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Help! First RN Job but...

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missyivy missyivy (New) New

Hi everyone! I am very fortunate to have a job as a registered nurse in a hospital setting, I began this February. I love the interaction with the patients and I have learned a tremendous amount. I am not ecstatic about nights, but I feel the slower pace does give me an opportunity to work on my time management skills.

Long story made short, I received my RN license two years ago but worked in nursing/public health research. I am working on my MSN- Nurse Leadership via an accelerated program for individuals that had a undergraduate degree outside of nursing, I am scheduled to finish this December. I also have another Master's degree in Public Health. I would like to gain hospital experience because I am interested in applying to a DNP program in the future.

I am currently in a critical care setting. I work for a very small hospital, my orientation was roughly 4 months. I have been on my own for a month, I work nights. Unfortunately, they recently cut our pay and the unit is relatively small so we have two nurses; myself and another new nurse. My concern is the fact that two inexperienced nurses are staffed alone in an acute care setting. I expressed my concern to my preceptors and manager and they have staffed an additional nurse with us for a few additional weeks but this ends in a few weeks. There is a significant amount that we have not seen and the night managers are very nice but often lack the knowledge of certain procedures. Are my concerns legitimate?

Secondly, in addition to the pay cut the patient census is often low so I am put on call without pay. I have a family to care for, would it look bad on my part having less than 6 months experience to apply for other jobs? Prior to this job, I was often told that I have too much education and not enough experience. I would like to be in a setting where I learn more and have more job stability. I want to actually grow with a hospital or health system as a nurse, if this makes sense.

Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

There is nothing wrong with getting a PRN job for back up. In fact, most nurses have a PRN job for extra security.

She BEGAN, as in past tense. At this point she has approx 4 mos exp as an RN and continues to work on finishing her MSN. Hope that clears up your question.

OP, sorry I can't really answer your question. It doesn't sound like a good situation only having two novice nurses staffing a CC unit overnight without competent backup around!

Thanks for your responses! I have thought about PRN jobs until I have more experience and then possibly switching to a larger hospital. My husband is urging me to apply elsewhere because the hospital I work at is apart of a health system that just let go of a significant number of employees. So I am just confused at this point.

Wheeliesurfer - I agree with you, it is a very tough situation that I was unaware of when hired.

Ruby Vee, BSN

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

Having two newbies staffing a critical care unit -- even a small one in a smallish hospital -- sounds like a recipe for disaster. But you are probably not going to be able to change the staffing pattern, so carefully identify a procedure for back-up if you get into something you cannot handle. Is the ER staffed with experienced nurses? Can they help you out? Is it possible to call your manager or another experienced nurse at home with questions?

As far as getting a different job -- usually I argue against changing jobs with less than two years of experience, but if they're constantly canceling your shift without pay, that's different. You need to support yourself. If you can FIND another job with experienced nurses who have been laid off also looking for work is another question. You may have to look elsewhere. Good luck!

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 40 years experience.

Ok....This sounds like a facility I used to supervise.

Usually there is someone in the facility that is experienced. The facility I worked for ensured that the supervisor were seasoned ICU/ER nurses and the manager was available 24/7. While you are in the ICU I know the acuity is NOT so high most of the time for much is shipped out. As the supervisor I was frequently the extra trauma nurse, ICU nurse, rapid response team, IV nurse, and drawer of difficult labs.

Here is my suggestion. I would look for a part time position somewhere else....then once you get the position at the new facility go per-diem at the first. Now that you have some experience the search should be easier this time.

What I suggest about being told you were

often told that I have too much education and not enough experience.
is to NOT share your educational plans. Facilities are frankly tired of training new nurses who only leave for APRN and advanced degrees leaving the facility training another nurse. This is expensive to invest the time and money on a new nurse to have them leave before the facility gets back what it put into that nurse.

So when you are asked why are you leaving your present facility "LONG TERM STABILITY" is a good answer. To where do you see yourself in 10 years....you see yourself "as a seasoned member of the facility". I would leave off the DNP goal for the recruiter sees only "Well she will be another use it and leave it" APRN/DNP. You can say that you are always seeking to expand your knowledge and education to make you a better nurse....but your goal is to be a long term staff member.

Good Luck!