Did I do the right thing??

  1. I will be graduating in December. I interviewed for 2 positions-OB and med/surg. When I was offered both positions I choose OB (I think that its my calling ). Will I be okay in the OB field if the only med surg experience I have is from my school clinicals?
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   SaderNurse05
    If you go to a good hospital it should not be a problem. My friends who went into L&D right out of school had the best orientations. They went to classes and had to pass skills, much like nursing school. Only 1/2 of the origional training class made it to the floor. That said, when they made it to the floor they always had more exerpienced nurses to help them when they needed it. Nothing at all like my old hospital's med surg orientation where at one point the most experienced nurse on the stepdown unit had been out of school 1 year.
  4. by   HM2VikingRN
    Follow your passion....If you feel called to work OB then do it.
  5. by   fmrnicumom
    Just wanted to wish you the best of luck! Congratulations!

    Tiffany
  6. by   LNDis4ME
    Are you generalizing "OB" as L&D, PostPartum and/or Nursery? If you are referring to L&D specifically, I have to say that I very STRONGLY recommend getting at least a year or 2 of Med Surg first. Here's why: There are no nursing schools that I am aware of that really adequately prepares their students with the time management, organization and critical thinking skills that L&D requires. I know this from my own personal experience and from a situation that I observed over the past few weeks.
    From my own experience: I have been an RN for 15 years. Two years ago, I FINALLY landed my dream job in L&D, which I really and truly love. My work history prior to L&D since graduation: 5 years acute adult med-surg, 1.5 years NM in LTC, 1.5 years DON in LTC, 2 years part time Nursing Supervisor in LTC and part time caseworker in Home health ( had small children/newborn at home), then 4 years Adult Med Surg/Tele/Ortho as a travel RN, in which you can and will be expected to hit the floor running, with little or no orientation.
    So, all in all, I walked into this wonderful job with 13 pretty solid years of experience in many different areas. I had wonderful recommendations from supervisors and coworkers alike about how excellent and organized I am, yadda, yadda. So what happened? Well, I did fine....I'm still here. But in the beginning, my head literally SWAM with all the new info I was trying to learn and absorb and try to put into practice. I cried...several times. I questioned myself as to what the heck I thought I was getting myself into. And I had all the basics....how to stay on top of things, how to be organized, I've had 4 children, I've read from cover to cover every OB textbook I've ever laid my hands on. But real life OB is a whole new ball game! It was a long time b4 I could go to work without some sense of anxiety about what might happen. I still ask questions and consult with the more experienced nurses I work with. I still self examine and think about how I could've/would've/should've done this or that differentally. There are still so many things that I have not yet experienced and can only pray that I can handle them when they happen.
    The situation that I observed: We had an RN start orientation in the middle of August. She came to us with about 1.5 years experience in a sub acute rehab unit. There were rumblings on the unit that she was basically a new grad as far as skills went...IV's, foley's, vag. exams, time management, organization, critical thinking etc. Last week, during a C section, she completely fell apart and the next day, relinquished her position, b/c by her own admission, she needs MORE experience. I feel so badly for this girl b/c I know she tried so hard, but even tho she had "experience" and wasn't technically a new grad, she lacked the experience that she needed. I hope that she gets her experience and comes back b/c she will be excellent!
    I really honestly believe that having a year or two in Med Surg can make all the difference in survival in L&D. On my unit, we do have RN's who have only ever done OB, but they started 20-30 years ago, when I think things were much different. The newer girls have all had other experiences before starting, and we have one RN, who came to L &D from Postpartum (as a new grad) and went back to PP to gain more experience. And then came back, and she IS WONDERFUL!
    L&D is just so fast paced and changing all the time....it's very hard to explain how things can be status quo one minute and fall apart the next. In my opinion, you really have to have your head in the game and a handle on things from one moment to the next, and be able to deal with whatever life throws at you next...you can't be struggling with throwing in the IV or the foley or what to do when the baby is not breathing....Med Surg is what gives you those skills, and is really and truly necessary! Speaking for myself, I know that I never would have made it this far, without my years elsewhere!
    Sorry so long!
  7. by   TxMama
    As an student who's dream is to become a L&D nurse, I want to say thank you for asking the question and to all of you who have/will answer it. Best wishes!
  8. by   TxMama
    duplicate post (whoops)... deleted
    Last edit by TxMama on Oct 15, '07
  9. by   AlmostThere:)
    Thanks for all of the great post and thanks for the congrats. I really do think that OB (I dont know what specifically...I work in a small hospital so maybe all:uhoh21 is my calling. I hope that I am able to hack it and I will probably be checking in from time to time for advice :-)
  10. by   CaneRN07
    Go for it...take it from a new grad RN who is excelling with leaps and bounds in L&D...if it's your passion go for it and don't look back. I knew prior to nurisng school L&D was my calling and there is no denying it. I look at it this way you have worked so hard to achieve your degree why not put it to use in an area that "moves" you. I am at a large teaching hospital with 3 clinical educators and lots of classess and floor practicums. Just make sure they plan to do an extensive orientation with you and don't just throw you out there. Myself personally if i had to wake up everyday and do med/surg nursing i wouldn't be effective to my patients and it would mentally wear me down....so i figured let me be happy and passionate about what i am doing everyday...best of luck
  11. by   dansmom6
    First of all, good luck in whatever you decide!!! How exciting to start your new career!

    I have 8 years in OB (L&D, PP, NICU), and recently began teaching OB at our local college (ADN program). Since you asked, I'll give you my observations.

    As much as I hate to say it, I really do recommend a little (1 year) Med/Surg nursing. This really helps to hone assessment skills, develop a backbone (which you're really gonna need), develop communication skills, and basically become comfortable in your skin. In OB, situations arise constantly that require critical thinking, quick action, and sometimes an assertive personality to be the best patient advocate possible.

    Maybe I was a slow bloomer as a new grad, but I didn't feel like I had any of these attributes, and many of these you just can't learn in orientation. It's trial and error, and the nurse experiencing the "lightbulb" moment for themselves. This takes time. That being said, many new grads start in OB and do a phenomenal job. However, I think even the awesome new grads I've had the pleasure to work with would have benefitted from working elsewhere first.

    I did 2 years of LTC-Med/Surg stuff for a couple years first. I call it "paying my dues" because I really didn't enjoy that type of work, but I really feel like it paid off...I felt more equipped to deal with OB (particularly L&D) when I got the job. Honestly, I don't know if I'd have made it without that experience.

    Well, again, I wish you the best!!!!!
  12. by   AfghaniPrinzess
    i disagree with some..you dont necessarily need med surg if you are sure you want to do l and d...i did post partum for a couple of yrs before L&D and it really prepared me with time management etc because with pp you usually have at leat 4-5 patients and their babies to assess and take care of and some pp units also manage pts that are post op hysterectomies or other GYN cases like my hospital did so you get plenty of experience...my best advice would be try to start off at a bigger city hospital thats where u get the most experience because like i said they will have you take care of antepartum/pp patients at least 4 patients per nurse...and they can be complicated...i took care of pts with central lines etc on ante partum.....and then once you do post partum maybe even some antepartum and then go L&D you should be just fine...
  13. by   SuesquatchRN
    Quote from AlmostThere:)
    I will be graduating in December. I interviewed for 2 positions-OB and med/surg. When I was offered both positions I choose OB (I think that its my calling ). Will I be okay in the OB field if the only med surg experience I have is from my school clinicals?
    Goodness, yes. What does a 90-year-old being monitored to r/o MI have to do with delivering babies? Or an 85-y.o having a hip replaced? Or a 42-y.o. with ephysema and ETOH withdrawal?

    You will be JUST fine.
  14. by   studentnurserachel
    I have said it before in different posts, I think that getting a year or two of med-surg/ICU/or ED experience first is beneficial, however since you have already accepted the OB position, you can maximize your contribution to the unit and assimilate faster if you do your homework outside of just your time on the unit. Spend time reading up on things that you see during your orientation, ask questions EVERY TIME you don't understand something, try to maximize your experience. Hopefully the unit you go to has a solid new-grad training program and good preceptors. Our May new grads are just coming off orientation right now and some of them are doing better than others and to me, the ones who asked the most questions and didn't just do something because they were told to are the ones who are handling the transition okay, a couple have that "deer in the headlights" look when they get their assignment following report. I will say that having prior experience doesn't necessarily mean that someone is going to do well in OB. We have a nurse who has 10+ years of med/surg, home-health, LTC, etc. experience under her belt and more recently, spent 6+ months on postpartum where she does reasonably well, she has been orienting for 16 weeks already and I precepted her the other day and was astonished at how little she knows and how incapable she is of handling even 1 laboring patient, let alone 2. If OB is your "thing" then you hopefully will find that you have a knack for it and once you get past the growing pains of being a new grad, you will do great.

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