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Devastated about my recent preceptorship placement in med surg

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Hi everyone,

I am a BSN student from the Bay Area planning to relocate to Denver, CO once I graduate in May. Although I put the NICU as my only senior preceptorship choice, my school was not able to find a placement for me and put me to med-surg. I am absolutely devastated, and I just cannot stop thinking about how my career goals are falling apart.

My plan is to apply to new grad NICU programs in Denver Metro, but now I am at such disadvantage.

Do you think my med-surg preceptorship will make it much harder to land a NICU job (or get into the program)? Maybe some of you ladies and gents also know how hard it is to get a job in Denver in general?

Thank you!

Disappointing? Definitely! "Devastated"? That seems a bit much. I'm sure that your school had informed students that they were not guaranteed their first choice of preceptorship sites. Make the best of the placement you have, work hard, learn as much as you can, and make it a positive experience for yourself. I don't know anything specific about the market for new grads in Denver, but I doubt it will make a great deal of difference in eventually getting hired into a NICU position. When you look back on this in years to come, you will see that it was just a minor "hiccup" in your career. There will be many others -- it's important in nursing to be able to "roll with the punches," be flexible and resilient, and make the best of minor setbacks.

Welcome to allnurses -- best wishes for your journey! :balloons:

meanmaryjean, DNP, RN

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 40 years experience.

You really kind of shot yourself in the foot putting NICU as your ONLY choice. By placing yourself into a very narrow space- you have far fewer opportunities to get something close to what you want.

Here's my suggestion: Stop with the status dramaticus ( I am absolutely devastated, and I just cannot stop thinking about how my career goals are falling apart.) Go into the M/S preceptorship absolutely determined to learn and BE all you can in that role. Graduate. Pass NCLEX. Apply for jobs you want.

Until that point, you are wasting energy and the opportunity to learn something.

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

I am absolutely devastated, and I just cannot stop thinking about how my career goals are falling apart.

This is not something to be absolutely devastated about, nor is it something that will make your career goals fall apart. Direct your energy elsewhere- do your best in your assigned practicum, make a good impression, realize that in a time where many areas are seeing a glut of new grads vying for the same positions it isn't always possible to get into your first choice specialty, and roll with the punches.

All of my classmates agonized over our placements, but the reality is that it is only 6 weeks time and a very small segment of your nursing career. Med-Surg is a great overall experience that will give you applicable skills wherever you work.

Denver job market is pretty saturated, another option to consider if NICU falls through is Private Duty peds. Know at least 3 companies that hire new grads and do decent training to boot, and will give you applicable skills for working in the NICU in the future.

Julius Seizure

Specializes in Pediatric Critical Care.

Okay. So. My school didn't even really HAVE a capstone preceptorship. In my entire curriculum, we did one HALF of a semester of pediatrics. After graduation, I got a new grad residency in a PICU (and was also offered one for NICU, so I got to choose). I got them because I was willing to move pretty much anywhere in the country to get the kind of job that I was looking for. You might have to make a choice - Denver or NICU - for your first job. But I don't think that the location of your nursing school preceptorship is nearly as make-or-break for your career as you think it is.

Thank you so much everyone for your words. I really appreciate your advice. I am not the only person who didn't get their placement. Maybe as a student I am just too naive to expect things will happen the way I planned them. It is not about me being picky, not at all! It is about having true interest in the NICU field that I just couldn't wait to expand during my preceptorship.

Maybe it wasn't your first choice but at-least you have a med-surgical position that can lead you to where you want to go. I started out in a nursing home with 20-25 patients.

Apple-Core, ASN, BSN, RN

Has 2 years experience.

Hi everyone,

I am a BSN student from the Bay Area planning to relocate to Denver, CO once I graduate in May. Although I put the NICU as my only senior preceptorship choice, my school was not able to find a placement for me and put me to med-surg. I am absolutely devastated, and I just cannot stop thinking about how my career goals are falling apart.

My plan is to apply to new grad NICU programs in Denver Metro, but now I am at such disadvantage.

Do you think my med-surg preceptorship will make it much harder to land a NICU job (or get into the program)? Maybe some of you ladies and gents also know how hard it is to get a job in Denver in general?

Thank you!

I sincerely doubt your career goals will fall apart based on this one small hiccup in your plans. I can understand you'd feel disappointed, but devastated seems a bit much... I would channel that emotional energy into learning everything you can during your time in med-surg. Who knows, you might even find another passion you weren't even aware of?

djh123

Specializes in LTC, Rehab. Has 5 years experience.

You'll probably do just fine. Lots of us have had stumbles or obstacles along the way. My evil prof who was in charge of preceptorship placements placed several of us in the opposite of what we wanted - sometimes in terms of what specialty, sometimes (in my case) at night when I had pleaded for days. I could go on much longer ... but just keep at it.

It is really awesome that you are so enthusiastic about a specialty...Having passion for your field can be helpful for carrying you through during difficult moments in your career. Consider the Med-Surg placement a challenge; put aside your yearning for the NICU and go into clinical everyday ready to learn. Maybe even journal about the experiences and how you can apply them to NICU. Mindset and self-reflection is very helpful for shaping ones career path.

Wolf at the Door

Has 7 years experience.

I ended up in med surg but wanted peds. First job was in ICU, I turned down peds (after waiting for my offer for over a week smh). Those in ICU during last semester ended up in med surg as a first job.

ThePrincessBride, BSN

Specializes in Med-Surg, NICU. Has 6 years experience.

I was sad, but guess what? The med/surg preceptorship (which was my second choice after NICU) helped TREMENDOUSLY with NCLEX prep (passed the first time, 75 questions in under 90 minutes). And, when I got my first job out of nursing school (which, like many other new grads, was in med/surg), I was able to hit the floor running with minimal training. Earned eight months of solid adult med/surg experience and now I just celebrated one year in the NICU.

Although I was very upset, looking back at my experience, I am glad I started off in med/surg as it has made me appreciate the NICU SO much more than many of the nurses who know nothing but. I feel more well-rounded, and my resume is sure to start conversation (You are a med/surg nurse AND a NICU nurse? Say what?!?). To this day, I still work my med/surg job PRN as I know if I want ever want to advance my education or leave bedside nursing for family-friendlier hours, I will have more doors opened than not.

So look at this as an opportunity to expand your knowledge base and be prepared to get a job in med/surg out of school. While I love working in babyland, it is very niche, hard to break into, and difficult to leave if you happen to not like it.

Just because you put NICU down as *your* only choice does not mean you need to be accommodated. Your wishes are no more important than everyone else's. That's how it works.

datalore

Specializes in Cardiac/Tele.

In the grand scheme of things, a NICU preceptorship is not likely to be the resume line-item that gets you directly into a NICU after graduation. So, although it's a serious disappointment as you likely would've loved the hands-on experience NOW, it's not a death-blow to your career path. At all. I promise. It's going to be just as hard to get that job, but if you're willing to put in the time and wait it out, you can get there.

I had a similar disappointment in school; desperately wanted a cardiac placement, ended up in PEDIATRICS, to my distinct horror...... ended up learning a ton that I use in my cardiac job anyway. (I'm your opposite: I only want the oldest, most elderly patients! Hehe.)

chacha82, ADN, BSN

Has 3 years experience.

I did not get my 1st choice for preceptorship. Another nurse in another area graciously offered to take me and I had a preceptorship 100% different than I had anticipated. It went great! I'm sorry you didn't get your first pick - many of us went through that. I also didn't get any of my "pick 3" choices for my first hospital job. Turned out fine. Complete your preceptorship, apply for NICU jobs, etc. You might not get it the first time around. That's common. I knew someone who worked med/surg for 2 years out of school, applied to NICU at another hospital, and got that. If it doesn't happen right away, that's OK and don't give up! :)

JadedCPN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU. Has 15 years experience.

Maybe as a student I am just too naive to expect things will happen the way I planned them.

Goodness, you're going to be in for quite a treat once you start your nursing career!

KKEGS, MSN, RN

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 8 years experience.

I did my preceptorship in pediatric med/surg and my first job out of school was pediatric home care. Neither of those things kept me from getting a place in a New Grad Training Program in a Level III NICU. You'll be just fine. :up: