About to graduate, but feeling demoralized...

  1. I'm graduating from my ADN program in about 6 weeks. I passed through with flying colors - 4.00 GPA and excellent recommendations from my instructors. I was a "returning" student, 30 y/o, have a previous bachelor's degree.

    Problem is, I am not too excited about my prospects upon graduation. My program was in a rural area and all of our clinical experiences were in the same community hospital. I was also a nurse extern at this hospital while in school on med/surg/telemetry (basically an aide). I did my preceptorship on another med/surg floor at this same hospital with some orthopedics.

    I have come to the realization that I REALLY hate working med/surg. I learned a lot on my preceptorship from a clinical standpoint, but I truly cannot imagine myself working as a floor nurse in that capacity. I hate the work, the stress, the patient population, and just know I would be miserable there. This was not what I envisioned doing in nursing - I guess I had my head in the sand.

    To complicate things, I am also pregnant with my first child and plan to stay home until after the birth and I feel comfortable returning (probably 4-6 mos.). When I am ready to return to work as a new grad, I am deathly worried that there will be nothing for me that I can stand. Most of my experience has been in med/surg, which I fear will pidgeonhole me in there.

    When I decided to go to nursing school, I thought the options were vast. I kind of saw myself working in a clinic or doctor's office setting, or some kind of outpatient surgery. L&D might be an option, but going into school I thought that would be a ridiculous choice for me as I had never been pregnant. It seems now like the options are so much more limiting for a new graduate.

    Anybody have advice for me, experiences to share? I am so worried that I've just wasted the last 2 years of my life (I know that sounds dramatic, but the thought has crossed my mind...)
  2. Visit secondfiddle profile page

    About secondfiddle

    Joined: Jan '05; Posts: 45

    9 Comments

  3. by   RunnerRN
    First, congratulations on your upcoming graduation! The great thing about nursing is the number of opportunities. If you don't like one area, you can go to another and start over! You don't have to work med-surg. If you want to try L&D, try it. Just make sure you get a good orientation.
    It is fine to take a little time off after graduating. I wouldn't even start work until after the babe is born and you've done your "leave." Just spend that time studying for boards.
    You'll get lots of other good ideas on here. My friend had her son 2 weeks after we graduated, waited to start her orientation until the fall (4 months later) and is doing great (and her son is too). Just do what feels right to you!
  4. by   nrsang97
    First congrats on graduation and the baby!

    If you don't like med surg then you don't have to start there. Apply for L&D or post partum. If ER or ICU strikes your interest apply there. Medsurg was a good place for me to start. It gives you good assessment skills. I worked med surg for 5 years before I took the leap to critical care. Med surg isn't for everyone. Medsurg is a not a "pigeon hole" it is only a stepping stone for experience.

    On that note a lot of day/outpatient surgery like you to have at least some experience, some L&D do not take new grads, but take the chance and apply. Apply outside of the small community hospital you did much of your schooling at. There are far more options in a bigger town with a teaching facility if that is feesable.

    I agree with Runner about taking a break until the baby is born and you are comfortable to return to work.

    Good luck to you whatever you decide.
  5. by   anonymurse
    Quote from secondfiddle
    ...
    My program was in a rural area and all of our clinical experiences were in the same community hospital.
    ...
    I have come to the realization that I REALLY hate working med/surg. I learned a lot on my preceptorship from a clinical standpoint, but I truly cannot imagine myself working as a floor nurse in that capacity. I hate the work, the stress, the patient population, and just know I would be miserable there.
    ...
    If you didn't get a chance to do home health clinicals, try making the rounds with a home health nurse for a few days. I hated the whole idea of going into other folks' homes. I'm glad I didn't have any choice. I won't get into the details. You'll have to experience it for yourself to believe how good it can be. This is the polar opposite of med/surg. I will definitely be doing home health in the future.
  6. by   angel337
    try not to be discouraged. yes, there are a lot of opportunities in nursing, but those office jobs and outpatient surgery jobs are usually only available to nurses with at least a couple years of hospital experience. be patient, and explore your options, if you see a job you are interested in, apply for it any way..even if it requires experience. sometimes you get lucky. and last but not least, think positive. remember you invested alot in your future. nursing is what you make it and positive thoughts can produce great outcomes. good luck in whatever you decide.
  7. by   GingerSue
    consider home visiting - I wish that I had stayed
    maybe rehab - another great field, positive atmosphere
  8. by   Cattitude
    i just want to caution the op and other new grads. many home care agencies will not accept new grads. this is for good reason and looks out for the employee, the employer and the patients.
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  9. by   secondfiddle
    Yes, I am aware that most home care agencies (if not all) will not take new grads. And I do agree with that policy - it wouldn't be safe to send new people out in the field alone. However, this is what I'm talking about - it seems that you need to have a couple of years of med/surg to do just about anything. At 30 years old and having spent 7+ years in school (undergraduate plus the ADN now), I really don't want to waste too much more time doing something with my life that I don't enjoy at least somewhat.
    Last edit by secondfiddle on Mar 26, '07
  10. by   nurseinlimbo
    I went to school as an adult as well, 30, graduated at 33. I went to school when my son started kindergarten. As a student nurse I was employed for the summer as SN in a LTC facility, where I was allowed to do everything as long as the DOC was in the building. I learned med admin, dressings, palliative care etc. I also did GN work in a pschiatric facility, for rehabilitation of patients with depression, personality disorders, drug rehab etc. I was in charge of medication rounds there, as well as assisting on Dr's "day", which was like working a clinic. It was a great way to get very familiar with common drugs and dosages as many of the patients were also diabetic, or had cardiac histories.
    I have never worked in an active Med/surg environment. I have worked in small rural hospital (16 beds with ER) but it was mostly palliative care and LTC waiting placement. I have worked LTC, and right now am at a facility with 19 LTC clients with severe disabilities, with an attached Community Support Bed facility (4 beds) for convalesence, palliative, respite and infirmary. We get patients who have had hip surgery, pneumonia, MS, paraplegics, fractures, palliative CA, you name it. It is smaller, more intimate, slow paced, and allows you to know your patients well.
    I took the OR training thinking that I might like the hours better, mostly days and hardly any weekends, but while I liked the work very very much, the environment was hostile and toxic. So I decided to go back to what I was doing before.
    If I lived in a larger center, I would LOVE to work for a private practice plastic surgeon, doing smaller surgeries, recovery room etc. But I don't see that in my future unless I move. I am also interested in working Home Care, but feel I need to gain more experience and also work towards my BN.

    There are lots of things you can do with your RN, dialysis, mental health, LTC, home care..... you don't have to work med/surg.

    Good luck and congratulations, enjoy your time with your baby!!
  11. by   military spouse
    Congrats on your graduation!!!!!!! Maybe home health, hospice, psych or corrections would be a better environment for you. Hospital work is NOT for everyone. I've been worked at a couple of hospitals, and, quite frankly, my jobs outside the hospitals are generally MUCH more pleasant!

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