New Grad Can't Find Niche

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I am an older (33), second career (BA in English and Criminal Justice, AA in Education) and will graduate from an ADN program in May (woohoo). Nursing was never a passion of mine growing up honestly and I chose to become a nurse largely based on two things: I'd be good at it and the money. I am compassionate and naturally a caregiver and I do well with patients.

    Here is my dilemma: The only thing I am positive about when it comes to my future is that I DO NOT want to work in a hospital. If I had to it would ONLY be on
    a L&D/Mother Baby unit. I have no desire for a position in an ICU or ED. I can handle an emergent situation here and there but do not want to be constantly "on high alert" or running all the time from one emergency to another. It just isn't who I am.

    I still haven't found that "niche" everyone talks about, but I am interested in forensics/corrections and as previously noted maternity. Is it possible to get a new grad job outside of a hospital (and not in
    a LTC facility either) without any experience? I've never worked in the healthcare field and my only experiences have been through clinicals and classroom instruction. If I never (if I can help it) want to work in a hospital setting, is it OK to go straight to corrections or a forensic nurse/SANE nurse route? Thank you for your reply and advice!

    Dear Doesn't Want Hospital,

    It's not uncommon to not find your niche until after graduation and after more exposure to different specialties.

    There are positions that do not require experience, but they are harder to find. If you would consider working a year or two in acute care, you would then qualify for more positions. You should also plan to get your BSN, especially if you do not want to work at the bedside. A BSN is typically required for many non-clinical roles. An example is case management.

    Corrections does hire new grads depending on your area. Most SANE nurses have two years ED experience. Maybe look for vendors who are hiring? Typically positions with vendors involve travel.

    Have you considered behavioral health?

    A good idea to learn what's out there is to register on You will get a feel for all the different jobs available and what the qualifications are.

    Give yourself some time to find the right choice for you. In the meantime, try to avoid absolutes because you may miss opportunities. Be open-minded and remember your first year or two is to learn to become a nurse. You have the rest of your career to specialize.

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth

    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on May 15
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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,362; Likes: 4,062


  3. by   Oldmahubbard
    Back in my day, 1990 or so, my class was told
    to work at least a year in a hospital. To me, it sounded like horrible hard time.

    But many of my classmates were strangely excited about it. They even thought they wanted to make it their career!

    This is when I began learning what a good thing it is that we are all made differently.

    I ended up doing about 8.5 months of hard time. Thankfully, I was released early for good behavior.

    Yes, a little corrections humor.

    It will all depend on your local job market. You also have access to so much learning material and wisdom that we did not.

    In this area, I know first hand that the forensic facility is in need of good and reliable RNs.

    People that will get up, dress up, show up, shut up, and never give up.

    Not original to me, but I liked it enough to plagiarize.

    I will add, "put up" with politics.

    So hard to believe, but a local nurse in a forensic setting was recently fired for bringing in 7 Adderall tablets with her into the facility.

    Even if she had a legit prescription, why would she risk that?

    My advice. Don't be discouraged, it may not take that long, and who knows? Why not apply and see what they say?

    In the meantime, take any job to support yourself, but it won't be forever.