Starting in a Nursing home vs. Starting in a Hospital

  1. Hi all,

    I am a new nursing graduate (BSN Aug 3rd, 2013). Nursing is my second career so I now have 2 bachelors degrees. I had a 3.5 GPA and looking for jobs. Some hospitals have a hiring freeze and I want to start working as soon as I pass boards.

    Has anyone started in a nursing home? Any comments or suggestions? I have hospital opportunities but not in the near future. I wanted to start medical surgical in a hospital setting but I have the feeling that will be hard to get right now.

    thanks in advance

  2. Visit sunshyne17 profile page

    About sunshyne17

    Joined: Dec '11; Posts: 190; Likes: 86


  3. by   anie76
    Hi Sunshyne!!

    I am also a new BSN graduate (May, 2013). I have passed my boards and have RN licenses in Two states. Not to discourage you, but I think no one really cares for your credentials or academics (from my own job hunt experience). ONLY connections work in this job market. I have two bachelors an one masters degree and a GPA of above 3.9, but no connections..... ...... so every time get the usual response "at this time we are pursuing another candidate whose SKILLS best match the job requirement". But the truth is people got hired even without an open advertised RN positions.
  4. by   sunshyne17
    Thanks anie76. You're right, in this market, beggars can't be choosers. Some graduate nurse residencies require a certain GPA which is why I mentioned. Congratulations to you for maintaining such an amazing GPA through nursing school!

    In case anyone else feedback, I was looking more for comments related to pros and cons of beginning in a nursing home as opposed to starting in a hospital.

  5. by   anie76

    I would like to chime in till you get an expert advice . I'd say that if you are getting an offer from a nursing home, accept it just to get your foot in the door and you can still apply for hospital jobs. And this way you will have something to write about professional RN experience in your rsum. Unfortunately, I don't see any positives about hospitals hiring new grads so, we need to start somewhere. I'd also love to hear about pros and cons from experts in these areas.

    And thanks for the wishes, I wish the employers would have recognized & appreciated my efforts of maintaining such a good GPA.........especially in an accelerated program........ ...sigh!!

    I know how difficult and stressful the job hunt is....just can only say that keep going..........we shall def reach our ultimate goal.
  6. by   sunshyne17
    Thanks anie,

    I am pleased to announce I did receive a job offer! I am waiting to get everything in writing. I am nervous about the ratios but you are right - getting my foot in the door is crucial to getting that all important nursing experience. Once I get everything signed and official, I will ask the recruiter what made her call me because I swear during the interview I heard at LEAST 5 times "we don't usually hire new nurses."
  7. by   KJM-RN
    I'll be starting my first nursing job in a nursing home doing subacute rehab in 2 days. Although it is far from my long term goal of being a Neonatal NP, I feel it will teach me a lot and give me a good start. Hospital jobs are hard to get for new grads, just have to be lucky to land one. Can't always get what you want to begin with, just have to work hard and put in your time, learn as much as possible then spread your wings. It's worth applying to every place you can, whether it be LTC, hospitals, or wherever else. I've only obtained a per diem position so I'm continuing to apply daily to hospitals.

    I think a nursing home is a good place to learn about things such as time management and other nursing skills that a new grad may not be great at just yet. I hope I'm not being naive, but I find it hard to believe that once you work in a nursing home it's the only place you can ever work as a hospital doesn't consider it experience. I hear that often from former classmates and I disagree. Good luck in your search!
  8. by   Concerto_in_C
    Just to straighten out the misconception about the "hiring freeze" in hospitals.

    The only hiring freeze is for new grads. Hospitals have gotten sleazy and they don't want to hire new grads because it's difficult to train them, not all of them work out, so it's a financial risk to the company. If the new grad goes through 4 months of orientation and then has to be asked to resign, that's $30,000 (perhaps more) down the drain for the company.

    Hospitals need experienced, proven nurses badly, but they are not getting them, only constant applications from new grads or people without relevant or recent experience.

    It is difficult to find and hire experienced nurses for acute care, because once you've been an acute care RN for a couple years there is very little motivation to change employers, as every hospital offers the same deal. The few acute care nurses who are willing to change hospitals, are snapped up by recruiters immediately.

    Once you get over the hump of getting the initial acute experience, you'll be able to work anywhere you want, anywhere in the country. However, by that point you probably won't care anymore.

    I'm a proven acute care nurse, I have a briefcase full of awards and certifications and I don't care what's out there. I don't care what they have to offer. Talking to recruiters really puts me off. If I decide to "change jobs" I'd rather move within my organization. There is a vast number of choices, units and positions within our organization which is very attractive.

    Most of my coworkers on the floor think like me and this explains why successful acute care nurses are in demand as generally they don't like to change organizations. They will move from med-surg to PACU or from med-surg to day surgery, but generally they stay with our company. Learning the nuances of a completely new organization is a tremendous pain in the butt, generally not worth the meager raise they will offer you.

    I hope this helps.
    Last edit by Concerto_in_C on Sep 7, '13
  9. by   anie76
    Hey Sunshyne,

    I am glad to know that you got a job. How wonderful!!! ......CONGRATULATIONS!!!!. .......are u going to work in a hospital, clinic or home care???
  10. by   CapeCodMermaid
    Why is it "sleazy" to be fiscally responsible?
  11. by   AngelRN27
    I started my nursing career in a LTC/Nursing Home setting and I don't regret it at all. I learned a lot, and the year I spent there made me feel like a true nurse. It's hard to explain, that intangible AHA moment when you're on your way to work and you suddenly realize "I'm a nurse." You'll see what I mean soon enough.

    Anyway, I've since moved on to Long Term ACUTE Care, which is basically like working a high-ratio ICU step-down. That change, however, was due to "knowing the right people" which will ALWAYS give you an advantage across the board, really. I dare say even more so in our field of work.

    Good luck!
  12. by   Concerto_in_C
    I see it as sleazy because the employers want a zero risk situation. The candidate is the only party that takes a huge risk by changing jobs because changing jobs in nursing is risky. A number of my colleagues have screwed themselves into the ground by quitting a reasonably good gig, and accepting an offer from a company that had problems. Some of those people later came back to us with their tails between their legs, they were fortunate our organization took them back...
  13. by   sunshyne17
    Thanks to everyone for your responses. AngelRN27, it feels good to hear that starting in a nursing home has not pigeon holed you into a type of work. That is what I was afraid what would happen by starting out there.
  14. by   Concerto_in_C
    sunshyne17, ask for a position in sub-acute rehabilitation, not in a classic nursing home where the residents live and play bingo all day. That's not going to teach you enough marketable skills to impress recruiters in the future.

    Sub-acute rehabilitation is like an extension of hospital care. They have interesting surgical cases (a lot of orthopedic cases such as joint replacements), surgical wounds that will teach you a bit about incision care, staples, steri-strips, etc, you will give IV antibiotics and get to start IV lines. It's very similar to a medical surgical unit and will teach you most skills you need in med-surg.

    However, stay there for 1-2 years tops, no longer, because hospital recruiters can be prejudiced and they think nursing home nurses are poorly skilled (true for some, but not all). A recruiter told me if you stay in a nursing home setting 5 years or longer, most places will no longer consider you for acute care positions, unless you go back to nursing school or take refresher courses.

    The industry does not like nursing home staff-this is an honest assessment based on what recruiters told me, and my own experience starting in sub-acute care and then trying to get out of there.

    What I've seen happen is young LPNs getting a few years of experience in a nursing home, then getting a BSN, then immediately applying at local hospitals and generally getting offers. That seems to work well.

    Good luck.
    Last edit by Concerto_in_C on Sep 11, '13

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