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- by seemerun Aug 28, '07I have my ADN in nursing and am thinking maybe I am regretting not getting my BSN. I have always been under the impression that pay is equal and hirability is equal - the only difference being that you would need your BSN for advancement into management positions. However, I have had a heck of a time getting positions in areas that I like. No problem getting the typical new grad jobs like night shift on med-surg. However I really want to be in L and D or even ER. I have been a nurse for almost 5 years now and virtually everyone I know has been able to get their foot in the door in the area they want to be in except for me. Do you think this is because I don't have my Bachelors? Would love feedback. I have no problem going back for my bachelorsbut I'd hate to add another 7 - 10K in student loans and still be in the same boat.
- Aug 28, '07 by EricJRNMoved your post to our ADN, BSN or Diploma Forum. Can you tell us more about the situation? Your state? Work history?
In my area, the vast majority of hospitals hire into ER, L&D, and critical care without too much weight being placed on the degree.
- Aug 28, '07 by llgPerhaps you should arrange to speak someone in position to know the culture in your area of the country. Is there someone "in the know" in your town that you could talk with? -- perhaps a manager or a faculty member or a staff development instructor or a recruiter who could give you a good apraisal of the standards in your region?
Not having your BSN might be hurting your chances ... but then again, maybe there is something about the way you are presenting yourself that is preventing you from being hired. All you (and we) can do is speculate. You need to talk with someone who can give you some good feedback on your qualifications, your presentation, etc. -- and who has the inside scoop on what hiring managers in your neck of the woods are looking for.
- Aug 29, '07 by seemerunQuote from EricEnfermeroMoved your post to our ADN, BSN or Diploma Forum. Can you tell us more about the situation? Your state? Work history?
In my area, the vast majority of hospitals hire into ER, L&D, and critical care without too much weight being placed on the degree.
Well, I work in Eastern Washington which is NOT in a nursing shortage crisis so maybe that has something to do with it. I've been out about 4 years (5 if you count 1 year as LPN). I worked a little less than 2 years in Rehab (ortho neuro) and then 1 1/2 years in med-surg float pool and have since been working in a GYN office.
Good feedback I have received is that I am young(ish ) and have lots of energy, come off very professionally, get along well with coworkers, have lots of common sense.
Nobody has directly given me any negative feedback but if I had to speculate I would say not so great leadership skills, a bit timid/fearful, and of course no experience in the areas I want to be in.
- Aug 31, '07 by RN1989I don't think it is lack of BSN hurting you. With what you said you had experience in - it is what kind and how long you have had the experience. You have hopped around to several jobs in various areas in a short period of time without a clear career path.
So, if there is not a major need for nurses in your area, even though you have some great experience they are likely not going to hire you into a specialty like L&D or ER. Those specialties require more money for training and they are not going to want to "waste" their money on someone who may not stay long. Even if you think that once you get into a specialty you will stay because you love it, hospitals just don't want to risk their pocketbooks.
Your best bet is to first - figure out which specialty you'd really like to go for. L&D and ER have vastly different career paths. Then, you will need to get out of the gyn clinic and get back in the hospital. For ER - you need fulltime medsurg (lots of recruiters frown on us floaters/agency even though they need us desperately). From medsurg you go to tele, then PCU, then try ER. If that is no-go, try to go from tele/pcu to ICU or CDU. That will assist to get into ER. For L&D - get back on medsurg fulltime again- preferably gyn or surgical with gyn cases. Then try post partum and hopefully you can get your foot in the door to L&D.
This sounds like a lot of work. And you won't just be able to jump from job to job quickly. They will want to see that you have a commitment to each job, at least a year or more unless you get a really fabulous manager/recruiter that you can dazzle with your personality and skills.
Don't take this personally - I am not 'down' on you for your career choices. I have been a manager for m/s/tele/onc and coming from a managers perspective, the manager has to to what is best for her unit and hospital, and ultimately keep her job in the process. So if there is someone who shows loyalty to the job, even though they may not be as well qualified, especially if they are cheaper, that is what the hospital wants. Unfortunately money is always the bottom line. And since you have said they others like your young energy - recruiters change that too "You are immature with no clear cut career goals. You flit from job to job. You don't want to work the usual 'new person' jobs of nights, weekends, overtime, etc. Therefore you expect too much from an employer (how dare you expect a good working environment?) but you don't show any loyalty in staying for the next 20 years in the same position."
Now, for the staff nurse side of me - I feel for you. I've had your same frustrations. After moving and leaving a management job, I found that my progressively upward positions were looked on by recruiters as job-hopping, and it has been difficult to compete for management jobs without a higher degree, yet I am too expensive with my experience to get a staff job when there are so many new grads and foreign nurses competing against me. I've been told that the 10 yr mark is the kiss of death for nurses that insist on speaking out against unsafe staffing, etc. Since I am well beyond that, there isn't much hope for me
I hope you can decide what is best for you. I wish I had a more encouraging answer. It is so difficult these days to balance what having a job that pays the bills and still find a job that you love and challenges you to excel every day.Last edit by RN1989 on Aug 31, '07 : Reason: spelling-geez you'd think I could type by now
- Aug 31, '07 by seemerunHmm, well you have given me lots to chew on. Thanks for replying and the helpful feedback. I worked my jobs for at least a year and a half each, and I had always heard that one year was the standard for showing commitment to your job. So is management looking for 2 years? 5? I had also thought med-surg float would be looked well upon. A broad knowledge place, ability to adapt and learn quickly.
You do have point with hours. I don't mind at all working nights or weekends - the ER/L&D jobs I had applied for both were. But I don't work fulltime. I work parttime and it will be several more years until that can change. Since I had worked a lot with gyn surgery in the float pool I thought moving to postpartum next would be appropriate, but maybe I can focus on working into a fulltime position on the gyn floor first? At any rate thanks again for the feedback.
- Aug 31, '07 by webbiedebbieI got my ADN and I have never regretted it. I have worked L&D, Mother-Baby, ER, etc and have even done a few travel jobs...all w/o BSN. It is a decision you will have to make on your own.
- Aug 31, '07 by RN1989The estimates for the cost of replacing a staff member are enormous. I have seen articles that say it takes up to 1.5 times the annual wage of a person to get a new person in and trained at the same level. So, no one wants to have to spend say $75K+ every year to train a new person and have them leave in a year, only to have to get someone else in and oriented who will then leave in another year or two. Back in the old days of nursing, you could get along with a year here, a year there. But as hospitals are cracking down on the budgets, they can't afford to have such a high turnover. If everyone were leaving every one to two years - that is bad business and looks bad on the vacancy rate numbers as well as the unit's budget. It also makes the unit/hospital look bad, as if there is a problem with the working environment. Trust me - a high turnover affects every managers evaluation. And the evaluation affects the manager's salary as well as whether or not they keep their job. I don't know what the magic year number for keeping a job is, I'm sure it is up to the individual manager/recruiter. I was told recently that they were looking for someone willing to invest 5 or more years in the same position.
Only wanting part-time work is another issue. When you are in a specialty area, if you are just working a few hours a week, it takes longer to train someone. And there is the possibility that you will not retain needed info since you are not using it all the time (like 36+ hours per week). If you forget things needed to be an independent nurse on the unit, this takes the other nurses extra time to help you out when you come across something you have forgotten or just haven't been exposed to because you don't work as often. Part time people also are less inclined to work OT. Hospitals don't like people that don't want to work OT when asked to cover shifts. Yet they yell at you for OT when you have a heavy patient load - go figure. And even though it is illegal to ask about family status - if you say anything about kids, especially about why you aren't interested in FT to OT work - this works against you. People with children are more likely to need time off or call in because of sick children as compared to persons with no kids or older children, etc. So they cannot ask you about family stuff but many women don't think about what they chitchat about and that is how people are discriminated against who have kids. And that is legal because they did not ask you about having children. But you may have volunteered the info just talking and so you can get put to the bottom of the list of candidates.
Yes, you'd think that floating to medsurg would be a good thing. Not necessarily when you are trying to change specialties. I've been a float nurse a good portion of my life and I prefer it. But floaters are looked at as not being able to make a commitment to a unit. They also do not always get the worst pt assignment. Although I have worked in places where they ALWAYS got the worst assignment. But many places don't give the floater the heaviest, sickest patients. They may not always have to get the admits or discharges. Therefore you may not really have been exposed to as many types of patients, illnesses, medications, procedures, etc. This again limits your skill base. And that is just because you do not have the same amount of experience as a nurse that works full time - you just aren't there as often so you don't get as much experience - even though you may have the same number of calendar years of experience. Learning quickly and being able to take a new set of patients every day has just never meant much to most people. Now me, if I were hiring, I'd rather have a float nurse like you because you're easier to train and could get on the floor quicker. But unfortunately money talks and getting a new grad that I might convince to stay for years, at a lower salary than a nurse of 4-5 yrs, that's usually who ends up getting the job.
I have my Associates degree. I have been a manager. Did it take longer to get to that level than if I had my BSN? You bet it did. Do I want my BSN? No. Not right now. And I don't know that I ever want it with my years of experience and the way healthcare is headed. I got my MedSurg certification many years ago because I was unable to go back to school back then and needed a career boost. The certification definitely helped my career. But to get a certification you have to have a certain number of hours worked in the specialty before you can apply to take the exam. Thus working PT/PRN and floating makes it difficult to accumulate those hours. It is also expensive if your employer doesn't pay for it - which is why only a small percentage of nurses get certified.
Floating also makes it hard for someone to eval your work and to net you some work references from colleagues. Most floaters are expected to work independently. They rarely see their dept. supervisor because they don't work in their "home" dept. And if you are floating somewhere it is because the unit is understaffed already and the nurses, even the charge RN, is not going to pay any attention to your work because they are too busy running their butts off doing there own work. Thus, it makes it difficult to have a colleague know that you do fabulous work and be willing to write you a reference or be called from a potential employer a year or two down the road.
I know how desperate you probably are to find your niche. But since you are not in an area with a critical nursing shortage, it will be more difficult to reach the goals you seem to have set without making changes in your working/personal life that you may not be able to do right now. Nursing is supposed to be flexible and to an extent it is. You can just about get a job anywhere. But that does not mean that you will like the job, or that it will be hours that fit into your family life, etc. You need to sit down and write out short and longterm goals. This will help with making career decisions. But remember that when there are issues such as how much you can work, then you will have to make up for that liability in some other area. And sometimes what you have to do to overcome a weakness in one area is to take jobs you don't like, for crummy pay, take longer to reach your short term goals, etc. to reach your destination goal.
The next time you apply for a job and don't get it, ask the manager/recruiter "What can you suggest that I do to make myself more marketable so that you would hire me for this position?" You may really hate what they tell you - I know I didn't like it when they told me and I hadn't even asked. But it does give you more insight into what they are looking for. Then you can decide whether or not you think it is worth your time to follow their suggestions or try another route.
If you really want to reach your goals be prepared to sacrifice something.
- Dec 16, '07 by HappyJaxRNQuote from Northwest_JennI have my ADN in nursing and am thinking maybe I am regretting not getting my BSN. I have always been under the impression that pay is equal and hirability is equal - the only difference being that you would need your BSN for advancement into management positions. However, I have had a heck of a time getting positions in areas that I like. No problem getting the typical new grad jobs like night shift on med-surg. However I really want to be in L and D or even ER. I have been a nurse for almost 5 years now and virtually everyone I know has been able to get their foot in the door in the area they want to be in except for me. Do you think this is because I don't have my Bachelors? Would love feedback. I have no problem going back for my bachelorsbut I'd hate to add another 7 - 10K in student loans and still be in the same boat.
Before I venture in reading the posts from other people, I can say that I have had the same problems. I am on a highly specialized floor only because I started there as a PCT. For me to go anywhere else or to slip into a management position, they are wanting a BSN. I have an ASN. As for the pay, yes, the pay is about the same depending on what you are looking to do. I was looking at working with dialysis patients once as a part time job...and they wanted someone with a BSN even tho, I have abdominal transplant and loads of kidney transplant experience...it didn't matter.
I'm finally biting the bullet and taking classes towards my BSN in Jan. '08. Not to stop there. My goal is to teach. So I will be going after my MSN after that. Now, THAT? That will open a lot more doors...with a lot more flexibility.
I have a lot of outstanding student loans too. Don't let that stop you in getting your education. With my MSN, my part time job either teaching or PRN floor job with pay it off. I'm not going to worry about the money. I'm more interested in advancing myself. With the education, the doors will fly open.....
Good luck with whatever you do. It never hurts to arm yourself with more education.
- Jan 4, '08 by C.G.NelsonI'm a Diploma RN, with a total of 34 years experience. I've been at my present place of employment for 29 years.
I heven't found any difficulty in changing and finding my "niche". I've worked all shifts, Ortho, Med-Surg, CAPD, HOSPICE and I.V. Therapy.
I found my niche, when I worked HOSPICE, I have spent the past 16 years in RADIATION ONCOLOGY. I have, also worked in Chemotherapy.
I enjoy the challenges of CANCER nursing. What makes it rewarding are the patients and families. I am the only nurse in my department and am self reliant/resourceful/seek out opportunities/participate in multiple groups at the Hospital.
I have no desire for a BSN, there is discrimination towards Diploma nurse's. Even though we took the same exam, have the same responsibilites and goals.
I am a "OCCOLOGY CERTIFIED NURSE" - that is a huge accomplishment.
I maintain my education with Seminars, CEU's and most BSN don't do this unless is is required.
Hang in there - keep getting as much experience as possible - you'll find your niche !!
HAPPY NEW YEAR !!!