Nurses who never worked in the hospital?

  1. 1
    Hi, I recently just graduated from nursing school and I am taking my NCLEX very soon. During the process of applying for jobs, I was wondering if there were any nurses out there who never even worked in the hospital or applied for a position in the hospital? I've been told by a lot of my professors that I SHOULD work in the hospital after first graduating in order to get the experience needed and that it would build a foundation for wherever I want to work in the future. They kinda put this mindset in our heads that we should start out working on a med-surg floor to develop our skills - which I understand. However, I want to know if there are nurses who has never worked in the hospital and has found a job they loved. If so, where? I just want need some input and advice on whether it is definitely necessary that I work in the hospital at least for some years before exploring other settings, or if I probably won't have a choice but to work in the hospital (since I need the experience before working elsewhere - besides LTC).

    Thank you so much
    Joe V likes this.
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  3. 26 Comments so far...

  4. 2
    most hospitals require that you have experience of at least 1-2 yrs and clinicals don't count. So I would check on their requirements for applying first. Or if you know someone on the nursing admin team or someone who know's someone on the team then that would also help out as well. Yes a hospital is a great place to work for a first job if you're lucky to get in. I'm currently working at a nursing/rehab facility which hires new grads which I think is also a great first experience but dealing with the same routine everyday doesn't give you that much more experience than you would hope for. But again it is a good first experience... well for me, anyways, I don't know about other people.

    Try to apply everywhere you can and don't limit yourself because you never know who might be hiring you and if you might like that first job.
    cannonball59 and AtBat like this.
  5. 2
    I don't think hospital experience is a needed experience now as it was in the past. I did go directly to a med-surg floor and spent 2 years and still work PRN (more than I like) and I do believe for me it was a great start. It helped me with organization, prioritizing and time management plus the basic hospital skills. Also I've done a lot of patient teaching. Also, I now work full time in a clinic which my experience on the floor got me there. Depends on where you want to be in the future. Home health also likes med-surg experience. I would like to teach in my future so it will help with the clinical aspect requirement, which is another reason I stayed PRN. I guess it depends more on your future goals. In my case, it did help open doors to other avenues. Good luck!
    SHGR and cannonball59 like this.
  6. 2
    I have six and a half years of nursing experience (4 years as an LPN and 2 years as an RN), and I have never worked at an acute care hospital at any point during my career.

    I started out in long term care (a.k.a. nursing homes) and remained there on and off for 6 years. I worked a short PRN/casual stint at a psychiatric facility and loved that, although the facility was too far from home for me to continue commuting there. For the past 2 years I have been working PRN/casual at a small rehab hospital and like it on most shifts.
    BrandonLPN and cannonball59 like this.
  7. 1
    I have been an RN for 19 years and never in a hospital. I did work in hospitals prior to becoming a nurse.

    As a nurse I have done:

    Clinic nursing (Kaiser type mega clinic) as staff nurse
    Case management
    A brief stint in Radiation Oncology, but I left because it really needed acute care skills
    Nursing coordinator for a multiple practice site OB/Gyn group
    And for the last 8 years research at a university
    cannonball59 likes this.
  8. 0
    Wow, thank you so much everyone for sharing!

    CrunchRN - Might I ask if it is possible to be hired in a clinic setting as a new grad? If not, how would I get the experience needed besides a hospital setting? Or how can I get any experience needed if I were to work in the hospital at all for that matter since 1-2 years of experience is required? I'm just confused on how this all should work for a new grad with zero experience. Would I have to keep trying to continue to find a new grad opening? Thank you so much!
  9. 3
    Years ago, my college roommate went into home health directly after college. She has since gotten an MSN in Community Health and become a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. She currently works part time as a school nurse. Never did inpatient work.
    owlRN01, cannonball59, and Miniangel2 like this.
  10. 2
    You just have to try for things whether or not you think you are the ideal candidate. That has worked for me every time. Some people love new grads/blank slate - others not so much. Just go for it!
    ElSea and cannonball59 like this.
  11. 3
    I never had interest in working in a general hospital. I have worked in long term care for over six years and absolutely love it. I have worked in mental health for one year as well. I have no plans for working in a general hospital.. ....against what everyone seems to think I should be doing. So go for what you want and feel comfortable with. Nursing has so many options, you do not have to work in a hospital if you dont want to.
    ElSea, itsmejuli, and cannonball59 like this.
  12. 2
    Just graduated in June and I chose not to work in a hospital. I worked in a hospital as a CNA and ER tech, but really felt I wanted something different.

    I work as an RN in a residential school for children with Autism and some level of either Mental Retardation or some other form of neurological deficit (shaken baby syndrome, etc.) I over see about 11 kids and our client/staff ratio is at most 3:1, not including nursing staff. My duties are NURSING duties only. I pass meds, make assessments as needed, tracheostomy care/suctioning, straight caths for the kids who cannot empty their bladders, blood draws, g-tube feedings, and other various nursing tasks. I am not pulled in a million directions and have a lot of time to bond with my kids. I love it
    itsmejuli and cannonball59 like this.


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