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Are There Jobs for Inexperienced RNs Besides Floor Nursing?

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jack1971 jack1971 (New) New

I graduated in May and started my first job as an RN in July on a busy surgical floor at a local hospital minutes from my home. It was a perfect set up. The nurses I worked with were awesome, the supervisors were supportive and helpful, and as mentioned before, it was minutes from my house. The problem was I was about to be off orientation and I was terrified! I am definitely not cut out to be a floor nurse. The thought of taking care of 5-8 patients all by myself scared me to death!! I felt overwhelmed and worried that I was going to miss something when I no longer had my preceptor to catch me when I fall. The type of fear I was feeling wasn't normal new grad fear. It was clearly my personality and I can't change that. Anyone who has been a floor nurse should know what I mean. You either can do it or you can't. And it's not safe to "wing it." I recognized this was not where I belong as a nurse. I was always running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. So, needless to say, I decided to leave my job. Now I am unemployed and truly worried I have wasted the past 4 years of my life going to school for a career that I am not going to be able to do. My husband and parents think I'm a failure. I'm beginning to believe it also. :(

I love patient care and would work a lot better in an environment where I could spend more one-on-one time with my patient, but where are jobs like that when you don't have experience? And now I'm worried it will look bad that I quit a job after 3 months, but I truly felt like something bad was going to happen if I didn't get out now. I have applied at 2 dialysis centers, ECT, and considering correctional nursing. But again, all of those positions state experience required. I applied anyway, but not feeling too confident.

If anyone has any sound advice for me, I would greatly appreciate it.

mmc51264, ADN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in orthopedic; Informatics, diabetes. Has 8 years experience.

Hospice? You really need that "scary" experience to be a marketable nurse. Corrections nursing is less scary to you? School nursing is another field but it has its issues. Any kind of specialty nursing like home infusion, home wound care, you are going to need to be able to recognize when something is really wrong. Dialysis?

I wish you would have stayed where you were. As a preceptor, we don't just turn new nurses loose and hang them out to dry. You always should have your charge nurse, a veteran nurse, someone to go to.

If you have been out of school less than a year, you should still be considered a new grad and maybe you can find a nurse residency program where you get a little more time and an easier transition to practice.

As far as correctional nursing, that wouldn't be my first choice, no. What scared me on my floor were the number of patients and the type of care they required. Bedside nursing is not for me. As far as dialysis, the positions I applied for are in clinic and not home care. No, I do not feel like I am ready to be autonomous in the field. Nurse residency programs are now accepting apps for c/o 2017. So I believe I missed my chance for that. :( You're probably right, I guess. I probably should have stayed, but I was feeling so scared and stressed. I know that's not healthy. Thank you for your response.

mrsboots87

Specializes in Neuro, Telemetry. Has 5 years experience.

Just about every new grad is "scared" and stressed. It's what keeps us safe in practice. Of course confidence should be built over time, but the worry about harmi someone is what brings on asking questions before acting. Quitting was rash. You should have asked for more orientation, or maybe attempted to transfer to another floor. It could very well be that THIS unit was not for you. Not bedside nursing all together. You can possibly know if floor nursing was a bad fit based on only 3 months. We all feel like failures as nurses at 3 months.

Try applying for hospital positions and new grad residencies and when asked about quitting so soon, state "it was not a good fit" and then sell yourself. Then when you get worried when you're off orientation, don't just up and quit. Get with management and ask for the help you need to be successful. You can't just quit things you haven't mastered without giving yourself time to get competent.

If they didn't let you go after 3 mos, perhaps they thought you could manage and were at a stage where they expected a new nurse. I think I'd want to get treatment for my "personality" and contact my former supervisor to see if they'd give me a second chance. It'd be a long shot but I would try.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 14 years experience.

Other potential areas of nursing for RNs who lack experience include home health, private duty, hospice, long term care, assisted living, adult daycare, jail intake centers, personal care group homes for IDD/MHMR clients, and physical rehabilitation.

Home health is the new Med Surg, but working alone.

Supportive managers and coworkers? I would not have quit if I were you. But the past is the past. In ANY nursing job, there is going to be a certain level of stress, fear, uncertainty, anxiety, whatever you want to call it, if you are taking your job seriously. Expect these feelings because if you don't allow yourself to feel this way, you'll never stay at any nursing job.

It takes about a year to get to the point of starting to feel competent and comfortable. OP, everyone feels the way you describe when first coming off orientation as a new grad. I agree that it was a mistake to quit. Some new nurses panic at that point, quit, get a new job and start all over again, then feel uncomfortable and quit, look for a new job, etc., and all they are really doing is postponing getting to the point of beginning to feel competent and comfortable.

I hope that, whatever job you are able to find next, you stay with your next job at least a year in order to get over the new grad "hump." Best wishes!

Thank you for your comment, but please be careful who you advise to get "treatment" unless you know their whole story. The last thing I wanted to do was get into controversy over an internet post, but I take that remark VERY offensive. Not everyone is the same and just because one does not have a "personality" to be a floor nurse is certainly not a reason for psychiatric treatment, assuming that is the type of "treatment" you are referring to.

Buyer beware, BSN

Specializes in GENERAL. Has 40 years experience.

6:04 pm by elkpark

"It takes about a year to get to the point of starting to feel competent and comfortable."

So what you should do at this point is apply to an NP school so you can diagnose illness and prescribe medications.

Why get bogged down with just the bedside nursing, experience and jail thing.

I feel like I wrote this! I thought I had landed my dream job on a surgical trauma floor a few months after graduating. I quickly realized that it wasn't for me and floor nursing was probably not my thing. I had a 9 week orientation and decided not to continue at the end of it. I was so worried I would never find a job and no one would want me because i quit. I found a job in a locked psych hospital and worked there for 10 months even though it was scary and dangerous. About a month ago, I accepted a job in a primary care office and I really love it! I think this is the type of nursing for me. I still do "nurse things" but my stress level has decreased a lot and I finally feel like I can take a breath. Look into office jobs or even a flu clinic since it is flu season and there are tons around! good luck :) you aren't alone with feeling overwhelmed!! I understand what you mean by not a normal new grad nervousness, I had it too.

Thank you! I finally found someone who can relate to me!

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 18 years experience.

Other potential areas of nursing for RNs who lack experience include home health, private duty, hospice, long term care, assisted living, adult daycare, jail intake centers, personal care group homes for IDD/MHMR clients, and physical rehabilitation.

All of these are possibilities but a nurse should have a good foundation in med surg/ assessment of patients etc. I have done LTC where an RN may have as many at 30 patients in his/her care IDD/MHMR homes etc where I was in charge or 36 patients and over saw unlicensed staff passing meds under my license, ... I am back at my passion which is psych and usually have 16 to 22 patients under my care.

You really do need experience to do these jobs. I would suggest that you get some counseling for your anxiety and throw yourself on the mercy of your old employer.

Being scared and nervous is normal but most facilities have "go to" people

who are available to help you. It takes a good year or so to be really comfortable at being a floor nurse.

Good Luck

Hppy

First, you are NOT a failure. Let me be very clear: You are not a failure.

Secondly, you WILL find another job and it won't take long.

Like you, I decided towards the end of my orientation that a CV Progressive unit wasn't the place I needed to be as a new nurse. Perhaps you did quit a little too quickly (that comment is based on what you wrote about having supportive colleagues). But that is in the past. You need to move forward, learn from the experience and don't spend a minute worrying whether or not you did the right thing.

In my position, if I would have asked for additional orientation time, it would have been held against me. Asking questions was viewed as not possessing "critical thinking" skills sufficient to do the job.

I applied for three Nursing Jobs after leaving my original position. I was offered interviews for all three positions. I only interviewed for one job because I accepted that position immediately. It is a psych nursing position, which is the direction I should have pursued following graduation.

Floor nursing isn't for everyone. You were lucky to work in a supportive environment. And a Nurse Residency Program is meaningless. My former employee had one in place. Was it useful? No. But it does make the hospital look good on paper!

Remember that you have marketable skills. You will land another job.

Best of luck!

Thank you for your comment, but please be careful who you advise to get "treatment" unless you know their whole story. The last thing I wanted to do was get into controversy over an internet post, but I take that remark VERY offensive. Not everyone is the same and just because one does not have a "personality" to be a floor nurse is certainly not a reason for psychiatric treatment, assuming that is the type of "treatment" you are referring to.

I wasn't referring to any particular type of treatment, merely whatever might help you manage your fear through the learning process. And I only offered that as what you described will impact you in any new nursing role. There are no low stress roles out there for new grads.

Home health was suggested, and I understand why, but the patients coming home from the hospital now are challenging for our experienced nurses as the acuities and calls for sound judgment have gone way up.

LTC and skilled nursing are also tough.

Private duty requires, or should require, previous experience.

Any other job is going to have a lot to learn with everything coming at you at once.

The solution is to (searching for a word that won't offend) your fear response.

I think I understand your fear comment. But please correct me if I am wrong. I truly believe that any new grad who doesn't operate under a cloud of fear is dangerous. Nursing school really doesn't teach anything beyond the basics. And knowing the basics isn't enough to keep patients safe.

However, when you are comfortable in your position, the fear is manageable because you are more confident. If you aren't comfortable in your position, the fear can be quite unmanageable.

Again, correct me if my assessment is wrong.

dirtyhippiegirl, BSN, RN

Specializes in PDN; Burn; Phone triage. Has 8 years experience.

I also find clinic nursing to be less stressful then the floor/ICU I worked on before but I definitely do NOT get more one on one time with a patient, if you truly think that is something important that you want out of a nursing job. I manage a load of about 30 to 40 patients at one time. Dialysis or SNF would give you mostly the same patients over and over again which might kinda scratch that same itch?