Benefits over passion?

  1. I just graduated nursing school and am currently exploring my options. I have 3 children to support and am older, so I recognize the importance of those benefits that so many take for granted (pension, 401k, health insurance, etc.)

    I interviewed for a position with the local VA Hospital and was given a verbal offer by the manager that upon passing the NCLEX and providing them with my license number, they would be making me an offer on their med surg floor. The benefits of working at the VA are amazing.

    The problem is that I've wanted to be an OR nurse since the beginning of nursing school. I'd been set on applying to an OR Academy the last 2 years. Even since giving my verbal commitment to working at the VA, I have thought every day at least once about the OR.

    I feel like I'd be stupid to give up the long-term benefits of the VA for the lackluster ones of a private hospital. Is it something that I can learn to love when I see the benefits, or will I always feel like I should have gone the OR route?

    Did you take a job that wasn't your passion and later regret it?
    Last edit by Brian S. on May 11
  2. Visit KJCnango profile page

    About KJCnango

    Joined: Dec '15; Posts: 11; Likes: 16
    from AZ , US

    41 Comments

  3. by   mmc51264
    I would jump on the VA job. My hubby works for Homeland and the benefits are awesome. We have 2 children with Type 1 diabetes and can afford pumps and continuous glucose monitors
    Get your foot in the door and work and then see if you can find your way to more of a position that is your dream job. You can make a job your own. Just my 2 cents. You have to be happy
  4. by   JBudd
    I am one that goes for security. Is it possible to work for the VA and later transfer to an OR spot in the VA system?
  5. by   applewhitern
    It is very hard to get a VA job around here. It takes about 6 months to even hear anything from them. The last time they had a job fair for a new building, they had over 500 applicants for nursing jobs. I have applied twice, and been told they have a hiring freeze both times. (?) Take the VA job; you may not have that opportunity again. Also, you might get into your "dream job" and find out you don't like it after all.
  6. by   SC_RNDude
    Just because a hospital isn't the VAdiesnt mean it has "lackluster benefits".

    If you can get into the OR, after a few years experience you'll have many options of where you may work.
  7. by   iluvivt
    Go for the VA....Life in general is a lot easier with money and when you have the basics covered. You also need to start building up your 401 K.. You can also change positions once you are an established employee. You may find you like something entirely different once you are actually working as an RN.
    Last edit by iluvivt on May 9
  8. by   KJCnango
    No, you're right. It definitely doesn't always mean that.

    But the other hospital I'm looking at offers 2 weeks vacation until you reach 10 years. The VA offers 5.5 weeks in the first year. Pension and fully vested after 5 years at the VA. No pension from private hospital. Zero dollar health insurance premium for myself and family at the VA. At least $200/pay period for less insurance coverage at the private hospital.

    These are pretty substantial differences, and mostly what I'm basing my lackluster designation on.
  9. by   Buckeye.nurse
    I had a similar difficult choice about 7 years ago when I had to decide between my then employer (so-so benefits), and a potential job with fantastic benefits. I LOVED my pediatric position. We weren't always adequately staffed, but then, where is?

    I second guessed my choice the first year at my new job. The pay was much better, more vacation, stellar tuition reimbursement, pension, better health insurance, etc. etc....but I missed my previous job. So I challenged myself to look deeper. I love nursing. Period. But that job required me to dig a little deeper to learn, feel engaged, and make a difference in my patient's lives.

    Fast forward a few years, and I decided to find a specialty at my employer that I could learn to love in a similar way to the manner I loved peds at my first job. I shadowed nurses on several floors and asked a lot of questions. I was able to find the nitch in hematology.

    Bottom line is that if you are completely miserable at your job it will carry over to home. On the other hand, if you are struggling to make ends meet because of lackluster compensation and benefits you will probably be miserable. Finding a job you can tolerate and maybe even learn to love with great benefits is (in my opinion) worth the gamble.
  10. by   hherrn
    Many people think they know what field they want as new grads and change their minds.

    Only you can decide whether security trumps preference. I know you use the term "passion", but it is really a preference. And, a theoretical one at that, as you have never done the job day in, day out, as a nurse.

    Personally, I choose preference over security. I have zero security as a per diem nurse, other than my faith that either or both my hospitals will have staffng holes for me to fill. But, I have no kids, no payments, and can afford to put 20% into retirement.

    Also, how much do you value family time? Will that extra 3 weeks make a difference?
  11. by   Wuzzie
    Are there no OR's in the VA system?
  12. by   KJCnango
    Of course there are, it's just not the position I'd be going into. It may be a possibility to transfer over once I'm the system, however.
  13. by   Wuzzie
    Quote from KJCnango
    Of course there are, it's just not the position I'd be going into. It may be a possibility to transfer over once I'm the system, however.
    You may be in a better position to get an OR job with a year of MS under your belt.
  14. by   KJCnango
    Very true. The nice thing is that I've heard it's a fairly painless procedure to transfer within and to different facilities. So thats definitely always an option

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