How to choose first job for new RN career?

  1. I graduated May 2009 with my ADN. My marriage has been failing and I have 2 children ages 11 and 13. I just seperated and due to this, I am solely responsible for my children. I have no family nearby (we are on the east coast and my family is all on the west coast). My issues are this:

    1. I have been hired into the new nurse residency program here. However, it is 3 months long, with 12 shifts. At the end of that, you interview with 3 floors and ultimately they decide where they want to put you. There is no guarantee of what shift you will get, though I would likely get day shift if I expressed my issues regarding child care. However, I could still end up with rotating shifts (not good). I really wanted that "1 year of acute care experience/hospital experience" as a new grad, but I don't think its possible to care for my kids on my own with hours like that (7 am to 7 pm, and staying after, as is likely).
    2. I am likely getting offered a position at a state psychiatric hospital in the Youth Acute Unit. The hours are 7-3:30. The ages are 12-17. I LOVE working with adolescents, teenagers and young adults. I have so much to offer this age range. I also have an associates degree in behavioral sciences, which contributes greatly to a broad-based understanding of this patient population. However, I am so afraid of going straight into this position knowing it is psych nursing and not having that magic "1 yr of hospital experience". Am I pigeon-holing my career? I am not staying here forever, and I will need to find a job elsewhere eventually.
    3. I am interviewing at a Med-Neuro Center which is also a state facility. This is a long-term care center that deals with MR and spinal cord injuries of various degrees. Most of the patients I would be dealing with do not talk although they have behavioral indicators and ways of trying to communicate their needs. Some are on ventilators while others just need an assisted-living type environment (I probably won't deal much with them, but you can be switched to different buildings depending on where you are needed). The hours would be 8-4:30. I am not passionate about this patient population in regards to their health care needs, however I know I would have no problem ensuring I gave them respect and quality nursing care. I have been told it is basically a big med pass at this facility and that you get very attached to the patients there. There are a lot of G-tubes, ect and suctioning/trach care there. Would this be a better alternative to the psych facility?

    I have no qualms about taking the psych position other than the worry of not being able to go into other types of nursing later (in a year or two). How realistic is this fear? How much weight should this take when making this career decision? My MAJOR nursing interests or long term goals for nursing are: Public health and/or school nursing (I LOVE public health!). I also know I would be excellent on a post-partum unit..I have so much to offer new mothers no matter what they are going through and extensive info for breastfeeding (but not the breastfeeding nazi). However I know that would be a difficult place to get into due to demand for that floor as well as no hospital experience. Once again we are talking about 12 hour shifts up there, which I am not ready to do with my kids being the age they are. When my oldest is 16 that might be different?! My ultimate long term dream goal is to become a NP...So there you have it. I know where I would be happy...would psych nursing be a detriment to my goals? Thank you so much! I have to start working and make this decision ASAP.
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   ruralgirl08
    Hi, I think the psych nursing job you are interested in has a lot of attributes that you could take to a public health position, and if the hours are better and your interest is there, I would go for it. Plus, it is still in an acute care setting, so you will get to still use "traditional nursing skills." In your psych area, you will probably have alot of one to one counselling opportunities with pts, I am guessing, which is alot similar in ways to public health. If I were to make my decision again, I would go for what is most like or/is the specialty area I was interested in. I didn't go that way when I had the opportunity, instead I went to med-surg, because it was the hospital I wanted to work at. And yeah, its nice to have a year of med-surg, but its not what I want to do, its just not the right fit for me. In my limited experience, I have found that sometimes its more difficult to get into your area of interest after "your magic year" of med-surg.
    When applying for jobs, especially in desirable areas, if you don't have experience in that area, alot of times they don't want to hire you. But usually med-surg is always hiring, so if you find later you feel you missed out on something, you can usually still find I job in med-surg. I would choose by where your interest is, because not everyone is made for med-surg.
  4. by   sameasalways
    Wow thank you for your input. What is your area of interest in nursing? I wish you luck, don't give up. Maybe the openings don't come up that often in the area you want? I know I search all the time for public health, but the positions just don't come up that often.
  5. by   tuttle13
    I say it great that you have so many job opportunites! I graduated in May as well and we have NOTHING here for a new grad. I say you are fortunate to get any job in this climate, and if you need to support your children, you need to take the job you are offered. If offered a specialty you know you want to go into, then take it. I would love to go right into a specialty but most places want that 1 year med/surg first, so if you can avoid that and don't mind missing that experience then I think that is okay. You could always take an RN refreshers course for med/surg if you feel later on that you want to improve assessment skills for that area.

    BTW, I hope your ex plans on helping with child care, expenses to raise the kids etc...just because you are divorcing doesn't mean he gets to relinquish all responsibility for his children, especially now that you are starting a new career. Try to get as much support from family and friends while you transition into your new job. I know your family is not nearby, but a good rant on the phone now and then can help relieve some stress. Good luck!
  6. by   sameasalways
    I am so sorry about the new job situation. I have only recently been hearing about how difficult it has been for some new grads. I have been busy this summer trying to find a place to live and get an attorney, ect and deal with financial issues related to the seperation and had no money or time for the internet for the past 2 months. I know the hospital I applied at accidently overhired, and I expressed concern for this during my interview with them. They replied that they still had positions opening up and that due to being in a military community positions are always coming up. Yesterday I was officially offered a position with them (and I didn't even take the nursing student stipend that many of my fellow grads took from them, whereupon they owe the hospital money and a 1 year commitment). I am not sure where the hardest hit areas are for new grads, but I will say that I am in North Carolina, and perhaps things are just now beginning or on the brink of getting more difficult. However, there are SO MANY hospitals and other areas for work around here. Thankfully! Living between Raleigh and Greenville affords many employment opportunities that may or may not be available to other communities. I have not officially been hired at the Psychiatric Hospital, but I have never had an interview go so well. I am confident that as long as the state budget allows, and the nurse who has put in her resignation for the Youth Acute Unit follows through, that I will be offered the position. However, just in case, I am also applying at a local Neuro-Med Center which I had turned down earlier this summer for a nursing position on an Ortho unit in Greenville at a huge training facility there. I had to turn down my job offer at Greenville because my attorney requested I do not leave the county. This somewhat upset me to put it mildly because the facility there is huge and has so many opportunities to learn and grow as a new grad. Also their relocation manager is FANTASTIC and they do everything to help you make the transition to Greenville easier! As of now I have accepted the position at the hospital to ensure I truly have a job, regardless of what happens with the Psych center or Neuro-Med Center (which are both within 10 miles of my home).
  7. by   ruralgirl08
    Hi tahansen24, I wanted to go into ICU when I graduated. I instead went into surgery. I ended up not having a job after the new grad position ended, due to hiring freezes, and then took another temporary job on a medical floor covering mat leave and it ended, so I finally ended back at the large teaching hospital ( I commute an hour) but have a permanent full-time job in Neurosciences. I eventually want to apply back into ICU or possibly the OR. ( b/c I like having 1 pt, vs. 4-6) My new grad experience was not smooth, I gained alot of different skills, but I still should have went straight into the area I was interested in.

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