How do you decide about your first job?

Nurses General Nursing


  • by ljb
    Specializes in L&D, SICU.

I know this has been asked before, and if anyone wants to direct me to a good thread, that's fine...but...

How in the world did you decide what type of nursing you wanted to do? Or at least, what kind you wanted to do first?

I'm interested in L&D, critical care, maybe ER, maybe OR, and I may want to start with Med-Surg, but that's only b/c i think it's the smart thing to do. I want to be able to work as a travel nurse in a couple of years. I'd like to consider the option of a masters degree down the road (and if so, as a women's health NP-I think)

I guess I'm not expecting an actual answer from anyone that will spell it all out for me...but I thought it would be good to get some thoughts and ideas from some nurses who have some experience (any at all!)


llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

How far along are you in school? I think the best way to choose a specialty (and all areas are specialties in my book) is to go where your heart tells you to go. That means you need to assess the emotions you experienced and the affinity your felt for areas as you went through the various clinical rotations. Were there certain types of patients that you really enjoyed? -- did not enjoy? -- that particularly intrigued you? -- that really tugged at your heart? Do you prefer an environment in which the patients "turn over" quickly or an environment where the patients stay a while and you get to know them? How do you feel about the really high-tech environments? How do you feel about death? etc. etc. etc.

No one but you can tell you which specialty is the best fit for you -- and the best "fit" is what you are looking for. What is best for someone else may be totally wrong for you.


renerian, BSN, RN

5,693 Posts

Specializes in MS Home Health.

I loved the hem/onc unit I did two clinicals at. I rotated between there and burn unit. I was offered a job on that unit with a burn unit rotation. I lucked out. Is there a type of nursing that you feel drawn to?



20,964 Posts

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis.

IT decided ME. I applied for float pool and the OB unit manager called me asking for an interview. I got hired on right then and there, about 2 months shy of graduation. The rest is history; been doing OB for about 6 years now and no regrets.


24 Posts

I would suggest doing the hardest job first, everything from there is bound to get easier, ( or better ?!?!?). Start in the most challenging field, for you it might be your most high anxiety, or the field you feel the least comfortable in. Seven patients on a Med-Surg floor, four Peds, five O/B patients, five on telemetry, then work your way to L/D, ER, ICU, NICU, where the patients are less in numbers, but require more specialized care. If you can do the basics, you can do the special stuff. I find, it is better that way. However, if you start specialized, you might not get to experience the basics, or may be intimidated/ not so sure of yourself, if you do ever have to work one of the areas. Only a suggestion, and I do never think any job is "harder" than the other, just different. I feel though on a floor such as cardiac, med surg, ob, you can learn alot of different diagnosis, and treatments to get the best experience possible. It's what I did.. and I can work anywhere! It is trully a challenging experience.


1,024 Posts

Find out what you really love in clinicals and pursue that. Don't let anyone tell you that you have to work a certain dept first because "that's the smart thing to do". If you want to succeed, you will, no matter where you start.


Freshman RN

75 Posts

This may be a dumb question but what is L/D?


1,827 Posts

Originally posted by Freshman RN

This may be a dumb question but what is L/D?

Labor & Delivery

Freshman RN

75 Posts


Nurse Ratched, RN

2,149 Posts

Specializes in Geriatrics/Oncology/Psych/College Health.

I worked oncology as my first "nursing" job. Wandered into it - applied as a student nurse and the options were onc or working as a monitor tech on a tele unit (to this day I haven't the faintest notion how anyone can watch 40 little tv's for 12 hours at a stretch and keep them all straight and have clue as to what's going on...) Anyway - the onc floor had 8 hour shifts, and the other one was 12's. Sometimes we choose our fields for reasons completely unrelated to a "calling." I enjoyed the work, really felt like I made a difference and was grateful for the experience.

The best experiences I've had in life came from dumb luck - eeny meeny miney moe.... :)


32 Posts

Specializes in L&D, SICU.

Wow, thanks! All of your responses were helpful. For some reason, Laurako, your tip about taking on the biggest challenge makes a lot of sense to me. I tend to shy away from the things that are the riskiest, scariest...and just for that fact, I'd like to think I could tackle my "weak spot" head on. I also think your point about starting with the busiest, or most challenging (for me) as a way of prepping myself for down the road, is a good one. Aagghh!! It's a scary thought though!

Since some of you asked, I'm almost done...will graduate in May. So I still have some school left...but not much.

I'm a nurse extern on a Medical Oncology floor...and in general, I really don't like it. It's too much! I don't know how to explain what I mean by that... But maybe a surgical floor would be more my style (can surgical patients be anyone's "style"! you get my point!), if I choose med/surg.

I thought L&D was a lot of fun too though. But maybe down the road?

Anyway, what I really need is help on how to make decisions in general--I'm terrible!! I have a hard time deciding what kind of drink i want to buy when I get lunch...(sadly, I'm not really kidding)

But, in the end, I know I'll figure it out!

Thanks to all of you for the insights!


20,964 Posts

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis.

Do they have a float pool? Maybe you could do that?

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