How do you decide about your first job?

Nurses General Nursing


  • by ljb
    Specializes in L&D, SICU.

You are reading page 2 of How do you decide about your first job?

My absolute best advice is med-surg. You will learn a little of everything there and if you decide to move to another area all you have learned will be valuable. I have seen new grads in ER and other critical care areas struggling because they have weak assessment skills. And I don't care how good at that you were in class, real life is the best teacher. Even if you KNOW that is not where you want to stay, think of it as on-the-job training and believe me, you will not be sorry for the time spent there.


4,516 Posts

I was working at a tech while in LPN school, then later as a LPN while in RN school-----on general medsurg. So kinda fell into it and stayed on for a year after my RN to get the new teamleader role 'down pat'. I never regretted it. A strong medsurg nurse can write her own ticket and it seems even more true today.

I've been in ICU now for 15 years, a nurse for 25. I have applied at various out of hospital jobs to be told the ICU is too 'specialized' and they REALLY prefer a strong and current medsurg background...hmmm. So...the medsurg experience is valued out there...believe it. :)

If you know what you WANT to do right now for sure (like OR, OB, etc) then go in that direction if you want to. Many facilities offer internships to specialty areas to new grads today.

Medsurg is difficult, and some would tell you it is too difficult to endure even for a little while, but I never regretted my time there.

Good luck to you whatever you decide to do...let us know how it goes!! :D


629 Posts


I just have to tell you that I looked at your profile to see if you were a libra. I am, and am notoriously bad at making decisions. Good luck, and let us know where you decide to go. :D


37 Posts

lbj-I can totally empathize with you. My first out of nursing school was on an inpatient onc. floor. I was totally overwhelmed and absoultly NO support from those I worked with. Learned alot but hated every moment of it..finally landed a job on a m/s floor where we had neonates through gramma/grampa and figured out my job wasn't as hard as it was on the onc floor. Have also had the opportunities to float to other floors being in m/s (it's usually where they pull from first). Have also worked on an inpatient surgical floor - it was busy but I really enjoyed it. Would suggest a little m/s experience before going to a surgical floor - stroking the surgeon's ego/personality can be a trying.


17 Posts

What determined my choice of first jobs was this:

Which hospital has the best reputation for quality nursing?

That's where I went and it was a good choice because the high standards, correct actions and the confidence I developed in my self has been with me for all these years.

Learn and practice at the BEST facility, and you will become one of the BEST nurses.


96 Posts


I know exactly what you are going thru! I have been pulling my hair out. I have three job offers on the table as I type this. Here is how I am making my choice.

#1- where I work as an aide, small community hospital on a med-surg floor; know everyone; would be great, but staffing sucks at night. (10-13 pts at night)

#2-large teaching hospital on an intermediate care floor. I love the critical care would like to do ICU some day but know I need to get basic nursing first. the unit is great, staff is great, pt ratio is great, manager is great.

#3-another large teaching hospital on a mixed med/surg with a few tele beds. the unit is again great as is staffing, staff and the manager.

The pay is all about equal; as are the benefits(no help there)

The big decider for me was that one of the girls in my class has a mom who has been a nurse for 30yrs and is now in case management at hospital #3, she has told her daughter that this unit is the best in the hospital to work on. The manager is supportive and so is the staff, so that is the clincher for me.

If someone I knows mom thinks it is good enough for her daughter it has to be pretty good!

This is only to let you know to ask around, since you are in your last semester you must have met some people in the healthcare field. Does your advisor at school have any advice, they usually have the lowdown on these things from contact with past students.

As far as a specialty first I know a few people who went direct into them with and are hanging in. It has been very hard adjusting to both being a new nurse and all the critical care stuff too. I thought I would do this until I got some really good advice on both this bulletin board and from a nurse that a really trust and respect, they all said to do the med/surg first, not just to "do my time" but to get a good handle on my clinical skills, assessments and to learn to juggle more than the 1 or 2 pts we get in school.

Wow, once again i am long winded!! Good luck in what ever you decide and on getting to graduation!



32 Posts

Specializes in L&D, SICU.

Once again, some very good advice from everyone. Honestly, i didn't expect to get so many helpful responses (this site is great, huh?)

I'm really starting to lean towards the idea of med-surg for a year. The way I figure, I could probably get a job without it...and be FINE. But, it won't hurt to have the med-surg experience, in fact it will probably be a big assest, as far as my skills and general marketability for nursing in various areas down the road. I do think I'd prefer to be on surgical floor (vs. a medical one--anyone have any ideas on one versus the other?)...And I definitely agree with Flora, about the importance of having your first job (or really any job) be at the BEST facility possible. I would think that would really make a big difference as far as support, working environment, other nurses to learn from, etc.

Okay, so now I just have to decide what hospital....uh-oh, here goes...


138 Posts

I fell into my first nursing job. I was looking for a day job and went to work for a neurosurgeon who I had worked with as a secretary (surgery) before nursing school. It was a day job and that was the deciding factor. I worked there for 3 and a half years before I got sick of putting up with his rage. I learned a lot more about neuro than I ever could imagine. It was the class that I disliked the most in school. Very interesting. When I quit I knew I needed another day job due to my family situation. Three weeks later I was hired as a school nurse. Very interesting. I worked with preschoolers for 3 and half years and now I'm at the middle school. I love it. The hours are great with summers off. Your will find your nitch. Just remember - the jobs are out there. Don't settle for something that's not right for you.


4,516 Posts

Check out facilities in your area with new grad orientation/internships. These facilities usually have the best practice area for new nurse...built in support systems!

If there are no organized programs, then ask if there is a nurse educator who is available to assist new grads through the transition. Best wishes!

Good luck!


1 Post

if you are a new nurse, most recommend getting at least 2 years Med/Surgical under your belt. But, if you have a clear and grounded idea what you will be geared into for the long haul, I would say that an ICU RN is the best choice for anyone considering travel nursing in the future. We are in high demand other than the rest of the specialities. For example, it is easy for a hospital to hire a Medical Surgical RN without much experience. It is far more difficult getting a seasoned well experienced RN to work and run off of any ICU unit.


44 Posts

How about shadowing for a day in each area that you are interested in-- sometimes the specialty we think we will love is NOT what we expected it to be.:clown:

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