Advice: new grad programs in orange county, ca

  1. Hi,

    I graduate in December and attend school out of the area. I am interested in ending my hellish commute and working closer to home. However, I know very little about the hospitals in my area, and no new nurses around here to speak of.

    Do any of you have a hospital you would recommend in the orange county area for a new grad? I am particularly interested in a place which devotes a lot of care to preparing new grads. I would also like to use my Spanish. Med-surg is where I'd like to start out; I live in the Huntington/Newport Beach area.

    Again, I am more interested in the environment and training than I am benefits, $$, etc.

    Any suggestions would be most appreciated.
    Best Regards,
    andrea
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    About nrse2B2005

    Joined: Jan '05; Posts: 21; Likes: 1

    10 Comments

  3. by   eandgsma
    Have you checked out the local hospitals websites? A lot of them post their RN jobs, even their new grad programs. Also, my SIL was dead set on getting a job in the ER in San Diego County. She heard that a local hospital recently expanded their ER and knew they would be looking to hire more nurses. She put together her portfolio of everything she had accomplished in nursing school and went in to the hospital and presented it to the DON. She got the job and within 2 years had moved up in her department (That was 5 years ago). You can't wait for the jobs to show up, you have to be proactive. I would start with the websites, then if you don't find anything, move on to getting your portfolio together and presenting it to where you want to work.

    - N
  4. by   fergus51
    I've heard very good things about HOAG from friends in the NICU and CCU. Their orientation programs seem quite extensive.
  5. by   Haunted
    Hoag does have a very nice recruitment policy and you should always ask about a sign on bonus, even if they don't advertise, of course once the offer has been made! Hoag, however is laid out weird and you will be doing a LOT OF WALKING just to get from the parking lot to your unit. The cafeteria is one of the very best, although it will take you half your lunch break to get there! They also have flex schedules and get some very "needy" clientele.

    South Coast in Laguna Beach is very quiet, not very cutting edge and has a hard time keeping staff for whatever reason.

    I would avoid Chapman, West Anahiem, UCI and Western Medicals in all cities due to the location, they get a lot of streeters seeking drugs and have experienced some violence towards staff in the past.

    Mission is very diverse and treats the staff very well, they also are supportive of the ladder program and promote extensively. Very friendly atmosphere and a nice clean facility. Irvine Medical Center has a great ER department but the pay is less than competetive and it also is a bit rundown but a convenient location. They are also very slow to hire and seem to be overstaffed in several departments, kinda wacky.

    Kaiser scares the goose bumps off me in many ways, especially in light of the controversy going on in their San Jose locations, I see a huge spotlight on them and would not want to be involved in that. The lakeview facility is run down and a lot of the equipment and policies are confusing and out of date, the charting is a nightmare and the cafeteria is alwful, when it's open for biz!

    My advice would be Mission as a start, tour the units, speak to a few staffers and get an idea of the mission statement. I also enjoy going to St Jude in Fullerton and adore the quiet, clean and supportive environment. Parking is a snap and they are really up to date on a lot of new technology.

    Speaking of technology, Hoag has computers in every patients room and they are very user friendly, although it would work much better if they were placed just outside the rooms instead because you are standing there trying to look up a lab, or chart a treatment and the patient or family member is standing over your shoulder reading or chatting away, kinda distracting.

    UCI has a very scary parking situation and it's a very long walk across a very crowded blvd. with no security. Several of my friends have had their cars broken into and been hassled by street people as they enter or leave the lot.

    West Anahiem has basically eliminated the CNA's and use LVN's to comply with the ratio so you will be very busy indeed and have a lot of liability. Also, their census has been dropping since Kaiser pulled the contract so you may be cancelled or have your hours reduced unexpectedly. The adminsitration is pretty out of touch with staff concerns as well so you must be exceptionally cautious and stick up for yourself.

    Anahiem Memorial is a very prestigious hospital and also has a lot to offer a new grad, they seem to offer a very dynamic orientation procedure which includes a lot of preceptorship, all of whom seem like kind people who are helpfull.

    Hope this helps.
  6. by   JaneyW
    I work at UCI and would discount what the other poster said. I started out at Irvine Regional as a new grad and would say steer clear from there! St Joe's, St Jude's, Hoag and UCI will have the most comprehensive new grad programs. CHOC is awesome, but is only peds (obviously!).

    UCI is a university facility and is great for learning. You will see everything under the sun there and they have a 6-month new grad program for most areas that includes didactic and extensive precepting on the floor. The parking is horrible--they have us at Crystal Cathedral with a shuttle for day shift--but I have never felt unsafe. You would definitely use your Spanish. I use my horrible Spanish every shift.

    It isn't a perfect place to work for many reasons. However, it is a great place to start your career and receive comprehensive training. I went there in July with 2 years of experience in order to get some high risk OB time. I make less and I do grumble about some things, but I am a better nurse now and boy have I seen some amazing things!!! Will I stay here forever? Probably not, but the experience will be priceless.
  7. by   Haunted
    Quote from JaneyW
    I work at UCI and would discount what the other poster said. I started out at Irvine Regional as a new grad and would say steer clear from there! St Joe's, St Jude's, Hoag and UCI will have the most comprehensive new grad programs. CHOC is awesome, but is only peds (obviously!).

    UCI is a university facility and is great for learning. You will see everything under the sun there and they have a 6-month new grad program for most areas that includes didactic and extensive precepting on the floor. The parking is horrible--they have us at Crystal Cathedral with a shuttle for day shift--but I have never felt unsafe. You would definitely use your Spanish. I use my horrible Spanish every shift.

    It isn't a perfect place to work for many reasons. However, it is a great place to start your career and receive comprehensive training. I went there in July with 2 years of experience in order to get some high risk OB time. I make less and I do grumble about some things, but I am a better nurse now and boy have I seen some amazing things!!! Will I stay here forever? Probably not, but the experience will be priceless.


    Wow Janey! You have worked at 2 hospitals during your extensive career so the OP should "discount" my input? Thanks. I should note to the OP that you are working in a specialty area so your orientation is going to be quite different. Can you explain more about your experience at Irvine Regional? And, since you are working in a specialty unit, why are you not making more money?
  8. by   JaneyW
    No need to get Snippy, Haunted. I have actually worked at three hospitals and have been at this for 3 1/2 years. It hasn't been that long since I was a new grad in the same position as the OP. Your parking info for UCI was wrong. The lot you described is no longer there--it is a Best Buy. I was trying to impart recent info to the OP. If she works nights at UCI--which would probably be the case as a new grad--she would park on site in the structure. I have never felt unsafe there. In fact, the hospital is patrolled by the UC Police. They are real officers that carry guns. Best security I've seen in a hospital.

    I work per diem, so I make the same regardless of the unit I am working in. I make less because UCI is not a leader in salary--although they are improving. It is owned by the state and we are unionized so there are restrictions when it comes to perks. My last place gave me time and a half for any extra shifts and as a per diem that was anything over 12 hours/week. That was quite a perk and I was making much more than most. However, I was ready to learn more about my area of expertise and needed to go to where I could gain that knowledge.

    I was trying to point out to the OP that a large university hospital is a great place to start as a new grad. They have extensive education opportunities and pay for you to attend them. I'm sorry if I offended you.

    The main reason I didn't stay at Irvine Regional is that they were staffing their night shift primarily with new grads and I felt that it was unsafe. They have an excellent day shift who trained me well, but it takes a couple of years to get comfortable in my area and I felt there needed to be more experienced eyes with us at night. Things may have changed since then, but it is a good question to ask at interviews!
  9. by   JaneyW
    Haunted, I reread what I said and realised it sounds like I'm saying to discount your whole post. That isn't what I meant at all. You gave some very good advice. It was just the part about UCI that I felt was wrong. Again, I meant no ill will. I'm sorry if it sounded like I was brushing off your opinions. Not my intention.
  10. by   Haunted
    Quote from JaneyW
    Haunted, I reread what I said and realised it sounds like I'm saying to discount your whole post. That isn't what I meant at all. You gave some very good advice. It was just the part about UCI that I felt was wrong. Again, I meant no ill will. I'm sorry if it sounded like I was brushing off your opinions. Not my intention.

    OK Janey. What did you think of Irvine's med/surg units? I know they have been sold and are no longer Tenet. I have worked their day surgery unit which was grossly OVERSTAFFED!!! Unbelievable. I work thru a registry so the pay is usually the same wherever I go. I would have thought with the new contract at UCI the pay would have been better.

    I did enjoy going there thru registry because I car pooled with a Doc so parking was nice for me, but the 12 hour shifts were killers and they had a way of suckering you into more OT. I also treated a lot of scary street people, I must be a magnet for them or being registry get all the wacky wafers. Good info.
  11. by   JaneyW
    I had absolutely no experience on med/surg at Irvine Regional. I didn't know they had been sold! I thought they were still Tenet. Hmmm. Maybe it's a better place to be now. UCI tends to be overstaffed as well. I really like that part about working there. We use a lot of registry and travelers--and yet they can't take me on part time??? Anyway, as I've said it isn't perfect.
  12. by   Haunted
    Quote from JaneyW
    I had absolutely no experience on med/surg at Irvine Regional. I didn't know they had been sold! I thought they were still Tenet. Hmmm. Maybe it's a better place to be now. UCI tends to be overstaffed as well. I really like that part about working there. We use a lot of registry and travelers--and yet they can't take me on part time??? Anyway, as I've said it isn't perfect.
    Whatta ya mean you can't go part time? Never heard of that. I thought once you were in, you could pick and choose, as well you should. What's the story over there?

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