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Furloughed and Fearful


Has 3 years experience.

Hi everyone! I am in need of advice 🙂 This is a bit of a vent session, so if you do read this whole thing. I love and appreciate you!

To start, I hope everyone is staying safe. I am currently torn and in dire need of guidance.

I have about 2.5 years of nursing experience, and I am in my second year of grad school to become an NP. Two years of experience is in acute care, and I spent maybe a little over half a year working in a clinic. Due to Covid 19, my clinic furloughed majority of their staff. They have made it known that some of us will not be invited back, and given I lack seniority there, I am just being realistic and knowing that I will probably not return.

I did interview for a position with a well known healthcare group, that I applied to a few months ago. It's in the hospital, part time, seemingly a good gig. I interviewed with HR and the manager. Everything went well, I used to work on a similar unit so I understood what was expected of me. Though during my peer interview, it was revealed that the unit was transitioned to the Covid 19 unit. Now you may be reading this and say, everything is Covid.. you should have known better, but I genuinely didn't know. If I did, I would have liked to ask a few questions. Now I feel trapped. They offered me the position. But this is where I need the advice:

I am afraid that if I decline this position, I will never find another job again. You may be thinking, she's a little dramatic, but I find it to be a lot more difficult to find a job. My first job placed me on a do not rehire list, due to personal conflict (one of my relatives and my manager had a falling out and I was hit in the crossfire). I left my second job to work at the clinic which has now let me go, but I feel like though I'm eligible for rehire, they probably would jump over my application because I chose to leave. I feel like working in the clinic probably hurt my resume. I apply endlessly for jobs, some in areas I really want to pursue, others in hospitals that I think would help me pursue my education. But the areas I'm interested in almost always reject my resume, probably because I don't have experience in that area. And usually the big names require a bit more finesse and connections to get the resume to a manager to review.

My family feels like I am being selfish if I accept the position. My parent is high risk and I recently lost my other parent. I also have a child that is my priority. They think it would be best for me to just focus on my classes and in the event the clinic does lay me off, then look for PRN I can do during my clinicals, but I know the idea of losing me or bringing it home plays a larger role. I do have the option to stay home and with proper budgeting, I could make it through the end of my program. Just 4 months ago, I was losing hair working 10 five hour shifts a week on top of 3 classes. Now I am stressing over finding work.

However, I tried asking some healthcare buddies. Some tell me I'm young-ish and healthy so I should just do it and actually said it would be wrong of me not to. Others expressed hesitancy.

I am not a liar by any means. It does scare me a bit and my heart breaks every time I read an article written by someone who has worked a Covid unit. It's not a joke. It's not that I do not want to take care of those patients, but I am afraid of arrangements I would need to make to do it. I pay for my schooling out of pocket. The job is part time. I cannot afford to find a new place this short notice, and I cannot and am not willing to postpone my degree. They left a voicemail telling me the salary, but did not mention anything about hazard pay or any kind of arrangements I should consider. Maybe I sound stupid, I don't know but I personally feel like that's something you should share with a person so they can at least figure something out.

I do not really know what to do. I only have a few days to make a decision. I am trying to stay positive. One minute I tell myself that I have excellent grades, good references, and I will find another job if I need to. But then I find myself crying knowing that this may be the only way I can get a job in the future.

I feel stuck. Any advice?

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

A lot of nurses have been furloughed, and I don't think being out of work at this time will count against you. Your first job certainly didn't end on good terms, but you have a fair amount of experience.

I think you will find something when you decide that you're ready to work. Your top choices may not be options until you're a more competitive applicant, though.

There are antibody tests out there. Maybe take one and then decide? In reality, covid is everywhere. Before those patients make it to the hospital, they're at the grocery store and wherever else they're able to go in your city.

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 10 years experience.

Being out of work won't count against you right now. Yes, it may be hard to get a job ongoing, but that will be as much due to the recession we are headed into as anything else.

Antibody testing is, unfortunately, not very meaningful yet. We can see two types of antibodies - one means you currently have COVID, one means you had COVID at some point. But we have no idea what those antibodies mean yet. There is no way to extrapolate that they mean any kind of immunity. We just don't know. It is too soon to tell yet.

I think you need to look at what people are doing to minimize the risk to their families and decide if you are willing to do those things. Stripping in the garage, shoes left outside, clothes straight to laundry, you straight to shower, no hugs until you are done, door handles etc wiped down, that type of stuff.

Closed Account 12345

Has 14 years experience.

Would this acute care position better prepare you for the NP role you want?

If not, I wouldn't take it. Since you're a second year NP student, I'm guessing you'd plan to stay in this role less than 1 year. Then you'd have 4 jobs in 3 years on your resume, which looks a bit hoppy regardless of reasons.

I'd count my blessings that I could make ends meet without risking my family's health while finishing school, and finish strong. Make good networking connections during your clinical hours.

Bonus if you're able to return to your clinic position! Their decisions may have little to do with seniority and more to do with attitudes/work effort. If it's a clinic that uses NPs they may want to keep you around, too.

I think you have received a lot of good advice so far. Another thing that you might want to factor in is how saturated your NP market is and if you think taking this job will get you additional experience and/or connections that could be of use in your career.

Know that neither of your choices are wrong; they both could be right or wrong for individual situations.

I would start with the amount of stress you will experience r/t your family's concerns, your parenting priority, your desire to continue your degree program, and the flow of information and consideration from the prospective employer (keeping in mind the employer has freely given you a glimpse of how they roll already).

If you can handle these things without the danger of feeling compelled to quit as soon as you get started, then consider accepting the position and making the best of it. [Don't linger on any fantasies of this employer helping you with your degree financially or through provision of NP preceptors, though.]

One option would be to see whether the hiring manager is available to speak with you (or HR can get you more information) regarding unanswered questions based on what you learned in the peer interview. Maybe the answers to a few of your questions would tip the scales one way or another. If you go this route, be upbeat with your inquiries; don't give them reason to make the decision for you.

I agree with PPs; you likely cannot completely avoid covid-19 by not working. Your family needs to understand that. OTOH, it isn't ridiculous to think you could use this time to complete coursework, do everything in your power to make sure everything is in order for your rotations/need for preceptors, prepare for your boards, and continue to keep your eye out for an employment situation that suits your needs.

Good luck with your decision -