Hi everyone. I thought this would be the best place to make this post. I graduated in January 2009 from the associates RN program at Northampton Community College (wanted the BSN, but I was in my 20s and paying for most of my college education on my own). As a new nurse, job searching was terrible both as a GN and an RN. I wanted to do hospital nursing, with my intent being starting out in med/surg and then progressing to ICU or ED nursing, however because of how difficult finding a job was for a new nurse, I settled for working in a Skilled Nursing Facility. I worked on a general ortho/rehab floor with a patient to nurse ratio of 18 patients to 1 nurse and 2 CNAs for about one year. I was offered a position at the facility's wound unit the following year, took it and became wound care certified. The patient to nurse ratio remained the same: 18 to 1 nurse and 2 CNAs. The floor nurse is responsible for all wound care, med passing, admissions, etc and the acuity on the floor has been progressively increasing. I've worked with IV therapy, PICCs, chest tubes, VACs, burns and a variety of chronic and complex wounds. I decided about two years into the work there, I felt my wound care certification and experience would assist me in getting into hospital work, but this had no real success. Even with becoming ACLS certified on my own time and being recently accepted into Penn State University's online RN to BSN program, I was still not considered for hospital positions. I've found through some hospital RNs that DONs in hospitals have a pre-conceived idea about SNF nurses that they "Pass pills in a nursing home and will be stuck there". I finally nailed a job at a CCU/ICU/Telemetry LTAC called Kindred Healthcare. The facility was previously owned by Triumph and was recently bought by Kindred. The patient to nurse ratio is typically 4 patients to 1 nurse with a max patient load of 6 to 1. It is known to be a rather difficult place to work, but I'm up for the challenge in order to learn and gain more experience in order to get to the place I want to be as an RN. I am also staying per diem at my previous employer in order to not burn any bridges with them (I am quite thankful for the wound care experience I received there) and have a little extra income since I'm putting myself through Penn State. I start my first semester at Penn State for my RN to BSN in January (my goal is to receive my PhD and teach nursing. I really enjoy mentoring nursing students).
So, that's what I'm up to. I'm excited and nervous about handling it all. Opinions?
Thanks for the replies. I know Kindred is going to be a tough place to work due to it's rumored reputation, however I'm doing it for the experience. And those offended by me "settling", I meant no disrespect towards LTC. It's been by far a challenging nursing job and I have learned a great deal. I "settled" in the respect that I wanted to obtain hospital experience, which was not available as a new grad in the middle of a recession. It's an extrmely tough job, especially as LTC is turning into rehab for sub-acute patients. I am EXTREMELY offended at hospital DONs that may state "all you do is pass pills in a nursing home". It's much more sub-actute care than long-term at many facilies now. As with LTACs, in my experience, SNFs tend to also be the places where hospitals dump individuals who run out of insurance/medicare days. Often times I do have admissions that get sent back to the hospital within 24 to 48 hours due to medical instability that they were dischared with because they ran out of insurance/medicare days. My facility is currently attempting to push a "hospital-like environment" in order to appeal to a larger patient population and reduce hospital readmissions rather than LTC. Unfortunately, staffing and equiptment has remained the same. No or broken vital signs equiptment in the facility has caused me to buy all my own vital signs supplies. I carry a tool set to jimmy IV pumps to work. I've become wound care certified, learned time management, stress management and to expect anything and be prepared. I spoke with a previous supervisor (whom I had as a very new nurse), and now DON where I work, who was a critical care RN before working in LTC "This is one of the hardest jobs you will ever do. It's a good foundation even though it's not exactly what you wanted to do out of school". Apologies for anyone I offended. It was not intended.
Last edit by SusieN RN on Dec 6, '11