different than anything else I've done. I know it is hard with that first job out of school. Just remember, there is a good chance that 10 or 15 years from now you will have worked in many capacities and environments as a nurse.
  8. by   wefdm21
    thanx for the encouragement military spouse. Well the situation in my area is that it seems like all of the recent graduates came out at the same time and are all applying at the same places. The DON at the same facility that I mentioned before said that she had about 15 new grad applications on her desk now. I've applied to about 8 or 9 different LTC's in my area and they don't seem to be begging for nurses at the moment. But I like that you said you started out in Med/surg. I on the other hand I LOVED Med/surg, and planned to start there after graduation. However I was told by a few of the hospitals that I was interested in that they wanted LPNs with hopital experience (?). That makes no sense to me. They have plenty of new grad RN programs at the hospitals though. So I was told that I would have a better chance being hired at a LTC facility, which is where I am now.
  9. by   military spouse
    Quote from wefdm21
    thanx for the encouragement military spouse. Well the situation in my area is that it seems like all of the recent graduates came out at the same time and are all applying at the same places. The DON at the same facility that I mentioned before said that she had about 15 new grad applications on her desk now. I've applied to about 8 or 9 different LTC's in my area and they don't seem to be begging for nurses at the moment. But I like that you said you started out in Med/surg. I on the other hand I LOVED Med/surg, and planned to start there after graduation. However I was told by a few of the hospitals that I was interested in that they wanted LPNs with hopital experience (?). That makes no sense to me. They have plenty of new grad RN programs at the hospitals though. So I was told that I would have a better chance being hired at a LTC facility, which is where I am now.
    Being an LPN might limit you just a bit in the hospitals. Some places, like where I just came from, would prefer an RN but were very happy to hire an LPN. There were small differences such as hanging blood, IV push meds, etc. Everything else seemed to be the same for RN and LPN. Be friendly and persistent. If you feel that you would like to work at the SNF you mentioned, continue talking to the DON. Atleast she will remember which of the 15 new grad applicants you are. Are you willing to work any shift? That can be a huge plus if you make that known. There are some places in the country where places are begging for LPNs. I have a friend in El Paso, TX that works as an LPN and makes more than I do as an RN Hang in there!
  10. by   CNAtoRN2b06
    We have the pool here. You can set up your schedule. It helps a lot, especially when your work at other places, and you're trying to go to school.
    Setting up your own schedule, for me, is nice. But I'm 16. And other people have families. But, personally, I like it.
  11. by   jrussole
    I suppose working as a new grad and prn will be a challenge, no matter where you would work. It would only be beneficial if you were allowed an adequate training period. But I have never worked in LTC. And when I was an LPN we worked the same as RN's. Actually, the LPN's were the ones who gave the meds while the RN's gave the treatments in the hospital. So alot has changed in 25 years of nursing for me. Once I became an RN, I found there were no boundries as far as what I could do or wanted to do. For me, med/surg sucked big time. 10:1, days, come on! I worked like a mule. Now in the ICU, 2:1 is a much better ratio. They may be sicker, and you need to know your stuff. But I no longer feel like a mule, that's for sure.
  12. by   wefdm21
    Well, I had the interview today at the LTCF that was only hiring PRN. This place didn't seem as bad/stressfull as the other. The DON at this place offered me the job pending background checks and all that. She said that it is difficult for a new grad working PRN, but it has been done and can be done. She said that I would have to be willing to ask plenty of questions, which I definitely don't have a problem doing. I also don't have a problem reading up on whatever I need to. I would have 3 days of classroom orientation and some days on the floor rotating to the different areas, and she said that I could take more time in areas that I didn't feel comfortable with. She also said that as a new grad I am going to be paid more ($16 per hour as oposed to like $14)as a PRN nurse than I would being hired full-time, and if a full-time position came open I would still keep that salary. So that was good, I'm just afraid of not getting any hours. Like I said I will keep looking. :spin:
  13. by   linzz
    To: jrussole: I am so glad to hear that you are glad you got your RN, I too have applied to bridge over because I hated MedSurg and have found that I am so sick of few opportunities and working like a mule.
  14. by   linzz
    I think that you will likely get hours, I just found it impossible at this stage of my life because my kids are of the age that they still need a sitter. I was not able to get childcare without notice and the place I was at would only provide an hour's notice or a few hours if I was lucky, but they did call a least a few times a week, so you will likely get hours.

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