Quitting first RN job

  1. Need some advice!
    i am currently a new grad in the ICU (only at 3 months of working). But I think I've realized hospital care is not for me. Do you think if I quit my job right at 6 months, it would so terrible/ burn bridges with the hospital corporation/look bad because I don't have enough acute care experience?

    Im looking into home health, LTC, hospice, or school nursing instead. Which there are a few openings for all of these in my area. Just wondering if 6 months is "enough experience" for future employers?
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   PixieRN1
    Honestly...probably not. It's one thing to transfer within your own organization after 6 months (poor fits happen), but a new grad with only six months experience isn't terribly marketable.

    And more than the lack of experience, it may be offputting that you left an organization so early at such an early phase of your career.

    Home health, hospice, and school nursing usually require pertinent experience because you are frequently practicing on your own with no back up. 6 months would not be enough. LTC would be more open, I would imagine...

    Unless patient safety is at risk or your mental health is in bad shape, I would try to hold out until the year mark. I was ready to quit 4 months into my first assignment in NICU and my preceptor and mentor really pushed me to give it a year. I listened to her, even though I was most unhappy about it. I ended up doing 7 years in NICU before moving on to something different.

    I eventually did try School Nursing and very much disliked it. Regardless, leaving six months into any job won't make things easy on you. If you just have to leave, I would try transferring within the organization before burning that bridge.

    Good luck with your decision.
  4. by   RNperdiem
    Three months time in one department is not much experience to rule out hospital work altogether. Can you give it more time?
    Think of your first year working as your last year of school.
    If your area does not have an abundance of nursing jobs, as you mention, you really cannot afford to burn any bridges with the hospital if they are the biggest employers of nurses in your area.
  5. by   hnwarden
    Well that's the thing. I'm afraid patient safety and my mental health is at risk. I've talked to my boss about PCU but I just don't see myself enjoying either. But do you think if I stay with the corporation and transfer to another facility it wouldn't be so bad?
    I'm also getting married and moving in like 8 months from now, so I'm not going to have to be with/near the organization for long
  6. by   Okami_CCRN
    Being afraid and feeling incompetent is quite normal, especially when working in a high acuity setting such as the ICU.

    I hated, and I mean hated coming into work my first 9 months. I would have nightmares about crashing patients and what not, but eventually you get into a grove and start feeling better about your skills and practice. I encourage you to stick it out and work through your issues, maybe reach out to an EAP to help with some of the mental health issues you may be experiencing.
  7. by   seaofclouds21
    Since you know you are moving in 8 months, I think that is more reason to try to stick it out. Otherwise, once you move instead of having about a year of experience in the acute care environment, you will have an application that shows you have two jobs within a years time. Employers proceed with a lot of caution when they see multiple jobs in short periods.

    When you say you are worried about patient safety, are there specific things you are worried about? When you say you are worried about your mental health, is this related to happiness because you aren't enjoying your job or something more?

    What aspects of in hospital care do you not enjoy? What are the aspects of home health, long term care, or school nursing that seem more appealing to you?
  8. by   missmollie
    Stick out your year. Everyone feels incompetent in their first year.

    Answer these questions with yes or no:

    1. Can you afford your student loan payments without your paycheck? Yes? read on. No? Stay in the job
    2. Can you afford your house/rent without your paycheck? Yes? read on. No? Stay in the job
    3. Do co-workers with 2+ years of experience feel the same way you do? Yes? Get out. No? Ask them about their first year and see if it comparable to how you are feeling right now.
    4. Did you think nursing was going to be glamorous? Yes: rearrange your expectations. No: good.
    5. Do you ever want to work in nursing again? Yes: don't quit. No? quit.
    6. Did you win the lottery or is someone in your family making more than 100k a year? Yes? You can quit. No: Depending on answers on 1-5, you may or may not be able to quit.
    7. Do you have a plan other than nursing? That's up to you.

    Forget anything where you read nursing is a "calling". Forget about that nonsense. While nursing may be a calling to the select angels and seraphim, the rest of us collect a paycheck. It is a job and it requires time, knowledge, and patience. You will get this, you will know what you don't know in a year. You'll be able to help some new nurse through their first couple of months. This, like nursing school, shall pass.

    The first year is hell, the only way to wade across the flames is to take one year's time. But you do you. Cheers.
  9. by   SentinelTruth
    I'm only 10 months into my nursing career... most job ads in my area of Michigan want 1-2 years experience in acute care before they'll hire for home health, etc.
  10. by   SpankedInPittsburgh
    You jumped right into the deep end of the pool coming out of nursing school. Many of us mortals feel lost in our first assignment. Everyday should get a little better and if you stick the year out you will have one year experience in an ICU. Hang tough!!!!
  11. by   Wolf at the Door
    You flippin need to stay where you are. Getting into ICU is not easy if you cruise through this website. I started in ICU also and it allowed me to interview for many many things and job offers in other specialties I would not have had the opportunity too. Don't be foolish and close your own door. Stick it out and focus on your end goal to get you through it.
  12. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from hnwarden
    Well that's the thing. I'm afraid patient safety and my mental health is at risk. I've talked to my boss about PCU but I just don't see myself enjoying either. But do you think if I stay with the corporation and transfer to another facility it wouldn't be so bad?
    I'm also getting married and moving in like 8 months from now, so I'm not going to have to be with/near the organization for long
    So if you quit your job now and accepted a different job, you will have only five months at that job before you're moving away? After quitting two jobs in such a short period of time, you're not going to be an attractive candidate for a third job. In fact, you'll be a very UNattractive candidate. Stay where you are.

    The first year of nursing is very, very difficult -- people don't realize how difficult until they're actually there. It's normal to feel as though your mental health and patient safety are at risk. It's normal to be certain that you're not going to enjoy your job EVER. But you've barely started. You haven't learned the job yet, or how to be a real nurse. Give it a year . . . things change as you become more comfortable and confident in your job. You may even find that you LIKE your job.
  13. by   anewsns
    Well it depends on how much your well being is at risk. I'm more of a proponent of mental health than experience. If you think it's just some new grad anxiety then sure maybe try to stay. But if you're like reallllllly hurting then maybe try something else. There are more important things than being marketable really. If you need to move to a different department or leave all together it does not make you a worse person. If you're meant for acute care later on, you will find a way. Find a nice balance of challenge yet taking care of yourself. Yet again if you think you can make it, you will be happy with that experience in the end. Just trust your gut.

    p.s. It will still be challenging as a new grad no matter where you go, so be sure to be easy on yourself no matter what and take time for self care.
  14. by   Mr.Bill RN, BSN
    Being a new grad without 1 or 2 years in experience is tough, but in my opinion, if you are uncomfortable, best choice is to draft a polite letter of resignation, put in your 2+ weeks as necessary and seek your next passion. Hospital nursing isn't for everyone and that is completely okay. I worked at the hospital, agency, nursing home, public health, and held positions from staff to supervisory. Just because you branch out of the hospital doesn't make you less of an RN. Believe in yourself.

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