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How long to work in one place?

Posted

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 7 years experience.

Hi AllNurses,

I am hoping to get opinions on if there is any recommended amount of time to work in one facility. I have older coworkers who have worked at our hospital for 20, 30, even 40 years and I am hoping to do so as well due to good benefits, good retirement plan and truly wonderful, supportive coworkers. It is a county hospital so some of the patients we deal with can be difficult and the pay is lower than the private hospitals in the area (SF Bay Area). It is also a 176 bed hospital without Peds and without cardiac or neuro surgeries but I still see a variety of conditions. Some younger friends have stated it is better to get experience at a variety of facilities to keep learning new things and have an impressive resume. In my opinion you can learn new things no matter how long you work in one place due to advances in medicine/nursing and I also think finding a supportive environment is really special. Any thoughts or experiences you are willing to share? Thanks everyone!

meanmaryjean, DNP, RN

Specializes in NICU, ICU, PICU, Academia. Has 40 years experience.

Finding a supportive atmosphere is becoming more and more rare. If you have such a place and are happy- stay. You don't have to job-hop to learn new things.

In fact, you can job hop and NEVER learn anything new.

I would venture to say that many who will read this are jealous that you have found your place.

Don't listen to nay-sayers. If you've found what is to you a good thing, there's nothing wrong with continuing that relationship as long as possible.

I will say I'd probably prefer to hedge my bets a little with a side gig. There is some benefit to having contacts elsewhere and to knowing other institutions' perspectives on various things. It helps prevent employer-specific tunnel vision ("this way must be the only right and good way because that's what my employer said" or "this thing must be true because my employer said so").

I wouldn't worry as much about having a hot-shot resume, but there's something to be said for safety nets and additional perspective. When your little hospital decides they can't make it without selling out to a huge corporation, you won't regret having options and perspective.

brownbook

Has 35 years experience.

Your friends are wrong. However I am one of those financially conservative practical people.

I worked in a similar hospital to yours, a small county hospital in California. I retired after 20 years with GREAT financial and health benefit. Your friends are not going to be in such great shape. All along I had contributed the most money I could to my retirement plan.

Even if you work in a larger acute care hospital you may find you're working with very similar patients and medical issues, unless you work in an intensive care unit.

Even if someday you have to or REALLY REALLY want to work in a more acute care type hospital your current med/surg experience will get you in the door, maybe to their med/surg unit, but then you could transfer to an intensive care unit later on.

LibraNurse27, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 7 years experience.

Thanks for the input! I am sad that finding a supportive environment does seem to be rare and SUPER grateful for my awesome coworkers. I'll definitely take into consideration finding a prn job at another facility. Good advice!

inthecosmos, BSN, MSN, RN, APRN

Specializes in Varied. Has 4 years experience.

I hope to eventually find a gig that I would retire in. Finding supportive staff that you click with is impossible, it seems. I would heavily encourage you to stay where you are happiest!

EDNURSE20, BSN

Specializes in ED, med-surg, peri op. Has 3 years experience.

I think it's good to move around, especially since you are working in such a small hospital. Every hosiptal has different ways of doing things, some you will like some you won't. But it all adds to your experience and makes you a better nurse. I see nurses where I work who have only ever worked in that hosiptal and are so closed minded, even when what you recommend is best practise according to the current research. They just get stuck in there ways.

If your comfortable where you are, then don't just change jobs because you feel you have to. But don't close yourself off from oppurtunities that might come from other hospitals too.

That Guy, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in Emergency/Cath Lab. Has 6 years experience.

For as long as that hospital is worth it to you.

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 18 years experience.

Like you I work for an employer I love. I left once for the reasons you cite and was miserable for close to 6 years before I went back. Honestly I don't see myself working anywhere else until I retire. There's lots of ways to keep your skills/training up to date. One day a month I work in an outpatient surgery center just so I cam stay sharp with my assessment skills and start a bunch of IVs.

What makes my employer so special is they try to have reasonably happy employees. I recently had two days off and they were doing payroll last night and the boss called me last night on a Sunday no less to ask if I wanted to use some of my PTO to bring it up to a full paycheck! Who does that?

So no you don't' have to leave an employer you like in order to pad your resume.

Hppy

Medic_Murse, BSN, RN, EMT-P

Has 10 years experience.

It all depends. I worked with a nurse who's plan was, "I never work in one place longer than five years. After five years, I move on to something else." Me? I the first ER I worked in, I worked there for seven months and another opportunity arrived and I bolted out the door. Not because I hated the people I work with, but because management had made it a toxic place to work and it wasn't a safe environment. The job I left the previous one for, I stayed at for over five years until I graduated school and moved.

So with all that said, it's all up to you and what you want for your career. If you're happy with where you are and think you are still getting something by going in every day, keep on keeping on. On the other hand, if you feel that you've hit a wall and not progressing anymore and aren't happy with what you're doing, then it may be time to take a look into something else.

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 14 years experience.

I think it's good to move around, especially since you are working in such a small hospital. Every hosiptal has different ways of doing things, some you will like some you won't. But it all adds to your experience and makes you a better nurse.

I agree with this statement. I think there is value in staying at a place that has a supportive environment and longevity, but it does put one at greater risk of stagnating. That doesn't mean you can't learn new things, but you will need to make a greater effort to do this, by regularly going to national conferences and such so you can learn new ideas from other hospitals.

Honestly, I think the new norm is that people don't stay at one place for years and years at a time. Though you certainly can.

my mom always told me that as long as when you switch jobs your are moving parallel or up, and not stepping "down" to a lower position, then you are fine.

of course that doesn't mean you should switch jobs every few months, although many of us have had that one time where we did just once because of a nightmare position.

mmc51264, ADN, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in orthopedic; Informatics, diabetes. Has 8 years experience.

I got my dream job 5 years ago. It is at a teaching hospital and we get the sickest of the sick and some really interesting cases. I will never stop learning at this place. I love it!! I work with people that have been there 30+ years! I think if you find the right place, you never stop learning

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 14 years experience.

I agree with this. I think it's a sign of a high achiever and a person who is willing to take risks and push themselves. Inertia is comfortable and easy.

Although, I would say 4-5 years is better than 3, from a resume perspective.

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience.

The trouble with the conventional idea of job switching is that it is industry specific.

What applies in tech, does not necessarily work in nursing.

Individual goals in life differ too.

Inertia, comfort and ease are not always bad things. I live a very comfortable and easy life, so I have remained in a very satisfying job for almost 20 years.

klone, MSN, RN

Specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership. Has 14 years experience.

Inertia, comfort and ease are not always bad things. I live a very comfortable and easy life, so I have remained in a very satisfying job for almost 20 years.

No, it's absolutely not a bad thing. I apologize if I gave that impression from my words. It was meant to be more a defense for switching jobs every 3-5 years - that should not be looked upon as a bad thing either.

Stay where you are if it works for you. My staying at the same facility for 18 years turned into a huge blessing when I had to retire unexpectedly last year from MS complications. The retirement plan my employer offered now pays me a monthly check. It would be very difficult to survive without that money.