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Do you regret clinic nursing?


Dear All,

I am 9 mo post graduation w/ a BSN (and prior BS in education). I thought I would love L & D nursing and am working at a high-risk, high-volume hospital with a short staff. I LOVE my patients and working with them but the stress is overwhelming. I am afraid all the time. My body won't adjust to nights and working the weekends and holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's) is a bummer. I have to apply for vacation 6 mo out and I am always being the called the days I am off. I feel guilty when I say no because I know what it feels like to juggle so many patients.

I would like to go to clinic nursing but have heard from so many older nurse friends to stay at least 1-2 years. I would leave my position not feeling entirely competent and colleagues tell me to that things will get better by 1 year. I am afraid to leave and afraid to stay.

How did you decide to go to clinic nursing? Was it hard to make the switch? did you wish that you had not? I feel so forlorn.

I have volunteered with families for 6 years assisting with birth as labor support. I went to nursing school knowing that my only pathway was L & D. Yet, here I am 9 mo later wishing that I had not even considered nursing. Can someone give some advice?

Thanks so much,


JentheRN05, RN

Specializes in OB, ortho/neuro, home care, office.

I went into office nursing less than 1 year after graduation. I graduated in May of 2005. Went through 2 different hospitals (long story don't want to go into it AGAIN) but at the end I was working nights and was killing me slowly. I happened to come across a doctors office needing an RN by chance and took the job. So I worked both for about 1 month. Then quit the hospital job and worked in the office full time. I don't think I had ANY adjustment problems. So don't worry about that. It was easy for me. Much slower and easier to handle. No where NEAR as stressful and weekends/holidays off :)

Good Luck!

LadyT618, MSN, APRN, NP

Specializes in Home Health, Primary Care. Has 15 years experience.

Hi JentheRN,

When I look at the amount of specialties you've been thru in just a year and a half, I don't feel so bad after all. We all have to find out niche and instead of staying in a place where you feel uncomfortable or just plain "not feeling the unit," one must move on and try something else. I've been a nurse for 1 year and 4 months there about, and I've been thru critical care to the OR back to critical care and on my way to home health. I'm hoping that's where I'll be happy, once and for all.

Thanks so much for your responses. It is amazing that the 2 of you have such a broad variety of experiences just 1.4-2 yrs post graduation. It is encouraging. I continue to vascillate but things are getting a little better. I continue to read the want ads and will apply if a clinic job that interests me comes open. After my weird orientation experience and a noncollaborative feel on my unit, I am retiscent to try something else. I don't want to go through the "hazing" and unfamiliarity all over again.

Anyhow, I really appreciated your input.


It's funny you ask that question. I have been a nurse for a year and a half and have tried oncology, long-term care, travel assignments and I have been offered a job in a pedi office. Here I am a week away and am already hired at the VA to start Monday. I keep thinking I will miss the floor nursing but part of me thinks 5 weeks vacation, 10 paid holidays, true pension...is that worth more? But clinical was NOT a regret. I learned soooo much. Getting that experience in allows you to feel more confident about applying for different jobs (like I did). You can always try something and if you don't like it, you can always go back to the hospital. Good luck!

I have been a nurse in family practice/internal medicine for 13 years and I love it. I am moving soon though...and I am concerned. The place that I am moving to use medical assistants and LPN's in the office. My option is the hospital and I am concerned that they won't be interested in me because of my lack of hospital experience...any suggestions?


Specializes in ICU, ER, Surgery, Med-Surg, Pediatrics. Has 12 years experience.

I love working in the office. I worked Critical care for years until I had my children and then I went to surgery. After being tied to the hospital with a pager I asked around and found out about a great office in town. They wern't hiring at the time but I went by every couple of months until one day they called and needed someone ASAP. I worked there for 4 years then went into Pharmaceutical Sales for 3 years. I missed it so much I went back...paycut and all!

All I can say is go with your gut. If it doesn't feel right then it isn't. Don't be afraid of new opportunities. It is better to be the new guy in a great place then the seasoned vet on a bad team. Good luck!

augigi, CNS

Specializes in Critical Care, Cardiothoracics, VADs. Has 10 years experience.

I am always being the called the days I am off. I feel guilty when I say no because I know what it feels like to juggle so many patients.

Off-topic, but why do YOU feel guilty that the hospital does not pay for adequate staffing? If you say no, and everyone else says no, they would have to pay for more staff. They rely on this "guilt complex" to excuse their budgeting!

dream'n, BSN, RN

Specializes in UR/PA, Hematology/Oncology, Med Surg, Psych. Has 27 years experience.

I went into office nursing for the hours; M-F 8-5. I also enjoy having a relationship with my patients, over the long-term. It is also nice being able to build a closer teamwork relationship with the Dr., becoming his right hand man (women) so to speak.

Don't be strapped into the idea that one year of this or that is needed to be a competent RN. I've seen experienced ICU nurses look dumb-founded when entering new areas. Each specialty is unique and has it's own set of knowledge and skills. While more experience might make it easier to transfer to other areas, a RN who is thorough and has common sense will be able to learn any specialty.

I am currently making a shift from dialysis and prison nursing into a hospital urgent care clinic. Two other experienced RNs and myself are being trained by a MA in medical office procedures. To tell you the truth it is alot of fun. Outpatient setting with hospital pay!!!

I am not a traditional RN; I have never worked med/surg and received my RN from home study through Excelsior College. Nursing is changing; going more outpt, more follow-up, more patient education.

So don't worry about experience, it will come from many avenues, and find something you like. There is enough RN specialties for everyone.


Specializes in Med/Tele, Home Health, Case Management.

I know this post is old, but I just discovered it. The posts I've read on here make me feel better. At least I know that I am not alone. I have been a R.N. for 2 years (minus 1 month) and have worked in 3 different areas. I started in Trauma ICU (mistake), then got moved to Med/Tele (ok but critical care is not for me). Then I did Med/Surg for 2 months and HATED it! For the last year, I've been doing home health, which I really like. I would like to eventually work in a clinic and enjoy reading the posts from everyone. I just discovered that there is a major hospital/medical school in my area that is hiring for clinic positions and only require 1 year nursing experience.

What should I say when asked why I've had so many jobs since graduating?

Thanks for any feedback.


Specializes in LTC. Has 23 years experience.

what should i say when asked why i've had so many jobs since graduating?

thanks for any feedback.

you wanted to gain experience in a variety of areas ? maybe ?

What are the specific things you do in clinic nursing? What are the differences compared to hospital duties?

tewdles, RN

Specializes in PICU, NICU, L&D, Public Health, Hospice. Has 31 years experience.

I worked in clinics in community health. Patient education is a big part of the day. Following up on labs and tests is really, really important.

Giving medications and simple treatments are common activities. Where I worked the nurses made all referral calls and appointments for the patients. We followed the immunization status of the patients across all age groups. We took care of routine medication requests and refills and made sure that appropriate labs were scheduled or obtained before follow-up appts with the docs. Lots more that I cannot get focused into clear thoughts just now...

I enjoyed this job and recently considered returning to community health.

Regret? Nope! Never! Learned so much working so close with the physician. Hospitals' suck the life out of you. Seems they just want "bodys"...go through the motions and suck up the BS that is put out there. I am going back to the clinic just as soon as I can. People can be taught skills....but caring, compassion, and respect...thats something people should have learned a long time ago. I hate hopital nursing. It is dog-eat-dog and they will work you to death to save a few dollars. Definitely NOT where I want to be.


Specializes in LTC, wound care. Has 4 years experience.

I love clinic nursing. The patients walk in and they walk out. The only part of my job which is tense is phone triage, but that should be a piece of cake for an experienced RN. Patient education is a huge part of the job, also knowing what the doctor or provider would want on a patient before they go in the room is big. I work with a very happy, kind and compassionate bunch, it's a super great office and I love it. Eves and weekends, and holidays off, you get to know your patients, so that when they walk in from reception, you can assess so much. I don't think I can imagine being this happy anywhere else....really, and I never, ever expected this from this job. What a great bunch of people!

clinic nursing is great if you're sick and tired of hospital toxicity.

i've been to med-surg, hemodialysis, and now ambulatory services. i have to say, when i started at the clinic, i thought i died and went to nursing heaven. but after a while, it gets pretty boring. i miss the challenges and the learning process when i was still at the hospital. like they say, you don't know what you're missing until it's gone.

:loveya::) I have been fortunate in my experience(s) in the clinic environment.....I worked with physician and PA's, ARNP's that were eager to share their knowledge, expose me to new skills....and encourage me to grow. I left state due to family issues....although I left for the "right" reasons....I truly miss all those professional people who loved to learn and treated ALL staff with respect and courtesy. Another blessing....We PRAYED everyday, before the clinic opened...for our day...for our patients...that place was was awesome. I pray I find another clinic that has all these qualities. People truly cared for each other and our clients. If I could afford to go back--I would not hesitate. Very, Very rewarding at the end of the day.:redbeathe

Edited by ms_orion
misspelled words