Hello all. I promised I would recount my experience on my independent route to the OR. There is only one hospital in my area that has an internship to the OR for new nurses and I got close to a position, but it had issues that I couldn't reconcile so I needed another route.
Nursing school and shadow days convinced me that the OR was my dream nursing job. This is a second career for me, so I think it's easier for me to know where and how I want to work. Numerous times on this board the question is asked "Straight to the OR?" by new or soon to be new nurses. After doing this on my own and to the tune of 2+ thousand of my dime, my conclusion is this: it depends. I had a few bad moments after finishing the program. I loved the program, loved the internship, but during the internship it became clear that the hospital in which I was interning was in a hiring freeze. With the economy in the state it is in, the supposed "nursing shortage" has dried up around me. There are still plenty of nursing jobs, it's just that they are for experienced nurses. Remember a new nurse is an expensive nurse for a hospital. This was told to me by one of my preceptors who was aghast that I didn't have floor experience.
The kicker is, I actually turned down a job that I really would have liked, because I knew that in six months I would have completed the program and want to leave. I just couldn't reconcile the ethics of being trained by a facility and then leaving six months later after they'd invested in me. So I didn't take it. I continued with my flexible non- nursing job while I did the Periop program, reasoning that I would go right to the OR ASAP, and I couldn't manage a new RN job, school and family all at once. During my interviewing experiences it was clear that I would have been much better off having done just that, and my explanation of the ethical quandary seemed to satisfy no one.
I am lucky. I have been offered my dream job in an excellent hospital. It's a drive, and it won't be easy for me, but I am thrilled. And, I repeat, LUCKY.
So here's my humble opinion. If you're in nursing school about to graduate, unless you get a paid internship from a hospital, do a year on the floor. Don't go the independent route, it's too risky right now. The longer you're out of school and not working as an active RN, the squeegier everyone gets. My explanation of wanting the summer off to get to know my children again was met with smiles, but didn't help. They want experience. Period.
Hope this helps somebody!
Thanks to all of you that consistently and patiently answer the ever occurring "should I go to the OR" posts!