New nurses without clear career goals

  1. Do you think that new nurses who have no preference as far as where they want to work have an easier time with, well, being a new nurse? Basically, if you take away the expectations of a dream job right of the bat, is that a big chunk of burden off of the nurse?

    I'll be graduating in May and people keep asking me what I want to do. Every time I say I have no idea (which does not bother me in the least) everyone is dumbfounded ๐Ÿ˜ƒ. In my head though, if I have no preconceived notions of where I SHOULD be I at least won't have to worry that and can just focus on looking for a job and learning as a new graduate. This is not to say that those who have a clear vision of what type of nurse (which I envy and very much wish I had) they want to be will have difficulty if they find employment somewhere besides the dream job.

    Maybe my real question is if this is typical and, if not, could it still be helpful in the long run. So many of my classmates have such clear goals and sometimes I wonder if they will be happier in their career than I, especially if they attain the positions they desire.
  2. Visit tara07733 profile page

    About tara07733

    Joined: Feb '09; Posts: 105; Likes: 257
    from NJ , US

    36 Comments

  3. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from tara07733
    Do you think that new nurses who have no preference as far as where they want to work have an easier time with, well, being a new nurse? Basically, if you take away the expectations of a dream job right of the bat, is that a big chunk of burden off of the nurse?

    I'll be graduating in May and people keep asking me what I want to do. Every time I say I have no idea (which does not bother me in the least) everyone is dumbfounded ํ ฝํธƒ. In my head though, if I have no preconceived notions of where I SHOULD be I at least won't have to worry that and can just focus on looking for a job and learning as a new graduate. This is not to say that those who have a clear vision of what type of nurse (which I envy and very much wish I had) they want to be will have difficulty if they find employment somewhere besides the dream job.

    Maybe my real question is if this is typical and, if not, could it still be helpful in the long run. So many of my classmates have such clear goals and sometimes I wonder if they will be happier in their career than I, especially if they attain the positions they desire.
    I'm eight years in and still have no burning desire to do anything in particular. I tend to be a content person in general, though. So I guess it depends on why you can't decide on an ultimate goal ...if you're just happy with "whatever", then good for you.
  4. by   Davey Do
    Quote from tara07733
    Do you think that new nurses who have no preference as far as where they want to work have an easier time with, well, being a new nurse? Basically, if you take away the expectations of a dream job right of the bat, is that a big chunk of burden off of the nurse?
    Tara, I'm going to accuse you of being an individual of higher conscious, for your beliefs are in line with those of Dr. Wayne Dyer's:

    "Your attachments are the source of all your problems. The need to be right, to possess someone or something, to win at all costs, to be viewed by others as superior-these are all attachments. The open mind resists these attachments and consequently experiences inner peace and success."
  5. by   Sour Lemon
    Quote from tara07733
    Do you think that new nurses who have no preference as far as where they want to work have an easier time with, well, being a new nurse? Basically, if you take away the expectations of a dream job right of the bat, is that a big chunk of burden off of the nurse?

    I'll be graduating in May and people keep asking me what I want to do. Every time I say I have no idea (which does not bother me in the least) everyone is dumbfounded ๐Ÿ˜ƒ. In my head though, if I have no preconceived notions of where I SHOULD be I at least won't have to worry that and can just focus on looking for a job and learning as a new graduate. This is not to say that those who have a clear vision of what type of nurse (which I envy and very much wish I had) they want to be will have difficulty if they find employment somewhere besides the dream job.

    Maybe my real question is if this is typical and, if not, could it still be helpful in the long run. So many of my classmates have such clear goals and sometimes I wonder if they will be happier in their career than I, especially if they attain the positions they desire.
    I'm eight years in and still have no burning desire to do anything in particular. I tend to be a content person in general, though. So I guess it depends on why you can't decide on an ultimate goal ...if you're just happy with "whatever", then good for you. If you're conflicted because nothing makes you happy, that's a little different.
  6. by   Sour Lemon
    First I got a message saying I couldn't post because it hadn't been 10 seconds, but I hadn't posted within 10 seconds. Then I attempted to repost (with an extra sentence) and my "denied" post appeared. I also can't "edit" at all ...I just get a blank page. What the heck is going on with this site? Anyway...
  7. by   HeySis
    I don't think there is any harm in not wanting a specific path in nursing... I think a lot of people that want a certain dream job are surprised when they finally get it that it's not everything they thought it would be... I believe this decreases as you get into nursing more and work in a variety of areas to see what you like/dislike and where your skills lie.

    I think you'll have an easier time finding a job if your not super picky and an easier time learning what you need for that area instead of being worried that what you learn isn't going to help you somewhere else. Because anything you learn the first year is going to help you later on.

    I've done different types of nursing and some I loved, but I didn't know it until after I did it for a while. And even though I now have preferences and passions about certain areas, I can be pretty happy anywhere in nursing as long as I'm working with a good team!
  8. by   HeySis
    Quote from Sour Lemon
    First I got a message saying I couldn't post because it hadn't been 10 seconds, but I hadn't posted within 10 seconds. Then I attempted to repost (with an extra sentence) and my "denied" post appeared. I also can't "edit" at all ...I just get a blank page. What the heck is going on with this site? Anyway...

    I've had that happen before... Couldn't fix it so I moved on and it didn't happen again (at least not often).
  9. by   KelRN215
    I think it depends on the person. I knew I only wanted pediatrics and was willing to move if I couldn't get a pediatric job in my home state but, for some people, location might be more important than specialty and therefore they may be willing to take whatever they get.

    I let go of the notion of a dream job a long time ago because no one has offered to pay me to permanently travel the world yet. At this point in my career (10+ years), I just want a pediatric job with competitive pay and good benefits. I have done acute care, home care, boarding school and infusion liaison. My best prospects for my next steps are clinic or Case Management. I read an article recently that said you should change jobs every 3 years and it made a lot of sense so I don't go into any jobs thinking "this will finally be my dream job and I will stay here until I retire." Rather, I think "I'll do this for a while and when I get bored or fed up with my employer, I will move somewhere else."
  10. by   tara07733
    Quote from Davey Do
    Tara, I'm going to accuse you of being an individual of higher conscious, for your beliefs are in line with those of Dr. Wayne Dyer's:

    "Your attachments are the source of all your problems. The need to be right, to possess someone or something, to win at all costs, to be viewed by others as superior-these are all attachments. The open mind resists these attachments and consequently experiences inner peace and success."
    Dave Do, you're giving way too much credit but I'll take it :-)
  11. by   Heylove
    I knew as a new grad that I absolutely did not want to do med/surg or ICU. However, because we are told in nursing school that we should spend the first 1-2 years in med/surg, I did apply for a med/surg position when I was newly licensed. Thank goodness the panel could see right through me, and when asked what I really wanted to do I said that I wanted to work psych. I've spent six months in adolescent psych and I am happy as can be!

    Too long, didn't read: It's okay if you don't know what you want to do, just apply for positions and if it feels right and is meant to be, it will happen.
  12. by   TriciaJ
    If you had felt a burning need to go in a particular direction, great. But it's really great to be prepared to roll with whatever. At this point you don't know what you don't know. You could very well find yourself (at some point) in a position that you don't right now know even exists.

    It's nice for your classmates to think they have the future all locked up. I wonder how many are going to run away screaming from their "dream" jobs and not have any idea what to do next. If you read Deepak Chopra's Seven Laws for Spiritual Success, you will see there is a whole chapter on "The Wisdom of Uncertainty".

    Best wishes for a fun and fulfilling career.
    Last edit by TriciaJ on Feb 5 : Reason: Found the ubiquitous typo after posting.
  13. by   Ruby Vee
    I think it's realistic not to know what your "dream job" might be when you're still in school. Your first job, whatever it is, will give you some ideas -- do you like working with the patient population? If not, why not? What population might suit you better? Do you enjoy the level of acuity where you are? Why or why not? Would more acuity or less suit you better? Sometimes the only way to know your preferences is to work awhile and figure it out.
  14. by   djmatte
    Not everyone knows what they want and sometimes it is a matter of seeing what you don't want to know it. If you went through nursing school and didn't experience that, then you are in a better spot than many (and more open for it). Some might look at it as a lack of direction, but you kind of have a basic *knowing* of what you want to do...you want to take care of patients. That's the heart of the career you've chosen. Past that, you are clearly willing to let the cards fall where they may.

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