Maybe I am getting desperate with this economy. I am a new grad and Ortho isn't my first choice, but right now there is an opening in the unit at an excellent hospital in my area. I don't have any experience at an ortho floor before, no rotations, etc. However, in this economy, I'll take what I could get in order to get my foot in the door.
I was just wondering to all the nurses out here, why did you guys choose to become an orthopedic nurse? What's so special about it?
Thanks a lot for your input. Who knows? I might end up liking it afterall.
Oct 17, '09
I was hired to an Ortho trauma floor right out of nursing school. I had applied to about 12 openings on different units and this is the one I was offered. While it was not my first choice, I really do like it. For the most part, Ortho patients tend to be generally healthy. Although some can be medically complex. It is a "heavy" unit, lots of lifting and positioning. But you get used to it. I've actually lost about 10 pounds and gotten a lot stronger since I started working there. I have learned a lot in 9 months and usually see something new every week. We have patients with chest tubes, NG tubes, TPN, wound vacs, ostomies, and nerve caths. We also do a lot of basic nursing such as bowel care and pain management. Some people just don't like ortho and there's nothing wrong with that. There are a lot of people that float to my unit that don't like it. I think it's because we are so busy all the time, which I like because I don't have to float that often. We hardly ever have a low cenus because people are always falling and breaking a hip or getting in car accidents. Personally, I would prefer Ortho to telemetry or general med/surg. I also didn't do any clinical rotations in Ortho. I don't think it's a bad place to start out. If you don't like it, move on in a year when you are no longer a "new grad". And like you said, you never know you might end up liking it.
Oct 20, '09
Ortho wasn't my first choice either. I was offered a job on an ortho floor and took it because the job prospects weren't great in my area. Overall, it's been a good fit for what I needed. I've had opportunities to see and do many things which I wasn't exposed to in NS(except for in textbooks). I've been able to build confidence with a lot of basic skills that I think will serve me throughout my career. We also get medical pts so I have been exposed to plenty of variety. I've been able to care for as many post-op pts as I could stomach. I've done tons of dsg changes. I've had to charge. The bottom line is that any experience at this stage in the game is better than none. Like OrthoRN09 said, try it and if you don't like it, move on in a year or so. As far as what's special about ortho: Depending on your shift, you will probably gain a much better appreciation for what the UAPs do because you will get plenty of chances to do their jobs alongside them. Ortho is a "heavy" specialty with lots of lifting. Good luck!
Oct 24, '09
I wanted to work in something post-surgical, didn't want to deal with the general medical population. I also have a lot of interest in body mechanics - muscles, bones, etc. I find most other body systems to be pretty "meh." And there is a secret part of me that really enjoys mixing and matching drugs to find a balance for pain relief. I also really enjoy working with ortho surgeons, as most tend to be pretty laid back, are open to suggestions, and really give you a free hand once you get a good working relationship with them. I thought it would be a good balance and it fits me.