Where do I start?

  1. I am graduating in May, starting in the PICU in September. I have been a stay-at-home mom for 7 years, and have three little girls ranging from 1-7 years old. I love being at home, and have enjoyed nursing school. I have a masters in applied economics and did not wish to return to my earlier career, and I am excited that soon I will be a nurse.

    My goal when I started nursing school was to work in a PICU! I feel as though a dream has been fulfilled. Our PICU requires a 16-20 week orientation (depending on the individual needs of the RN) during which time I must work full-time. I am having second thoughts about this job (or any hospital job, for that matter) because of the full-time orientation! I have never intended to work full-time and although my contract states that my requirement is 40 hours, I plan to try to move to a part-time schedule as soon as orientation is completed. I have verbalized this to the unit manager.

    My question to the more experienced nurses out there is hard to put into words. I can tell from the lurking I have done on this site that most of you love your jobs in the PICU. I can understand why, and I am sure I will love it too. Are there many part-time PICU nurses out there? If I am not committed to a full-time schedule, am I going to "make it" in the PICU? I suppose I need some words of encouragement. I have a lot of guilt over even thinking about working full time for 5 months. I do not have to work for financial reasons - my motivations are purely selfish: intellectual, emotional, etc. I am wondering if I should just stay home for the next few years until my youngest starts kindergarten; however, by then I will have been out of school for four years. How rusty will my skills be then!?? Would anyone hire me??!?

    Any personal insights/words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   pcicurn7
    I have heard that a lot of hospitals have a policy that new grads must work full time. I think that the reason for this is that there is A LOT to learn, and you have to keep it in use in order to gain ownership of your new knowledge/skills.

    I have a friend who is looking for a part time position as a new grad...VERY difficult.

    Have you thought about maybe working in a regular peds floor? I think this is an area that you might be able to come in, work some, then maybe take a hiatus and return when your kids are older...your move to a PICU as a part time nurse might be easier then...

    I havent started working yet either, so these are just my personal opinions...
  4. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    IrisRN may very well be correct about that. I've been trying to think if any of our newer grads are working part time, and I can't think of one. There are many nurses with some experience, including me, who work part time... but I honestly can't think of anybody hired recently. Having said that, realize too that most units won't just decrease your hours because you asked them to. If you're hired into a full time position, then that's your position until you apply for, interview for if needed and are hired into a part time position. If you're really not interested in working full time, even for a short (relatively) period, then maybe PICU isn't where you should start out. Perhaps a general peds ward would be a better starting place, and later if things change and you decide that you do want to (or need to... let's face it, bad things happen to good people) work full time, then look at PICU. If I may ask, what is it about PICU that attracted you in the first place?
  5. by   rebecpar
    What attracted me to the PICU was the prospect of working with seriously ill children and the challenge of the variety in ages. I have shadowed there and on other units, and experienced med-surg, maternity, etc., through clinicals. The PICU just seems right for me.

    To clarify, I guess that even though I have hesitations, I am certainly willing to work full time for the short period of time that orientation requires. My hesitation is due to the conflict that exists in my heart about working at all...but there is SOMETHING that called me to this career, and I do not want to throw away the years of hard work as a student.

    Are you saying that it's not wise to move to part time once the orientation period is over due to the intensity of the skills required on the unit?
  6. by   pcicurn7
    Are you saying that it's not wise to move to part time once the orientation period is over due to the intensity of the skills required on the unit?
    I would say yes.

    If you signed a contract that states you must work a 40 hour week, changing this will be very difficult. Your manager may not fully disclose this at this point because they may not want to lose you as a candidate, but changing your hours wont be easy, and probably not fair to you (see the quoted statement).

    Here is another point to consider...the PICU has its highs and its very lows. If you are not 100% committed in working (anywhere for that matter), what will happen when you hit a very low (your patient dies, you get reprimanded, you make an error, etc). Will you want to leave because you have the luxury to do so? On a unit that often has 1 to 1 nurses, one nurse leaving can be a huge deal. I dont question your desire of working in the PICU, i am just wondering about your commitment to working.

    There are days when we dont want to be working, but most cant stop because 1) they need to work, the $, and 2) they really truly are committed to their jobs. Its a mixture of the 2 that carries everyone through their rough times.

    Whatever you decide though, good luck!
  7. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    I think a year of full time work would certainly help solidify your skills and knowledge base, but is it really required? No, probably not, unless that is the practice at the hospital where you intend to work. If that's their policy they aren't likely to bend much. Policies arise out of identified issues, and it may be the experience in that unit is that if a new grad immediately drops to part time after orientation and they struggle and flounder, then it stands to reason that new grads should not work part time. Am I making sense? Hope so.
  8. by   rebecpar
    Thanks for all of the opinions. I do have a firm handle on my level of commitment to any job, especially one in the PICU. I can't see myself quitting simply because of a bad day!! That being said, my commitment to anything will never outweigh my commitment to my children, and I know everyone with children understands that. I feel certain that I will get enough full-time orientation to prepare me to work part-time, as the hospital will extend it to meet the needs of the nuse. Thanks again for the comments.

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