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Having a hard time choosing first job!

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Hello! I graduated nursing school in December and passed NCLEX in February. I have been applying for so many residencies and declined from many because of coronavirus. But I finally landed 2 hospital jobs. But I am very anxious and scared about making the wrong choice. I am really struggling with what I should pick. Quite the blessing though, so I am thankful choosing between two jobs is my only problem right now Maybe some insight from fellow nurses and a discussion from others can help me.

So hospital 1: it's for a med-surg/tele floor, starts in July, good reputation for residency, 3 year contract, 20 minutes from my home, decent pay. I like this one because I feel it's a good place to start, close to home, love the hospital, and so many people have said to start in med surg so I am strongly considering this one. Plus I still don't know exactly what specialty I want and figured med surg is a great starting point.

Hospital 2: it's for an ICU position, starts in June, they call their residency an internship but said they're willing to train me on all new nursing skills and ICU specific training too for 12 weeks, no contract, 1 hour drive one way from my home, great pay. I am willing to move but since it starts so soon I'll be commuting initially. I like that I am not bound contractually to stay for 2 or 3 years because I'd love to do travel nursing once I get a year of experience maybe, and I like that it's ICU because of the critical care and patient ratio. I am nervous though because I am not confident in even my basic skills and I'm afraid of this being too much for me as a new, inexperienced nurse, but also don't want to pass up the opportunity.

What do you think?

Closed Account 12345

Has 14 years experience.

Congratulations!

I think new grads can succeed in the ICU setting with a well-developed orientation program, but it depends on your personality.

If you are very shy and timid, or if you take feedback personally, or if you struggle with clinical critical thinking, it would probably not be a good starting place.

If you are bold, willing to ask questions and take initiative, can take and learn from constructive criticism, and are a strong critical thinker, it could be great.

Either way, the first year can be tough and is a learning year.

A three year contract is LONG. A lot can happen in three years... a lot. Even if you decide against the ICU position, I would advise against any job requiring three years from a new grad.

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 29 years experience.

A three year contract smells funny...

FYI, you should really have more than one year of experience if you want to be a travel nurse...

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience.

I never even heard of a 3 year contract. If you are really interested in job 1, do some research. Is this a problem unit that can't keep staff?

EDNURSE20, BSN

Specializes in ED, med-surg, peri op. Has 4 years experience.

Is the 3 year contract for the unit or hospital? If you change areas within the same hospital during the 3 years then I would go with job 1. ICU is not an easy specialty to start in. And 1 hour commute will be challenging.

38 minutes ago, nznurse93 said:

Is the 3 year contract for the unit or hospital? If you change areas within the same hospital during the 3 years then I would go with job 1. ICU is not an easy specialty to start in. And 1 hour commute will be challenging.

It is for the hospital. Thanks for your input

15 hours ago, RNperdiem said:

I never even heard of a 3 year contract. If you are really interested in job 1, do some research. Is this a problem unit that can't keep staff?

In my city, 4/5 hospitals have the 3 year new grad contacts so it's hard to avoid

16 hours ago, FacultyRN said:

Congratulations!

I think new grads can succeed in the ICU setting with a well-developed orientation program, but it depends on your personality.

If you are very shy and timid, or if you take feedback personally, or if you struggle with clinical critical thinking, it would probably not be a good starting place.

If you are bold, willing to ask questions and take initiative, can take and learn from constructive criticism, and are a strong critical thinker, it could be great.

Either way, the first year can be tough and is a learning year.

A three year contract is LONG. A lot can happen in three years... a lot. Even if you decide against the ICU position, I would advise against any job requiring three years from a new grad.

Thank you for your detailed response! I have heard so much about starting in ICU, many say don't and others say you can if your environment is supportive. So I think that's why I'm so nervous and afraid of making a bad choice but I'd love to give it my all in ICU anyways. Thank you for replying

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

3 hours ago, natifante said:

Thank you for your detailed response! I have heard so much about starting in ICU, many say don't and others say you can if your environment is supportive. So I think that's why I'm so nervous and afraid of making a bad choice but I'd love to give it my all in ICU anyways. Thank you for replying

Sounds like you have already decided on the ICU position. I feel that 12 weeks is barely enough time to learn basic nursing skill, let alone the advanced skills of ICU.

Good luck and best wishes.

Closed Account 12345

Has 14 years experience.

Here's the other good thing about starting in ICU. If you find it's too much for you as a new grad, it's not the end of the world. You can always transfer if needed.

MANY new grads are successful in ICU. Many ICU nurses are happy to work with and mold new grads. Since the hospital offers an ICU internship, it's bound to have at least some new grad-friendly ICU folks.

There are some people who will always adamantly oppose new grads in the ICU setting without considering the individual nurse and training opportunities, and there will always be some nurses who enjoy making newbies miserable... You'll never change those people's opinions/actions, so decide in advance to let that negativity roll off your shoulders.

Have strong work ethic, positive attitude, and be professional even if you find yourself struggling. Be kind, avoid gossip, and don't be the person who cries or shuts down if someone gives you corrective feedback. Don't call in because you had a tough shift; get yourself to work and learn a little more each day. Communicate with your preceptor. Let them know if you need more feedback. Ask them to narrate rationales for their actions so you can better understand why things are done. Let them know if there's a skill you're struggling with and that you'd like to practice it more when an opportunity arises in your unit. Plan to succeed in this position.

Internship, great pay, no contract... Go for it!

1 hour ago, FacultyRN said:

Here's the other good thing about starting in ICU. If you find it's too much for you as a new grad, it's not the end of the world. You can always transfer if needed.

MANY new grads are successful in ICU. Many ICU nurses are happy to work with and mold new grads. Since the hospital offers an ICU internship, it's bound to have at least some new grad-friendly ICU folks.

There are some people who will always adamantly oppose new grads in the ICU setting without considering the individual nurse and training opportunities, and there will always be some nurses who enjoy making newbies miserable... You'll never change those people's opinions/actions, so decide in advance to let that negativity roll off your shoulders.

Have strong work ethic, positive attitude, and be professional even if you find yourself struggling. Be kind, avoid gossip, and don't be the person who cries or shuts down if someone gives you corrective feedback. Don't call in because you had a tough shift; get yourself to work and learn a little more each day. Communicate with your preceptor. Let them know if you need more feedback. Ask them to narrate rationales for their actions so you can better understand why things are done. Let them know if there's a skill you're struggling with and that you'd like to practice it more when an opportunity arises in your unit. Plan to succeed in this position.

Internship, great pay, no contract... Go for it!

WOW!, thanks for all of this. It really is motivating. Over the past few days I think I've decided to go for this one and I'll have to call back hospital#1 to say nevermind LOL. I'm going to try my best and hopefully learn to step out my comfort zone and be as positive as possible. I'm scared as heck but I want to succeed in ICU

9 hours ago, Been there,done that said:

Sounds like you have already decided on the ICU position. I feel that 12 weeks is barely enough time to learn basic nursing skill, let alone the advanced skills of ICU.

Good luck and best wishes.

Yeah, after many days of thinking on it, I decided to go for ICU. I am just going to try to be a sponge and learn from my preceptors as much as possible. Thank you, I'll be needing some luck LOL

BiscuitStripes, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU & Emergency Department. Has 1 years experience.

3 year contract!! WOW!! That’s the longest I’ve heard of. I have mixed feelings on contracts, especially that long. I get why they implement them, but at the same time, they’re implementing them because people are leaving. So is it that people are using that med/surg/tele job as a stepping stone, or is it really that bad that people leave quickly and they’re trying to reduce turnover? Check as some others said, I know one particular hospital that had a 2 year contract, 1 year was to the unit, the second year was to the hospital, so you could transfer units after 1 year. A 3 year contract to a single unit is a red flag for me.

The hospital without a contract is more appealing to me because to me, it would seem nurses are happy there and don’t leave quickly. It could also be that it is an ICU and is not used as a stepping stone, so make your own assumptions. But ICU is not for everyone and you need to ask yourself if the ICU is where you want to work. It’s going to be a STEEP learning curve.

I’ve also made the 1+ hour drive, while it’s not the worst, it’s definitely not ideal. Is this a day or night position? Days is much easier, an hour drive after a night shift is BRUTAL.

18 minutes ago, ER_BiscuitStripes said:

3 year contract!! WOW! That’s the longest I’ve heard of. I have mixed feelings on contracts, especially that long. I get why they implement them, but at the same time, they’re implementing them because people are leaving. So is it that people are using that med/surg/tele job as a stepping stone, or is it really that bad that people leave quickly and they’re trying to reduce turnover? Check as some others said, I know one particular hospital that had a 2 year contract, 1 year was to the unit, the second year was to the hospital, so you could transfer units after 1 year. A 3 year contract to a single unit is a red flag for me.

The hospital without a contract is more appealing to me because to me, it would seem nurses are happy there and don’t leave quickly. It could also be that it is an ICU and is not used as a stepping stone, so make your own assumptions. But ICU is not for everyone and you need to ask yourself if the ICU is where you want to work. It’s going to be a STEEP learning curve.

I’ve also made the 1+ hour drive, while it’s not the worst, it’s definitely not ideal. Is this a day or night position? Days is much easier, an hour drive after a night shift is BRUTAL.

I know the contract is to the hospital, but the unit at least 1 year. For the ICU position, I was thinking that a lot more is appealing about the hospital and job, but since it's night shift, I'm thinking I will just find an apartment closer so I don't have to commute so long. I know myself and I hate long drives so I think I will move closer and take ICU with no contract so that I feel better about it overall.

I thought I would throw in my opinion. I am in the exact same situation. I had a possibility to work in the smaller more rural ER (but very busy) where I work as an ER tech or a cutting edge ICU at a much larger hospital. I chose ICU due to the resources and training combined for a new grad coming out. I made sure to tell the hiring manager that I wanted to start out somewhere to build a strong foundation on knowledge right out of school and that if they would put effort into teaching me, I would be moldable to their way of doing things. I thought that since I was a new grad, I can approach a new place and situation with an open mind and look for ways to learn and grow. As with anything in life, anytime you grow it will probably be uncomfortable. But that's what nursing school has taught us all. It gets uncomfortable, you adapt and you overcome (right?). And after 6 mos. you can transfer in the hospital if it's just not for you.

Hang in there! When it comes to the challenge of a new grad working in ICU, here's my plan: Show the ICU staff that you are dedicated to your craft and lay low until you gain some respect with the staff (a few months at least) and then if you have problems with the few infamous "I forgot I used to be new too" nurses, then deal with them in private, individually. Basically something like "It seems like you have something against me. If there's something you would like to say, say it to me directly. Otherwise, we can discuss it with our supervisor." Most people will look at you differently for confronting them like that. If that doesn't work any they are making your work day miserable, go above their heads until someone listens. Just have proof. No one should have to work in a hostile workplace. Ever. I don't care if that is "just how it's been". This is my second career and I've worked other places where this occurred and shut it down successfully. It can be done.

23 minutes ago, ModeRNurse20 said:

I thought I would throw in my opinion. I am in the exact same situation. I had a possibility to work in the smaller more rural ER (but very busy) where I work as an ER tech or a cutting edge ICU at a much larger hospital. I chose ICU due to the resources and training combined for a new grad coming out. I made sure to tell the hiring manager that I wanted to start out somewhere to build a strong foundation on knowledge right out of school and that if they would put effort into teaching me, I would be moldable to their way of doing things. I thought that since I was a new grad, I can approach a new place and situation with an open mind and look for ways to learn and grow. As with anything in life, anytime you grow it will probably be uncomfortable. But that's what nursing school has taught us all. It gets uncomfortable, you adapt and you overcome (right?). And after 6 mos. you can transfer in the hospital if it's just not for you.

Hang in there! When it comes to the challenge of a new grad working in ICU, here's my plan: Show the ICU staff that you are dedicated to your craft and lay low until you gain some respect with the staff (a few months at least) and then if you have problems with the few infamous "I forgot I used to be new too" nurses, then deal with them in private, individually. Basically something like "It seems like you have something against me. If there's something you would like to say, say it to me directly. Otherwise, we can discuss it with our supervisor." Most people will look at you differently for confronting them like that. If that doesn't work any they are making your work day miserable, go above their heads until someone listens. Just have proof. No one should have to work in a hostile workplace. Ever. I don't care if that is "just how it's been". This is my second career and I've worked other places where this occurred and shut it down successfully. It can be done.

Thank you so much! It's really comforting to hear of others in similar situations. Choosing something that scares you is...well, just plain scary haha! But you're completely right, it is uncomfortable when you're growing. I'll try my best to follow your advice, I'm not expecting anything to be perfect and happy all the time but I will make sure to stay positive and surround myself with support as much as I can. Good luck to you by the way, I hope choosing ICU helped you to grow and continue to grow!

19 hours ago, natifante said:

Thank you so much! It's really comforting to hear of others in similar situations. Choosing something that scares you is...well, just plain scary haha! But you're completely right, it is uncomfortable when you're growing. I'll try my best to follow your advice, I'm not expecting anything to be perfect and happy all the time but I will make sure to stay positive and surround myself with support as much as I can. Good luck to you by the way, I hope choosing ICU helped you to grow and continue to grow!

You are very welcome. It is scary, but it is healthy fear. If we weren't a little intimidated, I would venture to say that would be a very dangerous thing for a new nurse. I remember when I took a job and the training was absolutely grueling, my trainer was extremely rude to me in front of staff and others. I was so in shock about how rude the person was, they were pretty much trying to make me quit. At first, I thought, this isn't for me, I have to get out of here. Your instinct may tell you to run. But I assure you, if you hang on, more often times than not, you will be glad you did. When you work hard for something you get to be proud of your work. I finished training and truly enjoyed what I did because I had full confidence in my abilities.

Nurselexii

Specializes in Non judgmental advisor.

You have received excellent advice on here, I just thought I would say congratulations! You did it! 🙂

vcRN, LPN

Has 4 years experience.

Congratulations! I am curious to know if having your ADN/ASN was difficult in finding a job?